My name is Nima. I lived in Tehran with my family during the origination of the Iranian Revolution. I had a very typical childhood. I spent my time running around in my bright teal sneakers, playing volleyball with the neighbors’ sons, learning to swim, and watching movies with my Dad on the weekends. There was always a smile on my face.
Play volleyball with us, Nima!
But once the Fundamentalists came to power, my life began to change. I was no longer allowed to see my male friends. I couldn’t even go to school with them! We were separated by gender and given thick cloths, called hijabs, to cover our hair.
We were told that women’s hair “exudes vibrations that arouse, mislead, and corrupt men.” It was our duty to cover our heads, and if we did so improperly we could face imprisonment or flogging.
As an effect of the uncomfortable hijab covering my head, I had to cancel my remaining swim lessons. It was too hard to swim with the weight of the cloth suffocating me and even worse to be under the scrutiny of the Fundamentalist’ eye with every stroke.
Toss it over here, Arman!
Ugh, I wish that were me!
Even my movie nights became restricted. Any movies with Western ideals were banned and confiscated by the guardians of the revolution. The only way to smuggle in Western films were from private dealers at school and in the marketplace, and it was risky!
I want to watch "Back to the Future"!
My parents tried to comfort me by promising a better, happier future. But there was no denying that life as we once knew it was over. I felt like I didn’t have a reason to smile anymore.
Shut up, Mom.
It will be okay, sweetie.
My parents tried to encourage me to keep up my grades and participate in school. However, I knew that my chances of being accepted into college were slim. Some people said that only about 50% of women were accepted! It seemed like a waste of time.