Why did I start wearing hijab?
So it's been two years since I started wearing a head scarf...the hardest thing I've ever done in my life! But things happen for a reason, and I don't regret the change at all. I always felt caught in the middle, since I wasn't fully accepted as a Canadian and wasn't fully accepted as a Muslim. I was somewhat identity-less! Then a new work related project came up integrated in Muslim-dominated schools, and I thought 'hey, why not give the hijab thing a try?'
I was BAD at first!! From September 2008 to March 2009 I would only wear the headscarf while at those schools, 3x/week! The rest of the time, my hair was naked and free. Soon I started to feel like I had MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder). It was all or nothing, so I went all.
There's something a lot of non-Muslims don't realize...and that is how much emphasis is placed on physical appearance! I felt it myself, as I still felt the need to style my hair every morning before donning the scarf, like I couldn't give that up. After a while though it got tiring, ha!
I had to purge my closet of all my former clothes, and started shopping for more appropriate ones...all had to had long sleeves, cover my bum bum, not be too fitted, etc. It was painful and meant a significant change. But I was motivated. And couldn't have done it without the amazing support from family and friends.
So I sometimes look back at old pictures of me without the scarf, and it's hard to believe that it was me! The hijab has become a part of my identify, I've changed and grown to love my style, and I still have the chance to be 'me' at home, where I can let my hair down and wear whatever I please. So I have the best of both worlds.
But even now I'm still self-conscious, more around people who know me before and after the change. When I walk into work for example and the room is crowded, I tend to just plow in with my head down and sit quietly. Out in public I'm OK because no one knows me. I do find people who stare quite annoying...especially those driving by me and doing a double take, or girls who look me over and snicker.
All in all, I've been given much more positive support. A Catholic school teacher told me 'good for you for wearing it and coming to our school, children need to be exposed to diversity'. A European lady stopped me in a store in Boston this spring, greeted me in Arabic and said 'what you're doing is hard, I admire you.' I was at the Vancouver airport a week ago and a lady asked me 'I love your scarf, how do you wrap it?' Those encounters give me a boost every time, and I know they happen for a reason. Because anytime I've felt down about wearing the hijab or felt weak about it, an encounter has occurred. Divine intervention, maybe?! :)
Finally, I wear hijab because I believe in the idea that I want to be judged for who I am and not how I look. I think my personality, accomplishments, and endeavors speak for themselves. And I love the idea that only a woman's husband can see her true beauty. I also have been asked openly about why I decided to wear it, and I love that! I want people to debunk any myths about being oppressed or forced to wear it, and actually see it as an act of feminism, Muslim-ism, and confidence!
Lemme tell you, it ain't easy...if you want to know how it feels, try doing it for a day ;)