Monday, 20 March 2017

My hijab is not an accessory.

It wasn't until I was around 17 and spent my first time working in a real City office that I realised: 'I'm the only one in a hijab here.'

Since then, despite growing up in East London and being surrounded by people like me, my friends and family and teachers being people 'like me' - I've had plenty of moments when I thought 'I'm the only one in a hijab here'. But over time, I've grown used to it.

But ever since hearing about the recent ruling in the European Court of Justice last Tuesday, I've somehow managed to feel like more of a stranger in my home country than ever. It's not just that the current climate is one which is tense for Muslims living in the West, but it feels as though the rejection of my beliefs are being validated in the most dangerous way.

My hijab doesn't compromise who I am, or my abilities - so why the hell should it matter if I wear it? The people who are so opposed to it are the ones who refuse to learn anything about it, it is driven by ignorance, fear and the desire to preserve what is 'normal'. Who defines what normal is?

My family have always taught me that there is a strength in my headscarf, and I've managed to see it as my armour in life, it empowers me. Some people see it as a 'piece of cloth' preventing me from 'integrating'. Newsflash: My hijab is not an accessory that can be removed: it's a part of me.


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Life Lately #1

It's midday and overcast in London today, I wish I could say I'm sat here looking cute with a cuppa but a) I look like the same hot mess I usually look like at home, and b) I basically just finished my tea so that would be lying.

I talked recently about how I needed to take some time out from my blog just to recharge my batteries, and honestly it really did help when I came back. I think doing these 'life lately' posts will help me strip things down and get back to doing what I love, and talking to you about my life and things that I've been thinking about.

When I got the idea for this, I got that same rush I usually get when I click the little orange 'publish' button. But despite this, I still found myself being absent from this space, mainly because of university (I'm in the final year of my Law degree...'nuff said). But then I see these people juggling 3 jobs and school and running an amazing blog and I'm just like 'why can't I do that too?' - but thinking this way just brings me back to that deep deep hole of self-deprecating behaviour, and I have to constantly remind myself that I didn't start a blog because I want to be like everyone else. Sure, I can draw inspiration from them, but I shouldn't aspire to be just like X, Y and Z.

I honestly think I'm getting better at taking myself out of that dark path, but I'm sure that even the bloggers I look up to feel that way sometimes, and in a way it reminds me that we're all in the same boat, there isn't this point where you achieve everything and thing 'great, I'm completely happy!'. We all have that desire to self-improve, but it shouldn't prevent us from enjoying what we already have.

It's been a long time since I started blogging (I began on and off since I was about 16) and back then, it was still something the occasional person did on the side. But since it blew up about 3 or so years ago (as with YouTube), there's almost this expectation that you have to be amazing from the off, but that isn't true. I still suck at taking pictures, though I know I've improved and that's what matters to me. I don't post every other day, as amazing (and stressful) as it seems. But what matters, always, is the personality behind it the blog. Let's be real, someone can own the most amazing clothes and apply their makeup beautifully, but I genuinely couldn't care less if they were someone who wasn't true to themselves. You could have 100 followers or 100,000 - but the person who's genuine and kindhearted and honest is the one I'll go for, always.

What has your life been like lately?

Keep it real,

Zahra D x
© Diary of a Deera

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