since I decided to not wear a head cover, I’ve been observing people’s reactions very closely. And they have been reacting,in big and small ways. In delight and disappointment. But mostly in surprise.

Some people have sheered at the sight of my new appearance. expressed their joy and pride of the journey I’ve made and literally congratulate me at arriving to my destination.

Others met me with more questions and confusion. It’s them who I appreciated the most.

Some refused to look my way. And others stumbled on every word as to try and not say the wrong thing while also showing support. It was a very amusing.

Some made no effort to hide their disapproval and disappointment. And very, very few expressed their outrage at the change.

What I am most proud of thus far, is that I took none of it personally. I didn’t feel like the cheers and congratulations belonged to me, neither did the anger.

The overjoyed saw the transformation and maybe believed it got me closer to the truth; theirs. The others saw it as a step back, a falling from grace perhaps, yet again, theirs.

It is fascinating to see people projecting own ideals so boldly onto you, when you’re just trying to exist. I really felt like I wasn’t really seen, but for the first time people were actually taking a closer look. Not by my rather unimpressive, unweilding, frizzy mane. But they actually notice there is a will somewhere within this frame, and it was being exercised.

I wholeheartedly believe if the situation were to be different and I went from unveiled to veiled. The outcome would have been the same, except the people might have switched places or, maybe some cheerers would still have congratulated me.

None of the people I speak of can be accused of anything but a goodheartedness. But the projecting is unmistakable. Sure hugs and delightful screeches feel better than being at the receiving end of outrage and condemnation. But the whole time I felt like watching it all from a third person view.

I didn’t expect the side effect of healing my childhood sexual harassment traumas to lead to this point, but here I am.

When the psyche deemed me ready to face those old demons, I just wanted to feel at peace, safe and belonging in my own body.

In order to get there, I had to practice looking deeper, beyond the memories, beyond the fear, beyond the shame, beyond the self-loathing, beyond my body. I started dissociating my sense of self from this flesh costume and all the weight it carried within it.

I became convinced it is made to serve me, not me to serve it. In the process of shedding all that darkness I found withing the roots a compelling need to hide. This I remember from a very young age.

I hid from everything, and I wasn’t allowed to hide anymore I opted for a disguise. Did it protect me? No. But it’s security theatre, just like at the aéroport.

I wish it were different. I spent two whole years wishing I could find within me a stronger urge to have made that decision, but there wasn’t. The longer I contemplated it, the more healed I felt, the less comfortable I got in my head-cover. I didn’t wear it for the right reason, but nobody asked me why I wore it then. Just as time went on, I got more creative with the reasons I gave non-muslims, in the process realizing how messed-up some of the reasoning I’ve been telling myself.

In trying to cover my shame, victimhood and fear. I also lost access to my outrage, my innocence and playfulness. And honest to god I did not know how to get it all sorted out without completely shattering the image of who everyone expects me to be.

I’m not convinced you can save something built on a faulty foundation. It all had to go down.

Conveniently a lot of Muslims forget that “intention” is the pillar of any act of worship, and seem ready to discard it completely for the sake of compliance. Going all the way to argue that’s a good enough reason to stay covered (Nifaq) or because it is the right thing, and the fact that it’s conforming to other’s expectations is just a bonus (Chirk).

I have been walking around without my head cover for few months now. Most of my family has no idea. They can’t tell, as I haven’t changed who I am one bit. in fact, I am more myself than ever.

Everyone acclimated to the changed, me included. And the sun didn’t come up from the other side, nor did the oceans dry up or the sky break down.

I’m showing my hair and for the most part and to my relief, people that I truly care about, don’t care.

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