i have come to realise that there is a real difference between solitude and isolation, and sometimes the boundary that separates them is so dangerously blurred.
i have been flawed and i have been hurt and i have been home and i have been tired and i have written the whole damn house down and i have swam in the clearest waters before the blood let loose and i have been lonely and i have let the chai brew and i have been alone and i have been inside my self and outside of my self and i have seen the way a heart beat grows with the rhythm and i have been in love and i have seen the moon cry and i have been a child and i have been everywhere, i have known my body and i have known the night sky like the thickest organ and i have known so many things that even the silence is plentiful, plentiful even when we cannot see so much of it.
talk to me, darling.
food should be free. water should be free. housing should be free. power, fuel, electricity should be free. basic necessities should be free.
the idea of “people should have to work for a living” carries the implication that some people deserve to die
1. i cling to the order of things, and sometimes that order is the way to factor in the chaos.
2. these past few weeks i’ve really realised who is really down for you when you’re down.
3. i have always been absolutely generous with everything i have. it’s always seemed natural to me that anything i have/i am is temporary and therefore not fully mine. i have remained considerate of folks, i extend everything fully - from money, to time, to food, to small things that make you know (including with strangers) that i care. i have realised that a large number of people will take whatever you offer/got but never return the love/heart/generosity at even a fraction. it’s strange, i’ve never really understood how folks can happily exist in that state of selfishness but then i’m reminded we live in a culture that rewards it.
4. these things make me tired, feel out of place, lonelier than i’ve ever been. at twenty five i never thought i’d be here, so invisibly here.
5. did you know that south asian women are 3 times more likely to commit suicide in this country than their white counter parts? and although there are very clear links to honour based violence, i also can’t help that this is symptomatic of a culture and a society (both asian and white majority) that does not see or hear asian women and girls. we are absolutely invisible, we have no voice, we are seen to exist as solely conduits for our men, culture and community. so what then or how then do we begin to talk about mental health - about these women and girls (particularly under the age of 24 who no doubt largely come from poor households) that are dying - that we do not know the names or stories of? do their lives matter so little that nobody - including many of the women around them - show up?
6. i’ve been reflecting on some of the themes that naturally emerge in a lot of my stories - things that seem subconcious or necessary. there has been an absolute dearth in british asian literature, the narratives produced are ones that continuously reflect what is required by a white audience to be a valid ‘asian’ story. i in all honesty cannot name a british asian writer who has moved me in any kind of way other than meera syaal through ‘life’s not all ha ha hee hee’ and the only international writer that is someone i can list as a favourite still has its limits. something seems to stop at ‘diaspora’ and ‘immigration’, we stop complicating what it means to really exist here (and maybe long or not long for home in different ways). and whilst some things are definitely some people’s experience (e.g. brick lane), they don’t speak to the humanity we have constantly are denied or plough through. ‘life’s not all ha ha hee hee’ was that moment for me that introduced diverse south asian women who reflected some or many of the struggles or could see the asian women around me struggling with. it went beyond ‘honour’ (whilst including important elements of it that permeate the everydayness of asian culture’. with my short stories, the pieces i’ve been working on have no real nostalgia for a back home - they incorporate the lives of second generation british asian girls. i realised that i had unconsciously been writing about eating disorders and self-harm, of anxieties and insecurities, of displacement, of london as a real location/context of what it means to be ‘here’, of an everydayness i have so rarely found myself in the books i’ve picked up. at the back drop of this is always the residue of immigration, of violence, of white supremacy, of anti-blackness, of invisibility, shame, class, sexuality that needs to be there. i’d also like to consider in particular muslim south asian women as existing as ‘south asian’ and it not all be entirely collapsed into being ‘muslim’ which for me is forever at risk of reproducing very dangerous narratives. as some of my work begins to be published and i begin to really think about a collection that is meaningful to me, i hope that whatever i create is somehow reflective of asian women and girls as people, as human, as existing even against such a deafening silence.
7. i know i will get out of this place eventually, it’s just finding a way to get to that ‘eventually’ point. i’ve been steeped in ‘self-care’ and sometimes ‘not-so’ self-care. i run and work out hard, i eat all the wrong things, i’ve cut almost everyone off because in truth nobody is listening/cares/is considerate of/expects/thinks i’m some robot that even when i’m vulnerable it’s not in the right form to be considered, i do things i shouldn’t that are now becoming routine and strangely comforting, i take sleeping pills and spend my days outside my body/self. i will eventually get out of this place, eventually.