I wore a ferace not to be like women wearing a headscarf unwillingly.

I don’t know where to start. Let me tell you from the beginning.

It all started when I was in the 8th grade. My mother talked about a religious channel and told me to watch it. So I started watching it, and then I started praying. I decided to wear a headscarf voluntarily at the age of 16, and my mother was happy about it. (My family is not strictly religious. My mother and sister are wearing a headscarf, and my father is not interested in religion.) I wore a ferace1 of my own accord. Why ferace? Because they said the ferace was the right thing, and I did this to avoid being like women wearing a headscarf unwillingly.

At first, everything was fine, sometimes the idea of taking off the headscarf came to me, but I thought I should get used to it like everyone else. I ignored this idea. Then I stopped going outside; I locked myself in the house, offended at the mirrors. Later I talked to my mother and said that I no longer want to wear a ferace, and she bought me more colorful clothes. But I still wasn’t feeling happy. Finally, I thought about things over again and made up my mind. I didn’t want to wear this headscarf anymore. I started to question religion, and I told my mother that I was thinking about this and whether I should wear a headscarf anymore. Actually, I had made my decision. My mother was not very welcome. She said words like “Then why you put on the headscarf?” and “What will the people say?” Some time passed, and I told my mother that I would no longer wear the headscarf. I told her everything I felt. She didn’t say much, and she saw that I was determined and said, “This is between you and God.” I haven’t told my dad yet, but I don’t think he’ll say much; I hope he respects it. 

If you don’t want to wear a headscarf anymore and you are sure about it, do not be afraid, talk to your family. Of course, this will not be easy; they’ll prevent you. However, don’t give up; explain to your family why you want this and explain everything. Tell them that you are not that happy and be decisive, no matter how much they may oppose. Never give up; be patient. It’s not easy, but you can do it. Finally, remember that we only have one life. Live as how happy you are. Whatever you do, people will still find a word to say, so don’t care about anyone. People will talk about you for a maximum of 1 week, and you’ll live it for a lifetime. If you wear colorful clothes, they say süslüman (a combination of the words “fancy” and “Muslim” in Turkish); if you wear a ferace, they say bigot… They will always say something. 

  1.  A ferace is a black outfit that Muslim women wear to cover their body.

Translator: EsilS.

(Image: Stephanie Kurlow)

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