Some of you know I was raised Muslim and still live with my very religious family. What you may not know is that I still wear the hijab.

Why? There are a lot of reasons, but the most relevant is that I am already "pushing the envelope" by wearing the scarf in a way that exposes my ears, neck, and chest, and this already gets me SO much flack from my immediate family, my extended family, and anyone who deems themselves my 'saviour' that I'd rather not deal with completely discarding the cloth and suffering the various consequences. Plus I've never outright stated that I no longer consider myself Muslim other than to friends and my sister.

Anyways, today I was getting dressed to pick up my sister from work, and it was HOT. I had already made the mistake of wearing a sweater to work so I decided that I'd wear a t-shirt and jeans (might seem innocuous, but t-shirt = bare arms = eternal damnation, at least in my family). I strolled downstairs without realizing my aunt and a strange lady had come over and were sitting in the living room chatting up my mom.

I greeted them both and told them I was going to pick up my sister (who works outdoors and wears the full hijab) from work and casually mentioned that she might be exhausted because of the day's heat wave.

Aunt: You're right. But you know what's hotter than [sister's workplace]? The Hellfire.


It took maybe all of five seconds to get to this point. I smiled and nodded and didn't comment on their flickering gazes as they explained to me all the ways I would suffer for my sins. I ended up wearing a leather jacket to the car to present the illusion I was planning on covering up my arms all along.

Don't get me wrong— I am all for religion. Islam has helped me become the person I am today. To many, not practicing = hating the religion. Let me say this outright: I LOVE ISLAM. It is a beautiful religion filled with some of the most lovely people I've ever met and has many messages I think are valuable. Religion itself just isn't for me. And with many religions come people who decide there is a "right" way to practice and/or exist and if you fail to measure up? Well, they're just trying to "look out for you" by commenting on your exposed arm skin.