So, I turned to an artform, a science, a philosophy to help me understand the language of people who won’t explain themselves to me. Obviously, I turned to astrology. Jokes apart, alongside my aro-ace peers, astrology introduced me to a new language to name different parts of the self.
Sex became the forbidden fruit I couldn’t have - not until I was far away from my parents’ watchful eyes at least - but could only seek pleasure in thinking of. In my head, I imagined a hypersexual alter ego of myself, who would appear the day I moved out and could finally live as their true self. I did move out, I did begin to live the way I wanted to, except that this imaginary persona never revealed herself. She didn’t really exist.
Char of my burnt heart—
Makes watery her eyes
Tears skittering down on her hot cheeks
I long to but cannot wipe
Despite my inner turmoil and dwindling self-confidence however, for the first time in my life, I fostered valuable female friendships. I learnt that they were struggling with the same difficulties I was dealing with and yet, I couldn't understand why they would consider themselves unattractive.
I will not bat an eye if you walk out wearing makeup one day, or a skirt for that matter. If you would rather wear polo shirts and khaki pants, I still wouldn't flinch. I'll love you no matter what, unconditionally, without an asterisk or expectations.
The popular notion that lesbians desire like men is infuriating: our affections may be directed towards the same subset of the population but we neither experience nor express them in a similar fashion. However, as evident by the movies that I would gravitate towards, my perception of women was unwittingly steeped in the ‘male gaze’.
Back then, I hadn't known who I was, or who I liked. I felt raw and fluid. I was naive but wild; I had the edges of my head shaved, only to have a long ponytail at the back. I had tubs of bleach and would colour it every week.
The confidence of having strong friendships was felt elsewhere too, as I started putting myself out there in terms of romance. I’d been using dating apps for a while but …
It was in Class 10 that I thought I found true love. Spoiler alert: It was just another episode of infatuation. I was alone with no one to truly call a friend, feeling out of place in the world, depressed and dysphoric.
For me, I am unbothered. I have always been single on Valentine’s Day. The last Valentine I had was my best friend in high school, and we went to the local diner where I gifted her a box of candy and a balloon. This was back when I had yet to come out and still felt the need to conform to the heterosexual norms that society has so tastelessly imposed in the form of heart-shaped chocolates and kitschy Hallmark cards.
The skin experts say to leave the pimple alone
But I was sure she knew better
The third time she said
I walked around like a leprosy patient
‘With all that on your face’
These small gestures are hard to forget. Even now, when I’m writing, I’m crying from within, remembering all these beautiful memories. Upon my request, he did try to move beyond friendship with me, but then said it was too much for him.
Momentarily shaken, out of
This haze. Drugged by your love.
Your previously sceptical voice:
"You want me so bad,"accepting.
learning the existence
can change lives and the life
You just smile at your father when
He does something kind
And say, “Papa I want a man
Who is as caring as you!”
Yet, it was my first time hearing about an intersex person that wasn’t one of the two ‘disorders’ in our Biology textbook. It was my first time seeing the idea of someone having XY chromosomes but presenting physically in line with society’s notion of a cis-woman.
When I kissed her, she didn’t feel any different? It didn’t feel like I was kissing a girl, not a boy.
A spate of petitions have drenched the halls of various Higher Courts of our country. They carry within them hope for change, but also elicit other peculiar emotions within. This portentous event promises a plethora of possibilities, but not all of them seem good. If parts of the community do get the right to marry, what then? There’s relief, but there’s also fear.
I wish I could be as bold as you,
Scream as coherently as you,
But all I have is a wave of volcanic anger
Trapped in the closet of my heart.
To me, neuroqueer does not have a fixed definition. It’s not what you are, but what you do. It is how who you are expresses itself (or doesn’t) in your everyday life; it is a verb, rather than a noun or adjective.