Subhan'Allah! Today has brought yet more good fortune! I have been approached by a women's magazine called Medavia to publish the story of my weight gain (I have gone from 6 stone 12 to 8 stone 8 in 3 years) and I have also been asked to talk to somebody called Nihal at the Asian Network on Friday! Goodness me, all this good fortune is going to make me explode! I truly am blessed indeed to have such good fortune flowing my way.
Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that I am wearing a new hijab! It arrived today and is from the same shop as my white and lilac hijabs. I absolutely love it, especially as my beautiful fiancé has also ordered me two other hijabs in burgundy and royal blue for Valentine's Day! His support is overwhelming and I feel so blessed to have him in my life.
Today also brought more smiles and a lot of "thank you"-s from passersby. It gives you such a warm feeling inside to know that people can see beyond your hijab and are willing to talk to you, especially when those people have young children. One woman in particular made me smile because she was walking towards me with her child in a buggy and, as I approached, she smiled at me and said "Hi". I was so surprised I almost forgot to say "Hi" back!
I also walked down to my university's Islamic Centre, and it was here that I encountered a surprising and terrifying mind block. I managed to get to the Sisters Entrance, where women enter, but could not pluck up the courage to enter for a good 5 minutes. When I did manage to enter, I felt terrified and fraudulent, almost as if anybody who saw me would know that I am not a Muslim. It was almost like a steel rod of fear and shame entered my body through my head and slammed into the floor between my legs. After about a minute, I turned and left, almost wanting to cry with shame.
I'm not sure why I felt ashamed. Perhaps it was because I felt that the men in the men's prayer hall would take one look at me and see me for what I am - a white girl wearing a hijab whilst not being Muslim in any sense. Or perhaps it was for some other reason. Whatever the reason, it was the most unpleasant feeling I've experienced to date and I hope that when I return next Friday for the Friday prayers, it will go away.
Yes, you did read that right - next Friday I will be going to the weekly prayer at UEA's Islamic Centre. I would go this week, but I have been asked to do the interview at the same time as Friday prayers, and because I haven't quite mastered time travel yet, I won't be able to go! I will, however, continue to read the Qur'an and see where it takes me. I finished 'The Cow' today and am a little way through 'The Family of Imran' (and by 'a little way through' I mean about two pages!).
Today also marks my first week as a hijabi! This time last week I would never have thought I would find the beautiful friends that I now have, nor did I think I would be doing two interviews and submitting my story to an online magazine! God truly is great, and I thank him and everybody I know for supporting me. You have beautiful souls and I have no doubt that God will reward you a hundred times over for your good deeds insha'Allah!