A few weeks ago, I sold my voice to a sea witch to become a human woman. It was an incredible adventure at first. I fell in love! I made new friends. I learned so much about the culture up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun.
And now I politely request to return to the sea.
Yes, I looked at the stuff. It was neat. But now my collection’s officially complete, and I’d like to leave land, please. I no longer want to be part of their world.
In what seems like a lifetime ago, I stared at a fork I thought was a hairbrush and said, “I don’t see how a world that makes such wonderful things… could be bad.” But I didn’t know about rape kits when I said that, because I was a fish.
It turns out, life on sand is pretty bleak for folks like myself. Those of you still blithely devoted to floating full-time under the sea may not realize, but on land, if you want offspring, you don’t just release a bunch of eggs into the water and move on with your life. No, those of us who can conceive often endure something called “pregnancy.” Evidently, as a princess, I’m expected to go through with this process.
I don’t remember all the details because I passed out cold when the palace doctors first explained it to me, but before everything went dark, I heard them say “vaginal mucus,” “loss of blood,” and “ten-centimeter hole.” Later on, in a PTSD flashback, I remembered the phrases “nipple cream,” “mesh underwear,” and “thread to sew up the perineal tears.”
That’s a lot of gadgets and gizmos my buddy Scuttle never explained to me.
I famously bet once that on land, they understand that you don’t reprimand your daughters. Well, turns out, daughter-reprimanding is pretty much all they do up here.
They reprimand daughters in churches! They reprimand daughters in court! They reprimand daughters who go to work! They reprimand daughters who stay home from work after childbirth because of those damn perineal tears! They reprimand sons for acting too much like daughters! They reprimand Black daughters and disabled daughters and fat daughters extra for some reason! They attack daughters in the street and make the daughters go through the aforementioned pregnancy! And they reprimand the daughters for that too!
And even in dealing with all of the above, my husband’s maid told me that as a white cisgender conventionally attractive European royal, I have it easier than almost any other group on earth, WHICH JUST MADE ME WANT TO JUMP IN THE OCEAN EVEN MORE!
But here’s where it gets really dark. My old choir director Sebastian once told me it’s “hotter under the water.” Well, that might be because of something called “climate change.” Remember the filefish family that went extinct? Yeah, that’s because humans are smoking out our oceans, and in a few years, daddy’s underwater opera house will simmer like a fucking Jacuzzi.
So now I have to choose between staying a human woman or returning to my homeland to boil like a wild-caught lobster trapped in a pot of these psychopaths’ making. Having finally been where the people are, I choose to boil.
I’ll do anything. I’ll sign whatever gold contract an octo-witch gives me. I got my voice back right before my wedding, but I’ll trade it again—I mean, it’s not like they’re listening to it up here.
Take me back to the shipwrecks and sharks, where friends like Flounder are true allies who risk their lives for mermaids in danger instead of just yelling at us to “vote harder.”
Look, life as a fish was not ideal. My father was hot-tempered, and my mom was long-gone after releasing her eggs. Ursula, rest her soul, put it best: Those of us mer-people who wanted better were poor, unfortunate souls without many options.
But human women, I’m devastated to admit, might be even poorer, even more unfortunate.
So I’m looking seaward. Give me back my shell-bra. I’m going to live out the rest of my life in—what’s the word?—peace.