Meet Kendyl: The Tattooed Hijabi
IN AWE OF KENDYL
Kendyl came to us through another Lister, Fatima, and we were so honored to meet her. During her many-year-long battle with Crohn's Disease, Kendyl found comfort and inspiration in Islam and now uses her platform on Instagram and YouTube to inspire young hijabis to live empowered lives. We are in AWE of her wisdom and individuality, and love how she slays our Diamond Signet Ring.
IN HER WORDS
"Be unapologetically YOU, because you've fought, struggled, and strived to become the woman you are today!"
"Encourage your sisters, our sisterhood is what makes us unbreakable."
Upstate, NY || Irish-Chahta-Amazigh Walking A New Trail || YouTube: KendylAuroraIsntHome || Profiled in The Huffington Post
I stumbled on a handwritten note my doctor had included in my medical records that read: “ED/Anorexia.” And I cried my heart out.
I wanted nothing more than to eat, to nourish the body that had once taken me around the world. The body that danced for ten years and hiked the Adirondack High Peaks. The body that now weighed 90 pounds and felt nauseous at the smell of food.
When I saw that note, I lost hope that doctors could help. I wrote a will. I sent a Word document entitled “The Plans” to my best friend. I only had one last wish: to see Hawaii.
My grandmother found THE doctor. He asked me what my favorite food was when I could eat. Chicken. He said I would be eating chicken the next time I saw him. I rolled my eyes.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. I had lost four years, doctors had given up on me and dismissed my case as an eating disorder, but I could finally eat again.
I was able to return to college this year to finish my degree in Journalism and Documentary Film Production. I work as a model and YouTuber. And I’m a Muslim convert who advocates for inclusivity within my Muslim community and tolerance for all faith communities.
I know chronic illness will always be a part of my life. But I will continue to thrive by becoming more conscious of my physical and spiritual well-being.
KENDYL'S OPEN LETTER TO TRUMP
Dear Donald Trump,
I am a Muslim American woman born into an army family. My grandfather served our country for 21 years, deploying multiple times to both the War in Korea and in Vietnam. He had 6 sons, who grew up with his wife on countless army bases. My father was born on a base in Lisbon Portugal, had his genetic heart condition assessed in Morocco, spent many years of his childhood on a base in Germany, and then bounced around bases here in the states, finally settling near Fort Drum, NY upon his fathers retirement. My father went on to become an ER nurse for the VA Hospital, where he's worked for over 23 years now, to give back to the men and women who sacrifice to preserve our freedom, like his father.
Outside of your Albany, NY rally a few month ago, a belligerent man approached me and ridiculed me for being a Muslim woman. I stayed silent, because I knew he was too intoxicated not just with alcohol, but with the poisonous ideals you had just instilled in him within your rally. The next day he made the news for his inappropriate actions outside of your rally, and that was when I found out that he is an janitor at my fathers VA hospital. Despite my silence, he will never again look my father in the eye.
He will hear me forever.
KENDYL + LOST
I began watching a show called Lost about a plane called Oceanic 815 that crashes on a mysterious island. The series transported me out of my bed and into their world, onto The Island. In the very first episode we meet Jack, a spinal surgeon, and Kate. Jack asks for Kate’s help sewing up a gash on his back. She agrees, but struggles with her anxiety since she’s not a doctor. Jack tells her about how he dealt with terrifying operations:
“I'd let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that's all I was going to give it. So I started to count: One, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.”
That idea of counting to five became my tactic for taking on my anxiety every time I had to face a procedure, test, blood draw, doctor’s appointment, or new medicine. I’d count… one, two, three, four, five, and I’d face it head on. So as silly as it may sound, Lost not only became an outlet for my mind to escape the sate my body was in, but it also helped to heal the anxiety plaguing my brain. The entirety of Lost was filmed in Oahu, Hawaii, and I had to see the beach that had become my escape, and my mother knew that. So when I came to her, begging for her to take me to Oahu she said no. She knew that if I went now, that was it, I would give up on the tests, medicine, and countless new doctors who never had any answers. She promised to take me when I was better, and in retrospect, I’m so glad she did.
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