Huma Abedin: The Phoenix Rises

Huma Abedin’s favorite color is green, which in Islam symbolizes nature and life. It is the color of paradise in the Quran. But the past decade has been far from paradise for Abedin. In fact, it has been pure hell, and Abedin says she had to reach deep within her faith and herself to emerge from the shadow of shame, proud and resilient. As one of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides, Abedin was often in the public eye, always by Clinton’s side, present but silent, rarely the topic of the story. 

In her 26-year political career spanning the White House, the Senate, and the State Department, Abedin collected her share of scars in the roughest of towns: Washington D.C. But nothing prepare her for the heartbreak and ignominy caused by husband and former Congressman Anthony Wiener’s repeated sexting scandals, which she endured in full public view. That scar, she says, will take a long time to heal.

“He ripped by my heart out and stomped on it over and over again,” Abedin writes in her memoir, “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds,” published in November 21 by Simon and Shuster. The scandal, along with the discovery of Clinton’s confidential emails on Weiner’s computer, disrupted the presidential candidate’s campaign. 

“I lived with shame for a long time… I could have been the first chief of staff of the first female president,” she writes in the book. “How am I going to survive this? Help me God.”

But survive she did. And, Huma, which means “lucky bird” or “phoenix” in Urdu, has emerged out of the shadows breaking her silence and rising, she says, to reclaim her own narrative. She says she is taking things one day at a time and drawing strength from her religion, her parents, her cultural roots and values, and, most of all, faith in herself. 

“Be true to yourself, let others say what they will. You are responsible in the first instance to yourself, to your principles and your values, and ultimately to your God, or higher power.”

Abedin says on tough days, she turns to advice from her dad, who died when she was 17

That has carried me through,” she says.

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