Today is the first day all month when I haven't had to go somewhere or do something that requires going somewhere, so I thought I would take time to reflect on what I have learned so far. I know people will probably think "Well what could you learn in 5 days" but trust me, these last 5 days have basically been like a crash course in finding out about myself. It's like intensive therapy, it really is - and I've been on a massive rollercoaster ride.
One major thing I have learnt about myself is that I am beautiful both with and without the hijab. I can be beautiful on the inside and the outside, and I don't need to slap makeup onto my face or wear provocative clothing to be a beautiful person. Whilst the hijab keeps my beauty hidden from men whose eyes would be drawn to one place only, it does not make me any less attractive to my fiancé, nor does it make me any less of a person. In fact, it makes me more aware of myself and how my beauty is not for everyone to see.
I have also learnt that I am not as simple as I've tried to make myself out to be. I am actually a very complex person with many facets to my belief system. For example, I have taken some aspects of Christianity (the sanctity of marriage), some aspects of Buddhism (the belief in reincarnation and karma), some aspects of paganism (the Threefold law, karma, many of their more moral beliefs such as treating others as you want to be treated, and the herb lore, crystal lore and some spell work) and even some aspects of Islam too (keeping oneself modestly dressed, believing in the oneness of God, the idea that Mohammed, Jesus and Moses etc were Prophets of God, halal meat and no alcohol).
My belief system has become enriched and far more diverse than I could ever have imagined it becoming. When I was in secondary school and experiencing bullying, all sense of faith deserted me. I didn't believe in anything or anyone - to me, God was someone to be hated and pushed aside because I couldn't see how a supposedly merciful God could send such trials my way. Now I realise that actually God visited those trials upon me to teach me some vital life lessons, which I will list below.
- I am strong. God sent me the bullies who tormented me to teach me strength. Had I not been bullied so ferociously, I would not be able to stand up for myself and for what is right. I would be a quiet, shy, timid little thing sitting somewhere avoiding arguments and justice.
- Honesty really is the best policy. When I was in secondary school, I made up stories and lied to gain popularity because I felt insecure and inadequate. Nowadays I realise that it is other people who have problems with my honesty, and that lying will not get me anywhere. All that happens when you lie is that you get caught, and people don't like liars.
- I am a good person. I know I harp on about the bullies a lot, but they really did infiltrate my life to a disturbing degree. They made me feel as if I was worthless, ugly, stupid, too skinny, and generally a negative person. What I have now come to accept is that I am a good person, and that often my intentions are misconstrued. It's simply a matter of rectifying the issue, not blaming myself.
- I am beautiful both on the outside and the inside. God has blessed me with a beautiful body and a beautiful soul, and it is about time that I accepted that. I know it might sound arrogant to say that I am beautiful, but I see it as honesty. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world, I know that, but I am not ugly or disgusting to look at. I am attractive to my fiancé and I am beautiful in the eyes of God, and that is all that matters.
- Life is not about what other people think of you. God does not care what other people think of us. He is only interested in how we act and how we behave. Whilst other people's opinions are important, they do not define us and they have no real impact upon how we live our lives.
- Life is a beautiful thing to be lived and enjoyed. God sent us this life to live, and sitting around moping is not going to get us anywhere. Life is there to be enjoyed, no matter how dark things may seem. Just remember that the dark times are there to teach you something, and instead of seeing the misery of it, we should see the lesson and learn from it.
So, whilst I will not be converting to Islam, I have taken a great deal from it. This experience has taught me that I am not the person that I thought I was - I am a creation of God and I am a good person. My belief system is made up of elements from different religions, and that is not a bad thing. That is a good thing because I can teach my children to have a broad belief system and that they do not have to fit a certain mould. Religion, like life, is there to be enjoyed and its diversity shows that.
I will continue on my journey with the hijab, and I hope that my journey continues to be as happy, fulfilling, peaceful and informative as the last 5 days have been.