Personal Stories

A Letter To Everyone and No One in Particular

My mother, whom I love dearly. I do. But I do not think I like her much. She can be a manipulative bitch at times. We all can be and are, that is true.

TW: Parental Abuse

I don’t know who I am writing this letter to. Is it to my mother? Is it to my partners? Or is it to myself? I don’t know. Maybe, perhaps, by the end I will? Maybe not? Maybe it will take time. More time. One of my lovers-turned-friend told me that I am not very vocal while seeking help. Till date I agree with them. I am not. It takes every ounce of energy to seek help without my mind running in every direction to tell me how selfish I am being, how demanding, how needy…those words, that noise, all of it resembling fragments of my mother. My mother, whom I love dearly. I do. But I do not think I like her much. She can be a manipulative bitch at times. We all can be and are, that is true.

So, anyway, coming to how even though i do acknowledge what my lover turned friend has said, and I do understand the kind of plight that they had to go through while being in a relationship with me because of this part of me, I do not understand how do I comfort the tikla-D who, even now, at times gets to hear their mother tell them how needy they are, how demanding, how selfish. I write this and I remember the time my mother slapped me after one of the many episodes of my father threatening to kill himself and going out of the house. Of course, this time his trigger was his ‘young daughter’ being seen with a boy in the neighbourhood. I take full responsibility for that trigger. Though, I definitely wonder what my father would really do, if he, as well as I, knew that it was not just boys I was interested in! Who knows! Ow but yes, my mother did slap me for making my father take the path of death. I still wonder how my mother actually made her brain believe that – a 15-year-old girl, growing up in a middle class, Assamese Brahmin family with parents who lived through the assam movement and came out of it with the sorkari sakori – will have so much power that could make the father kill himself! Did you really not know ma, that he was not going to do that? Because I do remember that when he would do the same after a fight with you, you would just laugh at him and ask ‘kimaan baar?’

So what was/is it maa that makes you blame me for everything that goes wrong in that family?

I have multiple theories to this question. Some days the theory I believe in is that me being queer is why you do this, some days I play the theory that you might be scared to make a shift in your life by leaving your husband and son, some days, however, I like to believe in the theory that perhaps you have gotten too comfortable with all the ‘stability’ that comes along – while you play your part beautifully, elegantly, smiling, some days grumbling – with having a husband who will then get you a beautiful mekhela sador for you to wear to your school? Maybe somewhere I am trying to come to peace with your decision to be in that space, around those people, those things, those walls…maybe…but I know I do not want to be in there. But you do know the hollowness of that living, don’t you? Because if you did not then there would not be cries after maybe every 4 months to help you get out of it? Then why maa do you keep asking me to come back or make me doubt myself and my ability to desire, need, love, take care and be kind to myself? I know maa, your parents, your husband/my father, our neighbours, your colleagues, my school mates…everybody has told and shown us that this is the structure that survives, and that is supposed to survive. But have we not survived together maa even when all of these elements were there and yet not there? Were we not the only ones who had each others’ backs? Then what changed maa? What changed between you and me? Did you start believing in them more and in me a little less?

And that is what I think I cannot make you understand, N. And I know all of us who challenge the capitalistic cis-heteronormative structure in our day-to-day life, in our living, in our being, are tired and sometimes cannot find hope and feel/think that maybe in the end, this big demon of a structure is going to engulf us all, take us under its wrap, mould us to something that it wants, like – perhaps cannot be kind to fellow strugglers, be warm, hold them while they are also trying to hold themselves…and this is where i ask you for a little bit of kindness. Just a tiny bit. I am asking this because the politics that we believe in, the politics that we live in our day-to-day life is the politics that dwells in this very kindness as well, in this holding each other, in this sharing of warmth, anger, despair, guilt. I know I take less space, try to minimize me – like a program on our laptops – shrink myself and I know it irritates you, I know you know that it irritates me too and I know that this is your tough love speaking to me. Tough kintu still love, morom. And that is why I like you close – the warmth, the love, the likeness, the belief, the push…because unlike my mother you don’t blame me, you don’t take away your solidarity…you stay, you see, you talk, you scold (maybe sometimes too much and maybe in wrong situations) but you do. You don’t leave. Don’t leave.

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a migrant and questioning queer feminist

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