Have you ever felt so self-conscious with a mind of constant wonder? Is everybody noticing my messed up hair? Someone is looking at me! Is there something on my face? Is my outfit just plain weird? Well then, you’re just as normal as everyone else. Up to this point, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from dealing with insecurities, everyone feels the same, if not similar. The thought that people around are judging you, may even cross your mind. Truth is, most of the time, they’re probably worried about how they look too. Hence, from time to time, I personally appreciate conversations with friends that assure ourselves, of these negative thoughts being a pure fiction of the mind. As one of wears a hijab, the above definitely coincides with my style and perception of how I look.
So today, I’ll be having this conversation with you! Just like everybody else, I often think about whether I look alright. And in the context of a hijabi, I sometimes also feel insecure about having a scarf on my head for many reasons. From me to you reading this, here are some of the insecurities/struggles that I experience as a hijabi, that others might relate to as well.
Bad Hijab Day
It’s one of those days where instead of a bad hair day, it’s a bad hijab day. It’s like being in a rush and grabbing any scarf that’s around. Usually this scarf would be of versatility and daily wear. Oddly, at times the hijab just doesn’t resemble its usual structure, and my face looks a little weirder in it than usual. Or, the hijab itself looks kind of different! Trust me, true story!
Other times when I’m feeling adventurous, I take an eclectic leap, piecing an outfit with a hijab that isn’t its usual pair. However, a voice in my head often whispers, “I never imagined it could be this bad”. Besides that, some people with blessed hair may not have an issue with this, but for individuals like myself, we can’t help but have baby hairs peeking through the corners of our scarves. It’s as if they too want to look at what’s going on in the world outside! After a whole day and a look in the mirror, I think to myself, “I can’t believe I walked around looking like this…”.
Wearing It on a Good Hair Day Breaks Your Heart!
Next, a thought that pays the occasional visit! “If I didn’t wear the hijab, I’d probably style my hair like this…..”. Like any other girl, I always want to look my best. The prettiest I can, even if its low-key. So, wearing the hijab after a trip from the salon or on a good hair day kind of breaks my heart a little. At times, it’s not the case of the hair, it’s also because some outfits look better with a certain hair style. Today, I still look in the mirror and sometimes think, “If only I could wear it this way”, or “this outfit looks better with a high bun or a ponytail”. However, whenever I have these thoughts, I think of it as hiking; just a few more steps and climbs and you’ll see the top, the most beautiful view. I might not look the best now, but just go through with it for a while and trust for the better soon.
Getting Asked Weird Questions……..
Growing up, I’ve definitely been asked questions that I deem to be ridiculously absurd. Do you sleep with your hijab on? Do you have hair underneath? Why don’t you have to wear the long black dresses? And my personal favourite………Do you shower with it? Yes. I did think it was rude and annoying when I was younger. Nonetheless, I’ve come to understand that sometimes people are just genuinely curious and you can’t blame them. Along the way, I’ve also understood the kinds of people that ask these questions on purpose, and my take on that is, everyone has a different way of seeing things and responding to things. Most times, they don’t mean to be rude, they could just use a little laugh. Indeed, it is true that when one says “sometimes, it’s just in your head.”
Everybody Else Isn’t Wearing It
Lastly, in general, girls being girls, insecurities are inevitable. On one end, I’m constantly thinking about how my hijab looks, whether it’s crooked on top, scrunched somewhere, if it’s too pulled towards the back or front or if it looks too tight or loose. On the other end? I’m also thinking about the possibility that I am being judged as a hjiabi, stereotyped as conservative, uncool, and sometimes dangerous. Especially when travelling, some people start giving stares for absolutely nothing. Although it may be irrelevant, today or in some communities, unsaid thoughts like these automatically come up when you realise that you’re the only one in the room with a scarf on your head, intertwined with the rise of stereotypes an misconceptions of those in a head scarf. Honestly, sometimes I feel like walking around with a huge sign on top of my head saying, “I’M FRIENDLY AND NOT DANGEROUS, PLEASE DON’T THINK OTHERWISE”. It’s the unfortunate truth at times. A piece of cloth religiously deemed modest, and even modernly associated to muslim fashion, creates a 21st century prejudice.
As much as I struggle at times, I believe that other people have struggles as well. We as humans, we all feel the same inside. Every day when I wake up in the morning, take a shower and get ready, I put my hijab on my head as I look into the mirror, and I remember my favourite line from my favourite journalist/activist, Noor Tagouri:
“This morning when you were doing your hair, I was doing my hijab.”
In the inside, we are all just as quirky, funny, emotional, and badass. All we have to do to realise that, is to connect with one another. That being said, I hope that we will all love ourselves more, and spread that love to others too. To everyone out there, insecurities will always erupt in our heads, keep your head held high, love and appreciate your skin through the struggles. To my hijab girls? It can be tasking at times, but keep wearing your hijab strongly and proudly, be your own beautiful you.
Written by Nurul Iman, Style Section Writer.