The journey is almost over! I can’t believe it! I have learned many things on this journey, and not necessarily because of wearing the hijab, but because of the conversations it has opened up between others and myself.
Today I chose to do a short social experiment by fully covering myself with the niqab/burka. I wore the abaya I brought back from Amman, boots to make sure that my legs were completely covered, black gloves, and the head and face covering, leaving only my eyes uncovered.
I was very nervous to do this to say the least. My heart was racing as I sat in my car before going into Target. I’m nervous right now, just typing these words. I finally decided to get out of my car and make the trek into Target. I felt very strange. For women who choose to wear this, or have to, you are brave. So brave. I cannot, nor will I ever be able to know what it feels like to dress like this every day of my life.
Upon entering Target I grabbed a cart and went right to the kids clothing area because I needed to grab a pack of socks for my son. After that I decided to walk around the store and look at all the clearance…where I always get myself into trouble! I always end up throwing something in my cart that I don’t need. But I just say to myself (and my husband), “It was soooo cheap!” Haha. Anyway, as I was walking around I passed by an old woman. She stared at me for so long I thought she was going to break her neck. Seriously. She couldn’t see it but my jaw almost hit the floor.
A little while later I passed by a young couple. I only caught the first part of the woman’s reaction, but I was shocked. The woman stared at me and then tapped her significant other on the shoulder. I’m still in disbelief over the fact that someone would do that. It makes my sick to my stomach. Please please don’t ever do that to someone…treating them as if they can’t see you.
As if they are something to be gawked at.
Almost immediately after that I thought another old woman was going to break her neck. At this point I was wishing that my Target had a self check out lane…but it doesn’t. So I got into line, so nervous about how I would be treated by the cashier. But thank the Lord she treated me like a normal human being. Kudos to that woman.
As I got back in my car, I wondered if I would continue on to another store like this. I decided that I would at least go through the Steak N Shake drive thru before I finished. As I drove to Steak N Shake I thought…”should I get gas now or wait to get it after?”…my car was definitely on empty. My husband is always telling me not to let it get to empty, but I never listen, swearing that I know how far I can make it before I actually need to get gas. Do you know where this story is going? Yeah, me too. There was one car at the window in front of me and guess what…my car died. No joke. I couldn’t get it to start again.
I. ran. out. of. gas.
This is where my failure comes into play. I thought to myself, “I can’t do it. I just can’t. I can’t ask someone for help dressed like this. I can’t.” So I took it off. I had hijab underneath, but I took the niqab off.
The woman in line behind me got out of her car and asked if I needed help. I told her yes, and she said that her husband was actually inside eating, and that he probably had a gas can in his trailer…because this has happened to her before! Praise the Lord! She called her husband and he came out. At the same time, 2 Steak N Shake employees came out to help push my car out of the way. The woman’s husband came over and said he probably had enough gas in the can to get me over to the gas station. I was so thankful! I wished that I had had some cash to give him, but I had nothing. I went over and filled up my gas tank, and then decided to go back over to the restaurant to see if the man was still there, and he was. I asked an employee if I could pay for the man’s meal. I didn’t want him to know I was there, but I told the employee that if he asked who paid for his meal, they could tell him it was the lady he helped with the gas. At least I could repay him in a small way.
The full burqa is such a huge commitment. I obviously am not brave enough to carry this endeavor out myself, I felt I couldn’t even ask for help with it on. These women are brave. Wearing the hijab in general is a huge commitment, and I commend those who choose to wear it on a daily basis, for their entire lives.
Taking this journey one step at a time, and sometimes failing miserably.
And trying to love strangers, neighbors, and enemies.
Grace & Peace.