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Own Your Modesty

It’s about 11 am on a Tuesday, I’m dressed and getting ready to walk out of the door. “Should I take it out? I probably should take it out- yeah that’s what I’ll do…” I take my shoes off run back to the bathroom and take out my nose ring. As I’m taking it off a piece of me comes off with it. I shake it off grab my portfolio and rush out the door, I didn’t want to be late. As I’m sitting waiting in a small office, I’m given a form to fill out then my name is called. Nervously I get up and follow the woman back to her office. She proceeds to ask a couple of background questions, and the typical “why do you think you would be a good fit?” Honestly, I can’t even remember what I said. I didn’t get the job. I now know why, I wasn’t being myself. I’m sure I said what I thought she wanted to hear. Taking out the nose ring was just the first step of a day that went downhill from that point on.

A nose ring was the least of my concerns

There were a couple more days like that before I finally woke up. It’s like the light bulb went off in my head, “what if you get hired? what then?- will you put the nose ring back on? Will you alter your way of being to ’fit in’?” Mind you, I’m a Muslim Black girl from Harlem with a head wrap on trying to get into one of the most superficial industries known to man. I already stuck out, a nose ring was the least of my concerns. Fitting in wouldn’t happen, standing out was all I could do and I came to a point when I learned to own it. If people are going to stare, then you might as well look good, feel good and be yourself.

That was in the mid-nineties when I first started interviewing for design assistant jobs after I graduated from college. I would like to say that it was a quick process, but it wasn’t. There was a lot of rejection and I was depressed for a while before I was able to snap out of the ‘fit in’ or ‘am I good enough’ mindset. Once I became confident in my abilities, who I was and decided that I wasn’t changing for anyone that is when change happened. No the offers didn’t start rolling in, but I did get a couple.

I say rock your modesty

This brings me to the point of this post. If you are going to stand out, and you usually do when you’re dressing modestly with any type of head covering, why not be fly? Why not be the ‘baddest mo fo in the joint?’ I say rock your modesty so you feel confident about the way you look in any situation you are in. Yes it might be an oxymoron, modesty is supposed to be unassuming. But if you don’t feel good about yourself with what you’re wearing, you’re not helping anyone. The lack of confidence shows up through out your life in so many ways. The jobs you accept, the husband you marry, the way you raise your kids, who you choose to be around and the list goes on.

Clothes don’t make the woman, it amplifies you. However you feel about yourself is amplified through your clothing, the way you carry yourself, the way you speak to people and so on. Next week we will start the process of amplifying you. The best way to get it started is with layering pieces. As the professional Muslim women that we are we need modest clothes to wear to the office. A jacket is the number one item that can amp up any outfit. When the fit is on point, it can make most outfits look professional. Look out for the post next week, it will be fun!

In the mean time, do you remember a situation when you weren’t being quite yourself? Leave a comment below.

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3 thoughts on “Own Your Modesty”

  1. Assalam Alaikum Sister!

    This experience shared with me has been such a blessing. I’ve struggled with this for so long. I held employment where I dressed in the typical suit, high heals and no head scarf. I resigned to focus on my religion, but when life changes (divorce) forced me back into the workforce, I thought I could never get a job identified as a Muslim woman. Well, I kept getting rejections letters after rejection letters, note all my in person interviews I looked great in my power suit and heals. One day when I returned to my hotel room after attending my mother’s funeral, a message was in my email inbox asking me if I was available for an interview. I replied yes. The day of the interview, I basically said f this, I’m interviewing them. I’m rocking my suit with a skirt covering ALL my legs and a scarf over my head. I thought, “If they will not hire me with identifying as a Muslim woman, I don’t want to work for them. Realize, I was in great need of money by then. ” Well, to make a long story short, I walked into the interview with five members of the selection board, and I felt like I was on fire, BEING ME! I got the job, and they even negotiated my salary higher than their initial offer!!!! I know not everyone will get hired wearing a clothing that identifies them as a Muslim woman, but who wants to work for people like that? I was fortunate, and I don’t expect all Muslim women to go on the street not getting a job due to discrimination, but this was my experience. You can be modest without a head covering too!

    Noor

    1. WAS! Shukran for sharing! I’m sooo happy for you. I know it’s not easy, but when you decide to own it and be you- I think that’s when things start to open up! Muslim women need to hear stories like these and know that it is possible! 🙂

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