Coming Out A Mermaid


Being a teenager is hard enough, being lost and trying to figure out who you are, it becomes impossible with waves crashing against your path. Is it just a phase? Is there anyway to get better or is this who I am? Was I born this way and it took me a while to realize it or did something change me?  I don’t feel good about hiding it and  I’m not sure if it’s meant to be kept a secret. Denying something that is  clearly not a choice won’t make it go away.

Today is the day, it is sunny even though it is eleven degrees outside. I’m coming out and telling those I care about, my best friends, the secret I’ve been keeping for a while. I take a deep breath. I look at the clock as I uncap my eyeliner, it’s 7:30am. I should be getting ready to leave. I draw a smooth line starting from the corner of my eye and gracefully form a wing. I have only one solution for bad hair days: a fishtail braid. It’s classy, it’s easy and it’s surprisingly good at hiding  the frizz.

The second I walk into school my stomach twists into knots. I get to Jenny’s locker first, this is where we meet every morning and she usually beats me to it. She comes dragging her bag on the floor minutes later. Her normally-curled hair and bangs were dead straight, her eyeliners’ wings were asymmetrical; she woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Maybe telling her is not a good idea. Focus! I think of a happy place, a place where I can be myself.

      I touch my jeans and they are instantly replaced by perfect rows of silver scales. I kick off my shoes and take a look at the pedicure I got last weekend. Gone, but there’s a shiny fluke. It is warm and I can taste the salt on my lips, it is also kind of itching near my forearm fins. Time to get in the water. The water is perfect and nothing feels more right. My hair floats and touches my shoulders, creating some sort of mane around my head. I can not  see it but I can tell it looks better than it did when I woke up this morning. I could name about 5 out of 45 shades of blue under the water. I dolphin-dive deeper so most of the blue around me turn into red, with the corals, the algae and occasionally small troops of fish. I close my eyes, this where I want to be, here, and nowhere else. Reality sucks.

The first hour and a half of class seemed to last forever. Thank god I had my own problems to think about. After first period, I try not to look around too much as I make my way to geometry. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone but my best friend

Fishermen everywhere. I hate them all. I got enough stares last year when nobody knew anything about me. To them, I was nothing but a stereotype-breaker. I’m arabic, I was born and raised in Egypt by Egyptians, I was supposed to be wearing long black skirts and a headscarf, not denim shorts and cutoff tops. To them, I can’t have a boyfriend,  I’m supposed to be getting married at sixteen. “Do you ride a camel to school? Like, did you live in a pyramid?” My first day of high school, I sat next to this redhead in biology. We were talking about how we were too nervous to eat breakfast this morning. Her first question was, “Do you have cereal in Egypt?.” It took tons of self control in order for me not to throw one of those huge biology books at her head. Stereotypers are the worst. “You’re Arabic? How come you don’t cover your hair?” Why does being from the Middle East mean I am Muslim? I am constantly being judged. Foreigners think that I’m strange, while Arabs consider me alien. If I tell them my secret, who knows if they will  ever leave me alone.

I know I should look on the bright side, there is more to this world than annoying fishermen and sharks. I will get to be who I am around my friends and boyfriend. Uh-oh, my boyfriend. Will he want to be with me anymore? I can promise him that nothing will change, but will he believe me? Will he be 100% comfortable around me? Maybe he’s ichthyophobic. Conflicts inside one’s head are the worst, you can’t run away from them.

For every new fishermen, for ever mindless judgement, I gave myself another reason not to come out. It is certain, they won’t leave me alone. Am I ready to be bullied even more just to be who I am around those who I care about? My parents are not an option, they’re the best fishermen out there. They would think that there’s something wrong with me, they would treat me as if I’m just going through a phase or seeking attention. I’m pretty sure that if attention was my goal, I would find another way to get it without being the town’s freak.

      “Don’t you worry your pretty little mind, people throw rocks at things that shine” Taylor swift once said. I know Tay-Tay, I know. I shine too much; I could be seen from outer space. I’m sick of people throwing rocks at me. I don’t want to be the one sprinkling more glitter therefore attracting more rocks. Ariel was so excited to go,” up where they walk, up where they stay all day in the sun.” She wanted to be part of this world so bad, not knowing that people are ten times worse than Ursula. The verdict comes from those with nothing else to do, Taylor’s voice popped up in my head once again. She is right, I should not be basing my happiness off of people’s stupid opinions. At the end of the day, my happiness is the only one that matters. They all go home to their clearly meaningless lives while I’m the one who stays up all night thinking of ways to not stick out like a sore thumb. Fishermen should worry about their own storms and not care about what life is like under the water, it is none of their business anyway. 90% of the oceans remain unexplored at this very moment, have you ever thought that maybe it likes being that way? Mysterious and unexplored?

I wait impatiently for the lunch bell to ring. I need to find Jenny. I find her near her locker, like usual.

“Jenny!” I call out; she turns to me then back to her mirror. There’s no going back now. She is right there; she is my best friend and she definitely deserves to be the first to find out. She is no fisherman and I know it.

‘”Are you trying to hang out today?”

“Sure- I mean, I cant- Gah! Just let me talk!”

She looks at me weird “Okay…?”

“I need to tell you something.”

She blots her lipstick one more time then slams her locker shut. I have her full attention. I should start talking but I stutter. She raises one of her perfect eyebrows at me. I need to get myself together.

“Jenny… You’re the first human being to ever know about this.”


“I’m bi.”

Her expression is blank, unaffected, maybe she didn’t hear me. “Bi as in-”

I cut her off; “Bi as in bisexual.”

The same expression is plastered on her face: expectant and blank, like she’s waiting for me to add to what I just said.

“Is that it?”

I nod. It takes me a minute to react, “This is not the reaction that I was waiting for.”

“Girl are you stupid?” This wasn’t the reply I was waiting for either. “Did you actually think I would get weirded out or something?” She touches her heart; “Gosh how that hurts! You’re my best friend, I don’t care if you’re bi, a mermaid or even a unicorn.”

I hug her. I did it, and it wasn’t so hard after all. Fishermen don’t matter, what matters the most are those who really care about me, who see me for who I am, not for my ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. I’m finally free to be who I am, I can swim and flip around, SHOW OFF MY FINS AND SCALES.

This is where I want to be.