it sucks having to consistently maintain separate lives and personas. it sucks regularly waking up terrified from nightmares of familial violence. it sucks to have many thoughts tumbling through your head, but no one around to share them with. it sucks that i must hide. it sucks whether “will they kill me or try to fix me?” is a question i ask myself everyday. it sucks being alone. it sucks that even though i love dissing on the homonormative and heteropatriarchal institution of marriage, i sometimes feel saddened that i won’t be able to celebrate with the family anyway. it sucks that i have to maintain minimal levels of interest in marriage because i fear arousing suspicion. it sucks having so many passwords and accounts and safeguards to keep family away. it sucks that i always wonder which one of my siblings is more likely to betray me. it sucks that i wonder which of my uncles would be least merciful. it sucks being so alone. it sucks being so damn afraid. it sucks that i cannot enter a mosque without feeling impure. it sucks that i always have to look behind me back. and worst of all, it sucks that i hate myself for having these thoughts. shouldn’t i know better?
The ‘Ya3ni Yanni’ meme should be a thing.
If self-care can be “a form of political warfare” (quoting Lorde), can self-neglect be one too?
"The problem with English is this: You usually can’t open your mouth and it comes out just like that—first you have to think what you want to say. Then you have to find the words. Then you have to carefully arrange those words in your head. Then you have to say the words quietly to yourself, to make sure you got them okay. And finally, the last step, which is to say the words out loud and have them sound just right.
But then because you have to do all this, when you get to the final step, something strange has happened to you and you speak the way a drunk walks. And, because you are speaking like falling, it’s as if you are an idiot, when the truth is that it’s the language and the whole process that’s messed up. And then the problem with those who speak only English is this: they don’t know how to listen; they are busy looking at your falling instead of paying attention to what you are saying."
[I]t did not occur to me that my Muslim-ness and my queerness were supposed to be at war with each other until I started performing these identities in semi-public ways. The exoticization, the Islamophobia, the disbelief at my existence – these are all manifestations of imagined narratives that are projected onto me and do not reflect an innate discordance of being. My queerness and my Muslim-ness do not need to be reconciled mostly because they cannot be disentangled from each other. I can’t remember ever not having been both.
we often concentrate on the power of focusing one’s gaze at the expense of withholding it.
of the many dichotomies women and queers are forced to face, theory vs practice and lived experience vs knowledge can be the most pernicious. this is where guilt festers.
ownership is one of many models of how we can relate to our bodies.
even in the absence of active discrimination or threats of violence, being self-conscious of one’s race/gender/religion/sexuality/etc speaks volumes of the structural imbalances.
“You think that because he doesn’t love you that you are worthless. You think that because he doesn’t love you anymore that he is right - that his judgement and opinion of you are correct. If he throws you out, then you are garbage. You think he belongs to you because you want to belong to him. Don’t. It’s a bad word, ‘belong’. Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldnt be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love the mountain. They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through because the clouds let him; they don’t wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him. You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.”
- Toni Morrison (Born February 18, 1931)
“Listen,” they would say. “I have no problems with you,” they would claim. “But I disapprove of your queerness,” they would finally add.
And with that, I would feel the weight of the world crashing down on me.
Where does the line between “I am” queer end and the “I do” queer begin? How can I split myself into several neat compartments, ensuring that none of that perverted queerness spills over? Is there a lever I can turn?
But this burden of separation only lies upon the queer body.
For if they can form a gulf between “are” and “do”, then I too can force a gulf between the “am” and “do”. If they can segregate their beliefs and feelings, then I too can separate the judge and the judgement. That if they can look beyond my perversion, I can look beyond their disdain.
Perhaps from now on, I should respond with, “Listen, I have no problems with you, but I do take issue with that two-dimensional view of me,” and leave them with the task of unpacking that statement.