I ignore my very own self to please someone who does not accept me.

The mold I was in was beyond my thoughts, my soul and my whole self. In every single moment I was trying not to reveal this, I was just causing it to overflow. I started to wear a headscarf when I was 14. The idea of “covering my body” had been imposed on me since my early childhood. I started to wear long tunics with my trousers at the age of 12 and when I was in 7th grade, I started to wear a headscarf. I didn’t wear it at school but at other times I looked highly religious. I didn’t want anyone to see me outside of school. When I looked in the mirror, I was like someone else. I used to keep telling myself how ugly I was. I remember the day I was sitting at my desk at school. The girl who was our neighbour came to me and announced the truth that I never wanted to be heard: “Watch out the way you sit, you are a girl who wears a headscarf!” The boy I like also heard it and this was my first turning point. I knew that headscarf didn’t belong to me. But when I was at school, I still felt like my mother and my father was glaring at me. I wanted to go on school trips without a headscarf, like my other friends did. Because I knew that I never belonged to the headscarf. After school, I would toss my hair as much as I can. Because I knew that this “feature” would be taken away from me and I could never do it again once I entered home.

The first foundations of the painful processes were laid in my subconscious during those days. Even when my ankle was exposed, I described myself as a sinful and repeatedly got crushed under the headscarf, feeling sorrowful. I wore it for 6 years. I was the weird girl at school, not because I wore the clothes I feel like, but because my headscarf made me look “weird/absurd/contradictory” with those clothes.  And I knew that the same clothes on a girl without a headscarf would be taken naturally. I noticed this over and over again during those 6 years. I could not dress as my mother and my father wanted (but I accepted this), I repeatedly tried to “correct” myself. They wanted me in their own paradise. When they saw my ankle exposed or my hair strand, they would be grieved. I was unable to understand, but I obeyed.

My parents were separated, so my mother was struggling alone with all her sorrow and exhaustion, clung to me and my sister/brother – as if she was training soldiers according to her own rules. I was wearing a headscarf not to upset my mother but it made me upset. They were trying to fit me into a mold which I did not want to be in. They told me I would be the pioneer in various struggles due to my headscarf which would not be accepted during my future career. They didn’t even ask me if I wanted to struggle for it. They didn’t even tell me that once I wore it, I would never be able to take it off, otherwise they would cut me out of their lives.

During the six years of wearing a headscarf, I struggled not for wearing it but to express myself. One day, I was outside with my mother. My mother saw two hair strands out of my headscarf and she suddenly put those strands into the headscarf hurting my head. Another day, she told me “Either you cover your head properly or you are not my daughter anymore.” and she did not talk to me for days. I gave thought to this. I realized that her daughter was not me, her daughter was me with a headscarf. My existence was not enough for her to accept me as her daughter. This was the first time when I tossed my hair for the first time outside, crying.

I combed my hair, I had my photo taken, issued a new identity card and it was officially me – without a headscarf. During those days, My family and I argued about this many times. I was a sinner in the eyes of my family, I was an undutiful child and I was expected to leave home. This story is still going on. I have to decide to choose either my love towards my family or my own self, because my love for my family rejects my own self. Because my love is sick. I should not upset it although it upsets me, judges me, rejects me… I ignore my very own self to please someone who does not accept me. In case you were wondering; I wear a hat while coming home. This will not be the same way: Either my love will heal or my love will end. Or a miracle happens, who knows? Maybe my love cares for me again, accepts me. You cannot imagine how much I wish for it…

(Image: Helen Gotlib)


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