It offended me that everyone except me had a say on my body.

I was born into a conservative family. Both my mother and father had lived their youth and turned to a conservative lifestyle in their 30’s, but still, they had a hollow religious understanding. Even though I didn’t directly experience pressure about performing salat and veiling, my mother’s religious fears were reflecting on me too. Religious knowledge was taught to my mother through pressure and fear, and so it was taught this way to us too. I didn’t feel spirituality, I was always more comfortable when I was on the secular side. I couldn’t wear the clothes I wanted in high school even though I wasn’t in the hijab. It was a bad thing according to my parents if an outfit looked good on me, but in the meantime, it was expected from me to be neat and beautiful in a conservative manner. I was going back and forth in two dead ends. It was obvious that something was wrong, but I didn’t have the strength to find it then. I was a girl who focused on her studies and tried to please her family.

I started college in a different city. I was asked to stay in a religious circle, I accepted. Living with pressure had become my destiny in a way. I found it easy to have somebody else make decisions for me. On the other hand, my soul was always uneasy, and I knew that it couldn’t keep going like this. I delayed, I forced myself to be convinced by what is false. Eventually, I was worn out and set out on a deep search.

My college life ended. I started to gain self-confidence around the time of my graduation. I wanted to start my own life. I didn’t want to insult my intelligence and personality under religious norms anymore. I seriously gathered my courage and told my mother that I wanted to unveil. My mother already knew that I didn’t have the same understanding as them because of my outlook in life. I didn’t perform salat, but she was very surprised to hear that I wanted to unveil. She directly said, “You will burn in hell, aren’t you afraid of Allah?” I didn’t want to continue like this, I didn’t choose to be a woman, and it offended me that everyone except me had a say on my body. It was always about shame and the importance of being well-behaved. To be honest, I never saw a benefit of shame. Human relations do not progress like this. I was once again tried to be put in a two-way tide. Why am I veiled – for Allah, or for people? Thoughts like this tired me, they made me no good. I was stuck with formalities when I could improve myself and perhaps find a way to become a better person.

Now I’m 25. I’m seriously obsessed with the idea of unveiling for around a year. But I don’t have the strength to deal with the reactions I will get when I unveil. I will become a strong woman – I won’t have any financial ties to my family, I will be myself, and then I will become free. My religion will be between me and Allah. I don’t need anyone else’s mind.

Translator: Leto

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