So in the past few months I've been workin on my fitness (Fergie-Ferg, anyone?) and have lost mucho pounds (much needed). So, I need new pants!! What a glorious feeling is needing new pants?! It is THE BEST - at least when you looking for smaller pants instead of bigger.
One of my besties is home from Saudia - FINALLY - after a month of being estranged from her. I was so happy to get to go shopping with her this Saturday. Although she doesn't choose to wear traditional Muslim attire, she does not dress provacatively by any means. She is always classy, well covered, and fabulous all at the same time - with or without hijab I would say she is modest. Beyond that, I am not worthy of judging her.
Together we may not look like the most obvious choices of friends, me in abaya and her in her fashionable outfit, but all that I care about is someone's heart - and mashaAllah she has a wonderful heart and a strong faith in Islam. Love you, Loomz.
Anywho, we were shopping in Zara - both together (oh em gee, I like this jacket) and separately (emo as she is a size 0 and I am a size 100). When she went to get in line to pay, I followed her in line. Because there were many conversations going on around us, we must not have been gabbing much to one another, and then.... it happened.
There was an older woman behind me - she was foreign, but I will reserve the dignity to avoid saying where she was from. She was maybe 55 years old and dressed.... fine. She was dressed like any other 55 year old in a bright orange outfit. She was standing two people behind me in line and there was another woman, from the same or a similar country directly behind me.
I didn't pay attention to them for a majority of the time in line, until Loomi got called to check out right before me. Then, I started to pay attention to the noises around me. The women were talking about me.
What the heck! Don't talk about me while I'm standing literally directly in front of you! That's rude! I wanted to turn and say "hey! that's rude!" but, I thought to myself, 'no, they are older than you, Hannah, be respectful.' So I bit my tongue.
Then, I started listening to exactly what they were saying - in English with THICK accents - #justsayin
"Wouldn't it be oppression to dress like this?" one said. (THE WORD IS OPPRESSIVE!)
"Thank God I was not born to people like this" the other said.
"There is no reason to dress that way! We should fit in with our surroundings at all times."
"America is a free country, she should dress as she wants. In her country that must not be allowed."
I wanted to SCREAM. I turned around and rolled my eyes, hopefully so they would get the picture that HEY! I SPEAK ENGLISH AND THAT IS SO RUDE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING!
They continued on.... with more rude comments about how "oppressed" I am in broken English.
And from the second that Loomi returned to me while I then moved forward to check out, I was FUMING in anger. I'm thankful I didn't respond then, but I now am clear minded enough to assert what exactly I should have said, had I been intelligent at the time.
Now for what I should have done....
I should have said that it is unfair that they are judging me based on how I dress.
I should have said this is America, and I can dress as I please, and I can practice my faith openly and freely. I should have said if you don't like that, then GET OUT OF MY COUNTRY - because that is the BEAUTY of America.
I should have said I AM AMERICAN! I should have brought up the fact that they are foreign born and I am American born, thus using their logic, I am deserving of rights beyond them.
I should have encouraged them to dress as is appropriate of a 55 year old, if they wanted to encourage me to dress "Americanized."
I should have explained that my English is not broken, nor is my spirit when I walk around in abaya and hijab. I should have explained it is JUST THE OPPOSITE and that when I wear these pieces of cloth, I am LIBERATED in knowing that the fashion trends of 2015 will not rule my life, but God rules my life. And, I should have pointed out that one of my best friends is wearing an outfit similar to theirs and there is no problem with that. I am not judging, nor should they.
I should have told them that if they are going to talk about me to my back, they should say it to my face and not be so cowardly.
I am not by any means an angry person, or someone that is easily offended - usually. Sweet little Loomi has cried when people say rude things to me before when I have laughed them off. Most rude comments roll off my back, but not those that sting like this. If you are proud enough to say something to my face, I would love to discuss with you like adults, but if you are going to belittle me behind my back, then you will upset me.
I wish I could reverse time and be back in that situation with this clear head... my heart is still racing while writing this post, however, so perhaps best that I continue to wait before I explore time travel.
Please, please, please, lady, STOP JUDGING ME. Stop thinking I'm wearing this because I am oppressed. It is my choice. Just like it is your choice to wear a bright orange t-shirt. Welcome to America, honey, my birth country where I can wear a bikini or a burka and be completely within my rights.
May Allah forgive me for anything negative I have said or thought about these women - particularly the one I described in detail. May Allah forgive her for the pain and anger she put in my heart over the past five days. May Allah continue to protect our ummah from these negative thoughts and feelings. And, may He guide everyone in making choices - freely - that are in our best interests and are of His Favor.