Every morning I wake up hugging myself. I wake up hugging this form that I live in that I hate and love at the same time. “It’s time”, I tell myself, “It’s time to fight”. I hug it to let it know that it’s okay. I hug it to let it know that it’s about to do something spectacular. I hug it…to help it…survive.
I leave my bed and look at the reflection of my naked body. I look at every shadow, every crease, every fold, every bend. I try to memorise it all before I cover it…hide it away from the world. I look at it lovingly, in awe of its beauty. I take a few moments acknowledging it… appreciating it…desperately trying to capture it in my mind in fear of forgetting what it looked like…forgetting how beautiful it is…and believing the perverse image the world paints of it to me.
I’ve worn a head veil for almost 12 years now. I believed that that is what good Muslim girls do. I remember like it was yesterday; I was 15 years old, crying with happiness for having decided to take this big step. It was a step closer to God, a step closer to nirvana, a step closer towards discovering my true self, my higher being, my light. That light shone bright, it fueled me and I was proud, I was happy, I was at peace. However, the light started to dim down in the past few years…it started to waver…and now it is barely there. It flickers ever so slightly when you look at it long enough. Otherwise, it is nothing but a sad small flame, dying, fighting a lost battle to the cold surrounding air that is trying to put it out. I look at myself now, and see a decaying body…that same body I was so eager to selfishly protect from the monstrous eyes of the world…my prized possession. I now look at it with pity. It is slowly wasting away, wilting, begging, screaming, yelling for a way out. A way to break free from the shackles that I have let society put on it; a way to break free from my mind, and the world’s mind; a way to live… breathe…exist.
I look at my reflection, now fully clothed except for my head. This part is always the hardest- covering my head and all that it holds. I hold the veil in my hands as I drape it over my head, over my mind, over my thoughts and memories. I wrap it around my head securely, so that no strand of hair shows, no mindless thought dares to leave, no air can pass through to touch my sinful skin underneath.
I look at my reflection, now fully covered head to toe except for my face and hands. I close my eyes and smile to myself…I remember the creases, the folds, the bends. I remember what is underneath. And I hug myself again.
“It’s time”, I tell myself, “It’s time to fight”.
Written: 3rd December 2014