The hijab should have been a choice.

            After reading the lives of so many people like my life, After, reading the lives of so many people here, like my life, I thought it was my turn to write. I feel pitty for myself and people who have life like mine. The hijab should have been a choice, when it is not chosen, person should not be considered as an irreligious or immoral. If wearing the hijab was such an important issue, it would not be mentioned in a single verse in the Quran. Anyway…

            My story started when I was born in a conservative family. After middle school, I have been exposed to long conservations that aimed to change my mind about wearing the hijab. Even the bike I rode in middle school and the volleyball I played caused my mother to criticize me constantly. When I got older, I couldn’t do anything that I could do outside before. The fear of getting criticized is constantly tried to be imposed on me. However, I wasn’t thinking that I was doing something wrong and I have no intention to change.

            I was old enough to go to high school, to me “You must study with your hijab on and go to Imam Hatip high school.” which is a religious school, is said. In fact, my family sent me to an eastern city that is 7 hours away from the city that I live in order to make me a religious woman. I didn’t know anything about that city. They were thinking that I will become a religious woman after hanging out with those religious women and think more positive about wearing the hijab. But I have never considered myself as a hijabi woman. When I was in high school, I have been sent to an eastern city and of course I was wearing hijab.

            On the other hand, let me briefly describe the feelings I had. In order not to lose the love of my mother and father, I said to myself, let me be the child they want, and they should not insist and tire themselves more. And they fear of me going to hell, maybe they are right, I said then I went to that city with my hijab. After a month of troubles that I had, I came back from there and went to Imam Hatip high school. My mother knew that I did not want to wear the hijab, that I did not do it very willingly, but she was still trying to intervene my clothes. Things like long abaya, long tunic… If I find and show you my pictures belong to that time, you would think I was dressed like a women in her middle ages. I still feel like crying when I look at those pictures.

            I graduated as the most successful student in that year. My prayers and other worships were perfect. Then, I was old enough to go to the university. My father and my mother didn’t want me to go to university. While we are going to the exam place, my mother started to shout in the car, “This girl will not study, Hasan! This girl will corrupt.” And tried to throw herself out of the car. Also, car was very fast. Right after her attitudes, I took the university exam. To go to university, I said, “I will stay with my grandmother, it will be safer.” and tried to convince my father even though it wasn’t a suitable environment for me to go to the university. My father’s religious friends were saying things like “Don’t let her go to university, she will be unchaste.” It is so dangerous. My mother was thinking that if go to the university I would find a way and no longer wear the hijab. For that reason, I was subjected to severe repression and severe insults.

            By the way, let me tell you about my family. My family has been fighting with each other for years, my mother is a religious woman with perfectly complete hijab and prayers, so does my father. They never get along, all the troubles I have experienced due to them, to crown it all there is this problem. My mother’s pressure on me about my hijab, conservatism or religion, the insults she made when she couldn’t get the reactions she wanted … They are not things like to be forgotten. My father’s sentences like “I can not handle your mother, do what she wants, or later she keeps talking, I am already tired, don’t you tire me too.”… If that’s the case you shouldn’t have a child in the first place. If you don’t get along, you shouldn’t give birth. Do I have to be exposed to your ugliness, your psychological abnormalities? I have been depressed for so many years because of my mother’s insults. I can’t live like normal people, I have no desire or enthusiasm for life. I don’t want to do anything new.

            Whatever, I will continue on my story… I was old enough to go to the university, in the city that I went to study, even though I was still wearing hijab, my clothes were more casual. I was wearing the clothes I chose, but I started to want to take my hijab off. I was studying in department of “religious culture and moral knowledge teacher” and I wanted to take my hijab off. In my department some people take it off, some people wore it. I knew almost everyone, and I was listening the stories about hijab, so that I was making my inner journey. I started to have negative thoughts about religion in university then I started to hate it. I even wanted to be an atheist. Nobody can say “You were affected by the environment of university.” I have my own mind, I am an individual who can think and I want to make my own decisions whether they are right or wrong and struggle with the consequences. There was chaos and controversy in every environment where religion entered. First of all, my own family, then families I know from the community; their lives were so ridiculous! They had no family life that I would envy or that I would embrace. I could swear they chose to be religious in order to darken and make complicate their world. They were people who could not live their lives because of making sin or wrong calculations in every step they took. People who want everything but cannot do, embrace it, talk to those who can, in exclusionary and humiliating ways, and disrespect the differences in the essence of being human. As you can see, I hated it. At first, child’s own parents can reject and humiliate their own children. She could insult to a religion and, I don’t even want to say what my mother’s insults were. Those who seem religious around me; They criticized each other most, the most gossipy and the most empty people. I saw a lot of people with hijab and empty brain.

            Whatever, I am very angry right now that I have been forced to write these lines. Then I got married. My nightmare still continues. My husband’s family turned out to be more oppressive. I wear long dresses, clothes that are not in my style. I wear those tulle socks on my feet that I hate. My husband also makes me miserable. Everything has the measurements he chose for me and I have to dress according to those measurements. I don’t why I got married. A religious culturalist, a woman who hates hijab! A woman who rebelled against her husband’s wishes and left him in a difficult position! A woman who puts her family in a difficult position, is humiliated because she is not conservative, even taken to a imam! I was being put in the shoes of an unintelligent mental patient is constantly.

            I am a university graduate, I am smarter and more knowledgeable than them, but they decide my life with that intelligence. They try to make me look like them, as if they are living perfectly with piety. Whatever, the thing is simple. My family say things like out there “I made her wear the hijab, look at her and her religious life.” That’s what matters, isn’t it? Well raised, right? I want to write and write more. Maybe I will write again. I had a very difficult life. I still have, writing and thinking makes me more angry.

            Translator: Ö.K.

(Image: Francis Picabia)

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