Writer: Mariam Hisham
Editor: Ahmed Ashry
Artist: Randa Elhawry
Dear Mommy and Daddy,
BeforeI start, don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere. I just wrote this because I needed to speak to you and you know I hate talking. So please, both of you, read this carefully. I’m sorry, and I really mean it. I’m sorry if I ever disappointed you. I’m sorry if I’m not the daughter you wanted. I’m sorry that I’m not perfect.
“What happened to our happy chatty bright little daughter?!”, you asked. Well, I’m so sorry to tell you that this girl is long gone. The world ruined this girl completely. Yes, you’re right. I loved talking, I adored colours. I simply loved the world. But as I got older, I discovered that the world isn’t that kind. Yes it is, but only during childhood.
You could be what you want when you’re a child. You could jump under your blanket and pretend you’re swimming in the ocean. You could put a helmet on your head and pretend you’re an astronaut. You could doodle on the walls and pretend you’re the most famous painter.
But only till a specific age, and then, suddenly, you have to be the version of you the society wants you to be. If you’re a girl, you’re weak. You can’t lift weights or you’ll look too muscular for a girl. You can’t wear too short or “you’re asking for it”. You can’t wear too baggy or you’ll look silly. You can’t study hard or you’ll be a nerd. You can’t ignore your studying or you’ll be a failure. You can’t be anything you want to be.
And if you’re a guy, you can’t dance; it’s for girls. You can’t wear red or pink, this is for girls. You can’t cry, this is for the weak. You should look strong, so girls will like you.
I’m sick of it. We are all the same sad version. And even if you want to, you’ll suffer to be and you can’t help people to be what they want to be.
If you want to be whoever you want to be, you’ve got to be silent. People won’t like you. They’ll call you names. However, I chose to be what I want. So I stayed silent. I fell in love with black and the dark. I liked my hair short not long. I hated dresses. I became whatever I wanted to be. I didn’t care about the society. I accepted myself because no-one will do, even you, my own parents. I stayed silent and decided that I’ll always stay silent.
Don’t get me wrong, I love you and I wouldn’t trade the world for you. You don’t understand me and I don’t blame you. Even I don’t understand myself sometimes. I won’t ever discuss this again with you. I just wanted to let you know that it’s not your fault. All you have to do is to leave me silent. I like silence. Thank you. And again, I’m sorry.
Your loving child.