Someday I am going to take my stolen freedom back.

I wanted to tell my story now because I am too impatient and too coward to wait until I succeed.

People always considered me reckless. I kept pretending to be a rebel girl to hide the sensitive part of me. Everything started when I was 14.

“My daughter should wear a headscarf, the daughter of a covered mother must be covered.” My mother and father always wanted to shape my behaviour as they wish. They were saying that being headscarfed or not is unimportant, it was enough if their girl protected herself. However, in practice, a headscarfed family should have a headscarfed daughter.

To put it clearly, I am totally not religious. My family wanted me to go to a religious school. Even though I didn’t want it, I didn’t object to them. Who am I to do so? I delayed wearing a headscarf for a year, but later pressure from my relatives stopped me. The ones who saw me outside spoke things like “Headscarf is a must for women in our religion”, “Headscarf will suit you well”, “In our time they would beat women to make them wear it”.

They argued about things that were not their business. My mother told me if I don’t wear a headscarf, I can’t go to school. I didn’t go to school for 2 weeks. I didn’t want to go to school as the person I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to explain myself or retreat into my shell.

I was popular in the school with my red hair. Everything had changed when I went to school with a headscarf. I wore that unwillingly. I hated myself when I looked in the mirror. I used to like taking photos, then I hated it. I used to like talking, then I hated it. Above all, I used to love myself. That lasted for a year. For one year, I didn’t speak and didn’t look in a mirror unless it’s necessary.

I didn’t want to wear a headscarf. However, there was a fear inside me: “If you don’t wear a headscarf, your grandfather will kill you.”

Am I really alive anyway? I used to look at the hair of little girls with jealousy. Was that really being alive? It was totally jealousy. Or it wasn’t, really.

I felt free once due to an assignment for the school. We went to the islands as a group by boat. I took my headscarf off there, and I didn’t care about anything that moment. My hair streaming in the air, wind breeze on my neck… I was finally alive! I was breathing! I didn’t hate myself.

I have never told my family that I wanted to take off my headscarf. Even though I look reckless to people close to me, I am such a coward. I am going to tell them. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after… Someday I am going to tell. I am going to take my stolen freedom back.

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