Small Towns Small Minds (2013)

I live a small town in Kentucky. Its small yet a tourist town. I personally would fear this town had it not be my home region.

June 2013 I cut my hair up and started wrapping a scarf over my head to hide the nightmare. It started out just being dropped over my head and tied under my chin then I eventually learned to wrap a proper hijab. Wearing the scarf went from hiding a bad hair cut, into fun social experiment, eventually I just grew comfortable wearing and it felt weird without it. People I worked with frequently asked “Why?!” I respond simply “I want to” or “social experiment”. I worked in a call center about an hour or less away, its was liberal diverse atmosphere, never a big deal.

However, I would like to share one day worth of public response.

I stopped in the town I live in obviously wearing the scarf and sunglasses to get gas. The two girls behind the counter started whispering and giggling. I know these girls by name, however they had no idea who I was. I was offended with the ignorance and immaturity. I walked out announcing that I’d take my business elsewhere. At that gas station another lady I knew started at me the entire time I filled my tank. I waved to her… she turned her head. Again she didn’t know who I was.

Later, I took The Evil Stepsister to the grocery store and sat in the car. This old man stared at me until I turned back at him and stared with a somber expression. When I looked away I seen him flick a lighter from my peripheral vision. I figured cigarette until I smelled marijuana. Who smokes pot in broad day light in front of the grocery store?
Lesson learned about this town; A person wearing a scarf wrapped around their head and sun glasses is obscene yet smoking pot in public is normal and acceptable. Right.

My social experiment was only to last through Ramadan. The Islamic month of fasting. It was to do so in expression of personal acknowledgement of tribulation and discrimination of Islamic women in the United States. I got a lot of questions and reactions.
I obviously continued through Ramadan for several months. I kind of miss the days of the scarf/hijab.

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