Hello, I am 19 years old. My brother forced me to become a hijabi after the 8th grade. He suddenly became a religious extremist and started to interfere with everything in the house. He would unplug the TV while I was watching it, saying, “What you are watching is sinister!” he would force me into praying and always yell about what I was wearing. My mother wouldn’t say anything to him; he was the golden child. My dad wasn’t so interested in it; he wouldn’t even pray or fast. I guess he doesn’t even believe, but I have never talked to him about that. When my brother acted up, he would fight with him and leave the house to stay at the empty house that belongs to my grandmother.
That summer, my brother persisted that I had to be a hijabi, but I didn’t want it at all. When I went to my friend’s house, I was constantly crying about how I didn’t want to become a hijabi. After a while, my grandfather passed away, and my mother said, “Cover your hair at the funeral,” and I did so for the whole day. After that day, I stayed a hijabi; I have never taken my scarf off in public. As you can see, my family is very different. When I was a new hijabi, I would get my passport photos taken while getting ready; my father said, “Why don’t you take your hijab off? You are more beautiful that way.” As you can understand, even my father did not know these things exactly. When I used to say, “I don’t want to become a hijabi.” He would always say, “I don’t get to say anything about it.”
My brother was like that for about one year. He was in college then; he was whatever his environment was like. After a while, he dropped everything; he was neither praying nor fasting anymore. His speech also began to blaspheme God and his book. It was obvious; he didn’t believe it anymore. Then he became religious again, and then he became an atheist again; I mean, he was thrown here and there. Look at what happened to me. It happened to me because of my brother’s temporary enthusiasm.
After a while, I gathered my courage and wrote to my brother. I said, “I have become a hijabi because of you; I am facing the consequence of your whim of two days. Are you aware of what you caused? “He didn’t care at first, and he said, “Go talk to mom. I am not involved.” As if he didn’t cause all of it. I talked to my mother. My mom acted as if it was the end of the word. She said everything starting at “My motherhood shall be haram to you,” ending “Are you going to be whore now?” As if every non-hijabi is a whore. She isn’t that religious herself. She is a hijabi; she prays and fasts, but that’s it. She chats with her male and female friends online, and she opens her webcam, has fun with them. So she doesn’t care about the rules. She only cares about looking religious from afar. That’s it. She rarely says “pray” or “read the Quran” to me. You can’t tell if a person reads the Quran or not from afar. Why would she care about those things, right?
I didn’t take my mother’s permission and wrote to my brother again. He changed his mind. “Study and win the university by my side, come and take off your hijab here; I will treat you like royalty here.” But the end is a disappointment as always. After a while, he became religious again and came to our house for the summer. He said he didn’t care when I reminded him of his promise. Then I began crying all the time again. I gave up after a while.
After that, I tried again, but my mother didn’t let me. At last, she said, “do whatever you want. I don’t care,” but I couldn’t do it. I knew she would care. Then the topic was covered up.
Once, there wasn’t anyone in the house, so I went outside to feed the strays without covering my hair. It was warm and windy outside. Feeling the wind on my hair made me so happy. I told about my happiness to my boyfriend. He said, “Don’t exaggerate; it isn’t like you were in prison for 50 years and haven’t seen daylight in 50 years!” But it was like that. The thing I did unwillingly was worse than prison. I broke up with him; he wasn’t supporting me.
I am now studying for university entrance exams. If I go to another province, I plan to take my hijab off. That dream makes me so happy. I wish to fulfill my dream. As you can see, people’s whims that last for two days can make others’ lives unlivable for a lifetime.
(Image: Akira Kusaka)