They think they saved my afterlife by ruining my life in this world.

Let me start telling my story by introducing myself.

I am an 18-year-old university student. This year I got into a university with a good grade that is in another city. I grew up as an only girl in a family with many children. Since my childhood, I grew up religious since all my immediate family is religious. For me, everything my father and my mother did was right, and only their thoughts were “safe” thoughts. However, in truth, those thoughts were so absurd and bigoted. They even portrayed Atatürk as a bad person. Since I had been a little girl, I underwent sexism and was subjected to the enforcement of religion. My relatives always asked my parents about me things like, “When will she start to wear a hijab?” My mother said I would wear a hijab after high school. I thought it would be like that too. But never, even at my most religious times, I wanted that. I used to pretend not to be a girl. I didn’t wear a dress, not to wear a hijab. Even though I wanted to, I didn’t wear makeup.

In the summer that I was going to start high school, I kept my interaction minimum with my dad, and by doing that, I was delaying “the” conversation. On the first day of school, as I usually did, I went to school. On the evening of my first day in school, my mother brought a pink scarf and said, “Your father said you would wear this tomorrow.” That night I cried until the morning. I promised myself I would take off the hijab when I go to university. Fortunately, it wasn’t a big deal going to school with the hijab. I have lived with this anxiety during my high school life. Last summer, I had to take it off for good because my university life would start. I still didn’t want the hijab; also, I had become distant with religion. Most things weren’t making any sense. They were conflicting with religion. I was trying to make everything fit in; I was making excuses. But inside, I stopped believing. According to religion, women are intrinsically valuable, but the same religion also treats women like inferior people. I was thinking to myself, “whatever.”

I was a child who does everything their parents wanted, but I could not continue doing this. There were a lot of fights in the house because of this. I was subjected to violence, physically and mentally. I will never forget that. Somehow, I managed to make them agree with me about going to university in another city. In the end, they disowned me. The day before I left home for university, my mother got sick on our big fight. I didn’t insist and agreed to wear the hijab. I didn’t insist because I didn’t want to lie to my mother. Of course, I only said that I would wear a hijab to my father. In the evening, I completed shopping with my mother by buying two tunics and a scarf to convince my father. Then I left home. On the road, I took off the hijab. I, who did her prayers just because she did not want to lie, was actually able to lie quite easily, and I did not feel bad about it at all.

Now, I live where I want, as I want. I don’t believe in any religion. But when I go back home, I have to wear the hijab if I am going outside. I always walk around with my head down, the hood on. Over time, I made things better with my father. He already thinks I wear the hijab. Also, to not lose his financial support, I apologized. I’ll tell them the truth when I become truly financially independent. They have to accept me like that. It wasn’t my wish to be born into this world. They can’t force me to wear the hijab. I hope I will live more independently without fear of anyone in the future.

Translator: Ö.K.

(Image: Gustavo Perg)

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