Meltem Arikan






While the greens inside her, were turning into yellows,
While the sun was preparing to hide behind the clouds,
While her body was trying to adapt to the chilliness
Which was chasing the heat,
all of a sudden, the words, “adapt yourself” began to echo in her ears.
As if she was standing next to a big gong ringing constantly
The words repeated themselves again and again endlessly.
Adapt yourself, must adapt, being adapted is important.
Adapt yourself…


If you are Woman its inevitable to adapt!
In order to have an adaptable life, adapt yourself…
In order to content yourself with less, adapt yourself…
In order to get away with it, adapt yourself…
For the sake of being loved, adapt yourself…
In order to be never judged, adapt yourself…
Despite all rules, expectations and knitted dresses imposed on you forcibly,
adapt yourself…


“No!” she wanted to shout. “No,” but words walked backwards though her throat.


At the end of the years passed with adapting
on the white walls she could only see regret, her eyes staring.
The years spent for the sake of her lover,
Thrown off expectations for the sake of her children,
The concessions she made in order to be never judged,
Now, whenever she looks at the frames hanging on the walls,
She can’t see what’s in them, anymore because,
It’s only regrets stare at her through them.
Regrets hanging on the curtains,
Regrets tainted the cushions,
Even more regrets reeked from her.
Regrets crying out through her body…
And yet still those who ask her to adapt more.
“more, more, more…”


I’ve been content with less. I’ve adapted myself. I’ve been obedient. I asked for nothing,
I always gave myself, but then now where am I, who am I…?


Why didn’t anyone tell me, “ you are woman and you are in accord with nature?”
Why didn’t anyone tell me, “don’t adapt yourself to the concepts forcibly imposed upon you?”
Why did all of you keep silent?
Why are you all so non-existing?
“NO” she wanted to scream. ”No.”
If she didn’t shout out, “NO,” today,
then again her tomorrows would be wasted
by adapting herself to those who say NO to her. NO!


Meltem Arıkan is a Turkish novelist and playwright. Her fourth novel Yeter Tenimi Acıtmayın (Stop Hurting My Flesh) was banned in early 2004 by the Committee to Protect the Minors from Obscene Publications, with the accusation of "Writing about the non-existing incest fact in Turkey, attempting to disturb the Turkish family order with a feminist approach.” The ban was lifted after two months and Arıkan has been awarded with “Freedom of Idea and Statement Prize 2004” by the Turkish Publishers’ Association. She published her 9th novel in 2009.  Stop Hurting My Flesh was recently republished in Turkish and will be published in English in 2014.


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