As a hijabi, I used to hide behind the hijab. I let being the short girl with the scarf on her head be my identity, never really let that many people see my true personality. I’d let people make their assumptions and would just try to blend in as much as possible.
I thought I was changing those shy instincts when I came out of hijab, and make bolder decisions to be more in the spotlight. But the truth is I found something else to hide behind, my smile. Regardless of how I’m feeling I still manage to put a smile on my face. I bottle up all of my emotions and put on a plastic fake smile. Always seeking to present this cute happy image to the world, and my smile allows me to do that. I smile through each heartbreak, disappointment, and loss, and supress all of the emotions.
As I sit and reflect, I never really hid behind the hijab, it was my smile all along. I was the sweet little girl with the scarf, and I still portrayed that same image, just without the scarf now. I used to pride myself on my fiery temper, but lately, that flame has been lost by the smile. Looking through old pictures and I see a smile hiding so much pain and covering up too many lies.
It’s time to retire the fake smile and ignite the flame, that’s been dormant too long.