I have faced the things that I couldn’t face before.

Hello. I’m a woman who has her hair covered for 15 years. I grew up in a conservative family. Even though no one from my family pressured me, one day, I thought about an outfit that my grandmother once gave me, “This is for covered women, so I should cover my hair too and surprise my grandmother.” I did it just once, but suddenly, everyone started to congratulate me, and I assumed that I did a great thing.

I had just finished secondary school, and I had to go to high school. Since I couldn’t pass the exam, I would go to a regular high school, but it was a very troubled one. So instead, my father enrolled me in an Imam Hatip State High School*. Adding the congratulations I received, I thought I was doing a good thing when I went to a school full of covered girls. When it comes to religious aspects, I didn’t know what or why I was doing, and I never questioned it.

Years had passed, and I finished high school and university. When I started to work, I began to question from time to time. I was trying to convince myself that I did a good thing with wearing a hijab, but months later, the problem resurfaced again, but worse. My perspective about the hijab had changed so much that when I looked at people, I was confusing the hijab and hair, and I started to see hijabs as hair.

Most women wear hijab on the bus I take when going to work, the non-hijabis are few. Sometimes I put myself in their place, and I wonder if it would feel bad being a non-hijabi in a place where many women are the opposite. I started to think I shouldn’t have the right to make the other side feel bad for a piece of cloth and felt like discrimination is arising among us.

Maybe it doesn’t make any sense to you, but I think that the hijab is separating us, and I feel sorry for being a part of it.

Now I have faced the things that I couldn’t, that I avoided researching, I want to uncover my hair, but I don’t know how to take action. In the meantime, I got married, I have a good husband, and I’m sure he will support me. Still, my parents and my relatives definitely will not like my decision.

I don’t know if I can fight back. 15 years have passed since I covered my hair, now I’m 30. This is a really long time. One of the things I’m afraid of is that my little sister is preparing for university exams this year.

I’m afraid if I take my hijab off, my father won’t send my sister to university.

She must have been influenced by me because she was covered after she finished secondary school. My parents probably wouldn’t want my sister to be affected by me again. What kind of trouble did I put myself in? I’m in regret. I’m thinking of trying to tell them after the exams are over. I don’t know when, this year or next year, all I know is that day will surely come, and I’m sure I’ll uncover my hair…

*Imam Hatip schools are educational institutes in Turkey where people are trained for religious professions such as imams.   

(Image: Petra Eriksson)

Comment (1)

  1. Have you considered sharing your experience with your sister? It might be a busy season for her right now and you might prefer to wait. But some day tell her about your reflections on your family and the past 15 years; think about how you thought about things when you were her age. You know her and her situation better than anyone else because you are from the same family. Your partnership and friendship is so important. Maybe she will have a different experience and reach a different conclusion from you, maybe she will prefer to cover. However, I believe you have been given to each other as a gift from God- and sharing your experiences together in an open and supportive way will surely bless both of you in your journeys. Maybe it is a good idea to wait until after the busy season of preparing for the University Exam, choosing a university etc. I am not covered, I wish I had a sister. I think we must share our journeys and support each other in love, respect and openness. Even if we have different thoughts and conclusions.

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