identity

a year or two before i was seven years old, my father converted to islam. he had decided to change his name to an islamic name and my mother did as well. at such a young age, this was exciting to me! i wanted to change my name too. i was all in. i used to stay the night at my uncle’s house on the weekends and he had a book of muslim names. i went through the book and, although i didn’t get past the first couple of pages, i chose two names for myself: a first name and a middle name. the first name i chose was ‘anisah’ which meant friendly company and the second name was ‘amatullah’ which meant servant of allah. this was such an important moment in my life. i remember going to stand in front of a judge and legally changing my name with my parents; i was so proud to be standing next to my parents and making this transition together. i remember walking into my second grade class and providing my teacher with the legal documents stating my name had been legally changed. that was a proud moment for me too. i walked in class with my head held so high and i was proud that i had made this type of decision… on my own! as i grew older, my name was not enough for me. i was ashamed of it because it was so different. i created other names for myself and hid behind them. i used to be all over the place! when i started posting my work on instagram, using anisah was not even a thought. i immediately decided to use destiny janae. over the course of almost a year, the name and my writings started to feel unauthentic. not only was i not being true to who i was and to the person who i had learned to love but the writing i was posting was always picture perfect. i wanted to paint perfect pictures of love and shy away from my truths, which isn’t always perfect.  as it gets closer to the day that i turn my manuscript in and begin the process of having my book published, there were two things that i needed to do: i needed to learn to be true to who i was: anisah ali and learn to be true, embrace and honor my truths.

thank you for your continued support, the outpouring of love, and allowing me to be vulnerable.

anisah amat ali