Posts Tagged ‘self-esteem’

Girls Who Wear Hijab

August 13, 2012

Girls who wear hijab, as opposed to girls who don’t, are more likely to make me feel self-conscious, insecure, and critical of myself. Generally, they are composed, polite, widely accomplished, and (most importantly) articulate, of which I’m particularly jealous.

They are usually (generalizing again here) successful human beings, and the fact that they possess the extra grace and security to express it visibly with hijab fills me with envy. It might be surprising and in some cases totally inaccurate for me to say this, but a lot of hijab-wearers I know exude a “devil-may-care” attitude about society’s demands on their lives and bodies. It’s very attractive.

The running theme here is self-confidence. In my limited experience of friends, family and acquaintances, girls who wear hijab value themselves more highly than their similar-aged counterparts. Sometimes this translates as arrogance, which is an unfortunate byproduct, but usually that’s not the case, because these self-confident hijabis are also—incredibly and unbelievably—good people.

Girls who wear hijab love their parents and their siblings, and they show it in ways I could never imagine. They serve their communities while everyone else is too busy running around; they’re running around, too, meaning they get more done than the rest of us. They can be shortsighted and judgmental, but more often they’re generous, forgiving and kind. They are effortlessly sincere.

Girls who wear hijab are by no means perfect and, like I said, they do sometimes make me feel inadequate. But a few that I know are some of my favorite people in the whole world, and I’m grateful to have every one of them in my life.

Ulterior Motives

March 4, 2012

My friend, a man from work*, told me recently that he has me all figured out. He tells me all the time that I remind him of him when he was younger, which usually wins me over.

He said he didn’t believe that I wore my headscarf for “all the normal reasons,” for religion or anything like that. (Me: what the?) I just like being an outlier, he said, and I delight in outlying in all the different identifiable categories. Surprisingly liberal hijabi, e.g., or surprisingly conservative feminist.

Not too far off, I guess. Rebel Without a Keffiyeh, how does that sound?

*New job and new city since the time I really wrote last. More to come (I hope).

Why I’m Blogging About Hijab.

January 25, 2011

Why do I wear hijab? It’s high time I started asking myself the question, from its superficial levels—why do I cover my head every morning?—to the deeper ones: how is this shaping my life, and why do I allow it to do so?

Am I having a change of heart, questioning the decision I made just over a decade ago?

Yes and no. Almost constant in my mind is the notion—reassurance, maybe—that I would be prettier, more attractive, maybe even more successful here in the U.S. without it. It goes without saying that I’m sometimes tempted to take it off.

Ultimately, however, the answer is no, if perhaps partly with the “wrong” motive. I remain convinced, for reasons long and complicated, that my hijab is linked directly to my self-esteem (which happens to run high these days). Without that, grooming and parading my hair is hardly worth the trouble.

So while it’s not the most altruistic reason, it’s the most compelling one for me at the moment.

As far as the blog is concerned, the idea that hijab is correlated to self-confidence is true exclusively in my case. I can’t speak for others, and have only my own experience to conclude from.

This blog is a self-conscious attempt to put words to that point—the choice to stick with it for now. I’ve always struggled in articulating the answer, whether for lack of vocabulary or conviction, so this is my trying to hash it out.

I get asked the question by plenty of people, but if I can’t first explain it to myself, however will I do it for others?