I didn’t start to wear the headscarf for Allah; I did it because I thought that my father loves me better even though he beats or gets angry.

There are lots of women who are exposed to swearing and unmentionable words because of the religious pressure. I mention the pressure of the families and relatives who force their girl to wear headscarf. I wish I could a fairy and change the life of each of them with my magic wand. Even though most people say that we are heathens and we have abandoned the religion, don’t give up, you strong women. Of course there will be the ones who trip you up. Respond them in the same way when someone despises you. Respond them in the same way so they can understand. Don’t make yourself sad. I know it’s hard what we live. Not being able to wear like others and not being able to say whatever you want. Don’t give up, everything will be okay. We will be happy, we will feel the wind in our hairs and we will laugh as much as we want.

I was just 9-10 years old when I get my first period. Like all the girls, I said to my mother first. The react that she gave was still gives me goose bumps: “Girl, you are able to have sins now. You have to pray and fast too, from now on.” What can understand a child at that age from sins or hell? Really, how bigot my family was… They had always made me afraid with religion and Allah; even now I feel the difficulty of it in my life. As the times goes by, I started to wear headscarf, sometimes. I didn’t use to feel pressure those times. I was just a little girl. Also my mother and big sister wear headscarf too. It continued in the same way for me. I used to wear it sometimes, until my father recognizes that I started to get my period. They made a speech to me. They told me about the religion but I had already lived together with religion until that age. My father is an imam and my mother is a housewife. Whatever, like I said, my father had just learnt. I started to go out with a headscarf. I don’t know what kind of thing this was but I was wearing a headscarf everywhere but school. I was the only one who wears it in my social circle. I have friends who are child of an imam like me but they weren’t wearing headscarf. I was jealous of them, secretly because I was just a kid then. I was saying ”I hope you get your period and your father makes you wear a headscarf.” I faced with such a miserable, stupid and painful truth; your father makes you wear it, that’s it. I didn’t start to wear the headscarf for Allah; I did it because I thought that my father loves me better even though he beats or gets angry. I mean, forcefully.

One day I was so jealous of my friends that I said my father that I don’t want to wear headscarf just like them. He was mad and yelling at me. I have never forgotten how he slapped in my face that day. I mean, you are a father. How could you hurt your child for a religion? Whatever, those days were passed and the time for school began.

I was in 7th grade; I was not wearing headscarf at school those times. New class and new friends… I was saying ”I actually wear headscarf, my father is an imam.” to my friends, proudly. First, they were surprised and then they froze me out. They didn’t let me to be with them because I was the only one who was wearing headscarf. It continued in that way for a while. When I started to 8th grade everything was okay. I was more religious and also the law which lets all girls to go school with headscarf was enacted. I and my family were pretty happy. Actually, I used to believe that their happiness was mine. Ever after, I was wearing it everywhere but home. Sometimes I was asking myself ”If I couldn’t wear this, do I have more friends? Or a boyfriend.” Then I was swearing off suddenly. Even thinking of this was making me feel guilty. I had been raised in this way till that time. Such a false notion. I wish I couldn’t bore myself that much and struggle for my freedom.

I started to high school. New friends, new social circle; those are making you change, broadening your horizon. I wasn’t in my old Muslim girl mood anymore. Also I was an adolescent; I used to find everything meaningless.

I want to hang out with my friends but I was afraid of my father because he finds that kind of people immoralist. I myself think that I will be like them if I hang out with them. I am afraid because I know what he can do to me even it will a little stroll. Sometimes I talk with my boy friends in class and rarely hang out with my girl friends. I don’t feel okay. I don’t feel like I’m myself.

I decided again with the feeling of freedom inside me. I was 15; I told my father that I don’t want to wear headscarf. Firstly, he couldn’t perceive or understand. The home fell into silent. No one spoke any word like I just killed someone and confessing it. My father just underestimated, talked snappishly or got angry; I don’t remember. I was just so hopeful… I thought that he would permit and I will fly like a butterfly that comes out of the cocoon. Until I crash. My father’s yelling could hear from even the top floor of apart.  He was walking up to me but I was afraid and couldn’t say anything. I wish I couldn’t say it. ”Go to your room.” my mother said. I hardly heard her and locked myself in my room. After 1 or 2 weeks passed, I apologized from my father like a fool. I don’t even It wasn’t even my fault. He didn’t look at my face. I was like invisible; like I wasn’t there with them. I said myself that if they ignore me then I do whatever I want. But I just remember what they said before ”If you take off your headscarf, I will disown you. You can’t even go to school.” My dreams couldn’t come true, again.

As the time goes by, the last year of the high school had come. I became sick and dropped out of school. The reason why I dropped out of school wasn’t because my father but my illness was. I studied high school with distance education. During these 3 years I had been still telling my father about my desire. He got angry and yelled. The last time when I told him, he walked up to me. Maybe he beat me, I don’t remember clearly. 

Now, I still want to take it off. I still have hope inside me. I am a free person.  I have never wanted the so- called freedom which is a return of religion. I won’t dwell on this subject by telling why I don’t want to wear headscarf. If I go to university this year, I will try to talk about this situation again. I don’t know what to do. The things that I live are difficult for me. There are lots of things that I haven’t talked about. I hope we all can emerge into the daylight by finding a way out from this utter darkness.

(Image: Lisa Wright)

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