Personal Stories

A Queer Year To You

As queer folks, when we make lists and revive our goals for the year to come, I wonder if we do them to achieve a certain level of survivability?

As years morph in recognition that surviving as a neurodivergent, queer person and parent of queer children, is absolutely tiring, I sit here at the cusp of a new year, this arbitrary timeline, to figure out how it is that I must toil to find safety and thriving in my heart, mind, and community.

Beginnings of a year are legendarily seen with such keen intention. With brimming hope that one may achieve all sorts of things, from weight loss to love match, from new career prospects to a fruitful education. If you are particularly keen on investing in the capitalist vision of who you are, then you will, regardless of your age, freak out about becoming older with no sign of success in achieving marriage, successful employment or some such thing.

And don’t get me wrong, it helps to reset in some ways, to reorient, to infuse hope in life. I am not sure though if we do enough grieving too. As a queer, neurodivergent person, a parent and a holder of community spaces, my heart aches more profoundly as the year ends and a new one begins. It is a reminder of a world that has forgotten to care. A world that spread out the red carpet for developmental milestones to be achieved for children, one which expects our drive for achievement and success to align with hustle culture and one where our romantic needs match the triumph and glory of Bollywood’s sap and patriarchy, while unanimously deciding to burn the witches; they don’t fit.

It is now, as I approach my 40s, that I realise the reason I have always felt incredible stress, constantly showing up in my body and mind is a result of believing that hustle was fun and fun felt like stress. That this incredible stress I was carrying just needed some mindfulness to help me reset, refresh and continue. I have pushed to live at the helm of multitasking. Little did I realise, I function best when I have stability, plan, and routine. What hustler goes after such static/boring things as routines?! Only now am I able to embrace that I needed to say many no’s, I needed to draw many boundaries, I needed to honour how I wanted to use my skill without stretching myself too thin. Is this a cause for celebration as the new year begins?

As queer folks, when we make lists and revive our goals for the year to come, I wonder if we do them to achieve a certain level of survivability? Do our lists contain: How much of me do I share this year in this political and social climate? How much of me do I live out this year to ensure everyone’s else’s needs are met so I can continue to have a little space and recognition as human? How many no’s shall I give myself permission to exercise with each of the relationships I have? How do I navigate conversations to make it clear that ‘dating’, ‘moving in’, ‘marriage’ don’t mean the same things for me as other people I am conversing with? Honestly, this is not what we were trained to write in our to-do lists for the new year. If I don’t make new year intentions anymore, this is precisely why; this manoeuvring to survive is an everyday endeavour.

 In raising queer children, I think about what honesty looks like as a parent. In a world that easily brushes aside emotions, that believes that playful taunts and happy boisterousness are healthy for those assigned male at birth while not expecting much with respect to outward financial achievements from those assigned female at birth. Creating a space for care, respectful love and gentle forward movement seems to confront and challenge a system of schooling, peer-ing and community building. Honesty is a daily practice. Safety making an everyday endeavor.

With a world that’s speeding past you with neurotypical, patriarchal, caste-based, cis and straight privilege, I’d like to say this is most queer people’s everyday life. Tiring ourselves out trying to figure out what is the way to walk back to oneself. My grieving comes from the losses I must traverse through on this road back to myself. There is no other way really. If hope were something nice to have, queer hope, queer disabled hope is one that is stitched into the fabric of our existence. It is stitched into living through and embracing grief of a life I cannot have in order to live a life I will truly thrive in. My attempts at honesty, at saying the many no’s I need to, of surviving in safety and thriving within this safety is what having a queer year looks like, year after year.

A queer year to you, my companions.

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Arthi is an artist, poet and writer. They are a non binary, pansexual and neurodivergent person. They hang out a lot with two of their most amazing children who are their primary chosen family. They hope for a world that is intersectionality aware and compassionate in holding space for people in the world or atleast visibilisation of a strong unground movement and support for those of us whose voices are constantly erased.

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