Hitting adulthood meant I saw more of the world for what it really meant. Everywhere I was judged for how I looked, what I wore and where I was from. But I’d rather be judged for the person I am because you just shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
But this world exists with its own complexity and somehow my faith and what I wear is what most people judge me with. With so much hate crimes happening across the globe (and right now at where I call home) I wish my voice to be heard.
Some people conveniently believe I am arab because I have my hair covered, some think I have a plague and the others give me looks of sympathy for being “forced” to cover up. And my woes start from there… a journey of breaking stereotypes I embark!
I patiently explain how just because my hair is covered does not automatically suggest I am from the middle east and then I have to press enough buttons, open google maps and show them where my forefathers, foremothers (I know it’s not a word but still! )and I were born! And if you start talking to me in arabic all I can do is stare back! **sigh**
Then comes to those who think I’ve caught a plague, and I do not know what to do/say so I keep quite and go on with life.
Then comes those that really manage to test my patience. They smother me with sympathy, they patronize me and I have to almost cough my I-cant-scream-too-loud voice trying to explain I am NOT forced. But of course they just return a rather offensive nod of sympathy.
However, I must admit while some exist that can be grouped into either one , two or all of the above I have had the good fortune to meet people who look beyond stereotypes, differences and see me for who I really am! I appreciate the goodness and progressive thought in these people.
I cannot speak on behalf of all but I can for those like me who feel the way I do. Every time someone assume that I am ‘forced’ to cover up and talk of my assumed oppression I stare back confused. Why confused? Confused because I am not forced nor oppressed. I have a faith(which automatically translates to belief and choice) and that’s very personal. Its my choice and I want it to be respected. Some of you out there prefer jeans to a dress and the others other way around, would you like your choice to be questioned? because I find it offensive regardless of who it is, to be told what to wear. I do not like to be told what color or what clothing to wear. I find it offensive when someone tells me to dress a certain way. Whike someone would never want to be caught wearing a hoodie or a cardigan, the others would never want to be caught wearing a pretty dress. This choice has a lot to do with a girls personality and the same way I would not want to be caught wearing something revealing and that’s just my personality. No, I do not have body image issues! 😛
And then comes those who shake their heads thinking “Poor girl, she’s brainwashed”. Gahhh people I am not stupid, I know right from wrong and I happen to enjoy calculus more than probably half the population of the world. I do not look at someone who hates calculus and think he/she is brainwashed rather I respect their choice.I have never been forced to do anything in my life and I can make my own decisions about life. So if you would stop offending me I would really appreciate it.
But then again if people still want to help my fight my rights I would rather have them protesting about how people think as a girl I need to know how to cook rather than trying to protest against my dress code. I hate cooking, and its very offending when people think I just committed a crime by saying that out loud. And by people I mean a very diverse mix of the east,west and middle. Once, this lady(a very sweet one) was showering me with sympathies because she was sad at how I cannot wear that dress without pants nor a t-shirt because I’m not allowed to. So as I tried explaining to her this is how I prefer wearing it and I liked it this way(although im not sure how much she heard of it) I happened to walk into the topic of how I don’t cook. Gaah did the tables change or what! She had herself explaining to me how it should be my priority to learn to do so because I was a girl. NOW that is very offensive.
Then there are those other times when I want to carry a board around saying just because I have my hair covered does not make me an angel nor a devil. It just makes me a girl who has her hair covered up. In other words, just a girl. Strong yet fragile. Smart yet silly. A complex being whose eyes bright up at the name of shopping. Who shops at F21, H&M, and ZARA just like half the girls out there. I love wearing a pretty gown just as much as I enjoy my wearing my hijab.Its just another part of outfit and not a sign saying I am an angel. I smile at myself in the mirror taking a gazillion selfies everyday just like every other girl out there. I am happy sometimes, I am moody at other times and that’s not because I wear a hijab but because I am a girl. I love talking to people sometimes and the other times I want to have a marathon on Netflix. I drool walking into a MK store or a Kate Spade store but not so much at a gadget store.I believe ice cream makes my cold go away and that coke makes my cramps disappear. I hate being around animals because i keep replaying skits of being attacked by them but I never can bear see them hurt. And then sometimes I stay home all day because I hate people so I end up helping an ant to bridge across two leaves and then the other times I am too lazy to get off my bed so I let the ant find its way across.
This is me, a simple girl, who demands to be defined by the kind of person I am. A girl who wants the liberty to make choices and have it respected.
P.S: A piece life changing advice from my friend right below! 😛
“And eat a lot of tomatoes” – Sangaa