It was like reborn of myself.

I didn’t want to go out, and I didn’t want to meet new people. I was always nuddling along. This was not me. I wasn’t just the veil on my head; I didn’t believe anything it represents.

Yes, I wore it willingly, but why couldn’t I take it off?

All the responsibility of a religion that I do not believe was on my shoulders, because of a decision I made at the age of 14.

I remember the first day I took it off like yesterday. My hair was pouring over the loose clothes I wore, my hands always touching my hair and my smile that I could never prevent. I don’t know how to describe my joy that day, but I want this to be a hope for all of you. First I and took a picture, then I changed my identity. It was like reborn of myself.

I tried to get used to it without telling my family for weeks. I called my first mother after I said to myself, ‘okay now.’ When I thought that she would understand me, she first said, “What are we going to say to the people don’t shame me.” It is not my problem to care about others more than their children; it’s her problem.

The family, relatives, and neighbors crippling scolding, insults, showing their children, and saying, “Don’t be like her when you go to university,” ends somewhere. Believe me, even though it seems impossible to you now.

It is challenging to be a woman wearing a headscarf in this country, and it is challenging to be a woman hurling her hair. I think the hardest thing is to be the woman wearing the headscarf by force. You don’t have to carry an identity that you don’t belong to. Whatever you want to be, you are never alone.

(Image: Marinka Masséus)

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