I shaved all my hair just not to remove the headscarf.

I started covering my hair on my own when I was 12. I hadn’t even had my first period. First, my mother did not let me. She said, “It’s too early for this, grow up a little bit.” I literally begged her, and she finally gave in. 12-year-old, I was still a child. My father told me: “If you promise me that you will never remove it, you can do it.” I accepted with enthusiasm.

I was always happy as a hijabi. I never got mad at myself for choosing it. My conscience was clear. My parents were also delighted. But back then, everything was different. We were in a small town. There weren’t many liberal people there. It was like a plateau, so it was chilly even in the summer. My mother was a housewife. Later on, we moved to our current place. People are much more liberal, and the summers are scorching.  Nevertheless, I was pleased to be a hijabi and kept moving on.

I started feeling pretty during the first years of high school. Thank god, I really do have a pretty face. My friends always find me beautiful and give me compliments. Although, I also started to get a feeling, saying to myself: “I’m not beautiful and never will be.” This was followed by another: “Girls who don’t wear a hijab are prettier.” During sophomore, the depression came, and I started the long journey of recovery. During this process, I questioned everything. I kept thinking. I realized the reasons for depression. This thought was one of them, I was aware of that. But I never told this to anyone. I realized that I might be bisexual, but I never accepted that. I couldn’t have done that as a hijabi.

Back then, the girl who sat next to me in class was also wearing hijab. I talked to her. I opened this topic for the first time to anyone, but back then, I wasn’t thinking of removing the veil, I was only feeling uncomfortable by my situation. I told her about this. She said she felt the same way.

As time goes by, I hated summers more and more. I started to go out less. I began to feel ashamed to wear yazma (a simpler, lighter version of a headscarf) while going to the market. Taking out the trash, going out to buy some bread etc., I gave up doing these simple tasks because I felt a need to look at myself in the mirror, take too much time to put my clothes together which became more difficult for me every day. As soon as spring arrives, I started to feel sad, thinking “I’m gonna start burning up because of all the heat.” I always envied people who dance. I really like singing. Even doing these was very difficult for me. As a hijabi, doing them wouldn’t suit me. What would people say? I tried to suppress myself while my friends go out dressing the way they like. Beautiful dresses, shorts… I had to wear long clothes. Wearing tunics, jackets over my t-shirts tires me. While dressing up, I dress up like the girls I see and look at myself in the mirror. Last summer, I closed my Instagram account because I couldn’t stand seeing people who dress up the way they like, dancing freely. I felt jealous. Yes, jealousy. How funny, isn’t it? I don’t want to go swimming because I have to wear a burqini. Because people stare at you, and it looks unpleasant. So, if we are far away and I’m sure that no one I know is around, then I swim. I, too, want to feel the salty water touching my skin and the wind touching my skin.

I tried to convince myself. If other girls can do it, a hijabi can do it as well. I can be an excellent example for the girls who wear the hijab. I can prove that hijabis can be modern, too. But, I think I’m about to break my promise that I gave myself and my father.

My mother teaches Qur’an. I know she would never let me remove the hijab because this is a sensitive issue for her, and she is very judgmental regarding the headscarf. She’s pressuring me into going to Qur’an lessons. She keeps telling me to do my daily prayers, to fast on Ramadan and read religious books. If I tell her that I want to remove it, she will be even more oppressive. She might say I’m influenced by social media and take my phone away, or she might even stop me from going to a university. I don’t know. Plus, I’m sure her colleagues and friends would try to shame her because of me, saying “She is a teacher, but look at her daughter, removing her hijab.”

I’m actually faithful. I pray regularly, and I feel gratitude. My faith for Allah is without a doubt. But doing daily prayers seems meaningless to me, and wearing a hijab when I don’t even do the prayers restricts me. I feel constrained. But I will keep believing, even if I remove the veil.

My hair is not so pretty, it’s thick, and it gets puffy. I try to convince myself that I look better with the hijab, and I wouldn’t look that pretty when not wearing it. I got a very short haircut. Just like soldiers have. Before that, I used to cut my hair unevenly. Just so that I won’t stop wearing it.

I want to do colourful makeups and go out like that.

Now I get a little courage from reading all the letters sent here, but I guess I can’t do it right now. Maybe in university, maybe when I finally start a job, when I no longer see pressure from my family.

I’m 18, and this really tires my heart.

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