“How are you going to be a theologian by doing this?”


I am Tuğçe. I want to tell you guys about my life and how I feel.

After studying in the Child Development department in high school, I suddenly decided to be a theologian – even though I wasn’t a woman who wears a headscarf, one of Islam’s purported requirements. Everyone said, “How are you going to be a theologian by doing this, not wearing a headscarf?” jeeringly. I thought they were right and made a huge effort to stop all that criticism. I began wearing a headscarf. I then became very successful at university. I completed a variety of studies. I made an indelible impression, but eventually, I sank into depression. I was deeply questioning whether I was in this situation by my own will, whether I was wearing a headscarf merely because of “their” desire. All this questioning process was tiring, but I finally decided that the one who should decide how other people see me must be no one but myself. I should have been the only judge on this topic.

I call out the lovely people who read this letter. You will easily see that those pressures you are subjected to are not really about any Islamic practice. Most pressures about our hair’s visibility and the perception of dressing modestly are irrelevant to Islam. Dear readers, I have been in this process for four years. If one day I can finally live like how I feel, I will share it with you. For now, I just want to bury the deep sorrow I feel in my inner world and make myself heard here. I just can’t stand up and say, “This is me.”, yet. Keep this between us, now that you know what I truly feel.

(Image: Lucy Mckenzie)

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