Breathe

Lylah Taank

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Breathe. Just breathe and everything will be okay. Because as long as you're breathing, you're going to be just fine. That's what you always told me, Mummy, wasn't it? You thought it was the cure to everything and I believed it too. From the time I was ten, you told me this. To breathe. In and out. Even when I was mocked at for accoutering as a boy. When I was bullied in school because I didn't act like a girl. You stroked my hair at night and caressed my face, telling me to be strong. But you forgot that you weren't, Mummy. Then how could I be?

When I was thirteen, I realized my dreams. I wanted to be with the stars. I wanted to walk the moon. And Father beat me up. Beat me up for daring to dream of this when I was a girl. I cried in my room that night, ripped my clothes off me and stared at my bare body in the mirror. Aat the bruises that were revealing themselves one by one. You walked in, Mummy, and gave that loving smile of yours. You told me that I could walk my path alone. All I needed to do was breathe. But you forgot that we all need someone. And you weren't there.

At sixteen, I found myself. I realized that I stood out. I found myself unique. But even then, my feelings weren't accepted. Liking another girl was disgusting for them. But they forgot that they were no one to decide whom I should love and whom I should not. That day, you disowned me, Mummy. And Father kicked me out of the house. He sold me to men to get rid of my "illegal" feelings. But you told me to keep one thing in mind. Breathe.

I gave pleasure to men, satisfying them. But no one asked me if I was hurting from within. If I was breaking piece by piece. But I kept your advice in mind, Mummy. Breathe. Because that's how life goes on. That's how things work.

After my twenty-first birthday, I decided that I was ready to do what I longed for two unbearable years. I looked into the mirror and saw a stranger looking back at me, her eyes hollow and glassy, and dark patches beneath them. I didn't know I would transform into this, Mummy. A girl covering herself head to toe whenever she could, to hide her life long scars, her shame. I went to the terrace, Mummy, and stared at the edge of it. And I saw the world from up above one last time. And I took a deep breath, Mummy, just like you'd said. But I took a deep breath to stop breathing forever. My feet left the surface beneath me to go live with the stars. To finally make my dream come true. But as soon as I felt the rush, I realized what a terrible mistake I'd made.

Breathe. Just breathe and everything will be okay. Because as long as you're breathing, you're going to be just fine. Isn't that what you always told me, mummy. But now I know that you were wrong. You were always wrong. I had to be courageous, something you'd never taught me. I could’ve set things right for myself. I could've seen a better tomorrow. But you should know that I never had a mother. So I looked to the world as mine. Someone who could give me faith. But you, yes you, reading this at the moment. You just told me to breathe and cooperate. Because that's how things work in this world, isn't it? Instead of celebrating each other's differences, you want them to be like you. Because it’s easier that way, right? But you, a victim of our heartless society, kept quiet about it instead of being a voice. Together, we could have implanted humanity in people. But you chose to ignore this. 

You still have a chance, though. Get together and love all. Accept all. Do it for your daughter, your sister, your mother, your gay friends . . . sorry, did that make you uncomfortable? Well, they are plenty of us in the world and you need to tell them that they're not alone. Before they end up like me, you, right there, should be the change. Because this problem will only get solved by a human in this world. Someone with an open mind.

So I only have one piece of advice for you.

Breathe. 

But don't just hope for everything to be okay. Get together and make everything okay. Use the advice you gave me, mummy. Just breathe.