So, I was just thinking the other day how now that I am Muslim, there are things I will never do in public... I think about it sometimes, how these things would change me, how I am different because of Islam. And it seems that I have simply traded one brand of visibility and controversial behavior for another.
So, before I was a crunchy gal... Now I am a crunchy gal in a jilbab. I still have my tie-died peace sign shirts, my Hathor the cow goddess MOO! shirt, my pro-choice shirts... I still wear two braids like Heidi or something... Everything you might expect from a new age hippie. I even still like to wear bibs, peasant blouses and Indian skirts. Just now you will never see them. The one thing you will not miss is my Birks. Yeah, I wear them with socks... I wear them unless my feet get frozen stiff then I trade them for Uggs.
Why is this significant? Most people would never think I have these thoughts. Most people see me and they automatically assume I am a conservative straight laced person... Because of how I dress. So have I given up making some sort of statement by wearing hijab? Maybe I have. But, I am still controversial, just in a different way now.
Also, I was much more outspoken before I became Muslim... I was much more likely to get in your face about something. Now, no way. I think if I wasn't Muslim, trying my best to have good adhab... I would be nursing in a baby-doll t-shirt yanked up over one breast, wearing my pregnant belly out there in the air, and generally being more up front about my feelings. Don't get me wrong; I have been known to tell moms things like "Just don't show up for the induction!". And, I have told a doc or two my personal thoughts on parenting with no deletions or softened truths. I have also been really outspoken about the benefits of natural birth and BFing, but would I be even more so if it weren’t for Islam?
I think the answer is yes, I would be. And maybe here in this culture people would listen to me more if I weren't a veiled woman. But, now I see my calling as different. I see myself as a person out there and in the ummah to share my strong feelings with other Muslim women. I don't think my voice is stifled, just re-directed. And, maybe in the end that is a great thing. Now I can tell people about how women in Islam aren't oppressed at all. I can show people that Muslim mothers are sensitive to the needs of their children. People can see through me Islam as a living breathing mother, and maybe relate more to the deen through me than through a text book. And maybe the general population wouldn't listen to a person wo was too "out there" anyway.
So here I am, still getting the stares I have always gotten. Just now for different reasons. Better reasons.