This hijab pushes me away from myself but it doesn’t draw me any closer to my religion either.

Hello everyone. I’m turning 18 today but no one including my family members wished me a happy birthday even though it’s 8 PM. It’s fine, thank God I didn’t have any financial problems to this day. My family didn’t cause me any trouble when it comes to money, at least not about my primary needs. But being an ideal family does not just mean being financially stable, providing food for your children and fulfilling your children’s wishes. I’m like a coloring book to them, they paint me the color they want to and they hate colors that are tried to be painted other than the colors they want.

When I was in the sixth grade, I was forced into being a hijabi. I was afraid of my parents at the time; what if they hit me again or what if they get angry? That’s why I didn’t say a word at first. I thought, “How much more pressure they could put on me anyway?” I was so wrong. Our house was close to the houses of my friends from school, but they wouldn’t invite me when they went to the park that was next to our house. I used to watch them from afar, wondering what they were playing. I wasn’t wearing hijab at school, but I was wearing it everywhere else. I wasn’t wearing hijab for myself, but I didn’t know for whom I was wearing it either. I started losing all my friends and being an introverted person. I was no longer going out unless it was necessary because going out was like putting myself in another person’s place and ignoring who I truly was. Anyways, they told me I was going to wear hijab at school too when I started high school and I thought that I could be more comfortable when the atmosphere changes.

While my friends were running and having fun at school, I used to sit down at my desk and watch them for hours. My desire would never pass. I hated myself during this period. I had almost no friends, and I wasn’t going out unless it was for school. Besides, I looked so ugly. When I was in tenth grade, I started putting some makeup on just so I could feel a little more beautiful. But don’t mind me saying makeup, it was just mascara, neither lipstick nor foundation. My mom would always say that I was doing makeup for the boys, she used to yell at me whenever I put on mascara. And they would interfere in what I was wearing too. I was always wearing baggy clothes back then and I still feel uncomfortable wearing tight fitting clothes. When I wore ankle-length trousers, they would not let me go out and when I wore hijab with my neck open, they would call me names.

At the end of the tenth grade I asked for their permission to not wear hijab anymore. “I had enough of it,” I said. They said no. I was not allowed to ask for permission and I was even more forced on it, they said they wouldn’t even let me go to school if I did something like that. I kept quiet because I didn’t care if they gave me money or not or if they beat me. Every slap on my body would get me closer to my target.

I’m in 12th grade now, I’m eighteen. This time I made my decision clear. This year I will go to school without wearing hijab because this hijab pushes me away from myself, but it doesn’t draw me any closer to my religion either. I hate myself, what an awful thing to say. My only goal is to have a job and never look back. I don’t even want to see them because I know that only this can make up for the distance I have put between me and myself.

Thank you to everyone who read. We will eventually achieve something but even if we conquer the world, it won’t do anything if we haven’t changed people’s minds. Goodbye.

(Image: Igor Moritz)

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