“When I decided to keep my hair uncut, I don’t think I realized the true impact of Sikhi on my life.

It was after I decided to start tying turban in 12th grade that I noticed the difference in the way people looked at me, or how everyone stared just a few seconds longer at me than they would at my other friends.

Definitely, the first few months, I was very self-conscious and even a bit apprehensive as to whether my decision had been right or not. This is not to say that people who do not tie turbans are any less Sikh than me; in fact, I know many non-turbaned people who are contributing to the Sikh community and they face many difficulties as well.

Personally, tying a turban was one of the best but also difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make; it’s a lifelong commitment with no looking back, at least for me. I slowly became more confident about my image; the turban gave people a reason to come talk to me and ask questions about Sikhism. This made me feel as if my decision to tie a turban was 100% positive and that it gave me a significant identity, allowing me to educate others about the Sikh faith.

My advice to other Sikh women, and men as well, is to remember that those extra stares are not actually hostile glares, but are actually just questioning minds who are curious. Do not get defensive about questions relating to long hair, turbans because when people ask questions, they are actually interested in being educated.

Also, never feel like you know everything there is about Sikhism, because that will surely cause you trouble along the way. Try to educate people with the knowledge you have, and educated yourself about Sikhism as much as you can. Also try to educate yourself about other cultures, faiths and religions to become more informed and better equipped to have actual intellectual discussions.

Let’s just embrace and respect each other with open arms while retaining our own identity as Sikhs.”

Via: Portraits of Sikhs

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