what it means to be Muslim, revisited.

I just realized I’ll soon hit the 6-month point with the headscarf.

Funny; it took me a year-plus to make the move, so nervous for God knows what (trivial) reasons, only for 6 months to whiz past just like that. I don’t know if it is growth in general – I’m just at this age, this phase – or being a living, breathing representation now has me thinking a lot (-but when do I not think, I know) about what it means to call myself a Muslim. Lately I keep wondering, is it too much were I to admit I wish more people understand that even among the pious and do-gooders – choosing ‘good‘, despite it being inherently noble – is hardly a breezy stroll in the park? Is it too much – ‘overly sensitive‘ – were I to ask, when we fail to see eye-to-eye on our values, to respectfully agree to disagree on our different lifestyles? Is it too much to bear to go a little easier on me even if you never did and highly unlikely will ‘get it‘?

Because this is what I do on a daily basis: I try, hard and five times a day minimum, to be responsible for my decision. Every act is a conscious choice – like choosing to stick to a particular diet, or deliberately working my schedule around. They’re for a holy cause, I guess we can call them that, but I’ll be frank: it’s not like I don’t struggle. Not true. Already it is difficult to fit in – religion only adds another layer of complexity to an already multi-faceted exterior. Religion is ‘burdensome‘ to youth – ‘good‘ is something one strives for only later in life, I’ve been told again and again. But I chose this; all of it.

Why is it funny?

If it is a problem then it is mine alone to bear. And I have and I am, because my entire life has been about coming to terms with what these boundaries represent in my life – and I chose them, I’m aware. But I’m also painfully aware how difficult it sometimes feels like – so much that the last thing I want to do, ever, is to forcibly draw those lines onto others’ lives.

How is any of this funny? Which part, where?

I don’t want to make all of the above an excuse because this is the life I chose. If it’s a problem – it’s mine to bear. I also don’t want to come off like I’m entitled for respect when I’ve done nothing to earn it. But when one insists on keeping key aspects of my life as a joke allegedly because one doesn’t know how to maturely carry forth a discussion… why is it still me? Likewise, for not wanting to accept being ridiculed; my struggles reduced by one who would never even need to walk in my shoes… if this means I’ll stay ‘not funny‘ or ‘can’t chill‘ cos I refuse to ‘lighten up‘ about this – I’d be glad to stay not funny.

I think I’m still angry about this.


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