It all started one evening when I got home from school, well that was when it started for my mum and for the rest of my family. Things were out in the open from that evening Zara, thats me, was always the odd one out and had now come home with pink hair over her natural straight black hair. I had also had it cut into a bob length when it had never been past my mid back since I was little, but I was sick of conforming to the family and needed to be my own person. My mum hadnt been happy when I told her 5 months earlier that I was taking off my hijab and leaving the islamic school I had joined 3 years earlier to find myself in a public school, with white kids, black kids, children from broken homes, with drug and/or alcohol problems and kids with more metal in their front ends than most of the cars we had ever owned. I was sick of being the muslim girl.. yes I was still muslim but I wanted people to know me before they knew my beliefs and in hijab I couldnt do that. I didnt feel comfortable wearing it anymore when I knew in my heart that I was beginning to question those very beliefs that had been instilled in me since I was a young girl.
Let me explain my family a little. My mum came from your average middle class white family, her father worked hard to get her through school, college and then at university, away from home for the first time, she met my father. He was a recent immigrant into UK, coming from Africa to find a better life for himself away from famine, war, oppression and death. It was hard for him, he couldnt find a job and didnt speak much english so he contacted a number on a local notice board for english lessons in return for information regarding Africa for research. That teacher wasnt my mum, but the teacher couldnt make his first lesson and convinced my mum to take just this one lesson for 10 pounds (which was a lot in those days), she agreed finally and thats how they met. She learnt about his religion, in time they got married, without my mums family present, 1 year later I was born then 5 years later she accepted Islam. Even at that age I realised the restrictions that Islam put on women, I stop playing outside with the boys, I covered my skin and in time I had to cover my hair. I never once blamed my mum, my father doted on me and I knew they were trying to do their best for me.
Now to the present, I walked in the door saw the shock on my mums face and before she could say anything I stormed upstairs and slammed my door to shouts of 'young lady, get down here' from my father. I sat at my dressing table and brushed my new hairstyle, I was happy but it hurt for the pain I had caused my family... but this had to be done, I wasnt a child anymore and they had to understand this. I was a teenager now!!