All things come to an end

Your true nature comes out in times of desperation.  In this respect, like I said in an earlier post, I unconsciously turned back to what I was when I grew up, which was Catholic.  I really didn’t think twice about it until a friend pointed it out to me.  There were good things and bad things about Islam that I enjoyed.  Good things include hijab (I looooove hijab), as well as praying 5 times a day, and Ramadan.  I didn’t like the separation at the mosque – the women had a different door and we were upstairs.  I never met any of the guys there.  I mean, we’re not supposed to, but I never did.  I also didn’t like feeling like an outsider, which is what I was.  They’d call me sister and smile politely, but I was never one of them.  If they didn’t want me to know what they were talking about, they’d speak in Arabic.  That totally hurt my feelings, but I never let on to it.  I understood some of it (I mean, I have taken a few quarters of Arabic).  Not enough to really catch on to the topic of conversation – just words here and there.  I also hated how other people would stare at me in hijab.  I got dirty looks, pitying looks, etc.  I hate being pitied.  If anything, that’s the worst feeling in the world.  People just look at you with that sad, sorry face, and it just wrenches my heart.

So, I guess I’m done.  I have a friend who’s willing to talk to me about the church (again), and is very…determined… to get me to go back.  I mean, I still play piano and sing, so it’s not that hard.  I already go to mass.  Oh well, we’ll see what happens.  Religion is a touchy subject, and I hate offending people.

Not really sure what else to say.  No one but Ashley was really supportive about Islam in the first place, so my family will be friggin thrilled.  My parents had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place about religion.  If I wanted to be something else, we didn’t talk about it, and they could go on pretending that I was still Catholic.  My ex-fiancé is thrilled as well.  Meh, it’s not like we’re getting married, even though the subject has come up a few times.  I don’t think I could put myself through that again (and that’s a story for another day).

On a completely other subject, I got to play Cranium tonight with my Phi Rho sisters.  Omfg I love that game.  When a bunch of us get together for game nights (which I love), all hell breaks loose.  Ash and I brought snacks, which I made her take home with her (hehehehe).  I didn’t really want chippies and such, or pop (that was a LOT of pop), so she has it.  😀  Ashy I love you!  Ooh, and there was a veggie tray, which looked tasty.  And I got these wasabi chippies from Safeway, and they’re delish.  Usually I don’t like them, but they’re friggin tasty right now… with pickles.  Mmmm.

Ok, I’m rambling, and my fingers are cold.  I’m going to go 🙂

Been busy!

Well, no, I’ve had a strep throat kind of thing and I finally got my fever manageable today.  I’ve had school, watched Chelsea play (the Huddersfield match was brilliant… the Champions League match the other day… not so brilliant).  Work was busy on monday.  I had a customer who couldn’t find the escape key (he pronounced it ex-scape).  I was like, “Sir, it’s the button in the top-left corner of your keyboard.”  “Nope, don’t see it.”  *sigh*  “Sir, it’s right there.  It may say ‘esc’ on it?”  No dice.  I worked with him for over 30 mins on just setting up his dial up connection.  Sad.  I’ve not had a customer like that in awhile.  Had to leave early last night b/c my fever was getting worse and I had lost my voice.  My boss was NOT happy with me.  “If you HAVE to leave, then leave,” he said.  Well, I had to leave.  Jerkface.

So, I have the day off today, and I plan on napping on and off, and doing some hw.  May have to go see the dr if my fever doesn’t totally go away.  It’s only 100.6F right now, which isn’t *bad* persay.

Oh, in women’s studies today, they played my song!  I turned in the song “The Veil” by Dawud Whamsby Ali as a feminist song, and I explained how the song is really an answer to all those people who say wearing hijab is oppression.  Some people wear it in solidarity with those who have to wear it, but it’s a choice for me I suppose.  I’m still not wearing it 24/7 yet, but I’m getting there.  I think it gets easier every time 🙂

Stripes are totally in!

So, I ordered a few hijabs from The Hijab Shop in the UK (my dear country, how I miss you) and I’ll give them a bit of a reviewing here:

Aroub Hijabs – Best invention EVER. They’re all attached into singular pieces so you don’t need pins of any sort. I purchased the Al-Aroub, which is like a shayla attached to an underscarf. I couldn’t figure it out for the freaking life of me at first, and threw it on my bed for later. But, it became later, and I picked it up and slid it on so the length was sort of at the back right of my head. MAN is it comfortable. Slide it on like an underscarf, then flip it over like a normal shayla (around the neck, over the crown of your head), then either pin it (I know, I promised no pins), or fanagle it so you don’t have to. If you fanagle it, you might be playing with it all day. I’ll update later on whether or not I had to play with it through my optics lab. Mine is the pretty navy spotted one, and I really do like the pattern. It looks busy, but its not.

The other Aroub hijab I purchased was the Lubana. I got the solid light blue one AND the blue and white one. Not the best idea I’ve ever had. I like being able to tie it around my neck, but then your neck is exposed (but great for those cold winter days we’ve been having since I can then wrap a winter scarf [Go Chelsea!] around my neck and it doesn’t tug on my hijab). I’ve got a HUGE head. Dunno how my mum did it. But, this isn’t good for large-headed girls. It’s okay for adults, but unless you like the feeling of being vaguely choked throughout the day, I’d leave the Lubana there. The all blue one is more flexible than the white and blue, so that’s a thought. You can leave it undone as well at the bottom, but unless you’re wearing a turtleneck, your neck might show. Tried doing the half over the shoulder thing like the girl in the picture – no dice. Just don’t buy this one.

I also bought two bonnet caps – one black, one brown (I wear a TONNE of brown… didn’t realise). They’re about £1.50 ($3.00 for you Americans), and are brilliant… if you have long hair. I’m blessed with this really cute cropped hairdo right now that hovers over my shoulders… what? Girls who wear hijab DO have hair under there, thanks. I like feeling pretty under my scarf. Okay, so the Cute Cropped Hairdo is not good for the underscarf because it’s about 2 cm too short. If I pretie it and then slide it on, its fine. In fact, better than fine. It’s so comfortable and covers your whole head that you don’t even realise you’re wearing it – not like the lace headbands I usually wear. So, two thumbs up for undercaps thingies!

I’ve seen a few hijabis at uni sporting striped hijabs, and I’ve been jealous – I want in on the stripe phenomenon!! So, the entire reason I shopped at The Hijab Shop was because they had the best striped pashmina hijab I could find. It has a litany of narrow stripes, and it’s COMFORTABLE. It’s large enough to do my favourite way to do pashminas:

Stick it on your head so there’s equal amounts on each side of your face. Gather and pin under the chin as you usually would (don’t use a safety pin like I do or you’ll ruin more scarves than you really want to admit to…like that pretty pink one I got during my shahada… I’m sad about that still). Use a special oval hijab pin if you can find them. So yeah, pull it across on both sides so its rather taut, and flip the the side that’s under the front over the head first. Pull it over the crown of your head, and tuck in at the cheek on the opposite side. Rinse and repeat. I usually put in two pins at the sides of my head, and one on the crown just to keep them in place. You really dont have to if there’s enough friction and you aren’t going to be running or hiking.

Ok, sorry, got sidetracked. So, all in all I’m VERY pleased with The Hijab Shop. They have very quick service… I think I waited a week and got them from the UK to Oregon. Pretty quick shipping. Dunno if they shipped it Royal Mail, but for two underscarves and 4 hijabs… shipping was around £8.50. I’ve found better shipping elsewhere, but they were quick, and it was about 6000 miles. If I buy any more fun stuff from them, I’ll let you know. They carry the Silk Route jilbabs and abayas, so I may buy one when I’ve more money. They are SO cute. I don’t usually wear jilbabs or abayas, so we’ll see how that goes. May wear them to work (it’d be comfy). The abaya I do own is nice. I wear my footy trousers under them, and some sort of raggy tshirt. Brilliant if you don’t want to get dressed and you’re rushing to class!

Ok, I’ve got a lab to finish before lecture at 11, and if I have any hopes of finishing it, I better find my protractor and calculator… wherever that went. Might be under my bed… or in my duvet (that’s where I found it last time… sad, huh?).

Oh, if any of you can find a hijab that matches Chelsea’s garish away kit, please let me know. I mean, I don’t want a violent yellow one, but I’d like something that doesn’t clash. God, it is awful, isn’t it? Bleh.

What am I supposed to wear?!

I’ve got a lot of hits on my blog for hijabing, which kind of surprises me. But, if that’s what all of you are looking for, here are a few tips I’ve kind of lived by:

  1. You just need to be covered. Use your best judgment when it comes to what you decide to wear. I fluctuate between jeans (Levi’s 545s are my favourite), to skirts of some sort (Shukr has the nicest ones I’ve found). Find a long sleeved top. If it doesn’t cover your butt, it doesn’t cover your butt. If you want to wear a jilbab, then do so. If you want to wear an abaya, then do so. They aren’t necessary (some people will say otherwise, and that’s fine if they think that). Depending on who you talk to, they may say they are necessary, and that’s their prerogative.
  2. Pick whatever colours you enjoy, and wear those scarves. I have a few standbys that I like to wear a lot (usually the 1 piece Al-Amira versions that just slip over your head with no pins required… great for lazy uni students who plan their ‘getting ready’ time down to the last minute). I also look and see what the weather is. If it’s going to be 30C outside, you definitely don’t want to be wearing a thick pashmina – go for a silk scarf or a Kuwaiti version. If it’s 3C (like it has been here), wear a pashmina. If it’s raining, for pete sakes, bring a raincoat. Don’t ruin your scarves in the water.
  3. People will most likely go out of their way to be nice to you (at least, that’s what they do for me). Don’t worry about what you look like. Wearing hijab is not just your clothes, but your state of mind as well. Enjoy it 🙂 Just because you’re covered doesn’t mean you have to be meek or quiet – if anything, I’m more self-assured than I used to be.
  4. Don’t forget to cover your neck!!
  5. Having your fringe show isn’t hijab. So please, pin back those extra strands of hair.
  6. Like I said, have fun with it. The internet is your friend, and you’ll be able to import all sorts of fun things.

My favourite website is: http://www.shukronline.com/home.html. They have the nicest skirts and long tops, as well as rather inexpensive, beautiful hijabs. They also have a collection of longer coats. Their clothes are made in Syria, and they have a separate website for the US and the UK.

Another great site is the Modest Clothing Directory. The owner is a revert (like myself), and has posted (most) every possible islamic clothing site she can find. The sites are separated by category, like shirts, pants, skirts, hijabs, jilbabs, etc. There are even a few sites for work out clothes (but I usually just wear black under armour under normal work out clothes, like shorts and a tshirt, with a lycra al-amira hijab).

For swimming, I’ve recommended this site before: Ahiida.com They have the BEST islamic swimsuits out there, hands down. They cover, they fit, they dry quickly, and they don’t drag that much. I love my burqini. Best $200ish purchase I ever made. They shipped from Australia, and I got the order in California the next week. Very impressed with their service.

So I guess that’s everything for now. Today, I wore an olive green corduroy skirt from Shukr, a red long sleeved favourite tee from Gap, my dark red Keens (yeah, I live in Oregon, so sue me), and a black North Face polar fleece. I think I wore a white Kuwaiti hijab. I didn’t exactly match, but I was covered and toasty warm. If you have any ideas of what you usually wear, let me know. I’d love to find out what you usually wear.

Nearly 7 am… still’ve not slept.

So, I’m on a very, very bad sleep schedule at the moment. I’ve been up all night, and I sleep much of the day (quite like a Vampire, my sister pointed out, I believe). So here I am, buttcrack of dawn, and what have I accomplished? I made a new family on the Sims, and I prayed my fajr prayer. Fajr means morning in Arabic, I think… you’d think someone who took Arabic and got a B would know that, but nooooo, I still know nothing. I speak more Afrikaans than Arabic, dankie. (Ik en ontsteld dat ek kan nie slaap.)  You know, fajr prayer is the prayer I do consistently despite the early hour of the morning? It’s so easy to wake up, do wudu’, and then pray, and fall back into bed. Next quarter I won’t have that luxury because I have class at 8 (painful!).

On another note, The Special One turned down the FA today. I knew he would, but there was a diehard part of me that really, really wanted him to take the team to new levels. He said some nice words, but they fell on deaf ears as Britons everywhere realised we’re now stuck with a bunch of Italians. (See earlier post regarding Mourinho and Italian football manager Fabio Capello.) Seems as though he and Marcello Lippi are the two favourites for the job. Most of you will remember Capello for his… exploits… last year. Lippi, on the other hand, was the reason Italy won the World Cup in 2006. Yes, Marcello Lippi is the badass that brought Italy to their victory. Do I smell a victory for England? You bet your dinges I do.

Writing about footy at seven am is NEVER a good idea. Going to sleep.

Time off!

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written anything (or even thought of writing, to be honest). So, I decided to try out the Muslim thing. I say it so blase, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a pretty hardcore religion, if you want to know the truth. Ramadan is NOT a time to join. Fasting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. No food from morning prayers (about 90 mins before sunrise), to sunset. Not even water. I read some very religious questions online about fasting, like taking cold medicine, or having an IV. It was pretty crazy, tbh. I was surprised at the level of dedication. Regular Catholics (not dedicated ones, but normal ones) have no want or need to follow 85% of the rules. The children have sex before they’re married, they eat meat on Fridays, they don’t go to mass, they don’t pray the rosary, etc. Muslims not only fast for an entire month when you can only eat and drink when its dark, but they cover themselves (which isn’t easy either), pray five times a day (which is hard when you work or go to school), and they don’t date.

I have several muslim friends, both in the US and UK. Some wear hijab (most do, actually) but not all. ALL of them date. They date muslims, non muslims, etc. They sit in cars with men that aren’t their immediate family, and they go out with just guys. Now, they aren’t supposed to, but they do. As a western considering ‘reverting’, the arranged marriages rule doesn’t work, nor is it practical for the 21st century. I am an independent woman, I live on my own, and I take pride in being able to choose for myself. My parents do nothing to control my life anymore except to make sure I have enough money to shop at Safeway.

Still considering things on this end. I’ve tried to fast (it’s difficult when you’re sick), and worn long sleeves and looser clothes, as well as prayed. It is a very different lifestyle. I’ll post an update later on the first time I wore my hijab in public.

A full week of thinking

It’s been a whole week since I thought about religion, and surprisingly enough, I’ve prayed. I know how weird that sounds. I’ve quit choir altogether. My work schedule conveniently changed, which doesn’t allow me to sing anyways, but I made the decision before it changed. I’m really interested in Islam, but at the same time, not so interested in the flack I’ll get from everybody. My parents probably won’t speak to me, or they’ll think I’m being irrational. Jason would probably break up with me. I’d most likely lose all of my friends, especially if I chose to wear hijab. I’ve gone in public in hijab multiple times. I don’t really get stared at very much – people just ignore me for the most part. If they point, it’s because there’s a white girl in hijab.

I’m tempted to try to fast for Ramadan. I have an appointment set up for Wednesday night to talk to someone at the mosque. I don’t want to be forced into it. I think what I want the most is information on the religion and what I have to do to join (if that’s what I want, eventually). I wish some of my friends who read this would let me know what they think. Surprisingly enough, I do take their opinions to heart.

I’m going to go read for awhile. I picked up a copy of the Qu’ran, so I’ll see what Muhammad has to say.