Fifteen years ago, I started wearing the hijab. Everyone I knew at school reacted because not only did I start wearing a scarf, I started wearing it on a Tuesday.
A lot of Muslims girls think about the hijab for quite a while before they decide to don it for the rest of their lives. I totally respect that. I didn’t though. I sort of just started wearing one because 1) My mom bought some scarves and 2) my older sister started wearing it and OMIGOD maybe I should wear it too?
So I was a bit terrified when I walked onto the high school campus on a Tuesday back in January 1996 wearing a white scarf. I have to say, even though I didn’t think about it and wearing it was almost a spur of the moment decision, I’m glad I did start wearing it when I did. When I put on the hijab, it made me reevaluate myself. I realized I couldn’t be a hypocrite and I had to become a better Muslim. Wearing the hijab got me on that path. I’m nowhere near perfect (like seriously, faaaaar from perfect, my friends) but I truly believe that I’m a better version of myself because I started wearing the hijab back then.
Here’s what I didn’t realize would happen: That even though I started wearing a hijab for myself, I would end up representing all Muslims. That I was not ready for.
And… one more thing I didn’t expect – some people think I’m automatically judging them and their “Muslimness*” because I wear a hijab. I don’t, I swear! Just because I wear a hijab doesn’t mean I’m better than someone else who doesn’t wear one. Generally speaking, no Muslim has the right to judge another Muslim (or anyone else) for anything. Ever. That’s what I honestly believe.
Anyways, here’s to 15 years of wearing a hijab. I have officially been wearing it more than not.
And maybe one day, just maybe, I’ll finally figure out how to wear it properly.
*Muslimness is a made up word.