I have not worn a headscarf for six years, but at least once a month, I see in my dream that I wear a headscarf and try to take it off.

I voluntarily covered my hair at high school.

I wanted to take my headscarf off two weeks after that, but I was afraid of public pressure. I was worried about what my friends would say. I said to myself, “I will uncover my hair again at the university.” I couldn’t do so. I could not look at the mirror for four years. I hated myself. I always wanted to take off my headscarf, but this time I was afraid of people’s reactions at the university. I always looked at revealing clothes and imagined myself in them. 

I had a flatmate in the 3rd grade of the university. He said, “Don’t take off your headscarf now. Graduate from university, then do it,” and convinced me. I don’t even have a photo taken at the graduation or prom. I didn’t take a photo, thinking I would not look at it anyway.

I graduated from university, came home. It was the month of Ramadan. I talked with my mom. Usually, she would not interfere with such a situation, she would pray or something, but she would not pressure us to “shut down.” I had two sisters who didn’t wear headscarves, but all hell broke loose when I said I wanted to take it off too. My mother cast a damper on me, and I had to fast for three days without food and water. My father was also a Muslim that goes to the mosque every Friday. But if you were honest, he didn’t care whether you were wearing a headscarf or not. He wouldn’t put any pressure. As for my mother, though, when she saw a friend of mine who was wearing a headscarf, she would hug her and say, “Oh, it smells like faith.”

Over time, my family got used to me not wearing a headscarf. I uploaded my photo to social media, deleted all my previous photos where I was wearing one. I removed those who disliked my friendship because of what I was wearing. 

Later, I started teaching. I explored myself more and more every day. I am married now. I have a daughter. My husband’s family consists of very religious people. They want me to cover my hair again. Though I’m not even responding to them, not even saying, “hopefully ahead.” I am currently wearing what I want. I always dreamed of wearing my shorts and camping. I can do them now. There are no lessons left to learn from the place I haven’t visited for six years. You can do these things while wearing a headscarf as well, but when you are not really the person you see in the mirror, you become withdrawn, you feel hypocritical. In short, I have not worn a headscarf for six years, but at least once a month, I see in my dream that I cry and try to take off my headscarf, saying, “I was not wearing it; why did I wear it again?”

As you can see, this trauma never goes away. I hope what I wrote becomes hope for the people on this page. Maybe not today, but someday. I hope you see your true self when you look in the mirror.

(Image: Martina Fischmeister)

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