The 'H' Struggle
I started donning the hijab when I was 13, without any conscious thought. Back then, I didn’t think much of it other than wearing it to fulfil my obligations. However, as time passed by, I began to think a lot on how a piece of cloth could affect the way I understood my own values, attitude and various personalities. At that point of time, only a handful from my group of friends donned the hijab, hence, there were a lot of times whereby I felt insecure about how I looked. Slowly, I began to question this decision and constantly wondered about the invisible benefits that I could gain with this scarf on my head.
As I grew closer to the time whereby I would graduate from secondary school, I began to shower myself with doubtful questions to myself such as “Why did I wear it too early?” or “What if various opportunities in the future become limited for me just because I don the hijab?”. These conversations I held with myself consistently made me feel that donning the hijab was the least of my priorities and that meant that I should only complete what was necessary such as praying five times a day.
Even though I was consumed by these negative thoughts, I began to understand that it is just another passing phase in my journey of donning the hijab and that I shouldn’t dwell on it too much as I could make impulse decisions that might not turn out well for me in the long run. As much as I wanted to take it off, I asked for His guidance and for Him to grant me patience for as long as possible because my naïve 13-year-old self made a decision that I was clearly not ready for.
It was not easy for me to adapt myself to the society’s standards on how a ‘hijabi’ should be, for I know that there are flaws and habits of me that should be discarded or hidden away most of the time. Be it remarks from friends or family, it was tough for me to convince myself to stay this way. I have been wearing the hijab for 4 years now. Certainly, I am glad that I didn’t take it off even when there were times I constantly wished that I could turn back time so that I would be ready with my whole heart and sincerity to make a decision that in which I would be able to carry the weight.
I admit that I was struggling to accept the way I presented myself in front of friends and family. Things that helped me the most were patience and feeding myself with comforting words everytime I felt low and terrible about wearing the hijab—in order for me to hold on. I spent a lot of time asking Him to ease my heart and push away the negative thoughts I had, in order for me to be strong in my principles and to also be firm in the decisions I make, not because of others, but for the benefit of myself. Why? Because I’ve learnt that it’s always your journey and that people are here to help, but at the end of the day, you decide what is best for you.