I have been following this site for a while, which has been the most encouraging thing for me. I hope I can encourage people who need it.
My story has begun in the 7th grade. I was studying in an Imam Hatip secondary school. My best friend told me that her mother wants her to wear a headscarf, but she couldn’t do it by herself and asked me to do it together. Because I knew that I have to wear a headscarf sooner or later, I accepted it. When the second era of school began, we went to school, our hairs covered. My friend took it off the next day, but I felt ready and acting like I created a new style by not knowing its responsibility. People first said to me, “Maybe you better not do it now; you are too young.” But I didn’t listen to anyone, and I did what I wanted.
Time passed, and at the end of the 8th grade, I started to feel uncomfortable by this situation, but I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t encourage myself, and I thought of what other people could say if I did. Then I started high school, which I wanted so much. My social circle and perspective have changed so much. Fortunately, I have come to this school, which was the best decision I have ever made. I gained courage in the 9th grade, and I started not to care what people think. I was just not ready to go to school like this then, so I waited for the summer.
My mother used to enroll me in Quran courses in the summers, but luckily, my best friend was with me. This was the most beautiful thing in that course. One weekend I couldn’t bear it anymore and went home without a headscarf. My mother was so angry that she said the worst things to me. But that didn’t mean anything to me because the feeling of my hair on my face was worth it. They said, “You’ll wear a headscarf before someone hears you don’t.” That was the worst summer ever for me, but even though all the pressures, I started the 10th grade without a headscarf, and the first day of school was the best. The reactions of people who I love were tremendous, so I forgot all my family’s reactions. But there was still a problem, unfortunately; my grandfather. He didn’t know it, and I was scared of him.
I used to slur over it with hats and scarves till then. He is a stringent man. And finally, he just learned it. I stayed with him in quarantine, and he noticed it then. He was so mad and still doesn’t talk to me. I don’t know what’s going to happen. They always threaten me with changing my school and enroll me in a Quran course. I don’t know if it is happening. I don’t know what to do if it happens. If I don’t go to school, everything gets worse for me. This is my only motivation, and they try to take it away. I just started to feel bad that I don’t have anything to stand up for them—no one stick by me from my family. The only thing I want is to finish school. Now I’m in the 11th grade. Everything will be over when I go to university, but I don’t know how to bear it if they force me to leave school till then.
- Imam Hatip schools are educational institutes in Turkey where people are trained for religious professions such as imams.
(Image: Francis Gruber)