Love Letters and Suicide Notes from a Feminist

My father told me that I had a lot to lose,

when I hit puberty,

because I am a woman now and not a little girl anymore.

He told me not to have a boy as my best friend,

because you have that “thing” that bleeds

and there’s chances of manipulation,

what ifs and what ifs and what ifs, he offered me

and I gulped the chunks of his imagination.

When I turned fifteen, I had friends who’d ask

“Oh, can you check the back for me?

Are there any stains? Are you sure?”

Because the boys might see it,

and make fun of our bleeding uteruses.

When I was eighteen,

My father mocked my theory on feminism

and told me to scrub the teapot more,

nonchalantly while he placed his teacup

on the kitchen counter and my mother

shushed me, not to talk back,

as she said,

That is how she solves a problem.

Around twenty,

There’s tons of photos they gathered on the coffee table of our cream walled living room, like a trophy,

for me, “Choose, my little girl, well not so little any more huh?”

When I said I wasn’t ready,

There’s a wish from my grandmother

“I want to see your children before I die, my love.

 When will you ever be ready?”

The society hissed at me 

when I walked down the roads to my home, 

”you got a great body but what’s the use of it?

Show us some skin,” and when you do, “What a slut!”

So I started writing.

I started writing because I know I’m going to be marrying someone

among those photos they offered and 

I know my grandmother will see my belly of fleshes and buckets of barf and

I know I’ll also scrub another teapot

accompanied by another tea cup on

another kitchen countertop and

I know I’ll bleed and bleed and bleed

until my ovaries are used up and their mouths are dry

because of their non stop shaming of us,

So I said I’ll write.

I said I’ll write

Because I see rape jokes get written and

women getting petrified in an army of men,

I see drinks get spiked and 

women sprinting while she sees someone stalking her way back home.

So I write for my daughters

who will bleed tomorrow and tell them that their mother

never wanted to seize the world, but wanted to see it for once.

I write so they know when I tell them to be careful,

I’ll mind their feelings when telling their brothers to go out and play 

and I’ll have a lot of guidelines and instructions ready for them

when they finally face the world.

Today, I turned thirty, a young mother.

I take my diary to hand it over.

It is ready and it’s called “love letters and suicide notes from a feminist.”

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Nahnah Najeeb

I am a twenty-year-old poetess from Kannur, Kerala. I believe I am a blahcksheep because I express what I truly feel by penning down my thoughts on paper. As a brown daughter of an Indian household and a member of a smaller community, I wear my writings like a crown and feel proud of being a “blahcksheep.”


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