The Last Day!

As you might have already assumed, I was SO excited to rip that hijab off! I don’t have anything against it, but yay! I can, at last, rip off the hijab that has been suffocating my head for a week!!! I set the rip off date at precisely 3:15 when the last school bell rang. I was in the Black Box theatre with Patrick and Bernard reciting my contemporary scene. The play is called Frankie and Johnny in the Clair of Lune. It is basically about a couple who does one night stand and continues for another night. The question is, do they love each other? The audience has to figure it out through the actor’s actions and dialogue. Anyways. Guess who chose that play? Me. Yes. Me, the holy and pure Muslim picked a play that starts off with a sex scene. We aren’t doing the sex scene, of course, but another scene in the play. Sorry to absolutely go off the point. Sorry. Anyways, (Ugh! Why do I keep saying, ‘Anyways’ I don’t sound writerly here right now. Bleh.) we were interrupted by the announcements of the principal about the executive and class presidents and vice presidents. The banter continued on for a good five minutes, and the bell rang immediately after the rant, so Patrick and I couldn’t finish our play. When the bell rang, I inspiringly, or at least tried to, rip off the hijab. I undid the pin, and took off the hijab, but the fabric was stuck in the sweatshirt I was wearing and had tucked the fabric in beforehand. I groaned, and just pulled the hijab out and off my head! It felt so good shaking  my head and feeling my blonde hair touching my face. After a while, it was a strange feeling, but I just absolutely loved it. Tali was like, “I miss you beeeyoooutiful hair!” I joked around with her, of course. Haha.

Also, I broke a few rules too. Today I hugged Patrick, because in our script, my character had to comfort him, so I had to hug him. It’s for a legitimate reason! So I just justified that. I don’t really have anything else to say. The days before this had so much more content because I saw new faces over the weekend, and visited old ones on Monday, but the reaction waned as the week progressed.

It was such a great experience doing this project. I am very glad that Ms. Chufo had us to do this project, because I’ve been wanting to be a Muslim for a day or more, but I haven’t had the motivation to do so. I’m that kind of person, unfortunately. Anyways, I actually bought an authentic hijab and wore it around school. I have gotten many different kinds of reactions, from ‘That’s cool’ to ‘Um…’ to ‘You’re a Muslim?!?’ and it really changed my perspective on people who are different from mainstream American society. Anyone that who wears deviant items – hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes, and many more would definitely get more attraction than any ordinary person would receive. But at the same time, I am deaf, and when I sign in public, I normally receive the same mouth opening stares that a deviantly dressed person would receive. But I think being a Muslim and showing it publicly has much more symbol behind it, rather than just pity. Muslims are the civilization from which terrorists came and crashed into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and the fields of Pennsylvania killing thousands of Americans. Let those people rest in peace. So Americans immediately erected a barrier between themselves and the foreign Muslims. Even though nine long years have passed by since the 9/11 attacks, there is still an unsteady relationship between those two cultures, often with the Muslims attacking with the terrorist attacks – the underwear bomber, the water bomb creators, the 9/11 attacks, and the Americans protecting with the stern TSA, the Patriot Act, and the FBI overseeing mosques all over America. Why do the Muslims attack when we are not, that’s my question. I know our armies are on their lands, but they are there in order to securely hand over the land to the secular government instead to the hands of the Taliban, which imposes restricting laws on people under their control.

Back to the issue of wearing the hijab, I think I had it a little bit too easy in democratic Southern California. If I wore that in the Midwest, my parents would be wishing good luck to me. I might would have gotten beat up, or killed even. I won’t be surprised if that happened. But there’s a strong Muslim community in Chicago, and a couple of bigger towns in the Midwest, but I’m talking about towns in the middle of cow patties and corn stalks. I would like to try this project there, or see somebody else willing enough to risk their body and mind for this opportunity.

Again, I had such a wonderful time doing this project, despite my constant complaining and whining. I learned so much on this adventure and I would like to conclude with a thank you to all of my faithful readers. Thank you for taking the time and resources to read this blog. I really hope you enjoyed it and please do tune in to this blog once in  a while. I might surprise you with a blog or something unexpected! Thank you, once again, my faithful readers. Peace out, Tory be out of the house!

April 5, 2010 at 2:41 am Leave a comment

Thursday… Sigh.

More about my rulebreaking. I’m such a rebel Muslim, am I not? Hehe! Nothing really happened today. I broke a couple more rules, but all the same. I tend to break a lot of the same rules like no swearing, making inappropriate contact with unrelated persons, etc. etc. Well, not inappropriate, but more like hugging you know. Not kissing or anything like that. Of course.

Ok, first off, you know my best friend, Tali. Anyways, we always hug everyday. Again, I am not sure about the Islamic or Qu’ranic rules about hugging unrelated females of the same age. Oh well. Let me look it up. I tried to look, but I assume that hugging the same sex is fine, the Internet only says that it is a haram, a sin, to hug the opposite sex.

Oh well. Anyways, I went to our lunch spot and we started to talk. See, this is on Thursday, and I was soo over being Muslim and was sort of delirious, just as if I had no sleep or whatnot. You know that feeling, I hope. Anyways, Tali and I started fooling around and she sat on my lap because I wanted to be in the same spot as she was sitting so I told her to sit on my lap. She’s tiny and I’m pretty big so we are compatible. Haha. She sat on my lap and said, “Santa, I want a red bike.” I replied, “You got it!” with a wink to the imaginary parents standing by. Tali and I laughed since we are so childish and laugh at everything. And then Tali continued her list of toys and gadgets she wants to receive. To all of them, I replied, you got it all. And then I, look away if you’re squeamish or prude, laughed, “Ho ho ho!” But in an inappropriate way, if you know what I mean. I know.  I should be banished to Hell even if I’m an atheist, Christian, or Muslim. I just should give up on life and just go quietly. The Devil would be very pleased to have me, I would have fired his hellhole of a hellhole up. So yeah. That’s my story today. Haha.

I am extremely impressed with Muslim women worldwide, that they have so much willpower to keep the hijab on everyday when they go out. Today, when I was in Boston, I saw so many Muslims around, and I have a newfound connection with them, even though they might not know it, but I know that feeling when people stare at you like you’re a fish out of water, flopping around, but trust me, they aren’t flopping around. Another reason that I think Muslim women are okay with the hijab because it’s a part of their religion, their custom, their culture. I am very sure that almost all women grew up with the hijab, so she is not as antagonized as I am when I put on the hijab. They’re used to concealing their hair from strangers and doing all the customs. Also, they might use the hijab in order to feel and be different.

But I am not sure what Muslim women are missing out on. Probably the spring breeze through their free hair. Probably missing out the chance to walk sexily on a imaginary runway in the middle of a town square. Probably missing out kissing your boyfriend, adrenaline rushing. Probably missing out on playing sports. Probably missing out on the best foods – bacon. Oink, oink!

April 5, 2010 at 1:49 am Leave a comment

A Really Late Blog! Wednesday

Hi Reader,

I’m dearly and terribly sorry for the inconvenience of you bookmarking my website and checking it every hour, just to face the same post ‘Ok, ok I’m now officially sick of this.’ I’m sorry that you have had read that post so many times you have lost count, and you know every exact bit of word by heart. I can literally hear you recite the post under your breath, just as you do with a song that’s stuck in your head. Party in the USA… Yeah, yeah, yeah… Oh! Oops! Excuse me!

Anyways, back to my Muslim experience. Today is Saturday, and I’m currently in the Lenox in Boston, writing this. Talk about being really busy! I have been sooo busy on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, as well as Saturday all day. Please forgive me. I know you will.

On Wednesday, I broke so much rules, probably I have broken more rules in one day than since when I had started the project. I have broken my purity by hugging a boy that is in no way blood related to me. I have hugged a girl, that’s not blood related too. (I don’t really know how Islam is strict about not hugging girls, but I think it’s ok… I hope.) I have accidently showed my forearm to a unrelated boy. I will talk about those in depth. Oh, and I also swore. Oops.

My friend is a little bit freaked out since I have became a Muslim, but he knows that it was for a project… Weird. Anyways. On Wednesday, I saw him and we casually chatted about lacrosse, as we almost always do. We talked about other subjects, of course and then we happened to embark on the issue of hugging. I told him that we can do a Skype hug, which is basically an air hug to each other. Anyways, he opened his arms as if he was going to hug me. I stepped back from him. He charged towards me again, I barely escaped with just a brush, then his best friend attacked him and hugged him back as my friend laughed hysterically. He is weird, huh? And then later that day, he met me in the gym and we chatted for a long time and we happened to come upon the subject of drug use… I have no idea how we got to there, but we somehow did. Anyways, he was impersonating a cocaine addict, snuffing imaginary white powder with an imaginary rolled up dollar bill. And then I said, “You have a pock mark from shooting up?” And he shook his head no, and I asked him to show his arms. His arms were clean and smooth. I really want to touch it because it was a bare, exposed masculine skin that I have refrained for five days. I successfully resisted the temptation the devil had offered me. I was proud of myself, believe it or not! Anyways, he asked me if I had any pock marks. I replied, yes, I have one, from donating blood! PROMISE! Haha so anyways I started to roll up my sleeve to show him, but then I stopped immediately, but it was too late. He had seen my naked forearm! MY BARE, NAKED FOREARM! I have failed Allah. I wouldn’t be surprised if I went to Hell right now, at this instant moment. Anyways, he laughed and just went on talking. I kept on talking because what else would I have done? I have shown it to him, that’s probably the worst thing that could happen. I was wrong. Then we hugged. I have no idea how it happened. I just conked out and let it happen. It was all a fleeting moment and as quickly as it started, it ended. Then I had to go get ready for lacrosse. It was a horrible day.

More tomorrow, Thursday!

April 4, 2010 at 2:58 am Leave a comment

Ok, ok. I’m now officially sick of this.

I’m exhausted, I’m grumpy, and I’m indifferent. No, I’m not having my period. It’s the hijab. Well, not because that it represents Islam, just that I have to wear this thing on my head till Friday!!! I just cannot wait to take it off!!!

Nothing really happened today, people slowed down to sightsee the strange creature with the black fabric on her head walk by and graze on the grass. I think now people are figuring out that this whole hijab thing is a project of Creative Writing. Several people, more than yesterday have came up to me and asked, “Are you in Creative Writing?” I have denied it so many times that I don’t really feel guilt about lying any more. How sad is that? I’m just exhausted from all the mental work of who knows what and how to work around that. Some people that don’t know have interpreted for people that know and the people that know unknowingly give clues to the interpreter. So that really makes the situation even worse for me! I’m planning on this Friday that I’m going to tell everyone I know and stage a dramatic unveiling of the black hijab. Yeah right. At home. Just take off the pin and take off the hijab. Horns, trumpets, drums sound! Confetti fall everywhere, people dance for their lives. Alas! That would not happen. Just wanted to say ‘alas’. I don’t care whether if it makes sense or not. I really want to sound intellectual. Hehe. I hope I succeed. Oh boy. I am so exhausted I’m not myself. I’m the sarcastic Tory, not happy and bubbly Tory.

Also, a certain person has told a certain someone about this certain project. Cough cough. Have you missed what I have said all along? Do. Not. Tell. Any. One. Of. This. Project. Period. Ok? Thank. You. Ok. Let’s. Move. On. Wow. I. Am. Absolutely. So. Grumpy. And. Tired. I. Find. This. Funny. How. Retarded. Wow.

Sorry. Gotta start a new paragraph or I get the punctuation syndrome. Hehe. Readers, just to clarify, I’m doing this hijab thing not to explore the Islamic religion, but to explore into American fears and attitudes towards Muslims in their society. So far you have seen some radical and somewhat funny examples, so the reaction range is far and wide. But this is the fourth day! Just past the middle! Today in class, I was talking to myself, as I always do, a revelation came to me. My eyes lit up, there’s only THREE days left to go!!! I don’t hate the hijab, just that I’m a little over this and I am so ready to toss my hair in the morning breeze that always blow at my school.

My fellow readers, I regret to say that I have failed this mission. I am now sniffling and stroking my dog’s head on my lap because of this catastrophic failure. For three full hours, I have shed my long sleeve shirt and pants and ran carelessly through the park with my lacrosse team. I know. I should be banished to Hell. I exposed my skin for men to see! And I have hugged someone I don’t even know that well! I had to abandon my Islamic faith during the game because it was extremely hot in the shirt so I just took it off and enjoyed, shamefully, the sun smiling on my arms. And I just fell into the infernal downspiral into addiction. I did not want to put the hijab on or my sweatpants because I really had that feeling of freedom. A feeling of freedom that long sleeved shirt and pants restrict. A feeling of freedom that the hijab limits. A feeling of freedom that obedience prevents. A feeling of freedom.

March 31, 2010 at 4:24 am Leave a comment

First Day at School!

Please don’t tell people about this project. I have lied so much just to get laughed by people because of a mere project. So PLEASE don’t tell anybody!

Wow. I have lots to tell!!! Some major freak outs from my friends, teachers talk about it, and kids with their maws gaping open, eyes boring into me.

Ok first, starting off with my day. I was a bit late this morning. I was in my dad’s Prius, its tires screeching as my dad drifted to the bus stop half a mile away. Time was a-tickin’ – it was 7:34, the bus leaves at 7:35. I screamed and braced myself, my dad steered the speedy car into a gap where I tried to offer my cheek for his kiss, but withdrew because the bus was about to leave. I ran, with my yellow bag bouncing behind me, and finally made it to the rumbling bus’s doors. The bus driver, a heavyset blonde woman, was the poor individual who my brother and I devilishly concocted a name for her – Buttholina.  Anyways, I couldn’t see her first reaction through the reflective glass and the bright school bus yellow chrome. But I climbed up the steps only to be introduced to six pairs of disbelieving eyes staring back at me. I quickly sat down as the bus lurched forward and started off on its adventure over thousands of the bumps that reside in the middle of the road.

Looking up from futile attempts to contact my best friend, Tali, the greeters smiled a little bit too friendly at me and tried to give me flyers. I smiled and shook my head and continued to the gym, where I would drop off my lacrosse stuff. Inside the lobby of the gym, there are ALWAYS idiotic freshmen and sophomores who push each other and play lacrosse right in the lobby. Mostly the boys are idiotic. But anyways, the boys, especially, laughed and pointed at me. But me, having been prejudiced all my life, I just ignored them and dropped off my bag and proceeded to text Tali. Once she had told me that she was near the stairs, I walked through throngs of freshmen and saw Tali. She looked around and immediately laughed at the strange object on my head. She knew that I had something but had no idea that I had actually “converted” to Islam. I have lied to my best friend about my religious affiliation. That’s how serious I am about this project. Anyways, she kept saying, “I don’t know if you’re serious or not!” Since I am the jokester type. And she’s the perfect, defenseless victim to practice my tricks on. She kept repeating that again and again and she wanted to show me to Brittney, who is in my Creative Writing class and knows what’s going on with the week long project. Tali and I walked over, arm in arm. Brittney laughed out loud, while all other my friends – Matt, Max, Jason, and many more stared at my new appearance. Boys, boys, boys… They’re always immature when it comes to surprise!!! Max said it was cool and his face was all funny. Matt walked away, I couldn’t see his face expression, and Tali pulled me away when I tried to look for Jason. Grr!

I entered my English class, I felt a rush of interested eyes upon me. I quickly made my seat and smiled to the Persian girl next to me. We watched a movie and my good friend tapped me on the shoulder. Her name was Tracy. We had an interesting conversation about Islam and it’s policies, etc. etc. I admit, I used the element of confusion to make my “conversion” look on purpose and not hastily as it had been. When the period ended with no really surprise, my teacher, Mr. Brunkhorst came up to me and asked whether if this ‘burqa’ was for a project. I corrected him, ‘hijab’ and it was for my personal reasons. Mr. Brunkhorst gave a quiet ‘Oh!’ and conversed a little bit. I left the classroom, I talked to Tracy once again before leaving for Sociology.

I walked to Sociology room, I glanced at the spot where Brittney, Max, Jason, me, and sometimes Tommy hang out before the bell rings. There was no one, and I casually entered the room and deposited my heavy bag and took out food to eat during class. (I always eat! I’m an early bird – wake up early, eat early, sleep early.) I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I wasn’t sure if it was my own imagination or my hijab. I turned around to see Max with a concerned face. He beckoned me out of the room and asked, “Where?” I repeated again, “Where? What do you mean?” Max looked at his hand and hit himself in the head. “When?” He corrected. “Oh, last Saturday,” Max questioned the validity of that statement. I quickly added, “A couple of weeks before I have been looking at Islam as a prospective religion and now have made my change.” Max allowed that comment get by… Thank God! Or Allah, should I say, now that I am a Muslim? Anyways, I told him about all the customs that Muslim women have to follow – avoid touching men that is not blood related, no hugging, etc. etc. Max, at that moment, just broke down laughing out of disbelief at my radical change. He tried to stop it with his hands, but was unsuccessful. I laughed along with him, mostly out of appall that he was laughing at me for my imaginary conversion.

Now here comes the tension. A girl, whose name I won’t mention, came up to me and asked if I was becoming a nun. Again, I explained the reason for the black fabric. I knew that she hated Muslims because of a chat a year ago. I braced myself. She asked if I was serious. Again, I said yes. Then her face evolved from puzzled to disgusted. Her eyebrows were arched menacingly and her eyes were wide at a potential terrorist. She started to step forward, passing me. I quickly waved goodbye. She returned the wave. That was my first extreme reaction that was negatively sanctioned by the hijab. Back to Max, who was still agape in horror. The bell, unfortunately, rang. I waved bye to everyone in the troupe and walked to my class. Upon entering my class, I quickly remembered that I had forgotten to drink water. I was so thirsty, I asked the sub to go to the bathroom (It’s easier than to tell that I’m going to get water). Anyways. I saw Max and Brittney. I waved again to them. Max screamed out, “LIES, LIES!” It turns out that Brittney had told him about the project. I gave Brittney my best death stare. Brittney shrugged her shoulders and promised that it wouldn’t happen again. Max kept saying, “THANK GOD! THANK GOD! THANK GOD!” And then I made him lock his lips and throw away the key.

Later, he said that he didn’t hate Muslims, he was just so surprised at my change and the foreign object residing on my head. Yeah, right.

Lunch and 3rd period was uneventful, just what you would expect from students gawking at a hijab covered girl. Also, whenever I pass one of my peers in Creative Writing, we give each other an acknowledging smile, understanding without any communication. I love it!

Acting, fourth period, was also uneventful. The guest artist merely said, “You have a pretty hat.” And we talked about the hajib, but nothing, NOTHING about Islam had popped up in our conversation. It was an unique talk, without ever mentioning my “conversion” and Islam.

Next up, was lacrosse practice. I abandoned my hijab and settled for a full black long sleeved shirt and sweatpants. I walked to my lacrosse practice. As I turned the corner, apparently someone had told them that I was Muslim, and tens of curious eyes peered back at me. I smiled and waved at them. They waved back. One girl screamed if I was going to be hot. I replied if I did, I would just take off my long sleeve because I didn’t want to suffer from heatstroke, etc. And so practice went on. I was surprisingly not hot at all. Mostly just sweaty from the suffocation of my skin from air. But when a breeze blew through my pants leg, it felt heavenly, without the burden of the sun’s glaring rays.

There were also interesting conversations on Facebook. There was one girl who contacted me and we talked about my Islamic religion and her spirituality. It was nice to know her more since we are the kind of people who just recognizes each other, but don’t KNOW each other. Also I had a conversation with Jason. He was very open and understanding. It was very nice talking to him about our religion. And I lied SO much to both of them, I felt so bad. I hope that they would not be mad at me afterwards, like I have wasted their time talking about a religion that I hadn’t actually converted to. But I hope, hope, HOPE that they treat this whole week of a lie as a great, big prank. Sigh. Hope isn’t the best to rely on.

Based on my observations, the people that reacted the most were my closest friends, Tali and Max. There were people who reacted, but more curiously and interestingly. They usually bombard me with questions that I successfully answered without any hesitations… Yes! Another observation is that people ALWAYS say if I am hot in my long sleeved shirt and jeans. I, as a joke, always reply, “Oh yes, I’m smokin’ hot!” That would always break the awkward tension that exists. Overall, I haven’t gotten any negative responses except one. The rest is just downright humiliating and odd. There was also religious talk that involved my beliefs. I always successfully use the 5 pillars of Islam – faith, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, and charity. I used the concept of guidance to explain why I went to Islam, not Christianity or Judaism. The 5 pillars of Islam gave me some outlines on how to live life. Most people just nodded, their jaws open. I hoped desperately for a fly buzzing into their open mouths, but it didn’t happen. Bummer.

People who already know – My family, my interpreters, students from Creative Writing, Max, Shea, and Patrick. (Max, you’re lucky. Count your blessings.)

March 30, 2010 at 4:40 am Leave a comment

The Real World

The Real World – on Saturday. Sorry I didn’t mean to mess up the dates, but Saturday was full of me and my hajib so I couldn’t really explain what reactions what I got when I went out on errands with my mom. Also this post would cover the events of my aunt’s birthday which was at my house. Very interesting, to say the least!

I was nervous going out with the hajib. Since I haven’t seen any hajibs in my hometown, I’ve only seen some Muslim women at popular vacation destinations in downtown of a nearby city. Anyways, I went to CVS, which straddles the border between the affluent and poorer housing developments. As my mom walked very quickly – she said that she wanted the errands to be over with, but I think she walked quickly as not to associate with me, haha – into the store, there was a video camera and a TV overhead, I watched myself as I walked in. It was so surreal to see myself enveloped in a black hijab, eyes peering back at me, taking long, striding steps the same time as I took mine. I could feel nervous gazes on me, but I just pretended not to notice. I didn’t want to look around and make myself more suspicious than I already am. A Mexican guy walked into the aisle, laid his eyes on me, then nervously started to walk towards the detergent area of the aisle. He peered at me and I, already looking at him, kept my gaze. He continued this for a second before he gave in and looked away. Then I remembered that Muslim women are supposed to look down to the floor and be humble and chaste. I swore under my breath, before remembering that I can’t swear. Shoot! Darn! Farm it! (An euphemism for the ending syllable of Amsterdam) When I was in line, my mom and I chatted a little bit but it was so awkward, even with my mom. She was not trying to avoid conversation, but it was the feeling of talking to a non-Muslim that made it awkward. Then a cashier guy beckoned us over. My mom laid a bleach pen and a magazine she grabbed from the rack. The cashier’s breath smelled of cigarettes. Overall, he didn’t seem to care about the obvious. One down, more to go. I left, following my mom, with a sigh.

Next stop, Petco, to get a special food mix for my dog, who is suffering from itching and skin infection from an unknown origin. When I entered, there was a stand full of dog biscuits. There was a heavy set lady who was facing away from me. As usual, my mom walked ahead of me. I took my time and entered slowly and calmly. The store seemed to be overemployed, there were two employees – the heavyset woman and a twig man standing idly. The twig was in the aisle, organizing; he didn’t notice me immediately. The heavy set lady, however, had turned around and noticed my outfit. She immediately gave me a smile that was too much. My hajib was beyond her skills to comprehend, her smile was not as realistic; her smile bared too much teeth – white and neat – and there was fear in her eyes. The twig man with long arms, looked up and noticed me; he gave me a nervous smile. My hopes went up but flickered as his smile was originally heartfelt, but his fear took over and the smile faltered. We left. My dog’s diet food had to be prescribed, the trip was not a success.

My mom strolled and noticed a frame shop and sauntered in. I followed suit, as usual. I ALWAYS walk next to her, but I guess the hajib is an exception. The man genuinely smiled at me. My hopes were revived after that crash and burn with the heavyset lady and the twig man. My mom conversed with the man while I strolled and looked at the pictures displayed in elegant and gaudy frames. The man smiled again at me; he surprised me. He was in his late fifties, and I thought that his conservatism would interfere with his business sense and he would give me a glunch (Look it up on wordnik.com!). Next up was Albertson’s. We entered and I immediately felt many glances doubled at me. It was weird because we weren’t familiar with that store, and as we found the aisle our supposed items – metal 3M hooks to hold up brooms and mops – were in. We perused the area, but it was not there. We quickly left. I can imagine what the cashier’s reactions were when he/she saw a Muslim girl walk in and then a few seconds later, leaves without buying anything. “What the…? Kenny! Search for a bomb in aisle 9!” And then the bag boy would dodder towards aisle 9.

We went to VONS to buy some necessities for my aunt’s birthday party on Sunday, which is today. We finished shopping and went into the check out aisle. Luckily, the cashier was not the ones I am familiar with. He gave me a quick smile and started ringing our items up. An old lady, probably in her eighties, walked in behind us. I was looking at the moving belt, I could see her glaring at me in my peripheral vision. I finally started to indicate that I am going to look at her, turning my head slowly. She changed the subject of her glare to my mom, as if saying, “What kind of a mother would allow her daughter to become a Muslim?!?” Her right eye twitched. We got our bags and left.

THEN, we went to Dixieline to search for the nonexistent metal hooks. I passed through the metal turnstile, no idea where to begin in the massive hardware store. I finally pinpointed it to one aisle… And there was none. However, there was an old man who was took by surprise, his eyes wider than ever in his glasses that made his eyes wide (Tongue twister!!! Haha). My mom got frustrated and went to the help desk. She told me to get a number from the odd-shaped red ticker machine. I took a number and stood next to my mom who was standing next to a man sitting in a deck chair which was a part of the exhibit welcoming visitors and bored kids. The dark skinned man, took one glance at me, put up his arm to protect his eyes from the sight of me, but couldn’t get enough of it away from his sight. He stood up and walked next to another deck chair and patiently waited. That one moment really made me feel insecure and sad, that man had moved because of me, but I had no reason to move him – I didn’t smell, I was not smothering all over him, I was just standing there in my black hajib patiently. That moment also made me realize what Muslims have to go through everyday in a climate that isn’t accustomed to Muslims. We didn’t get our metal hooks, and we went home.

Readers! I have gotten better at my hijab styling!!! A picture!

Day 2! Better hijab?

Tonight is my aunt’s birthday. Well, I am typing this while my family are playing Liverpool. I hate Liverpool! So much mental work. I don’t like it. Haha. I’m such a lazy person. Whatever.

Anyways. I was watching ESPN – my dad insisted on watching the beginning of the Celts vs. whoever game. I was facing away from the door and there it was, the lights flashed, indicating the doorbell. I remained motionless, taking a deep breath, expecting a broad range of reactions from my kinspeople. I would say not blood related when it applies. My grandmother, aunt, not blood related uncle, not blood related family friend, two cousins – one boy and girl, another aunt, and my parents were there. I stood up, and turned around. My grandmother has glaucoma and I was surprised when she said, “I don’t know who you are!”, pulling me into a hug. I laughed and complied. Then, she mentioned, “So, you’re training to be a nun, huh?” My white underscarf had been showing and I said, “No, I am converting to Islam right now.” I was totally shocked that my grandmother didn’t react since she was in her eighties and trained to hate anyone who’s not American, you know that kind of lady. Up next, my aunt. I told her Happy Birthday and she replied with a, “So, are you converting into a nun?” I groaned in my head, and told her about the Islam thing. She had this weird kind of expression, an mixture of disappointment and shock and forced acceptance. I didn’t record my not blood related uncle’s reaction. He’s a beatnik – the ones who are outraged against the Iraq War and Bush and all that. He’s a little bit annoying, to say the least. Anyways, after a while milling about and conversing with people, my dad came up to me and reported that my grandmother had came up to him and yelled at him for letting me turn Muslim. I laughed and my dad said that Grandma was dead on serious.  Then I just announced that it was for a week long project because the tension in the air was unbearable and unusual for a family setting. Besides, it was a birthday and I didn’t wait it about me. So I think I made the right decision in announcing that. My family also curiously asked me some questions about Islamic culture. I coolly replied them all, but got stumped by one: Do Muslims celebrate birthdays? I went online and searched for the answer. The answer: They don’t really celebrate birthdays. It’s more of an American culture to celebrate birthdays. But I claim my gift (An impossible puzzle) to be charity towards my aunt. We had a good laugh over that. Overall, after they got used to the black thing that is now residing on my head, I had fun.

I gotta get ready for tomorrow and some big reactions from some of my more conservative friends. One of my friend, about an year ago, said that she hates Muslims and that they should be exiled from America. I was like, “Wow. Talk about not coexisting.” We will see tomorrow! I don’t see her that often, but still!

March 29, 2010 at 4:36 am Leave a comment

Hijab

Please don’t tell anyone you know that I am doing this. I want to see people’s reactions when I tell them I converted to Islam.

My hands are shaking as I type this.  My hijab arrived yesterday night but I just found out this morning. A hajib is the scarf that you see Muslim women wear. I ordered a classic black scarf, a few safety pins, and a white underscarf. Mom took this package – white and crumpled – and looked at the return address – StarScarves.com and asked me what I bought. I just simply replied, a scarf (That is what a hajib is!) and she said, “How?” And I replied, “Using my debit card.” And then she just looked away. My heart was beating throughout the whole incident!

Then I was in the kitchen reading something in the newspaper, my mom came up to me, separated by the island in the middle, and told me that the scarf was black. I said (not along those exact words) “I know. Mom, I need to talk. I am converting to Islam.” And then for a flicker, my mom was overcome with fear, but her lips turned up into a smile, and I couldn’t compose myself and I laughed out loud (Stop it, Tory!!! Stop laughing!)! My mom then said, “Please don’t do that, it’s mean!” She said that because she thought this was a joke. Then I confirmed her fears – I am turning into a Muslim – the type of ones that blow up buildings and cars. Not all Muslims are the same, I explained to her, it’s just the extremists that cry ‘jihad’. My mom quickly replied, there’s a lot of Jews at school. I countered, the Nazis are the ones who exterminated them, not Muslims. My mother had nothing to say after that. It was clear that she was a little bit distressed. I was not shocked because she had a breakdown when someone who was close to her told her that he was gay. And I was not that shocked because my mom pretends to be open-minded but in actuality, she isn’t. For the rest of the occasion, she kept blustering then she left the room.

I walked to my bedroom and changed from a t-shirt and shorts as pajamas into a striped turtleneck, jeans, and socks. I can only show my hands and face to people that I don’t know. Also I guess I would have to wear the dress code during lacrosse practice! Well, in Muslim culture, women aren’t allowed to play sports, so I’m going to break that rule and not wear the hajib, unfortunately, because I think it would prevent me from performing my best. I will still wear the pants and long sleeves.

I opened the white and crumpled package. There it was.  It was so surreal having an item in my hands that symbolizes what most Americans fear – Islam.I went to the bathroom and bundled up my hair into a low bun, it was very easy to do that. Then I went into my room and quickly figured out the underscarf. It was a white tube of fabric that you easily pass your head through it and pull the edge up until it covers your hair and not your forehead and eyes. Then the black haijb, the actual one was way more harder. I went on the Internet, and, of course, they had some youtube videos that had mannequin heads with hands working around them. Anyways, my mother came in, I could show my hair to her because she’s part of my maternal close family. She quickly figured it out and you had to turn the sides and under the chin and then pin the fabric together. Really easy to do it.

Now. Pictures!

How do you feel? So weird and surreal, eh? But most importantly, how do I feel? Hm. When I first put it on, I was laughing because it felt like a costume, but as the reality set in, my chest started feeling like something is pressing on it. Maybe this hijab is cursed with the fury of Allah! But let’s not joke about Him. I feel like it’s a duty and my responsibility to wear this hajib (Of course) but I can see why Muslim women are wearing it, it reminds them everyday of how Allah is great and their religion, et cetera.

I am getting really sick of wearing this hijab. Thousands of hours to go. Yay! It’s very lightweight and wherever I move, it flows around my body. It’s really weird.

My parents keep giggling when they see me, because, I think, they have never thought of their daughter being a Muslim and wearing a hajib. Maybe they did when I was gone to Turkey, because approximately 98% of the population are Muslim. But it was so mind-blowing to see hundreds of Muslims milling about in the town square between Hagia Sophia and the Blue Sultan Mosque in istanbul. I guess it’s easier looking out than looking in.

There is only a black frame at the very far part of my eyes, I think it would blend in as a part of my vision for a week then when I take it off, it would be completely different. I am a little bit scared that I would lose my confidence when I take the hijab off because I might feel too comfortable inside the hijab, like a security blanket, I don’t have to worry about my looks or whatever. But I am a big girl, I can do whatever I want!

I am not allowed to

  • Drink alcohol (Of course)
  • Swear (A good reason to stop swearing)
  • Show any body part except for my face and hands to strangers
  • Play sports (But I’m breaking this one rule because of lacrosse… Duh!)
  • Eat with my left hand touching food (Because in the old times left hand are used to clean your behind after going to the bathroom)
  • Hug men other than my brother and dad.

Wish me luck!

March 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm 10 comments

My first blog EVER!

Hi peeps! Ok. If you are a sexual predator, a desperate guy looking to get laid, or a stalker of mine, please leave this blog. IMMEDIATELY. Or else.

Ok anyways. Sorry about the threat… Just wanted to ward off those creepies that just freak me out! When I was little and first exploring the whole new concept of the internet, my dad cautioned me about all the identity thieves and predators that entice little girls into their houses and do bad things with them. I was completely mortified by it and I vowed not to give my name out. But now, I’m such a hypocrite. My name is Tory. That’s all I will say. No more!

Anyways. I keep saying ‘anyways’! Ugh! Ok, I am writing this blog for my Creative Writing project. The project is to change one thing in your life for a week and update a blog daily to report on it. For my project, I would become a Muslim for a week. I know. Controversial, isn’t it? So, I just ordered a scarf, an underscarf, and few pins to hold the whole contraption together on Tuesday. Unfortunately, my dad found the receipt in the printer and came up to me. I tried to lie, saying that I converted to Islam (That’s what I will tell people if they ask) and he just laughed and I couldn’t hold up my part of the lie and I laughed along with him. I made him swear not to tell my mom. I expect him to keep it. Or else!

Other concerns of mine are that I get arrested under the Patriot Act because I am blogging about it and talking about being a Muslim. That concern is probably unrealistic because the government would understand the whole project. Hopefully because Mrs. Chufo might get fired if the government finds out! Let’s not think about it. Move on. One of my biggest concerns is that I get beaten up. I have my doubts because I’m in mostly democratic California, and Canyon Crest Academy is very flexible and indifferent about extreme things. I mean, there are plastic figures of human beings all over the campus, hanging from balconies, climbing a lamppost, and sitting on the grass and the students mostly ignore it. Also, CCA is not in Tennessee or Alabama or Texas or wherever, so I feel pretty safe, sort of. There’s always that lingering feeling of ‘What if?’ I am trying to pull through with this project and forget about that horrible feeling.

Another concern that probably would surely happen, if it doesn’t, I would be genuinely surprised; I could lose some of my friends. I mean they are not my friends if they stop talking with me because I am Islamic, of course, but what if they get a little bit scared because of the 9/11 attacks and the war with Iraq. Probably because of my sudden and unexpected conversion to Islam, friends get scared of my future; they are probably thinking what if I get all extremist Islamic on them and blow up the school? Also, another big influence on my friends’ perspective is their political standing, of course. If they are Republican, they would most likely sever relations with me. If they are Democratic, I doubt so. Since I have most Democratic friends, I wouldn’t be abandoned… I hope. Also my friends’ parents probably would hear about me converting to Islam and call the school to complain, but of course, I can plead the first!

Also I have lacrosse practice everyday and two games so I am planning to wear a long sleeved shirt and pants everyday since Muslim women cannot show any body part except for the hands and face.

So. Yeah! I’m both excited and nervous!

Please don’t tell anyone you know that I am doing this. I want to see people’s reactions when I tell them I converted to Islam.

March 26, 2010 at 1:46 am Leave a comment


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