I thought no one on this road to freedom would support me.

Hello,

A long time ago, I wrote a letter saying that I wanted to stop wearing a hijab, but I was waiting for college. I thought I could make people used to it and get less reaction, but it didn’t take me long to understand that I was wrong. Every time I opened up this topic to my mother, she would either slur over me, stop talking to me or show me clothes to convince me to keep wearing a hijab. I got the same response from those whom I had considered friends and known for nine years. Then I decided not to wear the hijab a week before the semester holiday while our graduation photos were being taken. In the yearbook, at which I will always look to remember the past, I didn’t want to be seen as someone unhappy or as someone who isn’t herself. My mother and I didn’t speak to each other for a week after I stopped wearing a hijab, but she gradually conceded this situation.

Since January, I have been freely able to release my hair, but whenever I wear something short, I hear suggestive phrases from my mother and friends such as, “How quickly you have gotten used to it.” I have known these people I had considered friends for years, but I never got the support that I got from the people I have known for a year. I was very anxious about my teachers’ reactions at school, but getting a positive response from the teacher whose opinion was the most important for me made me feel so happy. I thought I wouldn’t get any support from anyone, but I got support from some people I had expected the least, and I learned who my true friends were.

If you are displeased by how you look and want to stop wearing a hijab, don’t even think about what people would say. Ignore their opinions about yourself. You can always find people who will support you, just like I did, as long as you take your steps firmly on this road to freedom.

(Image: Émile François Chambon)

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