My parents always reminded me that I would wear hijab one day and start to work after graduating from middle school.

I’m a firstborn daughter whose youth has been controlled by her parents’ religious and close-minded ideas. I have three more little sisters. When I was younger, I dream of being a fairy tale writer or theater actress but on the contrary, my parents’ dreams were quite different from mine. I was the most hardworking student in my class. Along with my success, I was also very naïve and sensitive. Nobody could say that I’d got beaten up by my parents from the very beginning of my childhood. I still have sentiment for my parents, but that is not the issue. My parents didn’t even want me to study middle school, but because they got scared of the police, they always reminded me that I would wear hijab and start working in a textile factory after graduating from middle school. I already wore a headscarf after school from time to time because I was reading the Quran, and I didn’t even dare to question anything those days. We should all be afraid of God… Anyway. 

On the last day of school, I arrived home in tears, strolling. My mother said that my father would see me in a hijab that evening, and I did exactly the same without disputing. Two days after graduating from school, I started to work in a textile factory. My mother already found my job as they sold me to a store. I felt like I was sacrificed for nothing but 280 TL per month. I was crying every night, begging God to give me a friend who can understand me. I was still religious, but I never wanted to be in hijab; all the pressure and musts put me off. It wasn’t me. I barely keep my head up. I secretly changed my outfit into a t-shirt and a skirt nevertheless; I couldn’t take off my headscarf because that way, my parents might find out this. People teased me and didn’t become friends with me, but I simply didn’t care and kept begging God to give me a friend. Not being able to enroll in a school was so painful that I took some of my clothes that I might want to wear and ran away one night. I’d got beaten up every day until the day I escaped. No matter what I did, I couldn’t make them love me. I used to have a boyfriend from Izmir; he came to Istanbul for me, and then I ran away with him.  I was 15. It didn’t take too much; my parents and police followed my track, and my father came to Izmir with my uncle. They accused me of being a ‘’whore’’ and took me back home. I took all the responsibilities as I could for my boyfriend not being punished, and I lied about my age. All I ever wanted was to save me from home. 

I’m 28 years old while writing these. What am I doing right now? I’m on a world tour, visiting Korea.  I got a distance education high school diploma. I left two universities, two departments; chemistry and journalism. Now, I have registration for philosophy, but I don’t even want to study at a university. The things that I’ve experienced at university are nothing but bigotry, closed-minds, ego, a ruthless crowd, and people lacking empathy…  AKP government has a lot of destructive impact on this; there are only a few qualified universities in Turkey, and I wasn’t at one of them.

I don’t have an extroverted personality. My hate towards humanity is indefinite, but I still do hope to find a good friend. I even have lots of relationships, considering me lacking communication skills and my life full of solitude. I’ve met good people, but I suffer from a trauma that can’t be solved anymore. No matter what I do, I can’t get over past. The things my family did to me; changed the way I live my life and led me to a totally new path I don’t like. I sometimes couldn’t know how to fight. I couldn’t manage to love myself, and when I did, I couldn’t do it properly. I grow up with an absence of love; I never could believe that somebody would love me sincerely. I don’t have faith in God; it’s been six years since I walk away from Islam. I might call myself an atheist, but I think Christianity is a much more socialist and successful religion. After all, I live with my own humanist rules that I’ve created. I do not concern anything but for animals and people who carry innocence in their eyes. I’ve learned English online, and there are other languages I want to know. I’m on a world tour right now that I’ve always dreamed of, but I also always keep suicide in the back of my mind.

(Image: Petra Eriksson)

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