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My childhood...

Words, sentences, meanings, identity, being, being me, not being me, to belong, not to belong, to be quiet, to express, to write language, to utter language, not to utter language, to accept, to be quiet, to be crushed, to be crushed, to be crushed...

For as long as I can remember, I have dwelled upon who I am because I have always been the weird one. 

When I was five years old, my mother and father were hospitalized for two years as a result of a road accident, and then finally, my mother died. Everyone connected my weirdness to what I had been through. Therefore, there was always a tolerance mixed with pity around me, which I hated. However, before the accident, I was a charming, cheeky monkey as well as being weird. I was constantly speaking, forever curious, always asking questions, observing everything, spending time with adults instead of playing with my peers.

Six months before our accident my brother was born. Before he was born I had questions about where this baby came from. My parents tried to explain but I wasn’t convinced by their answers and I tried to look in every book and every magazine in our home. But I was five years old and I was not able to read. So I found a solution that I would learn to read by myself, and I did it. 

After my brother was born I was jealous of him. I think I wanted to be the centre of attention and I was so difficult and precocious, nobody could handle me. In the end, I started primary school two years early. I think this was just to get me out of the house. Then we had the accident.

I was lucky: I escaped serious injury but couldn’t walk for six months because of psychological trauma! I had a lot of questions as usual but nobody had time for me and my questions; when they did answer they palmed me off with some stupid answer just so I would go away.  And at this time I discovered if you are a child, adults think you do not understand what they are talking about when they speak to each other; that you do not notice their hypocrisy and self-deceit. They are wrong. 

When I understood their behaviour I lost my trust in them. It was not easy for me: my mum and dad stayed in different hospitals and I didn’t trust anyone so it was at that same time that I decided to learn and do everything by myself. If you have this mindset very early, you forget to be afraid and authority doesn’t mean anything to you.  

I had two important questions: Is this thing called God punishing us? And if God punishes in this way then why must I love God? Nobody could or would answer these questions. My teacher, my friends, my lessons didn’t help me to find an answer; if anything they were afraid of my questions and tried to stop me from finding answers. As a result of this, I began to hate school. 

My teachers heard some different kinds of discussions and uncommon
questions from me. They didn’t like that. They thought I’m a trouble maker. To always identified as “a problem” in the worst sort of trouble for me.

But I had discovered books. The first novels I read were Enid Blyton’s “Famous Five” series, and then I moved onto “The Secret Seven”. Eventually, my father left the hospital and he gave me Panait Istradi’s book  ‘Uncle Anghel’ when I was seven years old. Maybe you know it? It’s certainly not a book for a seven-year-old!

When I was in primary school, it wasn’t unusual for me to be able to remember whole poems which we learned, everybody’s birthday and phone numbers.

After my mom passed away, my questions persisted, “Is God punishing us? If God punishes in this way, why must I love God’. And I remember how the two words ‘inquiry’ and ‘rebellion’ were united within me. I hated everything. 

I don’t remember my mother much, but remember being the only one with blonde hair and green eyes in my family. Not only in my family: I was the only blonde with green eyes in my school as well. There were three of us who were blonde, but they had brown eyes. Then four of us at high school. When I was a child I always used to feel a bit strange. As if I was incomplete, an odd feeling of being separated because I didn’t look like those people….

It was as if I was guilty of failing to fill the gap caused by not looking like anyone in my family. What’s strange is this feeling has got nothing to do with being loved, or being happy or not. In a child’s mind, what separates you from others has got nothing to do with being pretty or ugly. This is something I find hard to define and give a name to. It’s a feeling of being estranged and sometimes isolated from everyone. Like an outcast...

My reflection in the mirror does not resemble my relatives creates singularization in a child’s perception. The inexplicable petulance arising from not getting any meaningful reply to my questions, rapidly turning me inwards more and more by the day…

The more petulant I became, the more walls I built between myself and the world and the greater the desire to flee grew.
Not knowing from whom and from what I'm running away but only having the desire to shelter somewhere else, anywhere else.

Before my teenage years, I read every holy book: the Koran, the Bible, the Torah. And at the same time, I read Kafka, Camus, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Nabokov. This philosophical searching also didn’t help my relationship with God and my attempts to understand what life was about.

I related more to older people because people of my own age were not intellectual enough for me. I believed they were stupid and childish.

I was lucky because I discovered I’m able to understand animals very well. I find being around animals to be very calming and they seem to understand this and are drawn to me as well. Even today this is very difficult to explain and comprehend but animals are my remedy.  

Within the darkest nights
I used to know 
the falling stars
hear them scream
silent and lightless
I used to listen to the waters
wouldn’t understand the answers
  I used to look at the skies 
would my clouds carry me 
alone for years
my knotted emotions
If I leave myself to the winds
would they carry me to the lands I belong
why, what for, where
being dispersed unknowingly 
from there to there...

Secondly, I had always felt alienated from my environment since my childhood. Beginning from my childhood what drove me to write has always been “challenge”. First, it was the challenge to show to adults that I wasn’t a deaf and mute, sweet little thing who doesn’t get what is going on around her, but a person who has a perception of the world and who exists in her own right. First, it was the adults in general that were the problem, then as I was growing up, the negativity of male
dominance came more and more into focus. What drove me to become a writer was the challenge of demonstrating to the world that I existed fully as a woman, despite all the alien rules and values imposed upon me.

It is hard to be weird and different to others but not knowing why, and it has done serious damage, irreparable damage to my self-esteem.  In the years when I was growing up and living in Turkey, it felt like I had fallen into a vortex where I was constantly having the same nightmare.

Alien to my culture and to my species. I always felt I was not from the same planet as everyone else. I always felt I was literally in the wrong world, in the wrong family; that there had been some sort of terrible mistake.

I always hid myself 
in order to stand on my feet
Never knew who I was
I was neither complete nor disintegrated
even though I spoke the same language
even though I took the bite of the same
I always stood a stranger
within the enormous crowds


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