From Different Hairstyles a Year to The Turban: The Challenge of Covering my Hair

It is different, it is hot, it takes practice, it is a challenge and it is my choice.

Born a Muslima, and first growing up in a multi-diverse Muslim environment, where most young Muslim women were not concerned with wearing the hijab, and almost only elderly- and or middle-aged woman who had gone to Mecca wore it, I never would have imagined that at age 21, I would make the definitive choice of wearing the headscarf. Especially not since at a very young age I moved to the Netherlands, a country where only a handful of Muslim women wear the headscarf.

Me choosing to wear the headscarf, hijab, turban or whatever you name it, might surprise many people in my environment. Because I am that girl, that used to have more than 10 different hairstyles a year. My hair was my everything, I loved to experience with new styles. One day it is braids and the next day it is an afro, and before you know it is straightened, then it is curled, then long, short, different. It was always different, for every occasion I had a different hairstyle. Though it always took a lot of time to do my hair, I enjoyed every moment of the process. And the outcome even more.

So, you might wonder, why? Why in world would I decide to cover my hair? The answer to that question to me is very simple. I have always felt a strong admiration towards young Muslim girls who wear the hijab. And I truly love the way it looks on some people, also I always knew that at some stage of my life I would love to wear the hijab. As a Muslima, I feel like it is kind of my duty to be wearing the headscarf, and really, I love the idea behind it, to me, it is all about modesty.

The first time wearing the headscarf crossed my mind a few years ago. When I started learning more about my religion, and because of one of my best friends, who used to cover her hair.  At the time, I was really motivated and wanted to wear the hijab, outside the mosque or praying room. So that is what I did. Unfortunately, that idea was not really appreciated by my family and close friends. All told me, that I was too young to be wearing a headscarf, that it made me look older, and that wearing it would impact my future negatively. Honestly, I was devasted by people’s opinions on whether I should wear the hijab or not. At school and work, my classmates and colleagues were surprised to see me with a hijab. Many told me that they didn’t know that I was Muslim and that they thought that I was Christian. Honestly, that hurt. Some did like my new look but most preferred the looks I had before the hijab. Once I was asked if I was being forced to wear it, and obviously, that was not the case, it was more the opposite. I could have handled strangers thinking the hijab was not fit for me, but my family not supporting me in my choice was too much for me, at the time. So, after two weeks of critiques, I took off the hijab and did what I always used to do with my hair. People loved it, but in the beginning, I was disappointed. But, since this was what I used to do, I eventually loved it. So, I wore the hijab only during Ramadan, I was okay with that because in my heart I knew that one day I would be strong enough to wear the hijab.

For two months now, I have been wearing the turban hijab, that is the one that only covers the hair. I love it, and I have learned so many styles and keep learning. I have bought many scarfs and the people in my environment, in The Hague are supportive. I live alone, so I do not have to cope with my family’s critiques and even so, I have told them that I will be wearing the turban and that it is my choice. It’s my life and I am old enough to decide how I want to live it. And if it’s by covering my hair, then so be it.

Right now, my only concern is whether I will be able to continue wearing the turban. Because sometimes it is really tempting to fall back into old habits. And besides that, I also feel that I have to change, and or adapt my clothing style. Because to me, it is controversial to wear a turban and a short dress, just to name an example. I love my dresses, I love the way I dress, and honestly, it’s going to be hard giving up on that. However, I need to think on how I can make my dress code fit with this new path I have chosen. It will not be easy, I will not be the most modest Muslima, I will struggle, I might fall, but no matter what, I will stand up again and work hard to achieve what I want. Little by little I will make it work. The first step is already made, consistency is now all I need.

I truly believe that every single woman, Muslim or not, should have the right and the freedom to decide for themselves whether to cover their hair or not without being afraid of other’s opinions. All should do what they feel comfortable with. Looking back, a few years ago I might not have been read for hijab or turban, now I can feel the difference, I am ready to take on this challenge of covering my hair, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it will bring me.

*please do not hesitate on sharing your thoughts in the comments below. I would love to read it!

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