Sixth Grade by Meryem Bostanci

I’ve always felt misplaced like pairs of socks that don’t match, and it doesn’t matter in which scenario.
Whether it be school or at home, or even with my friends in Ontario.

At first, it was with my family in Turkey because I’m the only American-born member but I soon realized that it was because of their beliefs.

It started as the little things like on the holidays in which I wore my hijab. I was soon exposed to the blaze that most people share for my culture.

After the Brussels bombing, there was this raging anti-muslim fever.
This irrational fear caused my neighbors to walk on eggshells around me, afraid I was going to explode in front of them.

I was in sixth grade.

My class went on a field trip to a museum about the Holocaust,
and they showed a video of a Palestinian girl speaking about her neighbors.
I felt everyone’s burning gaze as if a hot iron was being pressed against my back as she cussed them out in Arabic.
I was being dehumanized
criminalized
radicalized.
I sped into the bathroom as if I was going 85 on a 50

The only thing I had in common with this girl is that we’re both…
Muslim.

No one knew why I was crying.

This happened because I wore a mighty cloth that roared, “I want to kill you and your family!” but really it proclaimed, “I care for all cultures and I love the world!” on my head one day to school.

I was backed into an alleyway that I never knew existed in this city. I was afraid to express my beliefs in the city of immigrants.
I was afraid to go to school without getting attacked for other people’s actions.

I was afraid to wear the mighty cloth again because I didn’t want to feel those burning glares on my back. 

I was in sixth grade.