“Sometimes I think I even miss her – she represented a particularly cherished era of my life.”

Here’s part two of my reflective piece that I wrote on Friday night – right after surviving my first week of new-everything – that touched upon the headscarf. I have, after all, given my word that I will be honest, candid and open about my transition to the headscarf – a step that I do not regret, viewing it simply as an obvious and necessary transitional stage – but I find myself annoyed by others’ attempts to either typify and box me or worse, thinking they know me – you don’t know me – because I have something on my head that represents something we both(all) share.

The thing is, I really never believed or thought I was any less a good person or Muslim pre-headscarf. My checks-and-balances were weighed differently pre- and post headscarf, was how I think about it but that accounts sheet is between myself and God. And ultimately, the essence of who I am is unchanged. I wish more people understand this. I am changed yes, outwardly and internally, but the makeups of who I am do not.

Several times this week the word “Muslimah” was directed towards me… each time I’d look over my shoulder thinking it was meant for someone else, only to go “Oh.” Then I’d make a face because funny, that word was never once used to describe me pre-headscarf. It’s been a little over two months of this transition and it’s strange; sometimes I forget the girl I was though I lived as her for 24 full years.

Isn’t it equally weird how easily we get used to and form new habits?

Sometimes I think I even miss her; is she living well? She represented a particularly cherished era of my life. I think of her with the same sentiments one does when remembering bygone years and memories: bittersweet and wistful. Though many may have looked as her as “less” – I’d never. “Lacking” yes, not less, because I don’t believe I was any less a Muslim just because my head was uncovered. Besides, these new definitions that are now used to describe me… they often feel a size too big or small; never quite right. Sometimes I wonder if some people think this is a game of fill-in-the-blanks – which then explains why they keep trying to place definitions in place of the headscarf as they presumably attempt to unveil what’s underneath and what it represents. Or worse, they think they are entitled to place these definitions because now I’m viewed as “one of us.” I wish they’d all stop. Some things simply are, irrespective what shape and form they take – myself included, pre- and post-headscarf.

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