Last night was one of the most important nights of my life. Featuring at a show in India was never ever something I thought I would be able to do.
I wanted to make a status about diaspora and gender and complicity and healing and about how I never thought in my life that I would be able to share my work on race, familial violence, mental health, transmisogyny here. About how much work we still have left to do! But I just can't find the language to adequately capture what it meant to be able to perform "here."
I've been sitting with this dilemma a lot these days: as a poet I'm tasked with the impossible mandate to make the intangible tangible and give language to feeling. As a trans femme I have spent my entire life watching my body being erased by the people around me so for so long. I learned from a young age to fight like hell to speak about our pain, our legacy, our resistance (because otherwise they pretend we do not exist). But last night I encountered a different kind of silence.
Ironically being a wordsmith has allowed me to appreciate silence more -- to see it is not the absence of language, but it's own form of knowing. We live in a world so obsessed with making things visible, known, explicit and I wonder what gets lost when the only ways we understand ourselves is through articulation and not just through being?
I am without words precisely because there are no words -- and will never be -- to capture the depth of gratitude I have for all of you who have supported me throughout my journeys. I want to say "thank you," but it's not enough. So many oppressed people across the world are fighting for the simple privilege of being. We have to do so much activism just to fight for people to be able to exist without violence -- such a simple goal and yet such a daunting project.
Last night I felt a type of closure that comes from being acknowledged simply for existing. Not just for doing, saying, critiquing, but being. I was reminded about why we do this, what kind of consciousness and world we are trying to create for everyone. Thank you for giving me the space to choose my own silence -- to blossom into it and to relish here in this space which -- albeit temporary -- makes me think that I can keep going.
We have to continue struggling toward a world where people can just be. Just exist. Just live.
support the author