Recently I wrote a blog telling you all about my story of when I decided to put on the hijab and what inspired me, read it -->here<-- if you haven't already. Now I'm here to tell you a continuation of my story, all about my experiences and struggles after I put on the hijab and how I overcame them. Just remember, everybody's experiences are different and what I am about to speak of is strictly what I went through in my own life.
1) Seeing Friends for the First Time
If you read my blog about when I put on the hijab, you already know that I attended a large Ramadan dinner the night I put on the hijab with my husband and his family. No one besides my husband knew that I had decided to wear my hijab that day. I was nervous but also excited at the same time. I am blessed with an amazing community and received a lot of love and support that night. This support continued for weeks as my sister in laws and friends threw me a hijab party and sent flowers and gifts. However it was not my community of sisters I was worried about seeing. I was more concerned with friends I had not seen in a while and my non muslim friends. I worried about their first reactions, how they would feel towards me, what they would ask me, along with much more.
To my surprise, my friends were quite accepting of my decision. I received many shocked looks if I ran into someone unexpectedly, however this was an understandable reaction. Ultimately my experience was quite positive with people I knew. I believe this has a large reason to do with whom I have chosen to surround myself with. I have many amazing people who are loving and supportive of my decisions and who also inspire me to be better. This ultimately helps me on this path of Islam that can be very difficult at times. If you find yourself as concerned as I was, just remember that people can surprise you. You also cannot consume your worries with others and their opinions, as you did not put on the hijab for them, you put it on for Allah. Allah will not test you with anything greater than He knows you can handle. Stay strong through these difficulties and inshallah you will be rewarded.
2) Seeing my Family for the First Time
Visiting my family for the first time terrified me to say the least. I was scared for how they would feel towards me when they first saw me. I was scared how they would react. I was scared for the moment I was out with my family and ran into someone we knew. I was just simply scared of what felt like everything. As I pulled into my parents’ driveway for the first time I became extremely self-conscious. My stomach was in my throat yet I put on a smile and pretended I did not have something wrapped around my head and neck covering all of my hair. I greeted my parents like nothing had changed and they appeared to do the same, both completely aware of my new look though.
As soon as I entered the house I took off the hijab. I did not want to push the hijab in their face to allow them to adjust slowly. I had also previously made them aware of my choice so they were not blind sided by my decision. I felt this was the most fare thing to do for them to allow them to be as comfortable as possible during this big change I was undergoing. I had made my choice to put on the hijab but I tried to make it easier on my parents. I knew that it would not be easy and it would be uncomfortable but this was something I prayed would go away with time. During this time I had to remain as confident as possible with keeping in mind why I had put on the hijab. I would never want to make my parents uncomfortable but I was doing this for Allah and I just prayed that Allah would make it easy on them eventually.
When I put on the hijab I was most comfortable in more modest clothing. In saying that, I did not wear Abayas or Jilbabs and I still don’t. I was comfortable in long sleeves and pants and skirts to my ankles, which were fairly loose. Although I was modest, I was still unsure of my style as a new hijabi. I struggled to maintain looking stylish but modest. Modesty was my priority however I still wanted to look and feel like myself. Putting on the hijab can be a slight identity crisis. Looking at yourself without hair can be somewhat shocking and it may take some time to become adjusted to. It is important for this reason as well to discover your style and identify with your hijab, so you feel comfortable and confident.
Do not be worried about other people expressing to you what you should or should not be wearing as a hijabi. The process is your own and you have to take it at your own pace. You put on the hijab for Allah and only Allah knows what it is your heart. Take the process slowly and grow your wardrobe at the pace you feel comfortable with. You do not have to transform your closet within weeks or even within the year. Slowly add pieces one by one and eventually inshallah you will be satisfied with your options. If you are only comfortable with abayas and maxi skirts than go for it girl, but do not feel pressured if you are not ready. For inspiration, I found it helpful to look at hijab styles and different hijabi bloggers, but always remember your own comfort level. Gain inspiration from women around you but cater it to your liking and your level of faith. After I began writing for Oveila, I created an instagram blogging page, focusing on hijabi friendly outfits and styles. Follow my instagram account --> @hijabistylejr <-- for inspiration.
4) Hijab from Inside
I had heard many stories before putting on the hijab about how society treats hijabis differently. Therefore I was unsure what to expect when I first put on the hijab. I felt as though everyone was looking at me. In all fairness though, I think I was just being hyper sensitive to my surroundings. However some people would go out of their way to stare and I have gotten dirty looks before but rarely. For the most part I have not experienced anything drastically different with how I have been treated. In saying that though, I know many women who have experienced much worse than I. May Allah make it easy on the women in our Ummah.
As women, we are out there in society, physically identifying ourselves as the faith we believe in. Therefore our actions have a large impact on our environment. I find myself going out of my way to be extra kind to people, to smile more, to greet and to talk to strangers. I am more cautious of how I drive, how I act and what I say. I do this, not because I feel pressured to, but because I have a love for Islam that I want others to be able to see. I have a desire to show to others that muslims are kind, peaceful, loving members of society that are not a threat. Due to my hijab, I am able to spread this unspoken message. In doing so, I have received a lot of positive reactions. You never know the impact you can have on someone, so be kind, be courteous and confident as a strong hijabi woman representing Islam.
I am currently the editor of oveila.com which gives a portion of its profits to orphan sponsorship programs. Use my one time 15% off code --> jess15 <-- to go towards your favourite modest outfit on Oveila. Click --> here <-- to see the collection.