“Everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly” – Counting Stars, One Republic
Every day, when I go to school, I button my father’s plaid shirt over my bare skin. I pull the khaki shorts to my waist and secure it with a belt. I draw my socks over my ankles, the Cheetah print ones. I retrieve my treasured Cherokee earrings from the jewelry box, adorned with soft feathers that tickle my shoulders, and carefully work them into my piercings. I manoeuvre my hands through my cardigan, embellished with sequins of every colour.
The names have been there for as long as I can remember. They think it hurts me. They think the words tug at me and try to bring me down.
What they don’t know is that I am proud.
I am proud to wear my father’s shirt with its lingering scent of tobacco. It isn’t my rag; it’s my cape.
The soft, worn fabric of my khaki shorts is a symbol of my grandfather’s enduring years at war.
The animal imprinted on my socks is the beast within me, lurking and calculating for the perfect moment to strike.
My earrings are the evidence of my wonderful heritage, a perfect complement for the brown of my skin.
The sequins of my cardigan reflect me, reminding me of the beauty within.
What they don’t know is that the names only strengthen me.
What they don’t know is that everything that drowns me makes me wanna fly.
Drishika Nadella is an 18-year-old with a passion to write. She studies Mechanical Engineering in India. She has previously been published in the Quail Bell magazine, Stepping Stones, Sprout Magazine and the Moledro Magazine.