You never get used to the things you cannot internalize.

They rejected “the real me.” 

I don’t know if you also write about those who lost the struggle, but today I am one of them.

My name does not belong to me, neither the life I live nor the appearance I have.

I am 22, and I am a student. When I was about 16, I started covering my hair. The only reason was the pressure or so-called encouragement that began when I was 13. I was brought to the relatives’ weddings with my hijab on. Then, they kindly (!) requested me to cover my head in high school, but it was not allowed back then, and the school was a 5-minute walk away. So, I hid behind those justifications and didn’t cover my head. Last year of school, the hijab was unbanned, so I had to cover my head to shut down the never-ending advice of people around me.

I remember the very first day. There was a vast emptiness in my heart. Everyone congratulated me, and I even felt flattered during the first weeks —getting approval at such an early age was very pleasing. Yet, I regretted it before a month has passed. I tried to get used to it because I was scared of the backlash. However, you will never get used to the things you cannot internalize. It got heavier every day, but I tried to ignore it, and I created a false character for myself. I was not happy, but I faked it.

My self-confidence faded away. If asked, I would say sincerity is the most important thing, yet I was a hypocrite myself.

Exactly a year ago, everything I suppressed inside exploded. I have been diagnosed with major depression, and I was living on the edge of suicide. Nobody saw me, nobody showed any sympathy, there was only my Rabb* and me. Eventually, I found out that only the Rabb hears one for real. I went through my treatment, and nobody knew. I struggled alone, I walked alone. Then I realized there is no way to please people fully. As you value them, they turn their backs on you, and they are prepared to throw the stones on your smallest mistake.

Being covered was a similar case for me. After a while, long tunics or topcoats were not good enough. I like my hair long, so it could be noticed under the hijab even if I tied them up. They were warning me that I won’t be able to smell the heaven (referencing the words of the prophet), and hitting my head saying, “Completely cover your hair or cut them short, we do it that way.” This is inappropriate, even your topcoat fits tight on your shoulder and your back, only wearing a burqa would save you.”

I was being humiliated. The way I cover my body wasn’t approved, and I was getting verbally and physically harassed. After my treatment, I am no longer interested in pleasing people. In the Qur’an, there is a verse saying, “Shame on worshippers who do it to show off…” and it was the case for me. I have done my research, and I resorted to Allah when deciding to take off my hijab. When I mentioned this to my family, they hurt my feelings so bad, my heart was shattered to a million pieces. I was being insulted and threatened, and they also said they will wreck me, and my boyfriend tricked me into this, who does not even exist. I kept resisting, my decision was clear. However, they eventually threatened me with my mother. She was going to be punished because of my behavior in the afterlife. That was when I surrendered, it would kill me if that happened.

After all this, I didn’t completely give up. When I start earning my own living, I will leave my city or even my country. I will not come back even if I miss my family badly. Just because my opinions do not satisfy them, they treated me like a traitor, a sickening person. I sacrificed a lot to meet their standards, I complied with their rules. They rejected “the real me.” Today, I am on the losing side, but they also lost me unknowingly. My confidence in my Rabb* is strong, only he knows and understands me, and I resort to him today. Nevertheless, I wish my family no harm in the afterlife.

* Arabic word meaning Lord, Sustainer, Master, Cherisher, Nourisher. This refers to Allah in Islam.

**We were not able to find the owner of the image we shared. If you know, you can comment on its source.

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