After I took off my hijab, I was treated like I was irreligious. I studied high school in a district of the city that I live in. My family was in the center. Even though my school was an Anatolian High School, the administration was a conservative group. My family members were very religious, as well. I grew up that way naturally, but I did not think of taking hijab up to that time. One day, our teacher, whose specialty was not religious studies, asked the boys in the class, “When you are married, what do you prefer, a woman in hijab or not?” Most of the boys in the class said a woman in a hijab. The next day when I came to school, I saw a half of the class in hijab. To persuade a 15 years old child is very easy, of course. Following days, I covered my head too. In the 2nd grade, I took off my hijab; some teachers did not talk with me for that reason. Later, I covered my head again.
I am underlining; I read the Quran several times, but in Arabic, so I did not understand anything. I wanted to wear t-shirts and flip my hair in the wind like my peers. When I went to university, I tried hard not to take off my hijab, and I am sure that so many people lived that way. But I can say that it is not related to religion but habit. While I was dealing with my indecisiveness, I took it off at once. I felt free. I don’t say, “Ones who wear hijab are captives, not free” I don’t want to be misunderstood. I don’t use alcohol, but I feel alone, timid, and subdued while I am entering places like bars. I got many reactions from people around me, my family, friends of family, neighbors, etc. But I said this life is mine and didn’t let them drop me. I did what I like, and I wore what I like. I am happy now. Actually, freedom does not mean doing what you want; it means not doing what you don’t want. I learned it. Like Ozlem Tekin said, “Of course, it ends. If you want enough, you walk away.”
(Image: Katherine Bradford)