As a young girl I was blinded by the world of beauty. To be honest I don’t know where it came from, I just remember being as young as 4 years old praying to God that I would grow up to be beautiful. I would look at older girls who would do their hair and wear lipgloss and couldn’t wait for the day I could be like them. My mom was always super strict about our appearances, she didn’t want us to look or act older than we were. She tried her best to keep my sister and I away from fashion and makeup. The more I wasn’t allowed to express that side of me the more I wanted it.
The summer I was going into middle school my mom said that I was growing up and that I needed to wear the hijab. I ignored her and hoped she forgot about it when the first day of school came around. I was already extremely shy, quiet and insecure and throwing on the hijab on top of that did not seem like anything I ever wanted to do. It was the first day of the 6th grade and I wanted to impress my new classmates. I had gotten a new pink and white stripped off the shoulder top as a gift from an older girl I looked up to and I couldn’t wait to wear it. I woke up that morning excited and nervous about the new school, I was in middle school! Pretty much about to become one of those older girls I had always wanted to be. Sure enough before I left the door my mom asked where my hijab was. I almost got away with it, I thought. I was always an obedient girl and my mom was always firm on her decisions. As upset as I was I never questioned her.
I felt a weight on my heart as I wrapped the hijab around my head. “I look so ugly” was all I thought that day. I remember walking in to my new classroom and I sat beside a girl I knew from my old school. She pretended as though she did not know who I was. Later in the day she asked if she knew me. No one else really said anything about my new look but I didn’t feel good about it. When I was questioned about why I wore it I didn’t have an answer. “I don’t want to be wearing it” I would think to myself.I stuck to myself and my small group of friends the next year and a half and continued the battle with my confidence. It was around the end of my 7th grade year when I befriended a very popular girl. I had always admired her confidence and beauty and saw how all the boys drooled over her. Being insecure and young that is all I wanted. My hijab slowly started going away. By the 8th grade it was gone. I had a new group of friends and was always trying to fit in with the popular crowd. All I cared about was my appearance and male attention. It took a while for me to realize how insignificant that really was.
That part of my life was filled with peer pressure and being constantly let down in my friendships. I felt as though I was lonely and never at peace. I was constantly hurt by the people around me. Why was I trying to hard to please them? The summer before high school I decided that I didn’t want to go to the same school as my former classmates. I wasn’t happy and I wanted a new start. I started going to an Islamic school that taught the Quran in depth. It was then when I developed my relationship with Allah. This was done on my own terms. I studied the Quran with translation, context and meaning. I learned about all the sacrifices that were made in the life of the Prophet (SAW) for the Muslims to be able to exist in peace. I learned the true meaning of life and why we were placed on this earth.
This life is fleeting and temporary and the life of the hereafter was the everlasting one. A place where there would be no end, no hurt, no loss or heartbreak. Allah was there for me when no one else was and He will always be there for me. Why should I let myself be validated by any other human being when the only validation I needed to feel content was from God? I was 15 when I started wearing the hijab again, and it will never come off inshaAllah. I have continued to struggle with my confidence and make mistakes – I am nowhere near perfect. That is okay because I can always come back to Allah and He will never let me down.