Spoken Word by 15 year old – Naeema F Adani…
“I remember my first hijab. It was pink. Simple, I know but to 7 year old me, it was everything; a symbol of my maturity- that I was finally old enough to cover my hair like my other sisters did. I wore it day in, day out without fail-even if it didn’t match my outfit. I remember bragging about it and rubbing it in the faces of all my cousins that I was a ‘big girl’ now and that they were all ‘still children’.
I remember waiting around the washing machine and hanging it and until this day, I still have it with me, somewhere under the pile of other hijabs that I’ve bought over the years. If 7 year old me had ever met the Naeema of today, she would be horrified. Not because of the absurd amount of pimples on my forehead, (though, I’m sure that too would play a role) but because of something else. It is unfortunate, and I’m ashamed to say it but do not wear my hijab. My hijab wears me. When I walk into a shop and a person looks over in my direction I want to disappear. When a person speaks differently to me, thinking that I do not speak English properly I silently beg the ground to swallow me whole.
I hate it and for a while, I hated my hijab for it too. Though it was subconscious, over a long period of time, I begun to change aspects of myself to compensate for the ‘problems’ that my hijab caused me. Whenever I caught the eye of a stranger on me I smiled to show how normal I was. If I ever spoke to a stranger I would purposely change the way I spoke to sound cheerier and happy. If I was ever offered food I wasn’t sure of, I would fake a stomach illness or claim i had already eaten because I cringed at the thought of having to explain my religious restrictions. I did all these things and more yet it never occurred to me why. Who was I trying to impress? To explain myself to? “
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