I have been distressed about the negative portrayal of Muslims around the world, but I also understand that the issue couldn't possibly offend me unless there was some truth in it and unless there was a little guilt in me, in the very first place.
It has all made me think: what if they are not the group of people I would like to identify myself with? What if they are not the brothers and sisters I could relate to? What if we share the same religion, but we do not share the exact same principle? What if we dress alike but we do not think alike?
It is always difficult to just be yourself when you’re always being compared to people who share similarities with you. People may say that I wear hijab because it's the trend. Yet people may also say that my burqa-wearing sisters are too strict, conservative, or extreme. On the other hand, my other sisters who post her selfies online daily and puts red lipstick are also being judged because: "Isn't hijab about modesty? When you wear hijab and still look pretty then what's the point?".
Our belief seems never right for us. My hijab is never long enough, as if the length of my headscarf is the measurement of my faith. But then, is it?
It is never easy. I believe in my faith, but somehow I'm unsure of my decision. There are days and nights when I hesitate and think about taking off all religious symbols on my body so I won’t be associated with people I principally never agree with.
I wonder, what if I still practice but without wearing hijab? Isn't religion about practicing instead of showing symbols? What if I believe in Allah but I don't think it's necessary to let people know about it? And then I would be thinking that I should have not worn hijab that soon, I was not good enough, I am not good enough. I felt as if I’d made a rash decision and now I'm trapped.
Sometimes I envision taking off my hijab, and justifying it because I'm tired, because I'm scared. And most of all, because this is not the way I want to be seen and labelled. It is not the way I want other people to look at me. I committed myself to hijab because I wanted to be true to myself. Not for this. I know that I owe society nothing but it's always easier to say it than to actually mean it.
My faith in Allah and in myself is getting stronger, but my faith in this community is growing weaker. The string has been pulled out for quite some time it has begun to get thinner. And if someday that string of faith breaks... I don't think I will know myself anymore.
Vita Kartika is a Communication Science undergraduate student at Universitas Airlangga who believes in long life education and the power of process. She writes and criticizes about current issues on semanticsatiation.blogspot.com. She's @vitdgaf on each and every social media account.