Assalam Aleykum Dreamers!
Peace be you upon all.
This post is most definitely long overdue.It's been haunting me constantly,making me rack my brains out like a maniac. Mostly because I felt that i needed to write something deep and well researched regarding this topic. Simply for the fact that it has been discussed ad naseaum. If I was going do this,I was going to have to go big or basically go home. Go home broke, alone, rejected and a failure.
But I wasn't really feeling that vibe.
So I procrastinated the writing...and 'researching.'
Until on one dark still Saturday night, 1.04 a.m, battling it out with a fierce flu that attacked me ruthlessly out of nowhere...I decided enough is enough.
I'm just going to wing it. That's where the best things come from right?Right.
So here I am. So much has transpired over the past few weeks. Though nothing's peculiar about that. That's life. But going through my first semester in university, spiritual renewal during Ramadhan, and celebrating Eid, the issue of beauty really took a toll on me. And I guess I was ashamed of admitting that. I'm not quite sure why, perhaps I felt it somewhat shallow.
Being a hijabi (a Muslim girl who covers) I've grown up with the perception that beauty just wasn't for me. Not for me in the sense of if I wasn't going to dress up when I was leaving the house like everyone else, what was the point of having all the nice clothes and accessories?The glitz and glamour?
A friend of mine once told me, 'Kadzo,the whole point of dressing up is to flaunt what you've got.If you've got it show it off!That's the rule of the game.'
As hard as it may be to admit,many Muslim women also share this thought. Atleast in my country they do. I personally don't blame them because I was there too and I could see where such an ideology would come from. A materialistic society. Where everywhere you look,everything you see, strives to constantly remind you of the harsh reality: the one with the most toys wins.The one with the best looks (according to what fits society) gets the job, gets the money,gets the respect and gets the guy...or girl and thus gets the ultimate prize: happiness.
But they lied.They lied to all of us.
So when Ramadhan came, I saw it as an opportunity to remind myself of what was truly important.Wanting to fit into university, but not losing yourself either can be one of the most exhilarating, most confusing and difficult things to do.
We all want to belong,but at what cost?
My hijab is meant to keep me grounded. I see that now. It reminds me of what's truly important on a daily basis. It inspires me to better my character, share with others and open my mind to the beauty that surrounds me.When I look in the mirror, i'm looking at not just the exterior, but what's within as well. I'm looking at what I'm representing: my religion, strength, courage and beauty.
However most times we tend to focus more on the exterior and whether it fits into the relevant box approved by society.
I had to ask myself why.Why was I having such a difficult time trying to dress for my Creator and not His Creation? Was my self-worth so attached to my clothes and the way I looked that without them I was...nothing? Wasn't that giving way too much meaning to exterior me and completely forsaking the real me? My soul and all?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to look beautiful on the outside. I've come to learn that it's not shallow, its not dumb. Far from that, it's actually quite fulfilling and exciting. However, the question of the day is are you a slave to your looks? To the fashion magazines, your hair, make up or all that mambo jumbo that we are made to believe that without...we're doomed to failure and a life of loneliness with stray cats? Because trust me,life is too beautiful to put that much focus outside, forgetting that what's on the inside will eventually manifest on the outside.
So here's my advice that no one really asked for but is more so for myself...and anyone else out there who may need it: look good,feel good, but also invest in yourself. Read a book, step out of your comfort zone,try something new or do something you've been wanting to do but were too scared to. Learn who you are. Love yourself and accept yourself. Don't go through life always seeking to please people, because that will only get you to depression avenue, trust me! Be true to yourself, your values and most importantly, what you believe in.
In shaa Allah you'll be fine.
We'll all be fine.
'Keep fast on Allah (sw's) commandment and you will find him in front of you.Recognize God in times of prosperity, and He will recognize you in times of hardship.Know that what missed you was never meant to hit you and what hit you was never meant to miss you.Know that success comes with steadfastness and that the relief comes with distress,and that that with hardship comes ease.'(At-Tirmidhi)