Linda is a 19 year-old Palestinian-American born in Massachusetts. She’s a college student who is still debating on a major but wants her future career to give her the opportunity to travel around the world helping others. Some of her hobbies include singing, drawing, and being able to vibe with new people in hopes of creating new connections.
This story is part of “American Muslims”, a photo series created by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist based in NYC. The project is dedicated to capturing the diversity of the Muslim community in the United States. To read more about “American Muslims” click here.
Who has been the most important person in your life?
Undoubtedly the most important person in my life is my mother. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for her being so strong and determine. She is my rock, my backbone, my everything. I can’t live without my mother; she’s the one who has always been there for me no matter what. Growing up she was both my mother and father working three jobs and still preparing dinner after long 9-hour shifts on her feet. I could go on and on for days trying to put into words how much I appreciate her continuous love and support, but It would still not be enough.
What was the happiest moment of your life?
The happiest moment for me was when i was sitting with all my family in Jordan, taking in beautiful air and overlooking all the homes that were filled with families just like mine all under the same breathtaking sunset. Indulging in our shawarma sandwiches and laughing about the silliest things, memories that will last a lifetime. Or even when we all were floating in the Dead Sea just staring in awe at our occupied Palestine right across the water. Reaching out for something that felt so unreachable. With the full moon hovering over all of us, it all felt like a dream.
What was the saddest moment of your life?
The saddest moment would be when I had to leave my family in Jordan to come back home, I cried for weeks. My heart ached for their presence with me; my heart ached for my grandmother’s hugs, still does.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
I would say one of the biggest influences on my life would be the people who have doubted me. Not just people, but things in the past that didn’t work out the way I wanted them to. Those two have influenced me to be and do better. I know I have a lot to offer to this world.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that your success is based on your silence, don’t flaunt your aspirations and dreams, but hustle in the shadows. When you succeed you will flourish gracefully for the world to see, but even then keep your business low-key. Another very crucial lesson I constantly remind myself of is that people will walk in and out of your life for a reason, whether you realize it or not. Sometimes it hurts but I have faith that Allah (God) knows what’s best for us, and that comforts me at the end of the day
When in life have you felt most alone?
I felt the most alone when I was severely depressed a few years ago. It was a period where I felt like I had nothing and that I was nothing. The overwhelming feeling of going into High School and losing friends constantly got to me. I wasn’t as religious as I am today back then so people would tell me I was feeling depressed because I didn’t believe in God enough. I think this is an important issue that needs to be discussed within the Muslim community because depression and anxiety are very real illnesses that should never be disregarded or taken lightly. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) I have found happiness and I have fallen in love with Islam.
How would you like to be remembered?
This is a scary question because I want to do so much in this world. I just don’t know how I’m going to do that yet. . I want to be remembered as someone who always represented her country and her Ummah (community) through her journey. People might be curious as to what my journey will be but I’m just as curious as they are. I’ll take what life throws at me and try to make the best of it. I may not know exactly how I’m going to make a change in the world yet but I know that I am going to leave my footprint here and leave the world better than I found it.