My mother prays that I don’t get into university.

Hello, I’m a 17-years-old young girl. But I’m still a child, according to my family. I think I worked very hard to make them accept that I have grown up. Like many of those who write to this website, my family is a religious one and has strict rules. My mother raised me as a diffident, shy, and quiet person. She threw all my pants away in elementary school; then I got in the hijab. I was happy, but I decided to unveil two days later. I used to sneak out without a hijab — I was a child. I would cover my head until I got on the school bus, then I unveiled on my way to school. Eventually, I accepted living with this thing on my head. I was even forbidden to wear a bra because men would be aroused… We even had to adjust what we wore beneath our clothes according to them.

Some things happened in the summer break before the 11th grade. We were going to watch a movie at my friend’s house. My father humiliated me by forcibly picking me up from them, and he told me in the car, “You want a free life, but our family has rules.” Something happened to me that day. We were just going to watch a movie, what was wrong or shameful about it? Later, I started wearing pants and bras, thanks to my cousin. They bickered a lot about it at first, but I didn’t care. As I said, my mother is very religious and is also a supporter of Cemaat1. She doesn’t even want me to go to school, and she even prays that I don’t get into university. But this strengthens my belief in myself because I understood that I could be self-sufficient. And I told myself, “If you have a daughter one day, you will give her a wonderful life.”

Yes, I’ve been through very rough times, but I’ve also attained many beauties. Every time I cried, I had the words “Think about your longest, most desperate night. Hadn’t it been morning? It will be again.” by Reşat Nuri in mind. The night I cried the most, I had the song “Uçurtma” by Ceylan Ertem in my ears.

I can live with this thing on my head now, but it confuses me most of the time – am I veiled for my mother or myself? Sometimes I turn off the lights at night, open the window, and watch my hair sway. Maybe this act will suffice. I was a very diffident person; I still carry the traces of it. I got ambitious, and my self-confidence increased because of a person I met this summer. I would always read in articles that liking or falling in love with someone increased self-confidence. I didn’t believe it. It really is true; my self-confidence grew, but not enough to confess it. We hugged for one last time before he left for his hometown. Maybe I can admit it to him when he comes back if I get a little bit courageous. If you have someone you love next to you, hug them, because I don’t have anyone to hug because of my mother. I don’t have a friend or someone who cares for me, and I wish there were.

I’m sorry if I tire your eyes. Don’t forget this: You don’t have to be perfect to start something, but you have to start somewhere to be perfect. With love…

  1. The Gülen movement is also referred as “Cemaat.” The Gülen movement is a transnational socially conscious Islamic movement with political overtones and aspirations, inspired by the writings and preaching of Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic preacher.

Translator: Leto

(Image: Pablo Picasso)

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