First time in years, I have done something for myself: I took my hijab off.

I had written here two years ago. I was 17. First time in years, I have done something for myself: I took my hijab off despite all those oppression. When no one has gone through the same things you are going through, you feel alone even though you have supportive friends. Your friends tell you that you should live your life as you wish, but they don’t know how hard it is to actually do it because they never fought with such oppression before. Because of that, it is a road that requires courage to walk. Unfortunately, you should accept the fact that no one is going to change your life besides yourself. All of us almost have the same story. We have all lived through the same fears. We are still living it. If I from two years ago asked me from today, I would tell her to do exactly what I have done. Even though I know how hard it was, I would still say, “Do it.” Hard times are waiting for you, but being your true self is priceless.

I didn’t know it is going to be that big of a problem then. I regretted taking my hijab off as soon as I did it because of my family’s reaction. Everybody told me they would get used to it. I hope everyone’s story will be like that. But if it doesn’t, you are not alone. Because mine didn’t. While I was waiting for them to get used to the situation, things got the opposite. They constantly belittled me and wanted me to compromise on myself. They wanted me only to wear shirts that cover all my arms and my butt. They still do. It is a trauma to discover that your family doesn’t love you unconditionally. Moreover, if you already have trust issues, you never fully let people into your life, and your family doesn’t love you unless you met their requirements, you feel like nothing on this earth. You realize you don’t belong anywhere.

This year was the first year I spent free and happy, my first year in university. I have never been a person who goes to the extremes like my family fears I would. My idea of freedom was only stepping outside wearing a t-shirt and a jean. My understanding of freedom was a simple life where the people you call ‘my family’ and people who should embrace you, not look at you with disgust, and did not blame you even in the smallest incident. I can’t stand them not seeing me as a person worthy of their respect even though I respect them and compromise my self-worth for them. The only escape for me is to earn my living. If someone out there did really escape from this situation, I really respect them. I am afraid. What if I can’t escape, and my whole life passes away like this?  I also think, what if I escape and fear it too. There is nothing sadder than wanting to run away from your own family. Despite everything, I am ashamed of myself for wanting to leave my family behind. They left me in great uncertainty, and in both scenarios, it is me who has to fight.

(Image: Salvador Dali)

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