I am not alone, I know.
There are some families, the fates of their children are written before they’re born. My life was just like that; the path I was going to walk was set with invisible stones before I was born. When I was a 6-7-year-old kid, my father used to show me Imam-Hatip High School1 and say, “You’ll study there when you grow up,” I didn’t know what it meant. Still, I would get mesmerized by the glory of the building and say, “I’ll study here.”
I was going to cover my hair, I was going to study at Imam-Hatip, I was going to stay in my city and get married. My path was drawn like that. I was born, and finally, after 20 years, I got out of that path. I’m under a lot of psychological violence, but I did as I felt, and I am not alone.
To be honest, I’d love to tell you all my story, but I’ll cut it short. Since my father is a known theologist, I had to wear jackets in the middle of summer because my mother said, “You’re the daughter of a hodja2. Wear something more modest; you’re a grown-up now. Don’t wear short-sleeved t-shirts”. Nobody else was wearing jackets. Then I willingly covered up, why wouldn’t I? Everyone was covered up. It was the command of Allah. It felt fun. My family was proud of me, and I was accepted. Then I studied at Imam-Hatip not willingly and started to a university in my city. So I was still walking on that written path even though sometimes I got out of it.
But there was something uncalculated, that didn’t fit in that path. There was a part inside of me which I kept secret from my friends, from everyone. At first, it wasn’t prominent and easy to tame. I knew it would get rejected and shamed, that’s what they did to others in front of my eyes. But then, it felt ridiculous to hide anymore. Why would I keep my desires as a secret? Why would I hold my laughter? Why can’t I shout, “My God, do you exist?” Why?
Afterward, I accepted that part. I thought Allah couldn’t be that cruel. If I’m happy and act as I feel, maybe Allah would be proud of me instead of burning me. That’s when I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror. Which one was I?
That side of me started a battle with what’s on my head. First, I got rid of the bonnet, struggled with crises every day. I silenced myself. For months I thought about this and cried my eyes out. I ran away from society and cameras. Then I discovered this website and said to myself, “You’re not alone.” You’re not alone. Finally, my courage won the battle, and I got rid of my hijab when I was 20 years old.
Now I feel good and say, “Yeah, that’s it” when I look at the mirror.
Girls, covering up, taking the hijab off, or not covering at all… Do as you wish. Qur’an says, “The day when they will be returned to Allah…”
You, yourself, will answer for your deeds. Not your parents who pray for you to go bald.
- Imam Hatip schools are educational institutes in Turkey where people are trained for religious professions such as imams.
- Hodjas are masters in Islam whose primary duty is to teach the religion, similar to priests
(Image: Will Barnet)