Hello, I was born as a child of an extremely religious family. They always told me I will be a hijabi someday. They made me go to the Quran summer schools, and in the end, they made me go to a religion based school and put the veil on my head. I was always crying at first, but then I got used to it. I was not crying anymore, but I was still uneasy about it. I didn’t like myself with a hijab on. It was so annoying to think, “If I hold my boyfriend’s hand would people shame me? If I smoke, would people give me bad looks? Just because I am a hijabi.” I wanted to sing and dance just like every teenager would wish to, but people would shame me because of my veil. I had to be mature because of the hijab. But even though I was wearing the hijab, I couldn’t please people. I received comments like, “If you are a hijabi, you shouldn’t wear pants.” or “You shouldn’t wear any makeup.”. I am fed up with it.
Then, they made us read the translation of the Quran in school, and I started to question religion as I continued reading it. While I was reading, I researched, and questioned, I moved away from religion and finally got out of it. I didn’t have faith anymore, but I was carrying a symbol of it on my head. I needed to get rid of that, or I was never going to be myself. I didn’t want to look like somebody I am not. Finally, I gathered all of my courage and told my family. Initially, my dad said no, but then he said, “Do whatever you want. I don’t care.” and I took my hijab off. But after I took it off, I faced psychological abuse. My dad was treating me as if I had killed someone. We were always fighting. In the end, I got mentally ill, and I am still using antidepressants.
I can’t even wear skinny jeans near my dad because he gets angry with me. He also said, “I am ashamed of having you walk by my side.” recently. I can’t explain how it shattered my heart. However, he cannot change me by getting angry like this or setting strict rules. I even wear shorts and miniskirts where he couldn’t see me. But this life tires me so much. I wish I hadn’t had to exit the house with long-baggy clothes and change them in the café bathrooms. I wish I had a family that accepted me as I am.
They also don’t know that I am not a Muslim, and I don’t think I will ever tell them. Because I know they would get furious. They would get upset, thinking I will burn in hell. I am studying at university now, and I am staying at a student hostel. Living away from my family has relieved me a little. As soon as I am finished with college, I will get a job and move to my own house because my psychology deteriorates as I live with my family. Now I am more peaceful because I am away from them. Still, this peace can fall apart at any time because my father finds the place I am staying at very expensive and thinking about sending me to a religious community house next year. I hope I will not be around the people who do not understand me and try to change me in line with their own thoughts again.
(Image: Helena Perez Garcia)