For the longest time, I believed that to wear hijab you had to be in a dress and heels with makeup, looking like a princess, being on fleek 100% of the time. Now I'm not saying you can't be that person because if that's who you are then strut those heels girl!
But I grew up with sports in my life. Sweatpants, a hoodie and my hijab was my daily wear. I played volleyball and ran track in middle and high school. I was the only hijabi in my hometown doing these things. My parents and I had to fight sport standards just to allow me to compete. As if wearing hijab wasn't already hard, I put myself in situations where people told me, “Sorry, you can't play with that on your head. It's a hazard to other players. You'll have to benched.”
I didn't see very many hijab wearing athletes, if any at all, that I could look up to. Was I doing this right? Could I still be Muslim and do the things I enjoyed? Was I strong enough to be continuously rejected and told I couldn't do the one thing I spent countless hours practicing?
After a decade of wearing hijab, I learned what my style is and how I can wear hijab and still do the things I love. I learned that hijab in no way, shape or form, holds me back from doing the things I love, even if I’m the only hijabi in the crowd doing them. I run, bike, climb and yoga because I love it, and no notion of who I’m supposed to be, as defined by society, is going to hold me back. I learned how to be confident and proud of who I am. And although I know not everything will work out for me at first, I know I can fight for what I believe in. I will continue to do the things I love and wear hijab because this is who I am. I am unapologetically Muslim.