At one of the wedding festivities I recently attended, a female Muslim friend of mine who had not seen me in a long time (and does not wear a headscarf) asked me when I had started wearing the scarf. I was surprised that she asked because I forget that it wasn't long ago that I did not wear it. Anyway, I said, "About two months." And then I went on to tell her how religous my husband is and how he encouraged me to wear it, and how some other girls in the community wear it so that encouraged me as well, and how my husband is getting more involved in our local Muslim community, so I figured it was a good time to start wearing the scarf. As she answered me with phrases like, "Oh, yeah, we try to be more involved too, my husband..." I became aware that I might come across as "bragging" about my religiousness, or making her feel self-conscious---afterall, her hair was styled--no scarf. And I was surrounded by other Muslim-borm females in beautiful, flowing, curly, straight, colored, long, and short hair...in eye catching form figuring clothes. So I tried to regroup and say, "but it is very difficult...". And when she finally graciously ended the conversation by saying, "yea, it's a good thing," I felt aware that I need to be careful as to not come across as "holier than thou," because I am far far far from perfectly religious. This headscarf is sending a message, yet the message is received differently by each receiver.
Now that I wear the headscarf and now that I've attended a few parties where born-Muslims ladies are all dressed-up and have began to notice their attire in contrast to my new wardrobe, I sometimes feel embarassed for my old pre-headscarf self. And even though I have always been lazy about all that girly stuff (hair styles, make-up types, clothing trends, manicures, etc.)...I was still totally oblivious to the comformity of dressing-up for parties--totally wanting to look young and perky and beautiful (tight clothes usually did the trick). So now when I see those dolled-up girls...I see them as being foolish. So then I feel relieved and proud that I'm no longer a part of that "flaunt it" group. But then it does not add up...why should I feel proud? Afterall, I still desire to look pretty and put-together through my clothing...I still wear make-up to beautify my face...I am still them...I am still me...I am still vain.
"Pride defeats its own end, by bringing the man who seeks esteem and reverence into contempt."
There were a few Muslim ladies at the wedding parties wearing headscaves and long, loose, plain-colored abayas/jackets/jilbabs....one lady wearing all black...and none of them wearing make-up. It's not like they were completely drab. Their fabrics might have been expensive, the jackets tailored well, the headscarf perfectly matching the rest of the outfit.
So I think there is something dignified in dressing-up...nicely...but who am I to judge what's naughty or nice? I'm nobody.