I faced the things I couldn’t face before.

Hello. I’m a woman who has her hair covered for 15 years. I grew up in a conservative family. Even though no one from my family pressured me, one day, I thought about an outfit that my grandmother once gave me “This is for covered women, so I should cover my hair too and surprise my grandmother.” I did it just once but all of a sudden, everyone started to congratulate me and I assumed that I did a great thing.

I had just finished secondary school and I had to go to high school. Since I couldn’t pass the exam, I was going to go to a regular high school but it was a very troubled one. So instead, my father enrolled me in an Imam Hatip State High School*. Adding the congratulations I received, I thought I was doing a good thing when I went to a school full of covered girls. When it comes to religious aspects of it, I didn’t know what or why I was doing and I never questioned it.

Years had passed and I finished high school and university. When I started to work, I began to question from time to time. I was trying to convince myself that I did a good thing with wearing a hijab but months later, the problem resurfaced again, but worse. My point of view about hijab had changed so much that when I looked at people, I was confusing the hijab and hair, and I started to see hijabs as hair.

Most women wear hijab on the bus I take when going to work, the non-hijabis are few. Sometimes I put myself in their place, and I wonder if it would feel bad being a non-hijabi in a place where a great number of women are the opposite. I started to think I shouldn’t have the right to make other side feel bad just for a piece of cloth and felt like discrimination is arising among us.

Maybe it doesn’t make any sense to you, but I think that hijab is separating us and I feel sorry for being a part of it.

Now I have faced the things that I couldn’t, that I avoided researching, I want to uncover my hair but I don’t know how to take action. In the meantime, I got married, I have a very good husband and I’m sure he will support me but my parents and my relatives definitely will not like my decision.

I don’t know if I can fight back. 15 years have passed since I covered my hair, now I’m 30. This is a really long time. One of the things I’m afraid of is that my little sister is preparing for university exams this year.

I’m afraid if I take my hijab off, my father won’t send my sister to university.

She must have been influenced by me because she covered after she finished secondary school. My parents probably wouldn’t want my sister to be affected by me again. What kind of trouble did I put myself in? I’m very regretful. I’m thinking of trying to tell them after the exams are over. I don’t know when, this year or next year, all I know is that day will surely come and I’m sure I’ll uncover my hair…

*Some kind of religious school in which women are required to cover their hair

(Image: Petra Eriksson)

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