We are here!!
They said I was not normal. They called me a freak, mentally retarded. My mom used to say I had a gift, a unique gift. My dad called me a coward and my sister looked me with despise every time I insist on playing with her. What was my mistake? What did I do wrong? Why am I excluded everywhere I go? Am I a freak?
Hi, I am Dylan and this is my story. I was around 6 when I felt excluded from my own family for the first time. My sister, Hazel was playing with her dolls in her pretty little dollhouse. It looked so vibrant. There were pinks and reds and yellows and greens. Whereas my toys were filled with blacks and browns. I went up to her and said ‘Hazel, let me play with your dolls as well.’ She gave me a perplexed look and then got mad at me. ‘ You are a boy! You can’t play with Barbie dolls, you fool! Go play with your guns and cars. And don’t ever say that, especially not in front of dad.’ With a heavy heart, I went back to my room, picked up the pillow from the room, hugged it tightly, and went to sleep.
The next day, mom took me and Hazel to the mall for shopping. I was delighted I get to spend a day with mom and my sister. We went to the kids' section to look at clothes for me and sis. I was going through sweatshirt, I came across this gorgeous, fluffy pink sweatshirt. ‘Mom, mom can I get this one?? Please, mom, I love it!’ I thought she would say of course you can. But to my surprise, she scolded me ‘Dylan, you don’t wear pink! Pink is for girls, and you are a boy. Boys wear dark colors. Do you understand?’
I was bewildered on her reaction. What was so wrong about it? It's just a pink color.
When I was 7, my dad took me to the park. He taught me how to ride a bike. It wasn’t easy and I struggled for a long time. At this point, he was already embittered. Finally, I manage to ride a bike on my own, I was overjoyed with my accomplishment and before I knew it, my bike got smacked in the wall. My jeans were torn, knees were bleeding, I was in enormous pain. I began to cry. My dad rushed to my side and instead of helping me, he started yelling ‘ Dylan! You are a boy! Boys don’t cry! I am so disappointed in you. It’s a shame to call you my son. Now get up! And stop crying like a little girl. Be a man!’ I was befuddled one more time. I was just 7 years old. How can he say that?
I always felt I didn’t belong here. Gradually, I started concealing my emotions. I was never a fan of superheroes or superpowers. I preferred fairytales. I preferred red colors over blacks, cooking overplaying outdoor games. As a child, I was the odd man out of my group of friends. I was that one kid who would eat his lunch alone in the cafeteria, the one cousin left alone in the family meeting. And I had made peace with it as well. As long there was my mother who at least tries to understand me I will be okay. I will be fine. I have my mom and that’s all I need.
But that faith came crashing down when my mom died in an accident. I was devastated, heartbroken. The reality was pernicious. Her death sabotage every bit of hope left in me. And yet there I was, whispering to myself, Dylan, don’t cry. Don’t cry. Please don’t shed even one drop of tears in front of everybody. Your father won't approve of it. Dylan, you are a man now. Men don’t cry. Men are strong. Men are courageous, brave, and bold. Men don’t cry!! Get yourself together. That night I went to my room, locked myself in, buried my face into the pillow, covered with blanket and I screamed at the top of my lungs. I feared being heard by anybody but I just couldn’t bear any more. I couldn’t take it anymore. I can't take it!! I cried for two hours straight. When I heard she was no more, it felt like somebody grabbed my heart, pulled it out of my chest, and crushed it with two hands until all drops of blood were out and what left was just a lump of muscles.
I have been bullied my whole life, have been called names even called gay just for liking light colors. They made fun of my interest, my body even my sexuality. Girls always tried to touch me inappropriately and I kept quiet. There were times I felt like giving up, jumping off from a cliff, or hang myself. But I was silent. Even when my father was ashamed of me I was mute. Because none of them were as excruciating as this one.
Without mom, nothing was the same in the house. We barely had any conversation. This silence was deafening. I was in high school when my mom passed away and it has been 1 year now. I find myself daydreaming in the middle of the lecture. My amenable to living is decreasing every day. I feel reclusive. What’s the point of living when nobody cares if you are alive or dead? No one would listen to me, hug me, tell me that it is going to be okay. And I don’t want to live like this anymore where I am imprisoned in my mind. That night I opened my drawer, took out the pills my psychiatrist had prescribed to help me sleep, emptied the whole bottle, and swallowed it in one gulp. And then I went back to sleep making sure I don’t see another sunrise again.
PS: Every year 44,895 men commit suicide. 123 men die every day by committing suicide. The crude female rate of suicide in Europe is 6.6 whereas the male is 24.7. In South Asia, the crude female suicide rate is 11.6 and that of the male is 14.8. The ratio of the suicidal rate of males and females in the USA is 3.3:1, in the UK it's 3.4:1, in India it is 1.28:1 and in Nepal, it is 1.43:1.
How many more Dylans should lose their life before we finally change ourselves? How many men should sacrifice their lives before we accept them just as a human being? How many more dead bodies should be piled up before we finally see that we have been wrong all along. Boy, girl, men, women whoever they might be they are human beings. They feel the same emotions and they have equal rights to express their feelings. Let us change our mindset, let's broaden our horizon, let's embrace each other and break free from this mainstream thinking, this stereotype society. Dylan could have been your friend, your brother, your boyfriend, your father. He could be from the USA, UK, Australia, or even Nepal. Next time when a boy comes to you and says he is depressed rather than making fun of him, hug him, hold his hands, look into his eyes and say “We are here for you.”
PS: My gratitude to all men who helped me with this article. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Not all men are the same and they are the living examples of that.