I used to take off my headscarf next to the little girls wearing headscarves and holding their mother’s hands.

I already sent a letter that tells my story. Comments were saying that I’m lying about what I said. Interesting, isn’t it? I’m writing about my life here. Those who force their daughters to wear a headscarf try and treat me like the things I wrote are poorly designed fiction. 

Today I won’t talk much about my private life. I will talk in general and about my friends. 

My family always asks me why do I become friends with problematic people. People who grow in unsettling events and have troublesome families will have troubled friends. They forced us to wear headscarves and study in religious schools. I had so many friends who are in the same boat as me. I had many friends who are forced to wear headscarves and study in religious schools. Despite looking forward to taking off their headscarves and just learning more about their religion at school, they could not even imagine not wearing it and attending a religious school at the same time. So, they became excessively repressed: They used to get drunk at Taksim and come to the school with headscarves the day after. Some of them were lesbian, and they too tried their best to seem religious, wearing headscarves again despite sharing their nude photos all around the school on the sly. In short, I had many repressed friends.

Our families are so interesting, right? They force us to wear a headscarf and send us to an environment that they think would be religious with their own hands. To their surprise, it has so many sick and diverse people in it. Then they put the blame on us. Yet, they are out of luck, for we get stronger together. 

My parents told me this while we were fighting. “We took you to Qur’an courses, religious schools; we did our best to make you pray.” Well, you did well, daddy. For the first time, I took off my headscarf beside one of my friends that I trusted at the school. I also witnessed many of my friends took off their headscarves. I got rid of my frustration there. I gained self-confidence. My family can’t make me upset anymore. I get beaten up all the time, but they understand that what they say, what they force me to do, and their threats have no effect on me anymore. So, they just released me unintentionally. At first, you consumed me, and then you consumed yourself, mommy. You really deserved this.

I have more things to say. I had written my story on this platform. One of my friends -from my religious school – was with me. I then took off my headscarf rancorously in the middle of the street. Now, I want to talk about that friend of mine. She is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever known. At the same time, she is gorgeous, but she doesn’t like herself. It’s not difficult to guess the reason. One day I called her and told her, “Let’s go to Üsküdar. We will take off your headscarf.” I was calm while I was saying these words, but the excitement in her voice reminded me of my mood when I secretly took off my headscarf; it hit me like a slap in my face.  

Women who wore a headscarf and didn’t take it off won’t understand what I am saying. Taking off that headscarf become the most important thing at that moment. When you put the headscarf in your bag, you become the happiest person in the world. Your hair flips in the wind, and do be sure that it is nothing to be belittled. It absolutely makes you feel like an ordinary person. Over time, you get carried by this feeling. Sometimes, you almost forget that you wear a headscarf in normal conditions. The shorter the time gets, the faster you become, as like you need to reach somewhere. As if when you get faster, your hair will have more time with the sun, but in the end, the most disgusting time comes, the time at which you must wear your headscarf. You used up the time that your mother gave you, and it finished. You came to the risky area where you have acquaintances. Now, you have to wear your headscarf calmly. Sometimes, you come home with a smile on your face or cursing those who do this to you. However, in the end, you get into the house. As soon as you enter the door, you take off your randomly done headscarf and throw it somewhere. That’s how it is. You live for two-person in one day. Sometimes, I live for more than two. 

I used to take off my headscarf next to the little girls wearing headscarves and holding their mother’s hands. I showed them the pathway in my own way. My friend’s personality was the opposite. She was shy. Yet, one day, my friend went to the toilet on the ferry to finally take off her headscarf in the outside world. She was waiting for the cabins to vacate. Then she wore the eye pencil and mascara that she wasn’t used to wearing when she had her headscarf. She once told me that she didn’t wear makeup when she wears her headscarf because she thought it would be ugly no matter what she put on herself. I was always telling her that she looks beautiful. Maybe she believed me for the first time on that day. After we left the toilet, as if everyone was looking at her, she could not lift her head off the ground; she walked to the steamer’s top, opposite of where she was coming from. She was afraid of people who would criticize her. Her family would do this. She couldn’t be comfortable on the ferry. When we left the ferry, she seemed relieved. As an example, she took so many photos of herself. The images that she’ll never share but will become so happy only with their existence. Maybe you could understand if you saw her that day; I don’t have enough words to explain how happy she was. When we were on the way to our home, we used the long roads to keep her hair more open. When she arrived home, love gushed even from the messages that she sent to me. Those few hours we spent gave her the happiness she may even use now. I cannot talk about her situation now, but it’s not very good because of her family. 

Shortly, sometimes with the name of God, our families punish us. I am not a Muslim right now, and yesterday I learned that my brother is not either. I am sure some families read these letters furiously. I think one must consider who did this to us. We are 17-18 years old children. They all choose the environment we live in, the school we attend, and even our religion. So, now they should be the ones to think about why we are irreligious.

Translator: EsilS.

(Image: Marie Muravski)

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