Meltem Arikan

“I’d have loved to start with my dear daddy but my hand’s unwilling to write this now. I don’t know if there’ll come a day when I’ll say my dear daddy. Actually, I don’t even know if I want that day to come. One day, to become a father and a daughter…

Dad, why didn’t you ever tell me life how hard life is?

You didn’t say “you should protect yourself even from me, my daughter”.

Now I know I cannot ask you “why me” but still the question is there.

Didn’t you ever think of me? Didn’t you ever feel sorry for leaving me without a father?

Tell me dad, how did you love me? I would have loved to call you daddy, but it is so hard now.

Dad, why didn’t you tell me “you could be happy simply by being yourself?”

You put me under a bell jar full of needles. You stopped me from understanding what was good and what was evil. You never said “know what is true so you can climb the stairs safely.,”

And what about you, my darling? Instead of loving me more as I became myself, why were you so scared of me? Why did you decide that our relationship should not continue?

Maybe you never felt as romantic as you claimed. There’s still no reason for it to be over. “We consumed it.” Well, what was it we consumed? The years spent with a me that wasn’t me? My love, don’t think of me as that not-me anymore. Talk to me. I can carry your fears as well.

What is your trauma, I wonder, my darling? Why do you prefer to love me, not as a woman, but as a little girl?

I am leaving you all too soon and I am feeling good for the first time. Am I deceiving myself? Could I really start to smile at everything now? Could I have grown up this much? Why will I devote myself to my job now and what will it prove? Nothing? Or that I am free?

Be sure of the way and start to walk, little girl. Calm and tender. Be a ‘woman’. Never be as if a woman…

Let your eyes smile. Define love within your own reality. Do everything for yourself. Live for yourself. Touch for yourself. Take pleasure for yourself. For yourself. Yourself…”

“Ba­ba­cı­ğım, di­ye baş­la­ma­yı çok is­ter­dim, ama elim git­mi­yor şu an­da. Ba­ba­cı­ğım di­ye­ce­ğim bir gün ge­le­cek mi bil­mi­yo­rum, as­lın­da gel­me­si­ni is­ti­yor mu­yum onu bi­le bi­le­mi­yo­rum. Bir gün ba­ba-kız ol­mak…

Ba­ba, ne­den ba­na ya­şa­mın bu ka­dar zor ol­du­ğu­nu hiç söy­le­me­din?

“Ken­di­ni ben­den bi­le ko­ru­ma­sı­nı bil kı­zım,” de­me­din.

“Ne­den ben,” di­ye so­ra­ma­ya­ca­ğı­nı ar­tık bi­li­yo­rum, ama yi­ne de sor­ma­dan ede­mi­yo­rum.

Hiç mi be­ni dü­şün­me­din? Be­ni ba­ba­sız bı­ra­kır­ken, hiç mi üzül­me­din? An­lat­sa­na ba­ba, sen be­ni na­sıl sev­din? Sa­na ba­ba­cı­ğım de­me­yi çok is­ter­dim, ama öy­le­si­ne zor ki ar­tık.

Ba­ba ne­den ba­na “Sen, sen ola­bil­di­ğin sü­re­ce mut­lu ola­bi­lir­sin,” de­me­din? Be­ni bir fa­nu­sa koy­dun, içi iğ­ne­ler­le do­luy­du. İyi­le­ri-kö­tü­le­ri an­la­ma­ma en­gel ol­dun. “Ger­çek­le­ri bil ki, mer­di­ven­le­ri da­ha sağ­lam çı­ka­sın,” de­me­din.

Ya sen sev­gi­lim? Ben ken­dim ol­duk­ça be­ni da­ha çok se­ve­ce­ğin yer­de, ne­den kork­tun ki ben­den, be­nim­le iliş­ki­nin yü­rü­me­ye­ce­ği­ne na­sıl ka­rar ver­din?

Bel­ki de, as­lın­da hiç­bir za­man söy­le­di­ğin gi­bi ro­man­tik de­ğil­din. Öy­le­si­ne “Bit­ti,” di­yor­sun. “Tü­ket­tik,” pe­ki ne­yi? Ol­ma­yan ben­le ge­çen yıl­la­rı mı? Sev­gi­lim ar­tık be­ni dü­şün­me ve be­nim­le ko­nuş­ma­ma­ya de­vam et. Ben se­nin kor­ku­la­rı­nı da ta­şı­ya­bi­li­rim.

Se­nin trav­man ne aca­ba sev­gi­lim?.. Be­ni, ka­dın ola­rak de­ğil de kü­çük bir kız ola­rak sev­me­yi ni­ye ter­cih edi­yor­sun?

En kı­sa za­man­da siz­le­ri terk edi­yo­rum ve ilk de­fa ken­di­mi iyi his­se­di­yo­rum. Aca­ba ken­di­mi kan­dı­rı­yor mu­yum? Da­ha şim­di­den her şe­ye gü­lüm­se­ye­bi­lir mi­yim? Bu ka­dar bü­yü­müş ola­bi­lir mi­yim? Şim­di ken­di­mi işi­me ver­mem, ne­yi ka­nıt­la­mak için ola­cak pe­ki? Hiç­bir şe­yi ? Öz­gür­leş­mek için mi?

Ha­re­ket ede­bi­le­ce­ğin alan­la­rı be­lir­le­yip, yü­rü­me­ye baş­la kü­çük kız. Sa­kin ve yu­mu­şak. “Ka­dın” ol. As­la ka­dın­mış gi­bi yap­ma…

Göz­le­ri­nin gü­lüm­se­me­si­ne izin ver. Sev­me­yi ken­di ger­çek­li­ğin için­de ta­rif­le. Her şe­yi ken­din için yap. Ken­din için ya­şa. Ken­din için do­kun. Ken­din için zevk al. Ken­din için. Ken­din…

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 2012.

Photo Credit: "Be Happy" © Kydriashka |


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