Written by flamingjune
I was living with two braincells as a teenager. One of them convinced me to keep being an introvert, the other kept telling me I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know where they came from or why these two thoughts had the power to take so much away from me.
These thoughts were so toxic that it started bleeding out of my brushes onto my paper, staining my life, my surroundings, with it’s inky darkness. I stained my friends, my parents, my sibling with my bad thoughts. pushing them away every chance I got. I approached romantic love as if it were an explore now or never experience later situation, which not only had royally fucked me over – it fucked me up. big time. I thought I could turn the love button on with whoever approached me, I thought their love was real. and not something a horny 20yr old would manipulate me into believing in order to take advantage of me. they would manipulate me into performing sexual favours, guilt me into buying expensive things for them, and still treat me badly, say I ruin everything. I did so much for them every time even though, the worst part was, I could never get my button to turn on, it caught rust by my late teens. all my past relationships were scary. on one hand I was at a war with myself, begging myself to feel some sort of affection with the men I were pretending to be in love with, and on the other, the men were so abusive. emotionally, physically, I thought I deserved it all for not being able to feel anything for them. my need for isolation and my low self esteem took me to rock bottom. my grades plummeted, I started hating my body and the way I looked. I thought I deserved nothing. I thought I was nothing but the shell a person leaves behind. I took it for years. there would be bad, overly stretched out break ups, but this cycle would continue with the next man. and the next.
And the next.
My best friend came back into my life when I was in the middle of a particularly difficult relationship. the boy I was with was a. A leo and b. A NARCISSIST. he was exploding on me, regardless of where we were – at home, in class, in a restaurant, on text, on call, didn’t matter if it was day or night, a couple of hours before my exams or after having a good time. for no valid reason. I was the one saying sorry every time. he was like that from the moment we started dating, and he stayed like that for two years. my best friend noticed it all immediately, begging me to break up every day, I had no strength left in me to have another conversation with him. trying to break up was a losing battle. but she broke up with him for me, she had the balls to cut off my maggot infested limb. I was hurt and abused to a point where I thought it was just a “kink,” I couldn’t think of any of my exes without getting a panic attack, can’t look at any of my childhood photos without cringing, without feeling a deep sense of regret for messing with that kid’s childhood. I wanted to taste love, I wanted to feel it, I wanted it to consume me. but with who? another boy? ugh. I was only 19, life was too short to waste it after people I can’t love, too short to ignore my inner gay fairy princess.
My best friend and I planned our days around two things: meeting each other and sharing a joint. that’s all we cared about. we would squeeze into each other’s routines, go to far away places, sleep over, text each other all day cause we felt like it. we’d laugh thinking about how everyone thought we were girlfriends back in middle school, the time when my mom came into my room, saw us cuddling and asked, ‘tomra ki lesbian hochcho?,’ the times we’d skip class to run around the lake in the pouring rain. we were such babies back then. loving each other came to us just as naturally as our first kiss. it felt right, I finally felt free and myself. I let go of my two brain cells to make room for a whole new brain. we decided on remaining polyamorous, we would date other people even though we were together, and even if we break up, it would never affect our friendship. – and it didn’t.
I never hid how I felt about my best friend, or how I felt about women, from the world, despite living in a homophobic wasteland. And in my own naivety, I underestimated how deeply this phobia runs through the veins of my people. my sibling ended up finding out about my best friend and I. they tried tearing me apart, physically and emotionally, each time they interrogated me. I was so uncomfortable and in so much pain, every night I’d feel the deep anxiety, not knowing when she’ll call me into her room and blow up on me for “being gay,” for being the family’s disappointment, for being a “wannabe.” I had a stronger reply with each question, I wasn’t going to let someone run me over like that, especially not after I finally became friends with myself! they would constantly ask me to do vile things, “you need to ride a 12inch dick, maybe then you’ll be normal,” “go suck your ex boyfriend’s dick,” never failing to cease the opportunity to point out that I was a “dirty slut.” my sibling turned their phone recorder on one night, they wanted to make others hear what I was saying about my sexuality. I thanked her for it, I knew if anyone played it, they’d just hear a cruel homophobe, bullying a kid late at night. it was almost dawn when they forced me to come out to my parent. with tears and snot dripping down my nose, I looked into the eyes of the mother who, out of the goodness of her heart, adopted me and took care of me, expecting only the best from me, and told her I wasn’t interest in men. and I didn’t think I ever could be. it took many days after that to come to terms with what had happened in my house, in my life. I knew I was never going to change, and I knew my mother would understand me better than anyone else ever could. so I sat down with her every evening, talked about gay rights and it’s importance, about how the world did such an enormous disservice to my entire community.
I met K after going through that really rough patch in my life. the first time I went over to his house, I noticed he lived in a room with thin walls, in a place where I can smell what his roommates are cooking, feel the fall of each footstep they take while I lie in bed, in his arms, smelling his neck, all for the first time. we laugh, we share stories from our childhood. it was magic. K and I met every day, I would go surprise him at university or he would drop me home after class, or if we were really lucky, take me back to his place. we’d be together at breakfast if we were away at night, we would sleep over if we couldn’t make time in the day. totally inseparable and sinking into the clouds of unadulterated bliss with each passing moment. we planned how my first pride would be. I wanted to cover myself in rainbow, I wanted to show the world the most beautiful part of my life – my relationship with K.
After experiencing love with K, I quickly realized how hard it was going to be trying to make it out alive as a couple in a land where “unnatural, immoral, dirty” people like me get hacked to death, and deserve to die like that for daring to love in this broken world. K told me the brutal details of Tonoy and Xulhaz’s murder, how our state failed two people who deeply believed in, and fought for, lgbtq visibility in Bangladesh. K was right about homophobia. It was everywhere. In my parents, my sibling, my friends, and even in my middle school teachers. I wanted to scrub all their brains clean with my tears, I wanted to rinse every baby that was going to grow up as a homophobe with my tears, I wanted to let them feel what they made me feel. I wanted them to feel the binders that crush my boyfriend’s chest every day, I wanted them to feel the anxiety, the depression, the overwhelming dysphoria that haunts anyone who is trans. I wanted them to feel what it’s like being at war with yourself every morning, the deep discomfort of being mis-gendered and dead named. I wanted homophobes to feel completely alone, just as I did, while trying to defend my sexuality and the rights of the people in my community, to parents, siblings, and random meanies on the internet. unfortunately, I don’t think they’ll ever understand.
I’d curl up into my boyfriend’s chest after reading yet another trans person was murdered this morning in America, or someone differently abled was raped in the streets of Dhaka. there was no escape. I spent many nights crying in his company, whenever it happened I was graciously comforted with a smile each time, which resurface almost immediately as I begin to kiss the entirety of his face. there is a little bit of comfort, even in hell.
8 months later, my journey with K hasn’t ended, my relationship with my beautiful best friend is in tact, my mother finally accepts me and my friends, my sibling celebrated my birthday having dinner with me and my boyfriend. K and I spend evenings challenging each other to draw more, experiment with photography, write broken poetry, take and edit videos to fulfill our desire to become worthwhile cinematographers, despite being apart from each other amidst the covid lockdown.
There are have been so many sad days, so many times the world convinced me that being alive wasn’t worth it, there have been so many times my boyfriend broke under the pressure of dysphoria, that I find it a miracle that each of us from the community are alive. that we’re fighting for love no matter who decides to leave our side. no matter who opposes us, be it god or the government. there’s power in that, there is pride in that.
Source: Queer Women Fiction Story Competition – a collaboration between Mondro and an online Queer group (2020)