I am a girl who wasn’t sent to high school by her father.

Hello. I don’t remember how I discovered this website; it has been a long time and I forgot its existence. Tonight, I was into my inner thoughts, hoping to find some encouragement, but suddenly I felt the urge to pour out. Hello once again to everyone who heard my voice.

I’m 24 years old and taking off my headscarf was something I had intended and gave up on over and over again in the last few years. Now I’m at a crossroad and looking for the courage that I don’t know if it is existed in me. That’s why I want to write now for no reason. To sum up my story, I’m a girl who wasn’t sent to high school by her father. While my peers were going to high school, I started working at my father’s workplace. At that time, I used to cry a lot to go high school, but it would tire me the most to feel that I wouldn’t have my own job, and I would be attached to this workplace and city all my life. While working, I was trying to finish high school from the open high school. While studying mathematics in the kitchen, in the evenings, I still remember occasionally that my father said, “You’re working in vain, I won’t send you to university even if you win” or that he took my books and threw them around. Still, I somehow continued to work and finished open high school, took the university entrance exam. My exam was naturally not very good, but somehow my father was convinced that I should study Theology. I was going to go no matter what. Going back to school… being able to go back to school, how can I explain this feeling? At first I couldn’t believe it. I even remember that on the first day of the preparation, I couldn’t stop myself and giggled in the whole lesson. Instructor looked at my face strangely. The past five years were the best times of my life. I loved my school like crazy. I admired my teachers. Don’t ask how much I love my friends anyway. In the meantime, let me add this; studying theology improved my general culture enormously. I learned three languages during my school life. We had courses in a wide variety of fields, from Sufism to philosophy, and from history to logic. I’m writing these for those who don’t know this field well, theology is seen as a department that only teaches people certain dogmas. Personally, it wasn’t a very conscious choice, but I would still study theology again. By the way, I added my own research and the books I read to all these things I learned, and in the process I turned into a completely different person. The reason why this occurred can be discussed at length, but this person was no longer a religious person. With my courage and trembling voice, I said to my father, “Your daughter became such a person, dad, I have problems with the headscarf and I don’t want to carry something that doesn’t belong to me anymore” Of course, he didn’t say “Sure, my daughter”, instead, he said, “I won’t make my parenthood halal to you. Don’t make people say that …’s daughter took off her headscarf. You will go and marry, stop being in my responsibility, and your husband will take your responsibility, then I won’t interfere.” I was not surprised and I even became happy because he implied that I could be the person I wanted when I earned my own life in this way. Accordingly, I had to have a profession. Of course, I knew that I couldn’t work as an aerospace engineer after studying theology.

Shortly, this year I was appointed to a religious school as a vocational lesson teacher. Now, I feel like I have a new page in front of me. I’m going to a city where no one knows me and I won’t deal with the question of “Why did you take off your headscarf?”, but the department that I studied has now become shackles on my feet. How can I teach my students a field that I’m not that sure and have lots of questions about, or how sincerely can I answer their questions; I don’t know. What’s more, when I take off my headscarf and go to school, what good is it to confuse these students? I will start working as a teacher who teaches the religion in an institution where religion is taught, and how do I do this job without my headscarf? It seems unbearable to me that my students will always be distant to me, not the judgements of the principal or other teachers at the school. If I continue wearing a headscarf, this hypocrisy will devour me this time. Being discouraged, giving up because of the fear of people after putting a lot of effort and building myself. My friends said, “Find another job and rebuild your life.” They are right, I’ll do that, but from now on, I have to stand on my own feet to make another life.

In short, I have to make a decision within this month and go to get my papers, but I already feel like I‘m defeated. Of course, the habits of 24 years won’t change in a month, and there is no other lifestyle I’ve known about. However, I’d wish these were different, and I could be truly brave. Unfortunately, I’m not brave and actually very scared.

Translator: EsilS.

(Image: Lucy Mckenzie)

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