The Hijab Pin Chronicle

The Hijab Pin Chronicle

Written by: Khadeja


As a hijabi of 15+ years, I shudder to think about how many hijab pins I have consumed. Despite my–or, rather, my mother’s–attempts at providing some sort of home for my pins, they always remained homeless. I tried pretty containers and pincushions, but to no avail. My pin issue affected those around me as well. I spent a few years living with my brother and he was constantly dodging them and picking them up from the floor. My response was always to smile sweetly and point out that even if he did step on one, the design of the pin–the standard pearl head–would not hurt him at all.

I must have gone through thousands of these pins. When I traveled, I would start off with one full pack and end my trip with just one or two. I wish these pins had mini trackers on them as I would love to see where they are now, strewn all over the world. I envision a world map like the ones that hang in the command center of an alien invasion movie, with red blinking dots signify everywhere signaling “I was here.”

A recent trip has led me to question aspects of my life, as any great journey leads a traveler to do. I set off on a two week journey to a far away land. I had minimalistic intentions. I packed only carry on luggage–me, the woman who will take a full-sized suitcase on a one-way domestic trip. My excuse was always that I was a hijabi and each outfit had at least 3 pieces. I mean, surely light summer dresses and shorts take up far less space! This trip was different.

Having toyed with the idea of minimalism for a few months, I decided to take the leap and try out the lifestyle for two weeks. Naturally, I decided to only take a few pins with me. I started off with 5 neatly tucked away in their little pin wheel. By the second day of my trip, only one remained. Just one single hijab pin. This was quite tragic for me, as my standard hijab style requires 3. But I had one. The old me would have frantically run around town to track a new pack down but a) I was in such a foreign country that I doubt I could find one; and b) I was so fixated on getting a cultural fix and drowning myself in my travels that I didn’t want to waste time on a silly errand. So I altered my hijab style to one that only requires one pin and I carried on.

That single sad and lonely hijab pin suddenly took on another role; it became my prized and special pin. It stayed with me the whole duration of the trip. It saw 9 different cities, 9 different hotel rooms, and multiple train rides. It went up and down hills and visited shrines and castles. And it came out strong. I found myself treating it with extra love and care. I would set it down carefully at the end of the day and when morning came I always new exactly where it was. My little accomplishment led me to question the way I treat material objects. Why haven’t I treated my pins with such care before? We live in times where everything is easily and cheaply available and can be replaced without a second thought. This experience has made me crave a life of simplicity, where material possessions are fewer but at the same time cared for and not taken for granted.

I am excited to see how far I can take my hijab pin. I might even invest in a tracker for it. Just in case.

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