By Insiya (Florida, USA)
I started wearing the hijab in 7th grade right after the winter break, smack! in the middle of the school year! It was my first year in public school after 3 years in private school. I remember chewing on one of the hijab strings wondering what people were going to say when they saw me. I rode the bus to school, so slowly, everyone got to see me as they climbed aboard. The first thing one of my friends asked was “Why?” I’m not sure what my response was.That day I heard my classmates asking “Who is the new girl?” After that, things got a little hard because people weren’t so open minded. But I had my best friends on the bus to help me get through it.
High school especially was tough. Ignorant people used to throw things at me, call me names, honk the horn as I rode my bike home, yell vulgar words at me, made fun of me, called me a terrorist; it was the typical form of stereotypical racism. I even remember that one year contemplating upon taking the hijab off, but I realized that it wasn’t a solution. Eventually I stopped caring what people thought. I held my head up high and didn’t bother listening to what others had to say. That changed the way people looked at me, and I became more proud. People started to respect the fact that I respected myself. Sure, there are still some people who bother me today, but none of that matters to me anymore because the only one’s opinion I care about is Allah’s.