This composition does not intend to create inspiration porn of myself. I believe that each queer individual has different things on the plate to grapple with. Each struggle is unique and valid in its own right. In a world that constantly ‘otherizes’ us and throws hate and discrimination at us, survival in itself is an act of resistance, whether we acknowledge it or not. This is not to say that our individual achievements and small victories do not count. But many queer lives are not even close to experiencing these victories. Celebration must not come at the cost of erasing these realities.
I wanted to write this piece as a letter to my younger self. I think I need to be kind to it because others have not been so. Also, I believe that the younger self lives within me and pines for the healing touch of an affirmative retrospection. So this letter would be a step towards healing and self-acceptance. I wish to share this journey with you all and want you aboard with me.
I know that growing up has been tough for you. You dear were growing up in a world that does not want people like you to thrive. You know why? I shall tell you and trust me when I say this: the honesty of your existence shakes them up. The nakedness of your personhood is too radical for them to bear. It challenges the lies they have been feeding themselves- of rigid gender binaries, of a terribly sexed world. It throws the complexity of it all right on their faces. And you unsettle them with that truth, the truth that they wish they had not seen. The bubble of normativity is broken for them. It makes them conscious of their own selves, revisit categories they’ve taken for granted and dear, not everyone has the veins for it. Do you now realize why the classroom bullies made fun of your voice, your mannerisms, the way you throw around your hands too much, your waist-swinging gait and what not? Do you now realize why ‘Chakka’, ‘Hijra’, ‘Ladies’ were their ways of getting back at you? It is because all of these were so obnoxiously intrinsic to you that they could not process it. And you know what they could not tolerate even more? It is how after every taunt, every jibe, every laugh at your expense, your flamboyance never ceased. That perturbed them! They utilized the last bit of their power to bring you down, to erase you. Can you see their helplessness now? Your queerness is your strength, dear. Recognize it and cherish it.
I know you have had your lows too. It is not all rainbow and glitter. But you know what – your lows did shape you too! Guess what! I remember those crippling moments when you have wanted to strangle yourself with a pillow, when tears flushed your cheeks behind closed doors, when you put your head inside a plastic bag and held it tight at the neck so that you cannot breathe anymore. I remember how you had wiped lip-colour off your lips time and again in agony till your lips chapped. I remember the kohl that you kept rubbing off your eyes till there was no trace of it. I remember the bindis on your forehead that never saw the light of the world outside the washroom. I remember the dresses of your mother that you would put on with fancy, the haste with which you would undress before anyone came to know. How your heart would beat fast fearing discovery! How you would perspire and drink more water than usual! How you would quickly put every transgression back into the closet and feign like nothing happened when you opened the door to your mother!
I remember those clandestine moments under the school benches, when your classmate would make a pass at your thigh or want to fondle with your ‘tool’. And then before the public eye, he would rather heroically romance with your female best friend. How you realized that you are a hidden fantasy that must remain under the benches!
I remember how one of your classmates retorted if you were on drugs when you asked him if he recollected these debaucheries. It meant nothing to them, not even something worth the effort of remembering .You see, not everyone has the veins for living out queerness. Clearly not!
I remember how you would think that your desires must rot behind the door….every time you step out into the world you shall be wrapping yourself with lies. You do not walk your gait… you do not talk your heart…you put on lies of apparel that make you feel like an alien. In the bargain of fitting in, you lose out on the essence of who you truly are. This disconnect is haunting and I am sorry you had to go through this! I really am.
You have come a long way and I am proud of you. You have survived years of hate and look at you now- you are a resilient woman that knows how to give it back. You falter too, but faltering is only human.
I know I could not be kinder to you then.
However, let me end on this note. I shall celebrate you from now on with each passing day. And not a day shall pass when I shall not acknowledge you. Not a day shall pass when I shall not pamper you. I shall vouch for you, I shall tend to you and I shall embrace your vulnerabilities while singing to you:
“..I see your true colours/Shining through/I see your true colours/And that’s why I love you/So don’t be afraid (don’t be afraid)/To let them show your true colours/True colours are beautiful (you’re beautiful,oh)/ Like a rainbow..”“..I see your true colours/Shining through/I see your true colours/And that’s why I love you/So don’t be afraid (don’t be afraid)/To let them show your true colours/True colours are beautiful (you’re beautiful,oh)/ Like a rainbow..”
Take love and transgress like a wild stallion.
The unicorn in bloom (in short ‘you now!’)