Don’t say “Headscarf can’t restrict you.”

At 9th grade in high school when I was 14, I covered my head. Don’t ask me why. I did it, and I don’t know why. My mom was happy. I’ve grasped what I’ve actually done later. The scarf on my head was clipping my wings. Don’t say “Headscarf can’t restrict you.” If you had to continue doing something you don’t like, you’d feel restricted. The opposite is the same too, telling someone to take their scarf off when they don’t want to.

I was going to school. The school service was waiting for me, and I was waiting at the door before I left the building. I hesitated to go out with a headscarf. I didn’t have much time, I had to hurry, and I said to myself “You’re headscarved from now on.”

I have memories which not even a single one is good. All sorrow. In high school, I had to tolerate insults due to my headscarf, people holding my head with both hands and asking “What’s inside this?” as they chuckle. Additionally, it made me look uglier than I am. I didn’t like myself, and it destroyed my self-esteem. It didn’t take long to regret what I’ve done. I realised it when I came back home.

I’ll be honest with you, even if it’s commanded by the Quran, it sounds ridiculous to me. Why does a woman have to cover her hair? And it’s not just the hair. The women in the religious community consider themselves ornaments; that’s the logic behind covering.

It has been 5 years, but I still can’t understand. Am I an object? Someone says “Feet, hands and face are ornaments too; cover them as well”, someone else says “No. Feet, hands and face are visible by nature.” Who decides on the nature of body parts? Where should be covered by a headscarf? Breasts? One step further, it is even weirder because they add tradition to the equation, and it becomes even more confusing to me. I get lost and start questioning religion itself.

As people expect me to pray five times a day and act like an angel, I am far away from being sincere with these questions roaming in my head.

My appearance doesn’t fit my state of mind. I never had a desire to wear shorts or mini skirts. It was also like that before the headscarf. I’m not saying that it’s wrong to wear shorts and such. I like long dresses, I’ll keep it as-is after I take my hijab off. I just can’t endure the dress code.

I am afraid of our social circle. My parents know that I don’t want it anymore. After five years of tormenting myself, I told my mother.

“One reveals her hair today, and what else tomorrow?”

“For all this time, everyone saw you that way, what would they say?”

She taunted me with my biggest fear, the reason I kept it on. What would people say? Would they recognise me on the street? She’s just imitating his friends from university. These thoughts are gnawing away in my head.

But I ask myself; why is what others say so important? Live your life. Beautiful words, of course. Wish I could do it. Oh, I wish to dress, live and speak what I desire.

I will start university this year. I am determined to take it off. All I want is your advice. Please don’t say “Don’t care about others, do what you want.” No, I don’t get pressured by my parents and I still can’t do it. It’s not because of the fear of Allah. It’s not because I believe in Kuran’s verses or my beliefs. I am scared of people.

Please if you want to give advice, tell me how to achieve it. I imagine myself getting ready in the morning and not putting my scarf on, but I can’t. How should I prepare myself?

Thank you for reading and at least trying to understand me.

(Image: Heo Jiseon)

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