Why was I living like in prison in my own body?

Hello. I’d like to tell you what I’ve been through just so maybe my story touches someone. It is because if I had a platform like this when I was alone, I’m sure that I’d read all of the stories.

 The day I decided I was going to wear a hijab, I was a victim of verbal harassment.

 The life-changing result of a group of boys walk on a 15-year-old girl and causing her to blame herself for what happened over her outfit: Hijab. 

Could a few boys make a girl wear a hijab for 8 years just with their words? Because “If she wore hijab they wouldn’t catcall her, harass her, Allah was warning this way for her about her outfit”… We live in a horrible era. As a girl who wasn’t allowed to wear shorts even when she was a kid, I was influenced by this conservative mindset.

 …

 It all happened as I started to question 2 years ago. After 8 years of strictly defending the hijab, I decided not to wear it anymore. At first, I devoted myself to religion; researched intensely about religious sanctions. I read more and more since I was not satisfied with what I’ve found. For months I took classes of exegesis. I was asking questions to my teacher for hours. She was an open-minded woman with excellent English skills, she graduated from two universities. Besides, she was young, smart, successful. I admired her, but something was missing.

 Many of my questions were left answerless with a “Some things are beyond our capability to understand.”

Why were we responsible for things we can’t comprehend?

 I believe that wearing the hijab was a command. I found out that it isn’t even a priority in Islam, it was just advice. Then I re-checked my family’s views and mentioned maybe I’d stop wearing hijab one day. My mother humiliated me. Where was the woman who asked me if I was sure when I first told her I wanted to wear a hijab? She was a puppet of her own ego and her conservative social circle. What would she tell them? It would be an embarrassment for her. She started saying, “Do not pray, do not fast but keep wearing your hijab.” When I say, “I would be doing it only for you,” she still wanted me to keep it on. What kind of a Muslim was she? She perceived praying as less essential than the hijab. As if my sister would take the courage from me to do the same, and I should be an example for her. Because I am very successful, I was a model for her, and If I take my headscarf off, all of my accomplishments will lose all their meanings. How could I live under a scarf which lost its purpose for just being an example?

Meanwhile, “You may do whatever you want after you get married, but wait until then,” my father said. Because after I get married, my husband would be responsible for me. I wasn’t an individual in their eyes, I didn’t have free will. I remember the feeling of my soul shrinking, nobody understood me. If I try to talk about the things I was questioning in my family’s house, I was treated like a freak—the sick-minded, embarrassing kid of the family.

 I was analyzing my life, I was successful, had a good profession, and started my first job at the age of 22 with a high salary. I was living on my own for 8 months, but I was feeling like a pathetic sinful loser around my family. Why was I living like in prison in my own body? For one and a half years, I have lived without self-esteem, self-care, or inner peace and with depression. Just because I cried for hours in front of the mirror, I didn’t buy a mirror for the house I moved to. I was utterly asocial, lost all my hope to live. 

 This summer, after I was sure to go abroad for a few months, I decided to live as I wanted when I go there. All the oppression I received from my family pushed me far away from them. One month prior to my travel, I figured why not now? Instead of explaining myself when I return, I should do it now. I took my hijab off, I deserved to be free. My family nearly disowned me. My mother, who gets psychological support, threatened me with killing herself or cutting my hair as she saw me. My sister turned her back on me, but I was ready for these. Because all I wanted was to look in the mirror with inner peace, gaining a will of life with hope. Now I’m thrilled; I feel like I have realized myself.

 Do not let anyone have power in your own life.

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