On Sunday, during an outing hosted by our photographer’s studio, my daughter Sonsuz climbed to the top of a tree she found.

She is just like a monkey, climbing to the top of any tree she comes across. So far, thanks to God, there’s not been an accident. Indeed, she seems to know how to protect herself somehow, but the reactions from some of our friends were strange. They shouted things like “Oh, be careful, dear! You might fall!” and “Why do you let her climb like that?” It sounded similar to what my parents always said to me. Even when we grow up and become adults, the voices that indoctrinated us continue to echo in our minds, persistently restricting us and preventing us from stepping forward…

I have never climbed a tree once. I don’t know how to climb them, and if I had even moved toward a tree, my mom would have gone crazy. I only learned to love cats and dogs after my thirties, because I learned they don’t always bite or claw…

I was angry at Sonsuz because she’d made a mess in the living room. Everything was out of place. She took offence and asked me, “Why are you angry at me? I’m just studying.” She was right. Children love spreading their stuff over the floor. What’s more, they don’t want to be alone but rather with us, so they spread it all out in the living room or in my workroom. What is it in our culture that says everything should be always be tidy? We even turn a room into a forbidden zone sometimes, so that when guests visit, they can be taken to this untouched pristine room.

I have never climbed to the top of a tree even once because of the fear of falling, so I have never tasted that freedom. Of course, I never fell and broke an arm or a leg, but instead my soul was broken and injured from being restricted and held back. Sure, no dogs bit me and no cats scratched me, but I never experienced stroking animals or loving people. Since I was unfamiliar with it all, I nibbled at myself. Worse still, I imprisoned myself in a mental cage I couldn’t escape. I feared something happening outside, worried about catching cold and getting sick, and tried to avoid something happening to me. I have lived my 38 years of life full with these fears, thanks to all who protected me…

Fortunately, my children have not inherited my learned fears. When I try to put their coats on, they say “Dad, what gives? It’s not cold.” Despite their protests, I still try to force them to wear coats. I do it because I fear they’ll get ill, so I’m trying to spread fear in their minds. But then I see their coats are on the floor because they take no account of it… Well done…

My children, break the chains, break the chains of your father. Thanks to you, I am learning too…

The tops of the trees are waiting for you. I hope I will learn to climb as well.

Note to Sonsuz: My dear daughter, just as you climbed up, you should climb down the tree as well. What’s that climbing like a cat at the top of the tree and meowing, “Dad! Get me down!” You’re just like a stuck kitten. It’s just as important to learn to climb down as it is to climb up, you girl of Leo.

* Sonsuz means “infinite” in Turkish.