today when i was getting dressed my achamma (grandmother) exclaimed: “you look like a girl! why are you wearing women’s clothing?” and i said “so what?” and then she giggled and said that i looked nice. apparently earlier she was telling all of the other old relatives that she doesn’t care that i wear saris and have my nose pierced because she is happy that i am a “passionate artist.” she doesn’t get what i do so she often asks me to sing for her and i tell her “no i write poetry” and she says “same thing” (she’s right).

i am always moved by how my achamma finds ways to make such radical politics with such simple gestures. i often wonder who she would have become if she wasn’t forced to sacrifice person for woman. i often wonder how much happier my family would be if they stopped believing in gender.

the gender binary is so absurd it’s hilarious! finding meaning in our lives is so much more interesting. i wish we could just giggle at silly things like gender more & go on with our lives. my achamma doesn’t know words like “transgender” and “ally” but she giggles and it feels like we are both laughing at a patriarchal system which never made space for our pleasure and our rage and our meaning. we are laughing because we still find ways to survive despite it.

which goes to say i think that my achamma is a passionate artist — too — and that her smile is one of the most wonderful masterpieces i have ever witnessed in my life.

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