Choosing Empowerment and Authenticity: How Persephone Rizvi Did It Through Faith

I've been more active on my private Instagram account but when I saw this story on Twitter I knew I had to share it on my blog because if it resonated with me I'm sure it would resonate with others too.

Persephone's story challenges the narrative in mainstream media that all Muslim women who practice their faith do so because they're oppressed or lack the agency, freedom or education to think for themselves and make their own decisions. Empowerment and authenticity is a process that requires reflection, conviction,  making an informed decision and growth.

Listen to her story here.

The beauty in Persephone's story is she listened to her conscience ("I always had this feeling inside of me where I knew I could be doing more") and used this combined feelings of remorse and hope to make changes to herself and her lifestyle. Anyone of any faith and background can do the same.

In some ways, I can relate to Persephone. My friends from Malaysia and New Zealand would know this about me: even though I wasn't a massive party girl, my idea of fun was a little different than it is today! I was, and still am, a rebel... except my 'rebellion' today is towards injustice in society, especially towards women and the innocent and defenseless like children and animals, not my Creator who loves me and wants the best for me.

I don't accept what I see happening around me without trying to understand it or challenging the ideas and actions behind it. It's important to at least be curious and internally question practices, events or behaviors around you -  from your family to your community and society - and seek answers until your conscience is satisfied.

"All of us are already on this journey together."

Living authentically is about accepting who you are right now while learning and challenging yourself and ideas, beliefs and practices you have about life and all that comes with it, like love, loneliness, happiness, success, failure, etc. It isn't easy but it’s fulfilling because every day you feel like you're getting closer to the truth about who you are and your role in this world.

One of my truths is: All of us are already on this journey together. I learn as much through my trials and errors as much as I do through my wins and victories. As much as we try not to make mistakes, they do happen, but they're wonderful opportunities to see our weaknesses, listen to our conscience and feel remorse *and* hope, and make amends by making better choices, not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of others.