Everyone always has something to say.

Shopping or dining out is always a treat–a sweet lesson in patience. The cashier’s puzzled expression after reading the name on my credit card both amuses and infuriates me. I lean into their confusion. I speak in an American accent with a wide smile. In their attempt to rectify my Anglo-saxon surname with my “ethnic” wardrobe, the probing questions begin.

“Where are you from?”

“Maryland.” I continue to grin sweetly, pretending I don’t know what they mean.

They try again.

“Where are your parents from?” I’ve ripped apart their understanding of the world, and are pleading with me to make sense of it. She must have immigrant parents, right?

“Maryland.” I maintain eye contact in the awkward silence that follows.

Mumbling feebly, the cashier hands me back my credit card. It is my badge of honor, my identity. No need to make it “Arab or “Foreign” for your comfort. It’s Muslim enough, ‘K.T. Lynn.’

Some individuals, usually other women, wait until it is “safe” and try and save you from your plight.

“Does your father or husband make you wear that?” They practically salivate for a reason to pity you.

I bite my tongue to resist the urge to retort “Does your father or husband make you wear the ugly sh*t you have on?” and smile sweetly.

“No ma’am. It’s my choice.

It’s my hijab. 

In Saudi Arabia, my fellow expatriates are uncomfortable around me. I don’t drink and party like they do. I’m ” religious”, ie. “No fun.”

My outfit is always a source of confusion. I don’t wear short skirts. My heels don’t go click clack. My bare face appears downright sleepy next to the buffed, polished, and shellacked faces around the office. I’m plain Jane–but my bare starts wars, divides families, and starts revolutions. I’m beautiful, sexy, curvy, and unstoppable, but it’s out-of-sight and out-of-mind, just like me.

It’s my hijab.

“Oh she’s Muslim, but she’s cool.” they say to their friends at the coffee shop when I walk by with “too much” covered. She could be one of us, but she looks so different.

It’s her hijab. 

My fellow Muslims a refuge of comfort and solace. I wish, but it isn’t so. The men constantly harass me, “Sister don’t you know that Allah wants you to cover. Hide that face. Your such a beautiful sister, masha’Allah

Strive for jannah sister. This worldly life has taken hold of you. Pray for forgiveness and guidance. You have much to correct. May Allah make it easy for you.

It’s your hijab. 

If they only knew, it’s what I want to wear. It’s the reflection of my insides, on the outside. I’m covered but I’m bare and naked for all to see. My religion is on the outside; my commitment, my struggle.

It’s my hijab.