He wasn’t the only Muslim responding. I got one Muslim who told me that I would’ve been better off taking off my headscarf rather than full-on coming out to my family as an atheist. This person is hardly alone. More than one Muslim has asked me why I didn’t tell my parents that I wanted to de-veil and stop practicing Islam rather than to declare to them that I had deconverted.
Given that I went from being a devout Muslim to being an atheist without detection but am a terrible liar, pussyfooting around my atheism would have been a pointless strategy.
Before I deconverted, I was a pious bookworm. It was hardly uncommon for me to respectfully teach my own parents things about religion. I followed every tenet as much as humanly possible. I was, for the most part, a biddable and obedient child. I earned mostly As in school, read lots of religious books, and strove to please my elders.
I started wearing hijab off and on at age eight and full-time at age ten. Though hijab isn’t required of pre-pubescent girls, I both wanted to become accustomed to wearing it and didn’t want to suddenly take it up full-time when I started my period. To my childish self, the idea that people might know via the signal of hijab that I had started my period was a deeply embarrassing thought.