I realized that it wasn’t enough for me to listen to people who share my destiny anymore.

I discovered this platform about a year ago. It was around the time I was searching for people to share my emotions with as I was looking for a way out from the suffocation of this hijab during my preparations for the university entrance exam. I didn’t think of writing because I wasn’t hopeful like people here are. But now I realized that it wasn’t enough for me to listen to people who share my destiny anymore and I needed to say something.

As a result of not being able to score high enough to go to a nice high school, I had to go to a religious school and made the mistake of wearing a hijab while going, thinking that everyone would veil themselves there. I later decided to fix this mistake, but my family reacted badly. Even though I went to school wearing a hijab, I wasn’t wearing it in my social life for a year. Then the conversations of “You go to school covering your hair, don’t get to have a double life” began. Nobody was physically or verbally forcing me, but the psychological pressure was quite strong. Because of that, I become a hijabi when I was starting 10th grade 3 years ago and immediately realized that it was not right for me. But it was too late, I tried to adjust to it for a year since my family was happy and they thought that this was the right thing to do.

I changed my class after a year and chose my own friends. I didn’t want to veil myself anymore and people around me were supportive of it. I had a goal; go to a great university – because if it was like in high school, I would study theology and be imprisoned in a life that I don’t want- and prepare the environment that I would make my goals come true. That’s why I was patient for another 2 years and I finally got into university. I could have stopped wearing the hijab without my family knowing since I was in a different city then. But I couldn’t, even though they weren’t thinking of my happiness, I was thinking of theirs. I told my mom and faced the rejection I anticipated. I wanted her to talk to my father when I left for university as I didn’t have the courage to tell him myself, I still don’t.

I didn’t care about what anyone thought, I only cared about what my family did. I was welcomed with various lectures when I got back home. Lately I’ve been hearing about them moving and coming near me. I still have very little hope, but I now find the strength to fight it within myself. Maybe this wouldn’t have been this difficult for me, but it was too heavy for me to see that nobody, including my family members, wouldn’t do anything about the fact that men are so privileged while women can’t do anything. Especially the way they behaved as if Allah sent those rules to only women didn’t only push me away from hijab, but religion all together. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not privilege that I want, I just want everybody to be treated normally as it should be. The fact that all my male cousins’ could interfere with my life even though they are younger than me and what they say mattered, that my brother didn’t take any responsibility but in contrary, I had to behave differently to hide my breasts even without understanding why, that I was told that I was pushing angels away because I was sitting at home without covering myself although this is not explicitly mentioned in religion, that it was only women that need to follow rules even though there are rules of modesty for men as well and that for some reason, men had so much to say about women covering themselves or not without having anything to do with it; made me say “Yes, I should stop covering my hair and gain my own personality” and want to smash the privileges men have that I don’t know how they got in the first place. With the amount of pressure increasing day by day, I don’t know what to do at this point, the only thing I know is that I need to get out of my hijab for my mental health. I know I won’t be happy once this happens as well, because they will treat me as if I did the worst thing in the world. It’s such a dead end. I wish there were an easy way.

(Image: Martiros Sarian)

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