Open letter


How do you feel?

This year when I started my training, I had to go to Chicago, in January. I have heard it is freezing there in that time of the year. As cab stopped in front of the lobby, I opened the window to feel the crisp morning air, it has been five years since I had that feeling. Well, it, indeed, put a smile on my face, childhood memories lit up - chasing each other in windy Bakuvian streets and playing in the snow. But it also triggered that memory, my face pressed onto cold concrete. And it is not the only one trigger.
It was terrible. It was horrible. All I could do against six, was to stare at polished black boots, 8 inches away from my eyes and count seconds: one, two, three. It stopped at 3600. Although it felt like time was frozen; everything was in slow motion.
Teasing me and fellow soldiers were not enough entertainment for the drunken crowd. It was December 31st, 2012. After awhile, lieutenant ordered everybody make a line to sing a song when the clock will tick and lead them out. Elnur, the lieutenant, grabbed my hair when I followed the order and said with a grin: “You will stay. You will sing solo!” then shouted “Guys, lets fuck him, and make him happy for the holiday!”
I was frozen and tried to process the words after being teased to dance and hold my fingers on a lighter fire. It didn't pass too much when the room was emptied one of the six slapped me and ordered to get on my knees. At that moment, not the idea to resist, but the time to react to what was happening seemed eternal. Next, I've been held down and used. Meanwhile, the lieutenant did not touch me, he just watched and repeated in a “holiday mood” - “Sing, honey!”. Every resistance was met with fist to my head, blow to my body and more twist of my arms. My vision blurred. My breath shortened. I stopped resisting after 2nd finished his business and stood aside to enjoy his cigarette. And I kept focusing on seconds. Vibrating sounds oddly synthesized, as if my brain shut itself down not to receive more trauma. Although my face was pushed down on the ground, breathing to a dirty and bloody concrete, each time the business is done I could not not to hear the moans, not to feel the cigarette, alcohol and sweat stinking flesh on me. They took turns penetrating me, fingering me, spitting on me, making me lick their boots, crushing my fingers with their boots, slapping me and laughing at me. And peeing on me…
In hindsight, the day after it, I acted very normal, avoiding whatever happened. I didn't have no time in given circumstances to even reflect on what happened. “Isn’t it the first stage of popular grieving process, to avoid?” after all I kept repeating to myself that “I will get past it, it is not a big deal”. Although, every night, I went to bed in complexity of fear and anger - it might happen again.
You know, sometimes hate is not even enough to burn all these to ashes. I felt suicidal, and at the same time homicidal. There was a dynamite within, ready to explode, erase all the memories - theirs and mine. Yet, I was crippled by incomprehensible.
I had nobody to talk to, nor I could confide in anybody. No one would even listen to my confession, let alone to believe. I felt ashamed, humiliated, debased. How can I say anything where the society cuffs at you, saying, “there's nobody to blame, except you!”, “you gave them reason to treat you like this!”. Or the family I grew up carved these words into my memory: “These people [homosexuals] must be crucified in the centre of the city and burned alive to teach a lesson to the rest!”. I hushed in void. I still am.
I put all the pain into a box and hid it in the furthest shell in the darkness. Then I practiced to forget. I tried not to remember, for most of my life. Like it never happened. What was the use of it? I didn't want to think of myself as disposable. I thought it was better than tossing and turning in my sleep, struggling every night after strenuous hours of ruminating. I thought pure negligence was something to be done to refrain from waking up in the middle of the night with fear.
I can't do it anymore. I can't pretend to be oblivious to all what happened. It's everywhere I turn my head to. It is in every conversation. It is in every novelty. It haunts me. It feels like walking on a minefield, ready to blow anytime, anywhere. Everything starts with a mistrust, sadness, frustration, anxiety or a blind rage. I had to live with this for the rest of my life.
But recently, I tried to find a purpose and started to tell my story to myself,by this, I found the strength to stop reproaching and to forgive - Myself. For not fighting back. For not resisting enough. For just being vulnerable, emotionally unstable and drained, traumatized and lost. Being stuck in that loop. Or simply, just for being me.
Although intellectually, I cannot find the right configuration of words to show my feelings, I feel like I fall short with each expression. But after all, I figured, we all suffered and struggled, but embracing these painful memories can lead to new insights and wisdom. it was time to accept that being a victim is part of my individuality (nevertheless, sometimes, it creeps out)...


so you are from Azerbaijan? did the abuse happen there?
Yes, I am.

P.S. Whenever I hear the "I am sorry" and the rest, I understand, you want to calm and show your concern. However, those phrases doesnt have tranquilizing/comforting effect on me, rather proviking the emotions. It feels like the pat on your shoulder right before the incident. Time passed, words spoken, breaths inhaled, still not ready (or want) that. Verbally or physically. To be accepted as arrogant is the last thing I want, honestly. I deeply appreciate your concern, but please dont say sorry. I have moved forward. With it. It is part of me. I am not sorry for it. Not anymore.
Thank you for reading.