Even though my mother constantly says, “You’ll become nothing,” I study continuously.

Actually, my story is similar to most of your stories. I’m the daughter of a religious family. In the beginning, I performed my religious duties gladly—I had memorized the Quran; I was a girl who abided by the commands and prohibitions of the religion. Then I started to question; I had question marks in my head. As I slowly started to skip performing salat1, I saw that my mother didn’t love me, and my family was becoming distant to me. They didn’t love me; they loved the salat I performed, my fasting, and the Quran I had memorized. It took a lot of time for me to face and accept this fact. I endured violence when I started wearing pants. I was locked in my room when I came home after the evening azan. My phone was taken away from me; they sent messages to my friends telling that I hated them. Suddenly I was all alone. I had got into a good high school, but I was taken away from school with my big brother’s pressure, and I was enrolled in an open Imam Hatip high school. Many girls around me were like me; most of them got married because they thought marriage was deliverance, but I never gave up, and I’m continuing my fight.

I will take the university exam this year. I study on my own. My family always say that they will not send me to university, my studies are in vain, but I believe that I will go to college. My mother said, “If you go through that door for university, forget about us.” I’m ready for all of that. I didn’t have any test books, and my mother wasn’t buying me any; I got most of my books by asking people on social media because I didn’t have any money. I resent that I have to study for the exam under these conditions while my peers are taking private lessons, going to private teaching institutions, and have family support.

When I pass the exam, I will run away with the money I have saved and release my hair to freedom. I’m so tired of worrying if someone will see me after taking my hijab off in the street. I’m so tired of some people knowing me as a veiled person, some as an unveiled person. I strive for a life in which I can be myself, but at the same time, I’m very concerned about my future. I’ve reached my legal age, yes, but I’m afraid that they will find me and kill me. I want to live myself freely. I don’t want to endure psychological and physical violence anymore. Even though my mother constantly says, “You won’t become a shit,” I study continuously. I hope I will attain the life I want. I hope I will succeed in being myself. The moment I succeed, I’ll write to you first.

[1] Salah or salat is the second of the five pillars in the Islamic faith as daily obligatory standardized prayers. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times.

Translator: Leto

(Image: Rebecca Green)

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