On the path to rediscovery

Queens

In August 2018 I decided to take a leap of faith and made the decision to wear the hijab as well as work on my spirituality. It’s been an interesting journey so far and I’ve had moments where I couldn’t be happier about my decision and other days when I questioned myself mainly because I didn’t feel as clean as I should or just got annoyed because I was too hot in my hijab or couldn’t move as freely as I used to be able to while wearing my abaya.

Sometimes I felt like I was unlearning things that I relatively recently learnt to be comfortable with. This may sound absolutely ridiculous to some people but it ranges from baring my arms to physical contact with guys to being able to feel at ease in a club.

I was being asked all sorts of weird questions at the start: “Did you shave your head?”, “Are you getting married?”, “Did something happen to you?” etc etc.

Well. What can I tell you? Some people are genuinely concerned whereas others just like to gossip.

Young women in Tehran by Iranian activist and blogger Hoda Katebi.

For me, this is one of the ways I’m working on myself. I think it sets a standard of how I would like to be treated by the world and how I want to interact with other human beings. But even more than that, it’s me reaffirming my commitment to God and expressing my belief and values.

In some ways, it is about attracting the right kind of energy and people towards me. I believe that setting some standards and exhibiting the values I care about will bring the right kind of people and situations towards me. At some point last year, I had the realization that I cannot keep expecting things of people that I do not exhibit myself. It may seem so simple, but when you’re the type of person who tends to put others before themselves, it’s a major shift.

I think I’ve spent too long being adaptable because of where I was and who I was around since I’ve never liked being a nuisance — it’s one of the symptoms of my childhood (not my teenage years…sorry Mum and Dad).

It’s only now that I’m trying to figure out what I actually like and want and feel like I need to put that first.

In December, I attended an awesome exhibition about Contemporary Muslim Fashion in San Francisco with Sabena Lodhi. It was such an eye-opener and aside from being totally cool, it made me feel less alone in my struggle.

It made me realize anew that there are incredibly kickass Muslim women around the world facing their own struggles and despite that, or maybe because of that, are ruling in every sphere you can think of.

In celebration and in solidarity with these women around the world, I re-dedicate myself to my path. Happy Belated World Hijab Day!

I love love this quote. Thank you HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.

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Identity, personality and relationships: works-in-progress. Join me in the unearthing of myself through my writing. Karibuni!

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Aleesha Suleman

Aleesha Suleman

Identity, personality and relationships: works-in-progress. Join me in the unearthing of myself through my writing. Karibuni!

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