My Hijab Story

In a world full of misinformation about the hijab, I want to spread positivity around. Hijab is not a symbol of oppression but instead, focuses on the freedom of choice.

Everyone’s history with the hijab and the way they came to wear it is different. Maybe you didn’t want to wear it initially. Maybe you started and then stopped. Maybe you started very late in life. Maybe you’d like to change how you do it. Here is My Hijab Story.

My mom taught me that at some point in my life, Muslim Women starts wearing a hijab. So one fine day, she suggested (ie; not forced) that I start wearing it. I did not say no, but I did not say yes either.

I was abroad when I received a call from my mom, wanting to confirm whether I would, or not, wear the hijab the following year, as she would need to alter my school uniform if I do. Perhaps the fact that I was away from her and caught up with something else made me agree to wear the hijab, subconsciously.

Thus, I became more creative with my hair. I bought hair clips and grips, bands and accessories, all for the few hijab-free weeks I had left. And that is an investment I would never regret.

I arrived at my home country just the day before school began, which meant that I had to wear the hijab the very next day.

The day I wore the hijab for the first time was a tough one. Since I had zero interest to wear it, I did not make an effort to wear it in a decent manner. Thus, I arrived at school with a poorly worn hijab. A teacher asked me why I wore the hijab, since I had told her the previous year that I will start wearing a hijab once I am over the age of 40. Moreover, all my schoolmates had seen me without a hijab on, so it was hard for them to grasp my new look, let alone it being hard for ME to grasp MY new look.

During the initial stage of wearing the hijab, I wore a part-time one. I received cheeky comments from people, which I disregarded. But the destructive criticism I received from a few members of my family caused me to fire back. Moreover, the criticism was directed towards my mom too, at times. “Doesn’t she bother to tell Eama to cover up in a proper manner?”

Back in the days, I wore my hijab like scarf wrapped around my head. It then changed to a square Turkish style, with the hijab tightly pinned underneath my chin, making my face look like a blow fish. From there, it shifted to a semi-Arab style, where I used rectangular scarves to loosely drape over my head. Fast forward to the present day, I create styles on my own, while still keeping my hair covered. Like in any journey, the transition to a full hijab took time.

With each passing day, I started getting more and more used to wearing the hijab. I stopped wearing it part-time and started wearing it full-time. It was one of the most difficult, yet rewarding acts I have done. Wearing the hijab is a series of stages and phases, and I grew along with it.

Nevertheless, the fact that I started enjoying wearing the hijab was not enough for the criticisms to stop coming in. The critics did not understand the inner battle I had to go through in order to get used to wearing the hijab. They did not realise how uncomfortable I felt wearing the hijab during the initial stage, because the concept of wearing a hijab was foreign to me. They did not see my attempts to fix the way I wore the hijab. They just saw a few strands of hair and tight jeans and thought “WOW, WHAT AN IMPROPER HIJAB!”

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People who criticise Muslim Women for not wearing a hijab OR for not wearing the hijab “properly” needs to bring an end to their criticism. If you think that you’re doing us a favour by “reminding” us that we are “Dressed but Naked”, do realise that your taunts are more criticising than reminding.

I know it bothers you when you see a woman wearing an “improper” hijab. Because when people who do not understand the concept of ‘hijab’ sees such, it sends a wrong signal to them and eventually boils down to a generalisation that the hijab is “just a scarf” rather than a code of modesty. But whenever you feel the need to criticise a human being, let go of the critical tone. Do not come with the hot iron rod approach. Always remember that when you are being too stern to the point you hit below the belt, that too, gives a really bad impression about Islam.

Being quick to criticise someone, a Muslim or a Non-Muslim, is something to be avoided because we do not know a person’s intention, and they may be far better than us. What good is criticising someone when the recipient of the critical feedback ends up having negative feelings about the one providing the feedback, and when the mistake or behaviour is never corrected due to the ill feelings that one develops about the person showering that criticism?

For the Muslims who criticise others: The Youm-Al Qiyamah/The Day of Judgement, is called that for a reason. So we better focus on ourselves rather than spending our energy on judging others.

Letter to My Younger Self

A couple of years ago, a friend suggested that I write a letter to my younger self. It is a powerful exercise that I believe everyone should experience. So here I go.

1st December, 2016

Hello, Little One. It’s your older self, writing to you. Just so you know, you will create your own journey which makes you amazing.

There isn’t a fine line between making inadequate decisions and regretting them. Sure, you’ve made some inadequate decisions just to feel the thrill of being impish, but every decision you make gives you the opportunity to take credit for creating your own life. Also, by experiencing the disappointment that might come with a decision’s outcome, you can propel yourself to a new level of emotional evaluation and master the art of self-forgiveness.

I recall that you were slightly insecure about petty concerns while growing up. Remember feeling insecure about yourself because your mom didn’t let you wear makeup to school whilst your “cool” schoolmates attended school with cake faces? Newsflash, honey. You were, you are, and you always will be cooler than them. Your outer appearance, as beautiful as it is, never actually defined who you are. The people you meet along the way falls in love with you because you are a lovable person by nature. Also, here’s a little secret. Later on in your life, you will wear makeup. You will look in the mirror and see a cake face too, if you apply it poorly. But that’s okay, because there is a time and a place for everything.

On a totally unrelated note, Prince Harry is not single anymore. You have stepped up your celebrity crush game and you’re currently admiring the current Prime Minister of Canada.

Moving on…

You are chasing your dreams. Remember the profession you have set your heart on? You are on the verge of pursing it. There were minor interruptions along the way. Your brain cut to a different route but your heart brought you back on track. People say that giving into the musings of the brain is the smartest thing to do, but honestly, listening to your heart leads to the best decisions made in life, and your brain will eventually give in.

Speaking of heart, love doesn’t come in the form of a relationship status on Facebook. It doesn’t bloom the moment you give him your e-mail address to chat-up and send nudges on MSN. Borrowing your mom’s phone to “play games” but texting your “crush” instead, followed by an inbox clean-up isn’t exactly a sacrifice. Later on in your life, you have met people whom you have genuinely loved and whom you will continue to love with all your heart. You have made smart choices, and I can safely say that these are the people who are worth sharing your life with.

But.

You have lost people along the way.  But you don’t let the injustices of the past occupy so much psychic space in your present. There is a Greater Power who will be the judge and you, darling, deserve peace in your heart. Your friends are wonderful people, and meeting them for a chit-chat is more fruitful than texting gobbledygook back and forth. You don’t have to be in constant contact with a person to prove your friendship to him or her. Being there for a person when he or she needs you is worthy.

Your wish for a brother continues to grow, yet you love your sisters unconditionally. You see, life doesn’t always go your way. You wanted to be a full-time babysitter for your sisters, but they have been living miles away from you. You do get to meet them occasionally, but you haven’t got the chance to unleash the big-sister vibe on them, YET. I have a feeling that they’re going to continue to travel throughout of the country and out of the country for a while, but all that matters are love and memories so make sure you give it and make sure you make them.

I have watched you evolve into a fiercely amazing woman. Today, you are one year older, so happy birthday. I am so proud of you. You are a hopeless romantic, but you’re not letting love distract you from conquering the world. You aim to thrive when it comes to your education, but you haven’t spent sleepless nights, buried in books. You are ambitious, but you have achieved the right balance between the significant aspects of your life. You love your family, but you do not tolerate having toxic family members around you just because they’re “family.” You are a self-proclaimed feminist, but you most certainly do not want death to all penises. You are considerate, but you don’t other people rent space in your head for free as that’s valuable real estate.

Darling, maturity is not measured by age. It is an attitude built by sensitivity, manners and how you react to situations. Don’t wait for the universe to bend in your favor. Go out there and slay, Queen! You are responsible for your own happiness. You are a warrior. Not a worrier.

I love you.

P.S You’re still a cry-baby.

Interests

There have been several challenges going about on Facebook and I got round to solve just one of them, the one which listed 20 facts about oneself. I thought of working out two more to post here for the sake of updating my blog haha. So here you go!

 20 Facts About Me

  1. Feminist rants are my craft.
  2. I’d like to pursue Law as a career.
  3. I have two younger sisters, Eana and Eva.
  4. The best book I’ve read so far is The Da Vinci Code.
  5. I’ve got a woman crush on Fine.
  6. I converse about social imbroglios a lot.
  7. I’ve loved and lost.
  8. Obsessed with the color blue.
  9. Lana Del Rey is my queen.
  10. Waving away humility, I pen down that I aim to reside abroad.
  11. I don’t blindly follow, ergo I question aspects of life.
  12. I don’t display my full face on social media because I do not want to do so, simple.
  13. My sentiments tend to get biased during a colloquy.
  14. I’m attracted to au fait and erudite men.
  15. Cats disgust me, ew fleas.
  16. Reading and writing are mainly my avocational activities.
  17. I am petite.
  18. I have a vivid memory for reminiscing.
  19. I cannot tolerate a ridiculous fashion statement.
  20. Stop judging me I am a nice person hello?????


The Book Challenge

In this challenge, one must list 10 books that have stayed with you for life. Rule is to not contemplate too much and list the first ten that have touched you in some way.

I have listed the more impressive of the books I’ve read with an honesty in listing books I genuinely loved. This list endeavors to reflect world literature, which fascinates me. 🙂

  1. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  2. Fifty Shades trilogy; 50 Shades of Grey, 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed – E. L. James
  3. Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
  4. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  5. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  6. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  7. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  8. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  9. Don’t You Forget About Me – Alexandra Potter
  10. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott


The Song Challenge

I’ve listed 10 songs which has affected me mostly in my life. I listen to all genres.

  1. Taking Back My Love – Enrique Iglesias
  2. Never Let Me Go – Lana Del Rey
  3. Limbo – Daddy Yankee
  4. I Need You – Marc Anthony
  5. Sleeping Child – Michael Learns to Rock
  6. Secret –  The Pierces
  7. The Diary of JaneBreaking Benjamin
  8. All I Ever Wanted – Bass Hunter
  9. One More Night – Maroon 5
  10. All We Are – OneRepublic

I Used To Believe

When we were young, we got some pretty ridiculous ideas in our heads. Below are some silly things I have believed as a child.

 Blankets served as an impenetrable barrier from Monsters
It’s funny that I thought a blanket could protect me from the closet monster. I remember as a kid I used to believe that covering my head with my covers would keep any monster that entered my room away or make me invisible to them.

I still do it and I don’t know why. I know a blanket isn’t going to keep me safe from something about to attack. It’s not like a monster is going to come into my room at night and be like, “GRRRR I’m going to eat you…..oh wait, she’s under a blanket, shit!” but I still feel safer.

→ The world was Black and White once
When I was about five years old, I always thought that the world was really black and white in our past generations because pictures from that time period were in black and white and we had just evolved to color.

→ Swallow a seed, and a plant would grow in my stomach
I thought that if I swallowed a seed, then I would have a whole tree grow in my tummy so I tried hard not to swallow any seeds, especially when eating stone-apples and water-apples. Unfortunately, I did swallow some seeds and had the fear that I might have a tree grow out of my tummy.

I was a bit disappointed to not feel anything growing inside of me.

→ Santhi Mariyanbu, Foolhudhigu Handi and Baukalo
I used to believe in all these.

Santhi Mariyambu and Foolhudhigu Handi are monsters in Maldivian folklore. These monsters are said to wander and kidnap misbehaving children. As kids, we were taught to believe that if we refuse our food, one of these monsters would come and take us away and lock us in an inhabited island where all sorts of creepy creatures roam. “If you don’t eat well now, *insert a name of a monster* will come to take you away.”
Also, a cat is sometimes referred as Baukalo and it is said to carry off little kids who refuse to sleep. “Bau kalo naadhey, migey dhoshah naadhey. Eama akee bas ahaa kujjeh….”
Don’t you worry, those are just myths. MONSTERS DO NOT EXIST.

→ Tooth fairy
Admit it, we all believed in tooth fairy. When we lost a baby tooth, we placed it beneath the bed pillow so that the tooth fairy would visit us while we sleep and replace the lost tooth with money. Trust me, I did this a couple of times but my mother was not too enthusiastic to contribute to the game and to get my false beliefs going. The tooth fairy taught kids to sell their body parts for money. Blame her for prostitution.

So, what ridiculous things did you believe as a child ?

Mistakes

Mistakes.

We all make them, whether it’s a professional teacher or the President, it’s just a fact of life.

Losing an important part of my life gave me the ability to look back and see where I screwed up in a chapter of my life.

I am a young girl in the verge of learning, so it’s not very surprising to know that I have made a lot of mistakes in life. I know from my own life experiences that mistakes are painful but very useful ways of learning. However, there are some life mistakes, that if avoided in the first place, which would have saved me a whole load of heartache and misdirection.

Mistake #1
→ 
ASSUMPTIONS

One of my major setbacks was that I assumed too much. Assumptions are destructive and a lot of people get hurt with assumptions. It was really easy for me to make a wrong assumption and assume someone does something because they are trying to prove a point or get back at me for some other reason.

In the end, I got hurt because I let myself believe something that is actually false.

I have learnt never to be over-intelligent and assume everything. It has taught me to be intelligent enough to set clear expectations rather than jumping into conclusions.

Mistake #2
→ JEALOUSY

Jealousy would not have happened if I was 100% confident, but no one, not even Nicole Kidman is 100% confident all the time. I get jealous because I do not want anyone else to acquire even a bit of the amazing gift I had. I found myself constantly jealous due to a various reasons, even regarding small petty issues. Jealousy is inevitable, but it’s NEVER OKAY to just flip out whenever such things happen. It just shows how insecure I am.

In the end, I winded up being a jealous freak who is insecure about everything.

I have learnt that jealousy is just insecurity wearing a super-ugly mask and I need to build up my self-esteem.

Mistake #3
→ 
MOPING

Hey, how are you?
I’m okay.
*awkward silence*
What’s wrong?
Nothing.
Are you sure?
Yes.

This is probably the number one skill that I have, and it also makes people crazy. I should have known that I already had attention, and that particular person KNOWS that I am actually upset even with the smiley I insert at the end of the sentence.

In the end, all of this could have been avoided if I was just straightforward with the person whenever I had an issue.

I have learnt that if someone asks me what’s wrong and I say nothing and then just mope around waiting for that person to press me further, I’ll just cause building anger and resentment.

Mistake #4
→ THE BLAME GAME

When it comes to detrimental things that I can do to screw up a relationship, blaming the other person for something is near the top of the list. Blaming someone for something they did ages ago would first spark a fight, then things would get ugly. It shows that I have trouble in letting go of past events and focus on what I had at the present. No matter how many times the other person apologized, I just had the tendency to carry all those along with me and I let those stupid issues bother me through it all. I really need to let go of this OH I AM DOING THIS JUST BECAUSE YOU DID IT TOO 950 YEARS AGO attitude.

In the end, I proved how immature and stubborn I can be.

I have learnt that ANYONE CAN MAKE MISTAKES, which is also the main aspect I have focused on this post. If I can make mistakes, anyone else is free to make mistakes and it’s my duty to forgive and let go, or else both of us would end up getting hurt.

These are the mistakes that can stick with me for a lifetime.

Pain is a gift. Pain is a gift because it tells us that something is not right, that something isn’t working and needs to be changed. Without feeling this pain, we might never know that we need to change.

A Survival Story

Abject apologies. I just realized that I have not updated since 28th of July. You would not believe that my hands were chopped off and I was waiting for bionic ones. 

I will try to remember that I am promising you, I will blog more often. Sincerest apologies. This is for my ever faithful, devoted readers. Please don’t abandon me! 

It has been two months since my last blog post. Now that I’m “back” from my long absence, let me tell you the story of how I survived 2 weeks without a mobile phone. When people learn this fact they usually react with an exclamation of shocked disbelief, as if I lead some sort of unfathomable existence of unmitigated depravation.

It all started when my phone slipped off my hand and fell flat on the screen and the screen cracked into 100 pieces. Okay that was a bit exaggerated, but those were dirty cracks and I forbade myself from using it even though the phone was fully functional. The little spider cracks have left it so the glass cuts into my fingers at times because it’s so fine. Also I assumed that the cracks would emit radiation which would give me cancer. I did get upset every time I looked at the cracked screen and wondered why bad things happen to good people.

So there I was without a working mobile. I didn’t replace it right away. I wasn’t trying to abandon technology or get back to basics or go on some natural retreat. Display screens were out of stock from the most trustable mobile repair centers so I had to wait till one of those places brought in a stock of screens. It was hard, coping without the beautiful piece of metal.

I am slowly walking around in a mobile phone paradise. I take my phone out of my bag. 67 new alerts. 3 Viber messages. 10 new followers on twitter. 5 @mentions. 32 people re-tweeted my tweet. I’m famous! I am a Goddess amongst mere mortals in the digital age. A Queen in a digital paradise.

Okay, no. That was a bit exaggerated too. Woefully, I do not get that much re-tweets and followers every day. Also, I lose one or two followers occasionally. What did I ever do to them? I’m sure that my tweets are very entertaining.

Back to the sorry state I had been without my mobile phone, or The Survival of Eama without her Mobile.

I was completely lost without a phone. There’s was feeling somewhere inside that I was missing something, a sense of insecurity sometimes prevails. The first couple of days, I was missing it dearly. (Also, note the fact that I am talking about my mobile phone, not a lost child). I missed reaching for it every morning as a first thing without even brushing my teeth to check Viber, Twitter and Instagram. I missed the people I used to text daily and the way it lights up whenever I receive a notification. Above all, I missed the long, lengthy messages from my boyfriend. 

I had just one mode to contact with people, which was Twitter, since my Facebook was deactivated too. Unfortunately, Twitter does not permit a message to be longer than 140 characters. My life had been a wreck.

Whenever I went out, the hours were a struggle. A struggle because there was typically no mobile phone service or internet. It was odd, and almost unbearable.

Well, not really. It wasn’t a big loss.

BECAUSE

► Every time I try to get some sort of work done, I end up thinking about where my mobile phone was in relation to my work. It would be just a few inches away and face up so that a text could be easily spotted and replied to. Sometimes I keep it face down, in silent mode or out of sight so that I won’t be distracted, but then I check it every minute just in case I get a text.
Without my mobile phone, I was able to concentrate more without multitasking.

► After the withdrawal from the digital world, life was kind of peaceful. There was no phone, or distraction that stopped me from what I had been doing and shifted my focus. When I was with my family, I did not bury myself into the digital cesspool. I was forced to interact with my surrounding environment. I suddenly become aware of everything around me. I gave undivided attention to my grandma every time she talked to me without glancing surreptitiously down at the corner of the table to check the notifications. I managed to be a good companion for other humans the past couple of weeks.
Without my mobile phone, I realized that it’s pretty annoying and gross; I could talk to someone for hours and realize that the person is in fact so ignorant that they are too busy to pay attention to what is literally right in front of their eyes.

► My skull was cancer-free for 2 weeks. Don’t kid yourself. Go Google ‘mobile phones’ and ‘brain tumors’. Proceed to piss your pants.

► So, when I have my phone, I can call anyone I know at any time, and that’s so convenient for me, right? Well, it isn’t. I receive calls from unknown callers and numbers I sure want to avoid for the rest of my life, but they know that they can call me and wherever I am, even if I don’t pick up, they have asserted their presence as a part of my day. My phone might start ringing while in the middle of a hide-and-seek game while I’m hiding in the laundry basket. Now that’s NOT convenience.
Without my phone, I was able to hide in a closet because the people I was robbing came home early. That was completely random.

► During this process, I got to identify the most important people in my life and I realized that no matter what happens, one way or another, I would keep in touch with them. Even if it’s through 140 characters or a word limit of 1000, I did contact them and did not abandon them.

But upon a bit of reflection, I’m not entirely sure that my mobile is a good thing. 

I Am Sorry

A couple of nights back I thought to myself, “What pleasure do I actually gain by publicly humiliating someone on Facebook?” I couldn’t bring myself to answer that. And it took me a to realize what I have been doing. So here I go.

It’s not easy to admit that I bullied some people, but I feel that offering an apology to those people I’ve bullied is the best I can do. The thought of knowing that some people out there HATES is not nice at all. I personally know people who have been bullied, who have been in the same situation, so I should have known better. Moreover, I can’t bear the thought of myself being in their shoes. So yeah, I’m sorry. I sincerely regret it.

P.S  I’m not expecting a lot of praise from people in return, but I wanted to rid myself of guilt.

P.S.S  I wasn’t the kind of bully who’d punch someone in the face. I was a cyber-bully. Ha ha.