I lived half of my life, caring about what people would say.

Now, you will read my life story. I am the second child out of three. I can’t remember how or what I have been thinking about. It was 8 years ago, I hadn’t had my period then. I think I did it because of the impact of my environment without knowing what the veil meant. I have an elder sister who did it way more later than me. My family didn’t force me. In my first days, one neighbor saw me and said, “Why did you wrap the girl like that?” to my mother. My mother said it was my own decision. Yes, it was my decision, but I didn’t think I would want to take my hijab off someday, I was inconsiderate, and nobody has ever told me that I possibly would change my mind. The majority of my environment was also wearing the veil without knowing what it exactly meant anyways.

 After 8th grade, I won a religion based school among my other applications. The majority of the lessons were about religion, I applied for that with my own will, but it was heavy for me. They only made us memorize the Qur’an and religious knowledge. Little to nobody was trying to make us understand what they really meant. The school made me grow older. It was so harsh that it killed the child in me. In those 4 years, I saw that the non-hijabi people who call themselves influencers were not that different from the ones with hijabs in my school. The only difference was the veil on their head.

Some girls took their hijab off. The hijabis in my circle seemed so unlikeable to me. I don’t like the veil on me; I want to live my teenage years fully and feel the wind in my hair, but there is an obstacle in my way: my family. They don’t want me to take my hijab off. First, I told my wish to my elder sister, she said, “You have a boyfriend, don’t you?” I didn’t. How could she think I wanted to take my hijab off for a man, she didn’t understand me. She told my mother, and she said, “You can take it off when you are in your husband’s house.” My dad said, “Your hair will turn into snakes, what people would say?” My mother told my brother, “My friends are fucking your unveiled friends.” was his take on the subject. The friend he was talking about was my primary school friend, and I wasn’t even talking to her anymore, how could he think that we are the same and say “I will beat you if you take your hijab off.” My mom told my grandmother, and she came to tell me how I would burn in hell, she also told our neighbors. She came to our house, my mom told her, “Buse wants to take her hijab off.” after the prayers. And she said, “I knew.” She knew and kept it from me, my trust was shattered. We went outside together. She said, “Did you get encouragement from your friend who took their hijabs off or are there any celebrities who took their hijab off, and you want to copy them?” It had nothing to do with those claims, I was already thinking about it before my friends did. My mother prohibited me from seeing that girl after she took her hijab off. She also told one of my teachers and said, “Please help my daughter.” Apparently, she loves to let others know about me. 

My decisions aren’t respected. I don’t defend the righteousness of what I am about to do, but they didn’t say anything when I did it, now they can’t either. All they care about is what people would think. Even my friend said, “What would X say about you?.” 

My sister is putting pressure on me since I told her I wanted to take my hijab off. When I like something in a clothing store, she says, “No, this is something non-hijabis would wear.”. Something happens, I say, “I want to get a haircut.” She responds, “No. If you want to take your hijab-off, do that in your husband’s house.” I wonder why do people judge a person’s clothing and decisions that much? Why do non-hijabis face so many hideous accusations? As if every hijabi is so innocent…

They didn’t even try to stop me when I decided to wear it. Thus, I should be able to take it off as freely as I wore it. This was my own decision, I must be able to do whatever I feel comfortable with, and in the end, I didn’t ask them when I became a hijabi. I became 18, I should have been making my own decisions. I don’t know what to do now, but this is how my life is. I don’t care what anyone says. I lived half of my life caring about what people would say or think, but this life is mine, and I will exit this ship happier in the remaining half of my life. 

(Image: Renée Radell)

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