Confession: I’m afraid. So afraid, that I’ve been doing everything possible EXCEPT write my next chapter.
The Hijab chapter. What is it like to be a muslim woman in suburban America?
Instead of stepping into those shoes- and then writing about it-I’ve been:
1) Researching. (I.E. reading books about veiling is much less intimidating than wearing one. It’s also very interesting.)
2) Shopping for a Hijabista wardrobe. (Done and fun- BTW. )
3) Trying to figure out what shoes to actually wear. (Not so much shoe rules. Ankles are to be covered – so your shoes are generally a non issue.
4) Over thinking the potential responses, offenses and repercussions of this chapter.
I’m afraid to offend my Muslim neighbors and readers. I’m afraid this chapter will be misconstrued and misunderstood. I’m afraid I’ll become a target for bigotry for even trying to engage in this way. (Which could just be a sign of my own prejudices- See? I assume this will make me a target.)
I’m afraid of both the Christian extreme that might attack me for being too loving toward those they see as enemies. (My actual response to that: Um talk to Jesus about that one. It’s his idea to love our enemies and our neighbors,) I’m also afraid that by voicing my prejudices and assumptions I’ll come under the attack of those I long to connect with. I can’t control that- only prepare for it- an pray that my heart comes through in this chapter of the book and my life.
I’ve wrestled through my motivation. I want to understand. I want to connect. I want to give voice to those already misunderstood and start a dialogue- for this and all the other types- and stereo-types of women I’m championing in this project.
The Charlie Hebdo shooting didn’t help.
I’m not writing to rip on muslim culture. I’m writing to shine a light on what it’s like to live with one foot in the American Culture and one in the Muslim world. To be judged as a terrorist/ enemy for following your beliefs. The same as the chapters on schooling choices, working choices, etc. We judge on so many levels.
I refuse to let fear stop what I believe God wants to do.
So- I’m brushing the dust from that stack of hijab wear I’ve accumulated and getting ready to head over to my neighborhood mosque to talk to someone in the know about moving forward with this chapter. I plan on talking to my physical neighbors. (Explaining this should be fun.) I plan on attending a service at the mosque behind my house if I’m welcomed. (Hello- I have no clue what a service there looks or feels like. Only what crazy media shoes. Which- is generally never a good depiction of reality.)
I plan to spend a week wearing a hijab as I go about my typical responsibilities. Target. Grocery shopping. The mall. After-school pick up. The book store.
Instead of fear- I’m looking forward to learning. Let’s see how this goes.
Glad to have you along as I walk these next steps. Please pray I honor God even here. In a Hijab.
Tomorrow’s post will be 2 truths and a lie about veiling… because The research for this chapter has been very interesting..
Newsflash: I was wrong about so much.
Dear Lord- you alone know my complicated heart. Please God, help me to honor you in seeking to understand and better now my muslim neighbors. Reveal preconceptions and prejudices. Give me courage to voice them and replace them with the truth. Let my experience provoke others to reconsider their prejudices and assumptions. I’d ask that you help me not be afraid- but Lord- what I want is to be brave in the face of fear. #makemebravewhenimafraid
I love you lord- amen
Accountabilty- this chapter’s experiment will take place in February. keep reading. I’ll keep you posted.