I always said, ‘’I will be a headscarfed grocery store owner.’’

When they asked, ‘’What will you be when you grow up?’’ I always said, ‘’I will be a headscarfed grocery store owner.’’ I mean, I would say that ‘’I will be headscarfed when I grow up’’, then I suppose I could be a grocery store owner or something. This is not to belittle; there was a grocery store under the building we lived in, the owner was a veiled woman, and I idolized her in my inner Islamist despair. And I said, ‘Yes, I guess I can be something after wearing a headscarf, yes, I can be a grocery store owner’ and I grabbed it. But after all, the real thing was my inner Islamist despair in my little world. I could just be covered up; I could be a headscarfed grocery store owner, headscarfed clerk, headscarfed cashier… Headscarfed something or else. The future me just seemed something headscarfed to me.

For instance, I had a sister waiting in front of the school, wearing a hijab. She was fighting a war. So, was I going to fight this war too? Did I have the strength to do that? These were those that shook my little mind, can you believe it? For what would I fight the same war for lack of a diploma? I did not, yes. With my Islamist despair, I settled on a boarding Quran course. We have read; we pronounced ‘’Elif’’ from the chest, ‘’Ha’’ from the throat, and ‘’ğayın’’ from the laryngeal. We behaved like a prophet, slept like him, and woke up like him. I woke up later. I don’t know if the Prophet had woken up like this or would have woken up, but I woke up and realized that I couldn’t even be a headscarfed grocery store owner. What was the thing about being headscarfed other than the fact that it intimidates me? The idea of covering myself until there is no such thing as me…

I am not headscarfed now but being a grocery store owner still makes me happy. And I hope the only thing that will be covered is the door of the grocery store, which is locked on Sundays.

(Image: Roshanak Khalilian)

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