Negotiating The Spaces I Experience

Spaces! What kind of spaces exist around us and how do we try to mould them as per our life journey and struggles? The spaces that always appeared around me were heteronormative. There was no way that I could realize to differ or distract from the subsisting family structure that was progressive to have education for girls who are “boys of the family” by later becoming independent and supportive.

I always used to think what will go wrong if my father or my classmates found out that I menstruate Why my cousin, a cis-gendered boy is forced to sleep separately when we all want to have fun and sleep together or why incest which is consensual is so condemnable. The questions were never asked due to persisting boundaries and why not; only some of us get the opportunity to ask questions, assess situations and respond to our own realities that for many seem to be fictitious. The fiction of my life was that I am straight. That was my childhood! It is hazy with depression and anxiety that was never diagnosed. These memories of judgments and biases are pretty fresh that were never recognized and it has been only a few years that I started challenging them by wearing what I want, not wearing a bra at home all the time, not going to the salon when I don’t want to, cutting my hair short and much more. I decided to stand by myself. All of the time that I had during my childhood and teenage was not bad, I cherished spending time with my sibling and cousins, but there was also the trauma of not being accepted, loved and being a burden. 

As being part of an upper-caste, lower-middle-class, heternormative household, there is a strict condition of following “A” path. The path where you get a formal education, work for someone else and do not create a social life or do what you like. I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I  was refused to continue it and out of rage, I quit playing it completely. It was then that the spaces started controlling me, which reflected on my behaviour, body language and my reactions. I was meek and shy in school while highly reactive at home. There was a struggle to be normal but I still do not understand why this race to be normal and against whom!

As cis women, trans and non-binary persons’ home with and without parents, physical environment, alone spaces are different and are dealt differently but what happens when sexuality never appears as a question out of fear. Is it a privilege that the question appeared much later in my life and I still do not have to bear the brunt of it because I look no different than a cis-heterosexual woman? Is looking different only a reason to face the difficulty of getting along with spaces? I do not know, and I am still figuring it out, but can I even figure it out because I look no different. It’s a tough one for me to comprehend.

The only complex that I was allowed to live with was the colour of my skin and that it is not attractive because I was permitted to feel that complex but not to question who I can get attracted to. I believe for some, that the realisation of sexuality comes naturally and for someone like me there is a continuous fear of questioning it and it takes time to untangle the mystery and the butterflies that come with it. I was able to question it and unravel the feeling of liking women when I was 28. A new struggle and journey began from there! I decided to remain in my bubble and wait for those feelings to fade away but it did not because by then I was more independent. I could see that my journey was different from many others around me. I was reflecting on my childhood and teenage experiences and I had learnt that there is the freedom to question and I started posing them before others and myself. It was difficult but I decided to be on that queer path and the journey remains beautiful with the help from my psychiatrist, sibling, cousins and a friend to some extent.

Ahhhh!! That bubble was pretty, with that person, me and my fantasies. It was like I am back in school but outside the lines of puberty and things under control. It was the first legit attraction that I did accept. This bubble was my space, my own space where I can be what I want, where I do not have to pretend, I do not have to look for labels but have clear knowledge that it is not cis-gendered and it was as mystical as it could be.

The journey that began as an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community to becoming a part of it; I cherish it and would continue as a person who can like any kind of people (still do not have a label for myself). The unboxing of spaces led to an exploration which is nothing less than an accomplishment, it is finding of who I am and giving a glaring look to my politics that begins with honesty towards my own self. I cannot and do not want to come out to the whole world but my politics stands against invisibilization and for normalisation of my own experience.  

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A geek from Delhi who still has to come out of their closetted safe place. She follows books to live lost and lived experiences on caste, gender, sexuality, mental health and always is in her wandering self with multiple thoughts crossing at one time. She works with a feminist public health organisation and aspires to continue learning aspects of intersectional feminism. She wants to do as much as possible in one life by self nurturing as a process. To be able to survive this one life is her primary goal.

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