tweeted earlier today:
I’ve been wondering a lot lately about the expectation - both from myself and others - to “know better”
And how we often find ourselves torn between the dichotomies of knowledge vs lived experience and theory vs practice
How much pain, suffering and silence do we subject ourselves to because we need to maintain “good politics”?
(By maintaining good politics I don’t mean “not being racist” for instance but refusing to acknowledge our own struggles)
I feel like a “bad queer” because of my recent apprehensions and fears about my future. Leading double lives. Being alone.
That feeling of being a “bad queer” is weighing me down more than my actual fears (is creating categories of “good” and “bad” even queer?)
Coupled with the expectation of strength, resistance and “good politics” from others. And call-out culture. Encourages silence
And constantly worrying that my words will be coopted and turned into a blanket condemnation of one’s “culture” or community
that all adds up to the safe spaces we’ve constructed for ourselves feeling invaded, unsafe. (I’ve censored several tweets because of that)
Silence because we should “know better”. Silence for fear of retribution. Silence for “good politics”. Silence for fear of being coopted
(And my thoughts of silence as stifling are offset by the “good politics” of invisibility as a tool, silence being powerful)
A series of censored tweets later, I’ll just conclude by asking how “radical politics” can enshrine norms and maintain the status quo
Why not send me a message off anon and we could talk about it in private :)
someone should write about verse 4:34 and the links between heteropatriarchy and capitalism
and i will probably not answer
A method I find useful in countering depressive thoughts is to break down the language I use to deride myself. Because very often, the language is one that reduces individuals and their contributions to economic units, and human connections to mere transactions. And all this of course is nothing new; much has been written about the links between neoliberal economy (and the heteropatriarchal, racist, classist structures that thrive under it) and mental health.
"I deserve to die"
Several theorists and academics have written about state sovereignty and the power to decide which bodies deserve to live. The power to decide which bodies are discardable and to measure levels of humanity. The power to decide who is human, just-human or un-human. So by declaring that I do not deserve to live, what am I implicitly saying about my own self and humanity?
"I am worthless"
How is a person’s value quantified? Does quality rule over quantity? Is there a bonus system? To what extent is a sense of worthiness tied to one’s ability to keep the wheels of capitalism churning? Do I feel stripped of my worth because according to societal norms, I simply do not measure up? And how can human emotions and the delicate, intricate ways we touch each others’ lives be measured?
"I am useless"
What is the correlation between need and greed? Greedy for affirmation, needy for purpose. Need and greed to find a place in a global system. But what are the implications of reducing our relationships to utilising others and being utilised by others? Who do we wish to be utilised by? Am I a utility? Employing such an analysis might not cure the depression, but it does insert a space between myself and the crippling, depressive thoughts. And it is that small space that I’ve constructed for myself that keeps me functioning.
"But what does it mean to reduce a person to a set of functions?"
the trials and tribulations of a well-endowed woman
my breasts offend my father
even more than my opinions;
it’s the size that’s insolent — bursting
out of t-shirts, spilling
out of kameezes that hang
demurely on any other girl.
the most mundane actions inspire a filial
mistrust that extends well beyond your
garden-variety middle-class moral suspicion:
going out for coffee with a friend, being on the phone;
in our lounge, leaning back
dupatta-less on the couch becomes
an act of sexual rebellion.
my sisters get hugs;
I, at best, get awkward back-pats.
felt up by a darzi at 10, groped by a driver at 11,
and too many times to count since; intrusive
hands years of poor posture couldn’t deflect.
I envy other women their ability to wear
their sexuality like a mask, to take
off and put on as they please
and, not least, I envy them
their delicates that actually
look delicate; mine, all hefty
cotton and industrial-strength
underwire, look just like armor.
fortunately, though, the man I love
~ Hira A