Never be bullied into silence.– Harvey Fierstein
Once upon a time, there lived a boy. He was an ordinary person, like you & me. He loved to read, play, talk & do most things every person does.
But he had a secret. It was a secret that initially baffled him to the core. He never knew he felt that way. He realized he was not an ordinary boy who only loved to play sports & wrestle. He also enjoyed so called “lady activities” like craft, cooking, playing with & making dolls. And no, this wasn’t the secret.
He didn’t just enjoy doing those things, but he also loved to wear sky high heels, apply nail paint & wear his sister’s dresses as he felt fabulous in them – especially her beautiful blue dress as it brought out the color in his eyes.
One evening just as the sun was setting leaving behind a red-orangey sky; his mother caught him in one of his sister’s dresses & went berserk. She nearly brought the whole house down. She wailed & cried & shouted at the gods asking what did she do wrong? His father, red-faced & angry, went to his room with a belt in his hand & the buckle gleaming almost as though the devil himself had polished it clean.
His father locked the room & his sister could hear blood curdling screams that would later be a part of her nightmares for many years to come.
The next day he was found by his sister cowering naked under his bed, covered in bruises & lashes that glittered red in the morning light. There was blood splattered all around the room & stains of dried tears tracks mixed with dried blood could be seen on his cheeks. His sister took him in her loving embrace & all he could ask her was, “Didi, what is it that I did wrong?” He cried till all his tears soaked his sister’s pajamas wet.
That was the day the little boy in him died. He was 12.
She told him that it is important that he keeps this a secret, a family secret she called it but was in fact called a family shame by his parents.
They called the holy priest in the temple & asked him to pray the devil out of him. They sent him to a place where they guaranteed to drive this evil out of him but everything they tried was in vain. After 14 months of hell, he came back home to his father who constantly tried to beat it out of him & his mother who prayed & fasted for the gods to come & save him.
The boy who once showed potential in excelling his school work now struggled very hard not to fail; the boy who could once run faster than most, now walked slower than a snail; the boy who once painted pictures with Orange & Pink now held empty bottles of black & grey in his bag.
His friends tried to speak to him & teachers tried to coax it out of him, but he was bound by this family secret. He had to hide his true self from everyone around him. Only his sister stood by his side but after constant berating from their parents, she couldn’t stand with him anymore.
This young boy who always had at least one person speaking to him at any point in time, now stood all alone with just his shadow by his side.
Then came a day when he looked at his reflection in the mirror & asked himself, if there was any point in living anymore. The ones he loved more than anything in the world, the ones he looked up to, the ones who loved him like there was no tomorrow, now look at him as though he was the devil’s avatar sent to them just to destroy their lives.
He had no one to turn to.
So he decided to end his life. He knew where his mother kept the sleeping pills (which she had to take because of him) & he knew where his father’s secret scotch stash was kept in the house (Religion forced his father to hide this from his wife).
The opportunity to do so presented itself when his family left him home alone on the eve of his 14th birthday to visit a temple. As he ran to get the alcohol & the pills, he tripped over his sister’s glittering golden shoes. He took them in his hands & stared at them for a very long time.
He thought about his sister & the love she had for him. He could see her crying & wailing over his dead body.
He entered her room, went through her wardrobe & found that beautiful blue dress that brought out the color in his eyes. He stripped & took a good look at himself in her mirror. He touched the gash on his collar bone & his arms & the “almost-stab” wound on his stomach. He saw the lash marks on his inner thighs & legs & the burn wounds on his palms.
And that’s when he realized he didn’t deserve this. There was no devil inside him. He didn’t deserve to have those marks on his body, each one that left a million irremovable scars on his soul. He deserved to wear this beautiful blue dress that brought out the color in his eyes & he most certainly did not have the right to take his own life that was given to him to live the way he wished to & he definitely had no right in taking away that piece of his sister’s soul which was reserved just for him.
He understood what he needed to do.
He took the dress & hid it in his cupboard, cleared up the mess in his room (hoping that it would clear some of it in his life), cleaned the dust off his books, placed them on the table & started to study & also completed his homework, for the first time in many months.
He knew that only he can face his own battles & heal from the scars that showed on his body. Only he can stand up for himself & no-one else can do it for him. He knew who the ones who would help him through this difficult period time of his life were & he also knew that they could never fight his wars for him as they were fighting wars of their own. He knew that there are so many others just like him & he needed to reach out to them.
He knew he needed all the strength he had to fight the wrong done to him. He had to leave his home & a country like his & move to a place that would accept him just the way he is.
And when he reaches that place & heals himself from the wounds inflicted on his soul, he would gather all the strength he possibly can, not just his own but also of those who support him and he will return & fight. Fight harder & stronger than ever seen before.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter if he wins or loses but he will wage this war that would shake the very core beliefs of the close minded & of those who think this as unnatural even if it would be the last thing he does.
That beautiful blue dress that brings out the color in his eyes is now his uniform that shows who he truly is & he is no longer afraid to flaunt it…