Here’s why: I’ve had one first cousin murdered in ‘an act of passion’ by her ex (why are vengeful sociopaths termed as passionate?), several family members assassinated, been attacked by neo-nazis in Budapest, fractured my right thumb twice, torn four ligaments, and been in a nasty accident in NYC, the aftermath of which resulted in 247 stitches, one dental implant, and eleven surgeries in three years.
I have lived through the hurricane of 1991 and counted bodies being buried in the summer heat in the graveyard across the street from me, watched men die in front of me in the chaos of Bangladeshi politics in 1996, been held at knifepoint once in Jamaica by a crazy bastard, and once got into a serious tiff with stupid cops derived from actually paying my cab fare and being accused of not doing thus, until I proved it with my debit card statements. I know at least ten women, who are sufficiently well-known to me, who are victims of sexual abuse and rape, and hence I am sick of people telling me, to just deal with “it.”
I have been in three road traffic accidents, been sexually harassed by one rickshaw-driver and one fucker who thought it’s okay to touch up boob-less fourteen year olds running up a staircase in a public building. I was stalked by one building manager, one ex-boyfriend, have survived two bomb blasts, and vomited while investigating child protection issues, but only after meeting a five year old who was HIV positive, and only after a thirteen year old girl told me that she should be in school, and the baby in her arm should be her sibling, not her daughter (I couldn’t agree more).
I have watched helplessly when my father was held at gunpoint, seething with anger at the injustice of how a government who is supposed to protect him, protect us, instead has been singlehandedly trying to undo his life’s work, and coerce and bully us into submission.
And yet, instead of showcasing how harrowing, frustrated, angry, and pathetic my life feels normally, how upsetting it is to wake up with nightmares, I presented you, o glorified (anti-)social media, with a face that seems okay, that is smiling and happy and always ready to go the extra mile to have a good time, and a life that is, for all intents and purposes, charmed, while I slowly crumble to pieces inside.
Some of us write and travel, as an escape. We work in human rights because those who are controlling the financial purses are the most corrupt freaks on the planet, and intervention is necessary, hence. But some of us do it, because if we don’t keep moving and voicing ourselves, we will get swallowed in the enormity of the sickening reality that humanity is depraved, that institutional corruption is rampant, and that there is no such thing as a charmed life.
And here I present to you, the “privileged” brown female. I wonder what the lives of those who are not “privileged” hence feels like, if I’m supposed to be the pinnacle of carefree, happy go lucky, happily spirited.
And before you go on and judge that women should just shut up, that silence is key to suffering gracefully, that I should stop writing because it could affect my family adversely STOP (and slap yourself). Some of us can’t just keep taking chill pills and switching the trauma of being alive, on and off like a button. Speaking up, and keeping moving, is the only way we know how to survive.
Show a little bit of compassion and empathy: don’t ever tell me to shut up. If you can’t deal with what I have to say, unfollow, block, unfriend. But don’t any of you ever tell me to suffer silently again, and to repress my only outlet, which is writing it down, getting it out there, and trying to figure out what understanding means.
Silence, to the creative mind, is the space in which demons dwell, where hope is lost forever.
And for me, the time for silence is over.