Six months after graduation, I decided to take off the hijab I had been wearing for roughly four years during college. This was not an abrupt decision I made overnight. I had been contemplating this since I was doing my mini-thesis. To be blatantly honest, it was the questions of “how has the hijab helped me become a better person?” Does it contribute to me being a kind, more tolerant person to others? Why do I feel like I’m hiding behind the cover?” These are the questions that haunted me for days and even weeks.
During those miserable times of contemplation, I found it hard to believe that the hijab had contributed to my endeavor to be a more pleasant, kinder human being. It sure is an attribute to show that I’m a Muslim woman. But is it enough? The ugly truth is that I didn’t know why I even wore hijab in the first place. A part of me refused to simply accept that it was because the Quran said so. There must be something more substantive than that. And I haven’t found the answer yet.
For me personally, I applaud moral values than religious attributes when it comes to understanding people around me. I see the language they use when talking about themselves and others. I observe their attitude and the way they treat animals and people. These apply to me as well, as I go through a period of quiet introspection night and day.
Why do I think so? Because the young, 18-year-old me used to be one of these girls. She decided to wear hijab because her friends wore one too when they entered university.
But guess what? Life happened. I grew up. I started to reevaluate every decision I made these past years and how it shaped me into the person I am today. I don’t want to be a mere somebody who follows a trend because the majority does the same. I want to find meanings and significances of everything I do in this life. It is not like I’m against the hijab thing and that I am not going to wear it ever again. I just need to go through a reasoning process before making such a big, lifelong commitment.
For now, I choose to take it off, as I get ready to learn and grow and, above all, be my most authentic self.
Monica Prilly is an English graduate working as a content editor in Bandung. Her current interests include reading a wide range of books and playing with her pet bunny. She is a firm believer that progress is better than perfection.
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