When I drank from the treacherous grail my insides would bubble and spit. Polanski’s witches would appear in a hallucinogenic state and circle me, cutting off my hands and burying them next to my head. I’d wake up screaming. I’ve been drinking again.

This state of vulnerability is polar. On one hand, as a feminine subject, I am prone to bouts of shock and hysteria. On the other hand, as a structurally brown and foreign subject, I am deemed to be staunch and unmoving. This calls the question, why is addiction and mental health issues within feminine bodies of colour spoken about like a game of Chinese Whispers, in which the first instance of trauma is so far removed from the actual experience it’s shut in the closet of cultural secrets. It is then ignored, and starved. Then it becomes a depraved skeleton of a ghostly suffering.

Brown women are not meant to be victims of addiction because that contradicts their figure as mother, as country, and as a conduit for tradition. So within the closet of the home space I shut away my self-medication within the closet of my body. I cannot be addicted or have a “weak” psychological frame as it doesn’t fit the social narrative. Addiction only affects hard done by middle class white people. AA meetings are saturated by the trophy housewife whose husband is experiencing sexual impotency. It’s not where I belong.

To bring into question my “belonging” is to throw another bone upon the pile of trauma I was and am subject to.

Why won’t we talk about mental health and women of colour?

Whilst my stomach acid screams from within me to be pissed or vomited out in a state of limbo where I can’t distinguish between who I’d be fucking or who would be beating me, a psychological thriller plays in the background of this violence (self-inflicted or otherwise). Is it wrong to frame my experience in a fictitious setting? Is this self-appropriation of an unfortunately commonplace “problem” detracting from the actual work that needs to be done? Or is it so that I may tell my own story with however I see fit.

I’d claw out my eyes when I look into the mirror because the reflection wasn’t a self-realised version of myself. It was alien. The subject upon the surface did not look like me, or how I beheld myself. It could not be deemed as uncanny. I’d see “my” face twisting, eyes bulging and throat swelling. I’d envision snapping my jaw in half and plunging my balled up fist down my throat to bring back up the intestines that had betrayed me in a bout of a binge. Adrenaline would pulsate through my veins in a frenzied state and I’d smash the mirror and brush away the pieces in a moment of tranquillity. Until the next night. The days, I had learnt, signified the calm before the storm. Before I’d utilise my mirrors I danced grotesquely at my scarred and impressionable vessel.

She would follow me wherever I go, and I heard her dripping through the taps. She would whip by me and whisper things into my ear, masquerading as a cold gust of wind.

“Why are you shivering?”

Because I can feel her close by. She’s approaching me when the sun goes down. She is Jinn. Hiding underneath darkened trees she would await me as I made my journey home; she would greet me inside and strip me of my clothes and my armour. My body became possessed on a nightly basis in which I made incomprehensible love to my own demise. If I slept facing up she would put mirrors on the ceiling so I would face her in a state of paralysis crawling around. Thudding by the light bulb she would go

Thud thud thud.

Why did I not beseech an exorcist? Why did I not purge myself of her toxic presence, of her mischievous lop sided grin. Of her pathetic attempt to parrot my movements. Sporadically, I would catch her out in her own game. She didn’t like that. I’d get punished severely that night. But why did I not tell anyone about it? I kept that all to myself. Why?

I guess I enjoyed the company. Waking up after a night of binging on your own was never a pleasant thing. She was better in the morning. She’d make me drink up water and give me my medication and take me to class. I need my energy for when we play again tonight.

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2 thoughts on “affect

  1. […] culprit is that most MVHS students just haven’t heard of the movement. Shiri Shah, a 21-year-old writer and long-time Art Hoe contributor, describes the Art Hoe Movement and its […]

  2. […] culprit is that most MVHS students just haven’t heard of the movement. Shiri Shah, a 21-year-old writer and long-time Art Hoe contributor, describes the Art Hoe Movement and its […]

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