I recently wrote of the what and why of hijab. But I wanted to ask those of you who do regularly practice hijab: do you ever struggle with wanting to take it off?
Its a dark thought that has flitted through my mind from time to time, but lately, it has become a more constant visitor....and that disturbs me.
On the one hand, it is to be expected. The society I'm living in values beauty and youth. Everywhere I look I am seeing the drive for both achieving a gorgeous physique, and DISPLAYING this physique. And then, commenting on it!!
But that's not really what gets to me. At least, not so much a conscious level.
On the day to day, what gets to me lately is the heat!! Its the sweaty feeling of having a few extra layers so that my long shawl can cover the low neckline of the T-shirt I have paired with a cardigan, for instance.
Or, its the fact that I can't just pop my head out the door to take out the trash or bring my child in from the back yard, where neighbors could easily look down at me from their windows.
A couple of days ago, it was really getting to me. As I prepared to take Princess Buttercup and Honeysuckle to the playground, I felt the angry rumblings in my mind as I reached for a clean outfit that met all my requirements. I started to mentally check-out, knowing that if I remained present I'd just be hearing a few Shaytany whispers of why I had better just take it off and keep some sanity!
Then a funny thing happened. As soon as I opened the door, I saw that my neighbors were having some construction work done to their front yard. There was some laborers digging out in the front yard, just a few steps away from where I'd be walking. A quick glance at them told me that they were the kind of guys who always had eyes for a woman--any woman!
Let me stop and say that I know this sounds a bit prejudiced of me presuming I know the behavior of strange men I have never met. But really, I'm just going on experience and instinct!
I confidently strode past them with my girls, knowing that, thankfully, my body was my own, and that even if they were still interested in trying to catch a glimpse of my silhouette, they'd have to have x-ray vision to objectify me.
And THAT is the beauty of hijab!
To know that my body is mine, and that someone can't really imagine me naked b/c I've taken some simply precautions.
I think THAT is the dignity Allah wants for us. And even though He didn't necessarily tell me to go and buy some rayon or polyester outfit to sweat like a pig in late August heat, it becomes worth it to endure some discomfort to maintain my dignity.
Afterwards, I ran home as fast as our playground date was up to cool-off. The moral of this story is to always wash your cool summer hijab outfits, and have them ready for the next day!!