It’s a question I used to get a lot but never really knew how to answer. It’s probably because I didn’t fully understand what it meant to be uninspired. (You see, I have a habit of getting involved in too many hobbies at once. Keeps the brain busy.)
That was before I finished school and entered the real world. You know, the one that everyone around used to talk about constantly. As if everything that happens prior to that is just for play, or has-beens for us to reminisce about when the responsibilities of the real world become too much to bear.
But when your identity is shaped so much by the experiences that you collect pre-real world, it becomes so easy for you to get lost in the routines of working life. Things also get a little more complicated when you work in the creative industry – where do you draw the line that separates your professional space from your personal one? Is there a need for these spaces to be made separate? Can they coexist as one to become an even larger space that benefits both your career and personal development? Is work finally driving you insane?
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy what I do for a living. I really do. Crazy hours, crazier co-workers and all. But I am unsettled about how my sense of self got a little lost in the transition from Liyana the fashion lover/sometimes blogger/music person/aspiring creative to Liyana the copywriter and fitness lover. I think this is perfectly natural and not really a quarter-life crisis type of moment. Feeling the need to step back and reevaluate my growth as a person, and taking note if I’m really moving forward as best as I can.
It took all of two years for me to realise that inspiration needs to be chased. So that’s what I’m doing now. A little self-recovery. Reconnecting with passions that I lost, and yearn to explore again. It’s not going to be easy, but if that’s what it takes to feel the exhilaration in creating once more, then I’m on board.
Happy #WorldHijabDay, my friends! Today marks the third World Hijab Day, during which we celebrate the beauty of the hijab, as well as the acceptance of this choice Muslim sisters all over the world have made to celebrate their faith not only in their private lives, but in public as well. Wearing the hijab does not come easy for a lot of people, especially so for our sisters who currently reside in societies where they can be persecuted or bullied because of the way they look. I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderfully supportive and accepting community, though over the years I’ve realised that not everybody has it that easy.
PROGRESS OVER THE YEARS
I think that it’s amazing how far the hijabi community has come in addressing misconceptions about oppression by the hijab. Social media movements, viral videos, street art… these women are so admirable and they’ve done so much in creating conversation about the hijab in society. World Hijab Day brings this one step ahead by inviting women all over the world to don the hijab for a day to experience how it’s like to wear the headscarf out in public. It brings so much warmth to my heart when I read stories about people who do so, and share positive stories about their experiences.
In my opinion, education is the key to overcoming hijab stereotypes. Conversation leads to awareness, which eventually leads to change in the form of security and positive attitudes towards hijabis. I was very heartened to experience so much positivity this past week when I shared my hijab story as well as my personal hijabi inspirations. I hope that you have learnt something new from reading the posts in my World Hijab Day blogging collaboration, and continue to pass on the stories to friends who might be curious about the hijab.
As much as advocating for the hijab is important, I believe that it is a choice and nobody should ever be forced to put it on. Sometimes I see very disturbing messages or posts being shared on social media that degrade women who don’t cover up… I find that absolutely disgusting and that it perpetuates harmful behaviours towards women that could have been prevented through exposure to more positive messages about modesty. I think that we should respect women’s decisions and rights to don the hijab, as much as we should respect their decisions not to, and lend them our support when their hearts start to point in that direction.
It’s only the third World Hijab Day, and look how far we have come! I do believe that this movement will continue to grow through the years, and I hope that it will cultivate a healthy, positive community of Muslim women who engage in meaningful conversation surrounding the hijab not only among ourselves, but with non-Muslims as well. We can make the world a better place, a safer place, together ♥︎
Have you discovered something new about the hijab this past week? Share it with me in the comments below!
Hello, my beautiful friends 🙂 How are all of you feeling today? I hope you’re well, cuz I’ve got quite the post for you! World Hijab Day is just ’round the corner on 1st Feb so I decided that it might be fun for a little blogging collaboration in celebration of this day. A lot of the times, the people I meet are curious about my hijab – why I decided to wear it, when I decided to put it on, etc. I’m sure many of you have had some of these questions in mind as well so today, as part of this collaboration, I will be sharing my story. At the end of this post I will also be linking you guys up to a few other bloggers who have been so kind in joining me in this little project. I hope that these different experiences will give you some insight into our relationship with our faith and how each of us personally found meaning through the act of donning the hijab.
My decision to start wearing the hijab came rather unexpected. Before then, I always told myself that I’d wear it after I get married and settle down. The trigger to don the hijab came mid-2010, just a while after my late grandmother passed away. I’ve never experienced a loved one’s death before then, and that experience really shook me. My late grandmother took care of me when I was growing up and for me to lose someone who played such a huge role in my life… I don’t really have the words to describe it. I don’t think I’ve gotten over that loss, even up to this day.
That experience made me lose my bearings a little… I was lost for a while and in the months after that, I came to the realisation that life is short and you can’t live any bit of it with regret. Not that I didn’t know that before, but these things took on a whole new meaning when the harshness of reality kicked in. I remember I was on a train home when the thought hit me out of nowhere and I told myself, right then, right there, “I am going to put on the hijab.” Perhaps it was my new life motto pushing me to take the plunge, but looking back, I think it was a way for me to deal with that loss. At that point of time, it was my way of shutting out the world and giving myself time to heal and grow, before I was ready to step out again.
At that time I was also grappling with lots of insecurity issues – I was very much aware of society’s standards of beauty and I felt like I couldn’t match up. I pegged my worth to that unachievable standard, which led to a really low level of self-esteem. I felt that donning the hijab was a way of rebelling against it, and in a way, that helped me to work on the other parts of me that I was neglecting up until that time. Quality of thought, social skills, creativity, leadership… I explored all these other facets to my identity which helped me to grow as a person and overcome a lot of my insecurities. It was a little while after that when I started experimenting with fashion and beauty again. I realised that I could create my own definition of beauty, and that in itself, was an act of empowerment that I’ve come to associate with the hijab.
It’s been close to 6 years since I made that decision. Whenever somebody asks me the question, “Why do you wear the hijab?” I think that I will always recount the memory of losing my grandmother, because that really was the trigger point. But thinking about it right now, I think that the hijab has truly helped me to find myself. It was only after putting it on that I found the courage to dig deep and uncover all these little parts of me that were hidden and gave them opportunities to shine.
The hijab empowers me and teaches me that there is so much I can offer the world, so much I can do to make it a better place.