I first started wearing Hijab around the age of 11. I did not know what it stood for, I did not understand the beauty of it, I was told by my parents to wear it and I did. I wasn't forced at all, it was more like they advised me to wear it, and I was like "ok sure". One thing I knew at the very start was that I would commit to the Hijab and I wanted it to be a part of me from then on.
My understanding of the Hijab grew as I started looking into its meaning, and in return, feeling a sense of safety when I wore it. I remember things like, the first time I wore it to school, the first time I wore it to the mall, and the first time I wore it in another country. Eventhough at some points, my family said that I could loosen it, or show the front of my hair, I didn't want it to be that way. I wanted to commit the right way - as far as I knew it to be. So going to school or the mall or visiting my family in the States, were like Hijab boxes that I would tick every time I felt I accomplished something when wearing the Hijab. It made me strong, and it made me feel like I belong to something, and that I got to represent that something (Islam) everyday infront of the world, inshaAlla for the rest of my life.
I have been put it quite interesting situations with my Hijab, some good and some not so good. I remember once, one lady told me that I looked like a housemaid, because when I was younger I used to wear colorful scarves as Hijab - and she associated that with being a housemaid instead of being a muslim.. but you know what, I've also had great conversations with people all around the world who ask me why I cover my hair, and I get the opportunity to talk about my religion and educate someone who might have never met a Muslim before. So I try to look at the good. And plus, I love housemaids, so if she says I look like one, well I say "thank you".
It saddens me, not that people don't wear Hijab as much as I would love to see, but that people have completely shut the door to Hijab without giving it a chance. It is difficult, but it is lovely to commit to something for the rest of your life. It empowers you, it makes you feel like you belong to something greater than yourself, possibly greater that this world.
My love the my Hijab made me who I am today and when you love something, it becomes easy and becomes part of you. I hope for each and everyone of my Muslim sisters that they one day fall in love with the Hijab - its a beautiful thing.