I had waited to tell my story until I reach my goal. Now that I have reached, I am writing.

I don’t have a different story than most of you all. Maybe I was luckier than most of you, that’s all. I didn’t get the pressure to wear hijab as soon as I had my period. About a year after I had my period for the first time, I covered by my own will in the summer of the 7th grade. I remember very clearly I said to myself that day, “If I don’t cover my hair today, I will never do it.” It was true though, I knew myself.

Years have passed, I always dreamed of my future life that I will be wearing hijab but I will be a successful woman. My biggest dream was to prove to the world that women wearing hijab could succeed in science and art. I couldn’t even admit that I didn’t want to wear hijab anymore even to myself because of this goal. I would be the successful woman, representing the covered people, that was my goal in life. You know, when you wear a hijab, you are restricted more. I saw this goal as a rebellion to all these restrictions, the seemingly impossible. However, I know there are many women wearing hijab and overcoming all these restrictions. I couldn’t become a successful covered woman but there are many women out there who will be. Therefore, I’m happy.

The reason I don’t want to wear a hijab anymore is because I don’t find it reasonable. I don’t want to take any man’s responsibility to look at me with giving up my own freedom. It is not the only reason , but it’s the one that outweighs. I’m still a Muslim, but I don’t know what will happen in the future, because no matter what I ask, I can’t get a satisfactory answer. There are a lot of things that don’t make any sense. I grew up, developed and started to question my religion and asking, “Why?” I argued with so many people, my grandmother, my aunt, my uncle, I got opposition from so many people. Nobody could give me a satisfactory answer about religion, they still can’t. They have accepted what was written. But in my mind, more and more questions accumulate everyday. A lot more when I can’t get an answer and more when I can’t get satisfied.

About a year and a half or two years ago, I told my mother that I no longer wanted to wear hijab. More precisely, I didn’t say anything, but she guessed. Neither was I able to struggle, nor did I fully defend my decision. My sister, my mother and I sat down and talked, my mother said “If you uncover, God take my life even if I get to live until eighty.” It’s a very difficult situation for a child. A word that ties your hands and puts stones on your way. But it was back then. Thanks to my mother, I continued to wear hijab until January 21, 2019. Of course, since 2017, I have had a long time to think. I had a full confidence and I felt certain about my decision. Still, I needed some support and I got it from my friends, my teacher and my boyfriend.

I had discovered this place in the summer of 2018. I waited to achieve my goal before writing here. I did it, now I’m writing. This place has always given me so much power that everytime I fell, when I came close to give up, it grabbed me by my hand. It helped me to get courage and knowing that someone is going through the same as me was the biggest factor of achieving this today. And now I’m writing to encourage other woman. At first I told my sister, thinking she would support me. I didn’t dare speak face to face so I texted. She said she wouldn’t support me because what I did was wrong but she still respected me. It upset me very much, but I didn’t give up. When mom went to my grandmother to stay for a week, I texted her too. I explained myself at great length. My aunt was angry at me because my mother was crying, and she provoked my other aunt saying that I could abandon my religion in the future. My other aunt supported me in a way that I didn’t expect, she even said she could talk to my grandmother for me. She talked to my grandmother, and my grandmother said, “Okay, but don’t let her come to my home again.” I said okay. This is her choice, after all, I can’t do anything. My mother and grandmother were important to me. After I informed them about it, I waited until I’m ready. And January 21 2019 was my milestone..

The first day, I was feeling chaotic; I felt like that for a while. It’s been a week, but I’m much better. I’m getting over it, getting used to it; it’s fading. I’m happy, I feel myself. We blow-dried my hair with my mother last Saturday. She insisted me to buy a hair dye to dye my hair, so I bought but it didn’t end up like I wanted to because I miscalculated. Now we’re discussing what can we do to my hair. There’s no problem between us. She’s just telling me her heart is broken but that’s it. My grandmother was crying when she performed prayer and asked my cousin to tell me. I’m sorry for her, but I know that our relationship will not go on like this forever. Somehow we’ll get back to our relationship like in the old times with my grandmother. If you’re wondering about my father, he didn’t care when I started wearing the hijab, and he doesn’t care now. We don’t live in the same house with him anyway.

By the way, my mother didn’t die, she’s alive. I’m glad that I am what I look like finally. Don’t be afraid, live for yourself, not for anyone else.

(Image: Rebecca Hendin)

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