Shortcut: Does My Head Look Big in This?
Amal is 17 years old. She is an Australian Muslim. This is what she tells us:
I can't sleep. Do I have the guts to wear the hijab head scarf? Full-time? That means all the time in front of males who are not family. My friends and I do wear it part-time. Like at Islamic school. And when we go to the mosque. And sometimes on a bad hair day.
In four days I start back at upper secondary school. If I show up in the hijab, my class will freak out. I'll be the biggest loser of all time.
I'm used to being different. As a child I went to Catholic school, because the Islamic school was too far away. At school you could be teased for the colour of your socks. It was hard to fit in when your mother picked you up from school wearing a hijab and sunglasses. I didn't eat pork and the kids called me "Mossie", a nickname for a Muslim Aussie. They asked if I wanted to eat some bacon chips and if I had a camel for a pet. They said the teacher called me Anal, not Amal.
I wasn't teased so much for being a Muslim. I was bad at sports. I liked boy bands. There were lots of ways to make me feel like an idiot.
We used to live in Donvale. Our neighbors were the Chongs, Slaviks, Xiangs ... Being a Muslim family wasn't a big deal. There were so many different cultures. Now we live in Camberwell. We've got the Taylors, the Johns ... and we don't know who the rest are. It is different. Everybody keeps to themselves.
I can't believe I'm thinking of wearing the hijab to school. At my school you are un-cool if you don't follow fashion.
I can't sleep. What will Adam say?
Adam? Who gives a crap about Adam?
Not me. Nope.
Hey, that's not fair. He's not like that.
Allah, please let me fall asleep. I'll wake up with bags under my eyes. And I left my concealer at Yasmeen's house. There's no way foundation is going to fix this one.