Religion and cult have always been the biggest priority of my parents.

Sometimes I tell myself that I wish I had started to wear hijab at 16. This way, at least I could remember the feeling of wind blowing on my hair. Although I believed that it was my decision, it was nothing but my parents’ manipulation. I am 21 years old now, and although I desire to flip my hair in the wind, I no longer have the memory of that feeling. I knew that they would eventually push me to wear hijab, but I felt like I could be free only for a few more years.

I live in Germany. My parents are strictly religious people and also members of a much-known cult. In fact, I used to love the cult and pray for the mentors there. Religion and the cult have always been the biggest priority of my parents. People who were brought up in lodges can understand my situation; I can’t step out of my room at least for 3 hours until ‘the male guests’ leave the house so that they don’t see me. When I go out, I’ve been criticized by my parents believing that a girl’s duty is to nothing but stay at home. My father once told me, “No matter what you do, if you practice prayer, you don’t have any value.” and added, “Your faith is weak; instead of giving much effort to studying in at a university, try to improve your faith.”

What would he do if he finds out that I’m an agnostic person? How much value could I have if he finds out the real me?

I started questioning religion at my 17, but I was too afraid to abandon the faith. I always used to pray to say, “Oh my god, please don’t make me as a nonbeliever,” but God didn’t seem to accept my prayers, so I kept questioning. I was searching for evidence to believe in my religion. As I searched, the more I lost my faith. I cried every night, asking myself if this was my test. I couldn’t bear it anymore, and I have become agnostic. I no longer want to wear hijab after finishing my bachelor’s degree. Covering my body feels like a prison to me. I wear pants under my hijab, and I secretly take off my veil outside. I bought the pants in secret too. This way, at least, I feel closer to being free.

(Image: François Martel)

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