[Note from Author: The title of the series is ‘Excerpts’ and the main idea behind the series is to look into queerness at a more intimate and individualistic level. A queer person makes a diary entry on a regular basis and documents their life and experiences while navigating heteronormative spaces and dreaming of a queer utopia simultaneously. The series revolves around ideas of home, love, relationships, identity, solidarity and hope in the context of queerness. In a way, it is very much like ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’, but more queer and more personal.]
I went out today, but I felt like a fish being forced to swim in an ocean of sand. I don’t belong here- in a world where I have to pick a side and if I choose for myself- it’s too much; it’s too real. Am I too much? Am I not enough? I guess I should tone it down. I should dress up more like a ‘man’. But what does it mean to be a man? Or to be a woman? Or to be all of it and none of it, all at once? Should I just stop being a fish and turn into a crab so I can bury myself under the layers of sand till I can’t think? But I do think and I think myself to numbness. I spend my days in nothing but thinking. I need to stop thinking. I need to stop rambling.
It took me some time to get out of my room and leave. But the minute I entered the street, I felt them staring at me – their eyes crawling up my spine. They said something, and it was the same thing I have heard before.
The same slur. The same mockery. The same hate..
Honestly, it isn’t the words that bother me, but how they look at me; this violation. As if I am not supposed to walk on the same ground as they do. Is it the way I walk? Or is it the way the red of my hair flickers in broad daylight? Why should I tone myself down when they refuse to see beyond binaries? I think I swam my way into a nest full of lobsters.
I remember the first time it happened- the explicit act of violence and humiliation that always begins subtly, like the blooming and withering of flowers; like decaying of fruits. It always begins with the stares and the whispers. The part that fascinates me is that no one bats an eye when it happens. It is also what haunts me. The hysterical normalcy of this is what makes it even more absurd.
All I dared to do that day was wear my favorite jumpsuit and put on a bit of makeup. Never knew the bruises would match the color of my eyeshadow. I have grown quite fearful of the color purple ever since. God! I feel like I have said too much and honestly, I don’t have the strength to put down the details into words, the incident is better left alone between my sighs and trembles.
It is important for anyone to dismantle such experiences into speech – to talk about it with someone. I did try to talk to my friends about it but they feel more distant than ever. They don’t have much to say about this. How would they? They are nothing like me. No wonder it is easier for them to turn an ignorant eye. But I don’t judge them for it because I have started doing the same. It is better to look away than to look at them right in the eye. My eyes would rather crawl out of my skull and run away because they know the cost of gazing back. Things might get worse than before. I might end up butchered and beaten up without a name, or a gender, or an identity.
I might exist without a being- like those broken containers you keep at the back of your cupboard in hopes of discarding them in the future; but you forget. I don’t want to be forgotten, but I don’t have much to treasure as memories.
I do want to talk about these things instead of writing them down. I do happen to have a lot to say, even when the language I stammer in is borrowed. I want to go back home and fall on Mumma’s lap and cry my heart out, the way I did back in school but I haven’t spoken to my family for quite some time now. But the mere act of going back home feels like a distant dream. The last time I called Mumma, there was this strange silence. As if we have run out of words to throw at each other. It has been a long time since we talked over the phone or since I went back home. I don’t know if I should call it home anymore.
So I stayed in my room, my happy place – wallowing and wailing with no one else but the humming of the ceiling fan to hold a conversation with. I stayed there lying on the bed. The air got heavier and the humming ceased to exist. I realized I have built a prison for myself where even the light can’t touch me. And when it got too much, like all things do, I decided to go out. I tried to get out of my room and luckily I did. I looked at myself in the cracked mirror of my bathroom, did the whole ritual of getting ready without the (unnecessary) romantic appeal of it and, when I thought I was done, I put on a bit of purple over my eyes. Purple will always be my favorite color, despite the fact that it still scares me a bit. I reached out for a pair of earrings but couldn’t find any because, well, the reason is too heavy for this entry and it has to wait for another one.
So I went out today. Maybe for the sake of finding someone I can talk to. Maybe in hopes of finding my way into a river that will take me back to the sea I yearn for. But for me to find my way, I guess I have to put up with the seagulls hawking over me.