Hello everyone! Actually, my story goes back to my childhood like most people here. My father is a devout muslim, so much that he reads Quran, performs salat in his free time. My mother only performs the mandatory religious duties and is a more optimistic person.
I had my first period in the 5th grade, I can say that my life changed after that year. It was forbidden for me to wear t-shirts (I wouldn’t wear them often before anyways, but still), my pants loosened, my skirt lengthened… Veiling had always been shown to me as an obligation, but I wasn’t a shy and silent girl like they thought; I guess that’s why they couldn’t leave much impression on me. They told me I had to cover myself in high school, I said “Okay.” All in all, it was a new environment, new people—I wanted them to know me in hijab, but it didn’t turn out the way I wanted; I lost my will and didn’t start veiling as I started high school, on the contrary I began dressing more like the opposite of what my family imagined. Of course, not veiling fired back as a psychological pressure. My mother was constantly saying that she doesn’t trust me because I don’t keep my promises since I wasn’t veiling. My father even said that he was embarrassed to show me to his friends because I wasn’t veiled.
My cousin, who is the same age with me and is my best friend, was going through the same thing. Eventually we couldn’t bear it anymore and started veiling the summer after the first year of high school. We followed YouTube channels like Sözler Köşkü, Hayalhanem during our veiling period; I can say that these channels and being sent to a residential school for religious training out of the city were influential. Everything was going very well in the boarding school; I was engaged with religion more closely. I learned the Quran. I came back from the boarding school and regular school began. Everyone was very surprised; I got the same reaction when I visited my hometown. Now I understand these better because hijab doesn’t suit my character. Even a relative of mine who wasn’t really into religion once said, “If you cover your hair, I’ll start veiling too,” they weren’t expecting much from me on this veiling issue.
Anyway, like every newly-in-hijab girl, promises were made—new clothes, a new phone… And they were all bought too. But I still couldn’t veil myself—I couldn’t make those tunics longer, those pants looser; I still can’t. It had been 1 year after veiling that I started researching about life and religion. Everything was so meaningless. Then I spoke to my friends about this; all my friends were answering my questions according to religion, no one was saying their personal opinion. Gradually, I realized that I don’t want to veil and don’t belong to this religion.
I started senior year, I couldn’t study, I always had questions in my head. So many that I don’t know how many times I got into an argument with my religious culture teacher—yes, with the hijab on my head. I took the university placement exam, my score was high, but I decided to study for another year because I wanted to go to medical school. I thought a lot about taking my hijab off in the summer, I couldn’t find the courage. First, I told a few friends, in the beginning they said, “Don’t take it off, you’re more beautiful when you’re veiled,” but my determination must have affected them since they stood by me. Then I told my big brother. He is a very tolerant person, he reads and writes a lot, I thought he would help me. He said “I had friends who had very strict families but took off their hijab anyways, you don’t have to wear a hijab if you don’t want to. I’m on your side but you need to make a decision; consider this issue very well whether to be or not to be veiled, because it’s not something you can take lightly.” I can say that I was very motivated, because having support from family feels very good. With this motivation, I told my mother, but I faced a very harsh reaction; she said that I couldn’t do such a thing as long as she is alive, she would even disown me if I would do such a thing. But I didn’t give up, every time I said that I was going to take it off and I still say this. Now she got used to it and doesn’t say anything. Yesterday, I took a big step and succeeded in talking to my father. I didn’t get the reaction I expected, I can say that he acted milder than I expected. Of course, I didn’t directly say “I’m going to take my hijab off.” I said, “Veiling is so hard, I can’t do anything I want. I’m constantly restricted. I’m estranged from religion. I don’t feel like performing salat or veiling.” I added the questions I had in mind; my father tried to answer them. In the end, I said, “What would you do if I took my hijab off?” He said, “I wouldn’t say anything, if you’re doing it for me then don’t do it at all. If you’re going to do it, do it for Allah, there is no merit in doing it this way.” You should have heard my screams of happiness in my room later!It may look like a small thing to you, but only I know how many sleepless nights I had, how many nights I cried myself to sleep because I didn’t know how to tell my father. Briefly, if I can get rid of this “What will people say?” thought, I’ll take it off in summer if I can; if I can’t, I will do it the day I start college; and I will share it here. Well, why did I write so long? Because I always wished that there were more details when I read the stories here; I didn’t want the readers of my story think like this.
My fellows who can’t tell their parents! Nothing happens as scary as the way you imagine. I hope a future in which we are free, happier, and look like our real selves awaits for us. Let us have good days!Translator: Leto
(Image: Serial Experiments Lain)