Today was a pretty good day. I went shopping at my local charity shops for some long-sleeved tops (most of my summer wardrobe is short-sleeved or no-sleeved) and everybody was really respectful to me! They were polite to me, smiled at me, met my gaze and were generally really pleasant. I'm starting to realise that the majority of people are lovely to those who wear the hijab, and that it is simply the narrow-minded few who do not show those who wear the hijab any respect.
Sadly, this evening was where the illusion ended. I rang my parents, as I do every week, and told them about what I was doing so that they would not be surprised to hear about it later on or after the event. My father was the first person I spoke to, and he was not at all happy that his daughter is taking part in something worthwhile. You'd have thought he'd support me, but no. The entirety of our conversation was spent with him telling me how dreadful I was for doing this, and then he started attacking my upcoming wedding, saying that the timing was 'wrong' and how my idea of walking down the aisle to the Irish national anthem is ridiculous ... suffice it to say that he and I probably won't speak much for the foreseeable future.
My mother, on the other hand, was truly lovely. She told me she is 100% behind me, but did voice her concern for my safety, which is a natural thing to do. I understand where she is coming from and I totally respect her concerns, but I do have to admit that it's unusual for my father to be so rude and patronising. He seems to think that I'm a little girl who can be manipulated and talked down to, but he is wrong. All he has done is spur me on to keep doing this and prove to him that actually I am a woman who knows her own mind and will not be told how to live my life by anybody, even if he is my father.
I respect that my parents are concerned for my welfare, which is a perfectly reasonable concern to have, but I do not respect the manner in which my father put his concern across. There are ways and means of telling your children that you are concerned about them, and putting them down is not the right way to do it. Insh'Allah my father will learn to accept what I am doing and will at least be proud of what I am doing rather than talking down to me as if I'm still nine years old.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has supported me so far. I know it's only been four days but the support has been overwhelming and I am proud of everybody who has spoken out to voice their support of everybody who wears the hijab - you are all tremendously beautiful people and I absolutely love all of you! Keep going, stay strong, and let's do this thing!