For us, not wearing a hijab was never an option.

I have a very religious family. They are not traditional Muslims. My sister and I grew up with Islamic traditions. In middle school, I went to a religious school. In the 5th grade, almost everyone was open, but my friends became hijabi one by one in time. I decided to wear hijab by choice when I had my first period in 7th grade. Actually, we never had the option not to wear the hijab. My family answered the question of “When will I wear hijab?” always as “when the time comes.” My options were obvious; I either would wear hijab now or when the time came. I chose now.

My family always explained the purpose of the hijab. “For God’s will, daughter,” they said. I said the same thing when I became hijabi, for God’s will. But it was nothing more than a little kid’s whim.

In the 8th grade, I was already bored with the hijab. In addition to that, I was a feminist. I knew that feminism was in contradiction with the hijab, but I could not wear it because if I refused one of God’s orders, religion wouldn’t matter. I would not be a Muslim anymore. I couldn’t even confess it to myself. I tried to act as if there was no problem, but it didn’t work. I already grew cold from Islam. The scarf on my head meant nothing to me. I wanted to take it off in the 9th grade, but I couldn’t. I never had the guts to tell my family. My sister was braver, and she managed to take it off. They extremely oppressed my sister. I feared they would do the same thing to me. I started an Anatolian high school instead of an Imam Hatip high school because my exam results were good. I fear that they will force me to exchange to an Imam Hatip high school if I tell them.

I don’t know what I believe in right now. I pretend as I pray salat. I didn’t even tell my friends my wish to take off my scarf, let alone supporting it; they wouldn’t even respect it.

Unfortunately, it’s Ramadan now. I wouldn’t guess that I’d hate Ramadan this much at a point in my life. My mother forced me to pray tarawih (It is a special kind of praying done exclusively in Ramadan). After it, I went to my room and cried for a long time.

I’m in the 9th grade now. I hope that one day, all these will become just unpleasant memories. I wanted to get it out of my chest, and I apologize if it’s too long.

  1.  Imam Hatip schools are educational institutes in Turkey where people are trained for religious professions such as imams.
  2.  Salah or salat is the second of the five pillars in the Islamic faith as daily obligatory standardized prayers. It is a physical, mental, and spiritual act of worship that is observed five times every day at prescribed times.

(Image: Pierre Mornet)

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