At least I would belong to one side, and they wouldn’t question my clothes.

What I see in the mirror makes me unhappy.

Unfortunately, what I’m going to write is not a success story. I’m 20 years old, and I’ve already left behind perhaps the most beautiful and crazy years of adolescence that I could have spent in my life in long clothes, headscarves, coifs, and coats. My cover story started when I was 14. As I read here, as most of my friends have written, I have never been a child who can dress as I wish. It is still like yesterday; my friends were continually questioning me while I was wearing long-sleeved T-shirts in the summertime.

I couldn’t even show my hair the way I wanted because it was a shame. It was comforting for me to cover my hair while I was like this; at least I would belong to one side, and they wouldn’t question my clothes. I was brought up with such an attitude of mind that I started wearing a headscarf. When I felt utterly belonging to one side, I began to harbor hostility to everyone who was not like me. All the girls who do not wear headscarves sounded naughty, immoral to me, or rather, I was offended with everything they could do liberally because I desired for what they could do inwardly. 

As time passed, my ideas began to radicalize. There was no room for tolerance in my life until I went to the university in Istanbul for the first time when I could go away from my family and their ideas. I was alone with myself and became myself. It was a cultural shock for me to come from a small city of Anatolia to Istanbul. Of course, people could dress more openly than those in my hometown, and young people could hold hands and kiss where they wanted. Even though life in the early days made me even more radical, I gradually started to follow different views on social media. I slowly started to open my mind and become more tolerant of the differences. I gradually became separated from the political thought that represented my dress style and began to hate at some point, unfortunately.

As this divergence continued, I realized that I was thoroughly disgusted with the ideologies and actions compatible with the headscarf. Perhaps I was literally in the opposite of them. So much so that even if I think deeply about this, it makes me frightened, and I feel that I have lost my faith completely. It seems cruel to wear a headscarf on my clothes that have already started to become tight and shorten and have nothing to do with headscarves. What I see in the mirror makes me unhappy. My last two years have been spent with these thoughts. Then I met this platform and saw people like me who managed to stop wearing headscarf despite being from overly conservative families and still have good relations with the family, which gave me courage. 

For a while, I’ve been thinking about how I will tell my family I want to uncover. How do I explain it to them? When should I explain it? How do they react? What should I do with their possible reactions? My days are spent thinking about them. When I am away from my family in Istanbul, everything seems to be possible. Because I’m here all by myself and living my own life, everything seems easier when I look at it. But when I come home on holiday, I’m actually going to encounter the impossibility of what I think really scares me. I didn’t even think about my environment, who would say what behind my back. The only thing that matters to me is that my family has seen me as an independent individual and respects my desire for the first time. I will eventually remove the headscarf from my life, maybe when I graduate and gain my economic independence, maybe when I get married, maybe when I start living and working abroad. But what I want is to win my freedom before the best years of my youth. I hope I can do it before it’s too late. If I succeed, I will rewrite it here, and I will hope for others as other stories here hope for me.

(Image: Kathrin Honesta)

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