Possessed Bodies

Possessed Bodies

Possessed Bodies 1920 1080 Mrityunjay Mohan

(Content Warning: Sexual Abuse)

My body is put on display. Stripped of clothes, I stand in the centre of the room, and my sister makes me spin, comments on my body. She says I am a monkey, mother doesn’t know. Nobody sees me, but my aunt, she talks about the colour of my skin. I am brown. My skin is a dull painting on the floor, a splash of colour that never dies. I feel like I am made only of my colour. Of little brown packets that skitter and burn. I feel I don’t have a body. I feel like a toy, my flesh transforms into gel, my skin is slippery ice. I twirl, my skin itches, turns red. I want to walk away.

I don’t know my body, it feels like liquid poured into a mould, like shredded jelly, flesh that is loose. My body is a portrait that threatens to flow into the floor. I am spinning like a top. My skin thins, my head swims in a cloud of unassuming memory. She says I deserve to be caned. I imagine flagellations ensuing, I flinch, clamping my teeth over my tongue. She sings a tune, I must dance to that rhythm. I dance, but I cannot feel my body. Her voice is scratching at my pinna, it aches, flows like syllables on tongue. I am not good at dancing in any way, but my sister finds a naked body amusing. My own body is a curse on my mind. It is wet with grief, and I mourn my skin every day. I am riddled with guilt for the body I possess. I do not know what I am to do. I wait for instructions, she comments on my ass.

After a few minutes, I am left alone. I am told I am a monkey. I feel like one as well. I am told I am a primitive human. I believe it. She walks out of the room, and I crumple down on a chair, fold my body in four, fall, flip, fold. Fold, again. I don’t get dressed until I am back in the bedroom, away from my sister and aunt. On the chair, naked, my back curls like the tip of a pencil that is breaking, slow, crisp as the sound of biscuits in the mouth. My eyes burn. I don’t know if I cry. I don’t remember.

This goes on for months, years. Moments that never end. There are times when she kicks me, changes my position, screams obscenities. Then there are the times she comments on my skin colour and how my body is without sweat. These moments are a part of a chain. They tumble into the next each day. They turn into a waning darkness that persists past time. It has been so long the memory is a painting in my mind. It is little flipping paintings that showcase an ongoing action. I want this to end. I don’t know how to stop it. I don’t ask the internet because I don’t want to hurt my sister. So, I hurt myself. I let my body become a scar. I let my skin become a bruise.

Seven years after, I am twelve. I am called sexy by my sister. I hide my body from her. She is seven years older. She comments on my chest, says I am hot. I feel nothing like it. I feel my body crumble, a mind that disassociates when I think of my flesh, my skin, my organs. I don’t look down at my body or in the mirror. Everyday, my sister forces me to change and shower in front of her. Amma tries to talk her out of it. I weep. Nothing works for long. I cover my body in cloth, and hope no one sees what’s underneath.

I am transgender. My sister holds contempt for transgender bodies. My father and my mother do too. I am alone. Stranded in my own home. The beat of my heart echoes in my ears every night like a song. I promise myself I’ll never tell anyone I’m transgender. I promise myself and I pray. Pray and pray and pray. I don’t know for what.

When I look down at my body, I see a stranger inhabiting my skin, my body feels like a shape traced over a sheet of brown paper, meaningless as a kiss you are offered everyday. Consistency loses value. I am inconsistent, but my body still feels without value. I don’t eat because I want to change my body. I look in the mirror waiting for me to shapeshift. I don’t shapeshift.

I am on a journey now to renew my body. Grow into what I am. I compress my chest. I rub the testosterone gel over my arms. I wash my face, and stare at the little hairs poking out of my skin, getting longer everyday. The doctor tells me I look nothing like I did before. She talks about normal males. I am not included in that. My body cannot produce what I need. Her mind cannot comprehend that. My sister advices me to get top surgery and says I can never pass. I remember the times throughout the years when I asked her if I could pass for male. She always said no. That I am a woman. I didn’t tell her that it wasn’t true. I only nod, weep, move on. Move on.

Despite my sister’s advice, people passing by think I am male. Even my sister fails to identify me once. A man at the library asks if I have my ID, I show him my unchanged name and photograph. He doesn’t believe me, asks if I am male or female. Groups of students snicker, motioning to me. He tells me to bring a male ID card, says I am lying to him about the ID being mine. I nod. I leave the place.

When I mention sexual harassment, my sister forces me to tell her what she did to me. I say nothing. I do not want her to stay. I cannot preserve this relationship anymore. I am unable to think. I don’t want to tell her. Mother tells me to tell her, looks at me like I ruined her family, says my sister is an angel. I feel like I am ruining my family. My sister asks me again, to explain, in detail. I try to evade her questions. She doesn’t stop. I am cornered into a spot. A darkness that transcends the moment, a fear that persists, settling into the clouds above my head. I feel lightheaded. I tell her no. She screams at me, forces me to tell her. I almost cry. I tell her no. Again. I walk away.

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