This is not a letter for returning to family.

This is not going to be a letter to pour my heart out, to return to my family, to improve relationships, and to eat happily at the same table at the end of the day. I have always been repulsed by how some people glorify family ties. I have seen and heard how families that are arranged in a manner to please fathers could become the hell of some people. As far as I can remember, I have always been angry at my own family and at the sacredness this word brings. This anger kept me alive, allowed me to gain control over my life, but at the same time, prevented me from going with the flow – it hurt my life and interfered with my mind at times when I couldn’t control it.

What I have been through is actually very common and ordinary in this geography. Various kinds of pressures, lack of love, using love for manipulation, restrictions, parents who see their child as their property, etc. These might be forgivable for some, but I can’t forgive. Just out of spite against all those big and small return-to-family stories, I’m not forgiving. I feel like forgiving and accepting them as they are is betraying my childhood.

My father, like many Islamist families do, saw his daughter as a “project kid” and didn’t even bother to get to know her. He thought everything was going fine until I took control over my life and said I would break off all my relations with him. It terrified him that I had the power and will to do what I said, and eventually, he questioned his fatherhood and apologized. Now everything is different. It seems that a regretful father is enough to leave the past in the past, but it isn’t. I guess this could be the topic of another letter. I want to talk a little bit about my mother.

I can’t keep myself from feeling sorry for my mother, even though I know she took part in many bad things I have been through. I can’t forgive you. And I’m a little bit resentful. I’m resentful because you didn’t consider that solidarity is a possibility in this world, which is sometimes too heavy for both of us, and you deprived me of the calm happiness of women who have a good relationship with their mothers. Once, you had secretly apologized to me by saying that you didn’t notice me as I grew up and you failed to protect me. The weird thing is, I have always regretted not protecting you too. When you were depressed with the impact of a mid-life crisis, you were also shouldering the burden of caring for a lot of people, and there was no one around you to help you. Sometimes, when you were too overwhelmed, you wanted to get out of the house and visit a close neighbor. I was always curious about what you told them, and even though I was only 8, I grieved that I wasn’t enough to save you from this situation. I wish everything was different. I remember our past in a different time and world. You are holding my hands with your child hands, and you are walking around the streets happily. You are preparing to exceed your daily ice cream quota. As if these memories will change our presents.

Most days and nights we didn’t look at each other’s face, with your feudal motherhood that would only feed me, we always remained silent. I was willing to have meaningful silences, but we kept quiet to hide what was inside us. You were both very powerful and weak. Maybe I did all those feminist readings just to understand our common problem that I couldn’t name back then better. I guess you didn’t take into account that I could be strong when I grew up.

The day my mother told me that she couldn’t protect me as I grew up, a lot of things changed actually. That day, in which you showed me your weakness for the first time, somehow, our quarter-century unsuccessful mother-daughter relationship and our loneliness together ended. The mother-daughter relationship was destroyed. Actually, I was about to end my family ties. But this heart-to-heart talk that was independent of time, space, roles, and blood ties took us on a new journey. I guess I didn’t know her until I stopped feeling sorry for her. I don’t know how things will be with this new person I met, but I know that in this heavy and archaic journey that is free from sacred roles, we can stop the bus and get off any time.

As I said, this is not a letter of returning to family, because I made the right decision by not forgiving and leaving them. This is a letter of thinking, about the new possibilities in another universe with my new friend who showed the courage to show her weaknesses and confessed her sins. Life is indebted to me and I want to take what it owes to me. Everyone has a different story. But I guess in my story, I would not get to this new and fresh path if I didn’t dare to wreck some relationships. It is such a path that I feel joyful for the different stories and the vagueness of the possibilities, and at the same time, I feel cool like a rock and calm like a porch.

Translator: Leto

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