alhamdulilah, today is almost my one month anniversary of wearing the tudung full-time (ish)! i’d been thinking about it for some time (5 months?) since i started attending religious classes again. as i learnt more about the Islamic narrative involving Allah swt, His Quran and His Messenger, and also Allah swt’s command to follow our Prophet, i felt like i was learning the Truth. more importantly, i began to feel that “making the hijrah” was inevitable. (side note: when i first heard this phrase, i was like, ah hijrah?? go where?)
so one night in class i decided that you know what, i’ll just start this weekend. there’s never going to be a time when i would feel completely ready. i’d been meaning to discuss the topic with ninja groom but I kept delaying it out of fear, until it was kinda late so all i could afford was a quick and rushed discussion over whatsapp. oops. something that i would have done differently if given the chance.
but i’ll be honest with my personal experience in covering up: it’s one of the hardest things i have ever done. i didn’t expect to feel the way i did but i felt…scared.
the first week was a bit of an identity crisis, as i changed outwardly from being a Malay woman to a Malay-Muslim woman. it’s a subtle shift, and not a super super big deal, but there was a psychological discomfort within me which i couldn’t quite put my finger on. and i definitely did not feel ready to “announce” my tudung on Instagram or FB. i put on a brave front with my tudung, i answered weird questions and also accepted compliments from other people, but inside i crumbled.
by the second week, i became all too familiar with the struggle with my tudung. i feel like sometimes we are victims of our own progression i.e. the new shawling trend. i would sweat in front of the mirror from just trying to fashion my shawl properly. on days when i struggle to keep my shawl properly pinned and in a nice (and neat) shape, i think about how there was a time when everyone wore square tudungs and probably nobody had to worry about these things. as a newbie i see it as a double edged sword: on one hand it does make hijabis look nicer and more fashion forward, but on the other hand it’s a steep learning curve and very daunting for those of us who have just taken the leap.
in the third week, i got frustrated trying to adapt to my new routine, like having to rush more in the morning as i try to put together a passable outfit (once my mum sent me back to my room in protest of my sheer top that was also not long enough to cover my “hips” – euphemism for you-know-which-part). on a few days, this set me off to a bad start to the day. also, some layered clothes combi are just *asking* for trouble, especially in humid Singapore.
and generally, there’s also the lifestyle changes. no more going to indie cafes lest people be judging me (heh), no more playing daidee in cafes (but i love that game!), and even more more more halal distance all of the time (a more permanent pantang?).
it’s not all bad and negative, of course. there are okay days. there are calm days. there are new connections made. although there are times i can’t wait to be home so i can remove (rip off) my messy tudung, i don’t regret my hijrah at all. i know that these are just my worldly struggles, and a large part of it is due to my own selenge-ness and shortcomings, and that with time, patience, and kindness towards myself, i will ease into this until it becomes second nature.
to comfort myself, i think of the quote about how nothing worth doing is gonna be easy. like how i expect marriage and motherhood to be, wearing the hijab full time has its ups and downs, but insyaAllah it will be rewarding.
i write this entry for the girls (sisters) out there who are thinking of making the leap, or similarly struggling with having just done so. if you are feeling fear, i hope you know that you’re not alone. for some of us, it is a huge life decision to make. be gentle with yourself.
everyone has their own journey in finding Allah swt in their hearts. i’m super thankful that i’m surrounded by friends who are pious, gentle, and not preachy or imposing. had it not been for them, it would have been harder for me to take that initial baby step in signing up for classes and connecting with Islam again.
alhamdulilah, i’ve also benefitted from the gracious support from fellow hijabi sisters. i’ve been given an emergency pins set, sleeves to wear with tshirts during exercise, a cute brooch, and inner ninjas to try ❤ and once when another friend said she was happy for me and that she thought i looked nice, i almost cried because her kind words came during a very difficult time.
and with that, salam ramadhan everyone! may we make the most out of this holy month, insyaAllah 🙂