Freedom is so deeply engraved in me, I still don’t let anyone interfere with me.

I was a 13-year-old girl born and raised in the Netherlands. My family thought I was too adapted to Dutch culture, and I would not know faith or religion, so they sent me to a boarding school in Ankara. I studied 3rd grade of middle school and all of the high school staying in a Naqshbandi* dormitory in Turkey. I was surrounded by so-called religious people. My friends and teachers were all wearing a headscarf. Only I was not wearing one. Nobody forced me to. When I was 14, I started covering my hair voluntarily because of the environment. At that age, what kind of willpower I could’ve shown, you decide. My father wept with joy when he saw me with a headscarf. Years passed, I returned to the Netherlands.

I graduated from the faculty of education. I got married and had a child. I looked happy, everything was okay, but day by day I was becoming alienated from my headscarf. It was choking me, I was feeling humiliated. I could not deny my inner voice anymore. I decided to get rid of it.

Nobody caused any trouble when I stopped wearing it. But an apathy started between my husband and I. By freeing my hair, my brain also became free. I wanted to do things I couldn’t experience for years.

I couldn’t do things that were normal for many teens. Whereas for healthy development, it was necessary to behave like a child. I was covered in my 14, closed to the outside world.

Years have passed. I got divorced and started my own life with my son. I did what I could not do in my teenage years. Freedom is so deeply engraved in me, I still don’t let anyone interfere with me. My son is now 12, and I am 39. I allow him to grow up with freedom. I teach him that there is no distinction between boys and girls. I keep him away from bigoted and fanatic ideas. Raising my son in this way is a gift to women and society.

Future mothers, study, get your diploma and do not live under patriarchy. Your headscarves are a suppression tool. Do not be fooled. Raise your children to love women to let this pressure and bigot order end. We can do it, you can do it!

I wish your hair blows in the wind. Stay with love.

* Naqshbandi is a Sufi and Islamic group.

(Image: Alexandra Dvornikova)

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