27/04/2021 | Writer: Yıldız Tar
The day you take part in the first Pride Parade will be your April 23rd Children’s Day*. We walked as two persons that day, you know. Me and you. A world-defying, lacy, sassy lubunya** and a lonely child…
Me as a child…
Dear little Yıldız,
I'm writing you this letter from 2021. On the balcony of our home, in mildly cold weather, wrapped in a blanket, chain smoking, the "Seni unutmaya ömrüm yeter mi?" (Can I live enough to forget you?) is playing on the background. I'm going through a period where I painfully realize that it's not enough. What's more, I owe you an apology for what I did to forget you. You know, you have your own house now at 31. You live with people you call family. This wonderful being called Bobi is giving you the love that the whole world has kept from you for years. It's all a little fragile, all these things are on a thin sheet of ice. You feel like everything's going to slip away at any moment. But you're still standing. You didn't die of loneliness and grief at a young age, as you feared. You're learning to bear this loneliness and pain.
I know you're lonely. You feel so alone. Beyond the feeling, it seems loneliness is the only truth in life. Even your name isn't Yıldız yet. You live every day by a name that doesn't belong to you. As the poor kid on a private school scholarship, you don't feel like you belong in either world. When you come home and sit by the stove, the gilding of your glittering life starts to crumble. You're looking around. You see love from your mother, and violence, crudity and, most painfully, lack of love from your father. You escape. You escape to your books. Only then will you have your peace. Your parents can't afford the fantastic books you want, so you have to finish the books you borrowed from your friends overnight. You'll finish it even if you don't have to. Because it's the only way you can escape your loneliness in that house. And you're going to read on the school bus all the time. The driver is not going to like you because the neighborhood you live in is a long way from all those rich kids' neighborhoods. Every morning, he's going to scold you for having to drive down those downhill narrow streets. You're going to stay silent, open your book and start reading. Sometimes you'll read the book in the hands of your friend sitting next to you. Because not your parents' money, nor your friends' will to lend would match your reading speed.
Your loneliness will continue at school. It's not that you don't have friends. It's because you have no one to share your secret with. Oh, my dear, everyone knows it, and they're all trying to keep it from you. Your mother knows, the ones that you platonically loved know, your friends know, your teachers know. Everybody knows. When they say you're going to be the next Zeki Müren of Bursa, they don't praise your voice my dear.
Every semester you're going to have a boy best friend that you fall in love with. You're going to fall madly in love. You will get along just fine with them. When everything's fine and you think you're not platonic, every single one of them is going to hurt you. Some willingly, some unintentionally. Some will get a girlfriend to escape your "exaggerated" interest and to justify his manhood. Some people will call you faggot behind your back. You're going to stay silent. You'll go back to your loneliness and your fantasy novels. Novel characters can't hurt you.
When read about the worlds others have built won't cut it for you, you'll start building your own world. Every room of your house is going to be a different country. The wizards and the knights will fight. And you'll always side with the wizards. You will be lost in the extraordinary glow of a magical world. They're going to say you're crazy. You won't care. You know, your imagination is still with us. Still every night before I fall asleep, I'm putting another brick to the stories that you have started. Thalos, the black wizard, is still with us. And Thalos's fearless lover Telak. They're getting united and separated time and time. And yes, Thalos is still on the verge of destroying the world if Telak's single hair gets harmed. But don't be afraid, Telak gets to unite with Thalos every time. Returns to the dark-haired, gender-ambiguous, effeminate, extravagant and glamorous wizard Thalos. And both we and Thalos fall asleep in the bosom of the imaginary Telak.
Then comes puberty. Tough times. Now those friends you're in love with are going to notice it a little bit more. You'll be shunned. You're going to see the glimpses of "Is he a faggot" in their eyes. You're going to start hurting yourself. You're going to blame yourself. They're going to teach you to be ashamed. To be ashamed of yourself, of your feelings, of everything. But most of all, they're going to teach you how to blame yourself. I know, I can't change the past. But rest assured, you'll overcome that shame and guilt. The more I remember you, the more I get over it every day. I owe you that. I owe it to you to make them answer for what they have done to you. Do you know that I remember you every time I fall down? I get stronger as I remember what has been done to you. For you, for me, for our lives…
Me and mama
That's when your mother's going to get sick. They're going to tell you she's going to die. You'll see that pity in the eyes of your relatives. How easily will they tell you that you are going to lose your only friend. That possibility will crush you. That possibility will be there for years. Every morning for years, you're going to wake up early to see if mom is dead. Spoiler: She's not going to die. And believe me when I say this, you'll be friends again when you share your secret with her. But the scars will remain. I'm still trying to deal with those scars. I can't lie to you. A Star*** was born through all these.
The possibility of your mother dying and the only person that could understand your secret will be taken away from you distances you from everyone and everything. You're going to start building yourself a world outside of that private school and home. Times of drifting on the streets with your punk friends. You're going to drink so much that your life is going to start skidding in high school. You can't tell your secret to your friends who are clustered around punk and metal lifestyles. In fact, you'll be the bridge between your platonic beloveds and their girlfriends. It's going to hurt. You're going to escape again.
You know, I talked to our sister the other day. "You've always escaped," she said. You've always escaped. Don't blame yourself for that. I'll constantly do this to us in the years to come. I'm going to blame us for things that aren't our fault.
But things are going to change one day. It'll change the day you will become Yıldız. Your life won't become heaven in one day, but you'll start talking. In fact, maybe you'll talk a little too much as an outcome of years of build-up. You're going to have your loves, and you're going to wear skirts that you've always wanted and couldn't wear. You're going to stand against the whole world. In fact, there will be a day when you're going to introduce the new family that you have built for yourself to your old family. You're going to hug your mother again after running away from her because she was going to die.
These fears occasionally coming back, my dear. The things that have been told to you takes me back to the old days. But you're the lonely child in me. I want to make peace with you, and I call you once again from the future: The day you take part in the first Pride Parade will be your April 23rd*. We walked as two persons that day, you know. Me and you. A world-defying, lacy, sassy lubunya** and a lonely child... Happy Holiday to us, my dear.
I end it with verses from an Ece Ayhan poem that we did not understand why we were crying when we read it at first:
“Their friends have woven this poem from oleanders:
Never mind 128! In the cadets` boarding schools of suicide
Every child has an older child in his heart.
The whole class will send you birds without envelopes on children’s holidays”
* National Sovereignty and Children's Day of Turkey
** Lubunya is a word from Turkish queer slang which can be roughly translated as queer
*** The author’s name, Yıldız, means star
****The articles at KaosGL.org Gökkuşağı Forumu (Rainbow Forum) are under the responsibility of their authors. The fact that the articles are published at KaosGL.org does not mean that the opinions at the articles necessarily reflect the opinions of KaosGL.org.
Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz
Tags: human rights, life