People ask why I cover up
I cover up for confidence
For modesty
And yes I do it for my religious beliefs
But before I covered up “My kind” didn’t even talk to me
They didn’t even acknowledge me
They assumed I wasn’t their “kind”
Before I covered up I wasn’t happy
I wasn’t confident
I just felt like I wasn’t me
I wanted to cover up so bad
But I was terrified of the outcome
I didn’t build up that kind of confidence yet
One day this girl walked in my life
And believe me nothing was religious about her
So we became close friends
One day I was walking down the hall and there she was
She was covered up
I was so filled with shock that my jaw dropped dead open
She told me she wanted to
She told me that her family helped her build up that confidence
I was proud of her
I was envious of her
I wanted to cover up just like her
That night I was deep in thought
That night I made my final decision
With all I had
Back straight and chin held high
I went to announce my final decision
My siblings doubted me in a blink of an eye
My mom was waiting for me to build up that confidence
And my dad wanted me to wait
But no
I couldn’t wait
This was something for me
No one else
I had to do this for me
That first day of Ramadan
I covered up
My entire family was shocked, surprised, and happy all at the same time
I was proud of myself
I did it with no one telling me to cover up
I did it with the confidence in myself
I proved all those who ever doubted me wrong
So people ask why I cover up
They don’t understand why I cover up
They don’t understand the true meaning to cover up
To cover up it defines me
It defines me as a new person
A new person who has been reborn
A new person who has changed her self esteem
Who changed her level of confidence
To cover up defines me as a woman
No longer a little helpless girl
When I cover up I cover the outer beauty
When I cover up I let the inner beauty out of its cage
So when people ask me why I cover up
These are the reasons why
This is why I cover up

By Aaya Kanan