Prisoner of suits

I was sitting down, my bruised knees peeking out shyly from a skirt a little too short. I was watching the purple kaleidoscope of pain forming on my skin. I was surrounded by smiling strangers, their faces grey and sorrow. The mindless silhouettes – females wearing long skirts and blazers, mainly brown, grey or black.

Men – rows of simple, a little too big second hand suits. They were all staring at the person standing at the podium, they were looking at him with the expression of the godly devotion on their rough bland faces. The man seemed bigger and angrier than them and he was swinging the Bible in his hand telling all of us not to talk to people who weren't following the divine orders. However I was not paying attention. I was sitting down wearing a red tie, a dark red lipstick and my red hair was falling gently on my punk rock vest. I was told off again because I looked inappropriate. I was 17.

I was sitting in my room looking at my bruised knees. I was drowning in my own anxiety, increasingly uncomfortable. On the sofa in my room sat two men with bibles in their hands. You should not be playing these games. You should not be reading those malignant books. You should not be listening to this devilish music. Would Jesus be proud of you? I was told off again because my personality was appalling. I was 20.

I was sitting on the kitchen floor looking at my knees. There was a lot of blood. I could see constellations in the creases of my skin, now filled with a carmine substance. I didn't wash the dishes correctly. There was a little bit of soap on one of the wine glasses. They needed to be clean, they were used all the time. I could taste the salty flavour of the tears streaming down my cheeks. I got told off again because I was not enough. I was 21.

I was sitting at the job agency, looking at my knees. My brother was talking at me while I was trying to stop hyperventilating. You will apply for a job in the factory, this is going to be your bank and this is going to be your phone provider. You will give me half of your pay to cover the rent you will help out with the flat chores and my baby. Why are you making this face? All the immigrants stick together, we all do this. It's best for you. I was 22.

Wear this hairnet. Wear this overall. You must not bring food to this place. You have to be faster. You're not packing these bottles the correct way. Why are you wearing jewellery? Why are you trying to make only British friends? Why are you not like us, we speak the same language, we need to stick together. Where are you from? Why are you speaking with them? I don't like the face you're making. Please, don't come back tomorrow.

If you're living with us, you will clean the flat every day, wash dishes in the cold water, we need to save money. Don't forget the bathroom. Also, please do the laundry. I need you to help out with the garden. Could you look after my child for a second? Why are you going upstairs? I need someone to talk to. Why are you making this face again?

I don't think this guy is good for you. He thinks of leaving the religion, he abandons his own family. Do you want to be like him? He's a cancer to your faith. You need to break up with him before things will get serious. Are you surprised your brother doesn't speak to you? Well, you shouldn't have kissed that other boy. It's all your fault. I can't believe you're still single. Why are you making this face?

I kissed a boy in his car outside the cornfield. He saw the book I was reading. He told me I was intelligent and he told me that I could achieve things. There was a strange spark in his eyes. It was an appreciation. He told me he loved me. Next day he put his hand on my breast. I felt a fire deep inside my chest.

Since I remember, I was restrained. The chains of religion, the responsibilities towards my family. Menial jobs I had to resort to. I was self-harming my own personality and beliefs. Growing a thick skin of resentment, hatred, and indifference. Although the blood was boiling under my skin, waiting to burst open.

I sat among the rows of people in suits. Grey faces, long skirts, the same old story, the same view on the world I've had since I was little. The person was talking from the stand again. As I was scribbling down my unholy poetry I could hear him saying that the body is a temple. People will be expelled from the eyes of god if they engage in the sexual behaviour. God will be displeased. I looked around. My former friends, the young people were there no longer.

It was the breaking point. I stood up and left feeling the eyes watching my every step. I ran back to the flat, packed my bags and bought a one way ticket to Scotland. As far up north as possible. I stopped by the convenience store, threw my bible to the nearest bin and I bought my first pack of cigarettes.

I took a deep drag. The future starts here. If God is displeased I'll make sure he has a reason.

religious rebellion, defiance, breaking point