Funny how the nicest of people who say that they are understanding and very tolerant of others are closet social bigots and a bunch of insincere and judgemental lot! But before I elaborate on that (or rather vent out my frustrations), let me start from the beginning...
My earliest memories on my sense of dressing brings to mind my kindy days. There was a lovely floral dress with smocking stitch on its front, made by nenek that I use to love. I would wear it to kindy every chance I get because it made me feel nice and pretty. Another favourite ensemble was a red cat sleeved jersey top and a purple bell bottomed pants. My mom use to cringe everytime I wore the latter. She said people just simply don't wear clashing colours. That was back then.
During my teens, there were a few pieces of apparels that I would wear religiously too; an olive green ribbed dungarees, to name one. I use to cut long t-shirts till they bare my navel, and wear them with self-made distressed denims. During college years, I'd be dressed mostly in baseball shirts and cap (with pink panther on it) and my ankle high canvas boots with pink flourescent socks. My hair was worn long, very curly and coloured light brown. When my career as an entertainer took center stage, my show outfits would mainly consist of garments made of black velvet with gold touches. Hence the beginning of my love affair with the colour black.
When I turned 30 and became a mother of two beautiful girls, my image changed yet again. I started wearing the hijab, but still remained in bright colours. That only lasted for less than two years. I then started to dress all in black because I felt that the bright colours drew too much attention to my garments instead of my personality. Its been almost 10 years now that I have been clad in black....most of the time.
Throughout my vogue journey, I remained the same. I am still me. I wear hijab so that it would be convenient for me to pray, no need to tote a bag filled with telekong. All I need is a pair of clean socks and I'm ready to say my gratitude to Allah. I wear black because I am already married and therefore have no need to draw any attention to myself. I love the black jubah and I wear it everyday because it allows me to take myself out of the fashion "market" where people dress according to what is in trend...and makes them feel good. My feel good factor lies in my state of mind, and not in what is fashionable in haute couture magazines. I also find that I get the respect that I feel I deserve as a wife, from other men, when they lower their gazes because my black hijab cautions them that I am not someone they can fool around with.
Which brings me to another part of this topic... I'll let my readers lable what it is... I haven't found the word for it yet.
My earliest memory that somehow defined who I am, was during my first week in primary 1. While entering the school hall, I overheard some people saying, "Itu anak Johari Salleh!" And I thought to myself, "So... That's who I am to the world? Does having my own name matter? Does having my own personality matter to these people? Would they be interested to get to know me for who I am individually or would they just prefer to lable me as the daughter of a famous symphonic maestro?"
Things got worse when I began my singing career. It doesn't matter how well I sang. It didn't matter that my career was different from my dad's (I am a vocalist. He is a musician!) People just saw me as "Anak Johari Salleh" and that irks me until today. Mind you, I am proud of being my father's daughter. But I am also proud of being my mother's daughter and she doesn't get enough credit for it... And the worst part of this all is that the general public just assume that they KNOW me just because they know who my father is. They think THEY KNOW ME just because they've read some fiction about me written in some tabloid newspapers and media gossip magazines.
People assume that just because I am an entertainer, I have no values and no religious upbringing. People assume that just because my father is a musician, I can play all types of musical instruments and read music. People assume that the person I am when I am perfoming and entertaining on stage is the same person in private. These people are confused. They don't like to be defined by what they do professionally and yet they judge others that very same way.
Fortunately for me, I have many, many very good people in my life. I believe what goes around, comes around. I have had some of my friends report to me how some people who think they know me say, "Apa?! You ingat Johana tu baik sangat ke? Just because she wears a black hijab and all...?! I know her lah...She is not as good and nice as what you think!" And the best part of this is that, this person who actually made these exclamations is not even close to being in the inner circle of my life! Imagine that! There are also some people who are almost green with envy due to their perceptions as to how lucky I am. After all, in their eyes, I seem to have it all. Looks, intelligence, wit, talent, wonderful husband, beautiful and smart and talented children....whatever! Dear God! They're near ready to hang themselves out of pure agony of jealousy! Yeah, sure! My life is a real bed of roses. No problems, no challenges. Just smooth sailing along the way.... And after all, the audacity of turning out alright although I rose from the ruins of a broken home, right? I should be in the dumps, somewhere; lying broken and unloved.
But, the thing is, I am still here. I am fine. I am more than fine. I have a very long list of things that I am grateful for in my gratitude journal. Life sucks, I'm sure... But not for me. I ain't complainin' one bit!
So, here's the bottom line:
1. I wear black because I am no longer available for the taking. I'm married.
2. Cloth i.e; my black hijab has nothing to do with my sprituality and faith. It just provides convenience for me to perform my solat because I hate to be bothered with toting telekong everywhere I go. And please don't even dare to suggest wearing those telekongs in public suraus. They stink! If it smells bad, it ain't clean, ok?
3. Nobody knows me best, except Allah. Not my parents, not my siblings, not my relatives. Noone. Na da. (What my husband and my soul sister knows is none of anybody's business, ok?) Even I am still clueless of myself sometimes. So please lah... jangan nak berangan, lah.... You wanna be famous? Teringin nak jadi bintang popular? Go ahead. Been there, done that, was that. Tak heran dah laaa... Here's a friendly word of advice: The grass is always greener on the other side...Because you don't have to mow it, water it, weed it. Its greener simply because its problems and responsibilities are not yours. If they were, you won't want it, you won't be grateful for it... Like how you're not grateful for what you have now, lah.... Wait till God takes all His blessings away from you. Baru padan muka...
So, get with the program, sistah! Your envy is showing its head. And, dang....its uuuuuugly!
If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
"Unfortunately, nothing is permanent in this world, including problems."