Category Archives: short story

affect

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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Knitting.

A new hobby would be the best thing. Creating warm and comforting things after her warm and comforting thing died whilst it was being warm and comforted inside of her. Knitting, I suppose, she thought. Knitting, just because her baby is gone does not mean that there aren’t plenty of other babies in need of warmth and comfort. The house was so big, so empty. A room, a new room was built to serve no one and she would ensure that it never will. The other creature left, leaving a draught in its wake that spread to half of her bed room. The most movement the kitchen saw were the shadows gliding over every surface as the stars and clouds danced with each other, serving a reminder of how stunted our perceptions are. They are not dancing, and they do not know each other. They are millions of years apart, falling together in line for our entertainment.

Are we then omnipotent? Do we see all we are meant to see but are simply cursed with this stunted perception? We know nothing but we see all, don’t we?

Her footsteps around the house left small and apologetic prints in the dusty snow. The whole house was full of this oppressive snow. The whole house would be full of life again because she is the giver of life. The draught doesn’t contribute to the life that could have been. It didn’t to begin with, because that life was not.

She wanted to knit a sweater out of her intestines, and fashion the cross stitching with her veins. She would package them neatly in her womb, and that would be her gift. A gift for whom? How would she do it? Sadness occurred, for her mind could only burst forth with ideas. She had no sterilisers to dissect herself and make this gift. The thought counts.

A cupboard stood in the corner of her grandfather’s room. There was a blizzard inside, enticing her with the promise of suffocation. There, at the bottom, she saw it. Her stomach drooped over her cave as she bent, her tendons working furiously to support her weak frame. She bent, allowing gravity to take her, but not too far.

You’re meant to bend your knees and lift with your back to prevent injuries at your own risk.

In her grandfather’s room in her house by the coast, all he left was this bed space. His green bedroom. He wanted to complement the shifting colours that were given by the ocean but only created an insulting clash that caused injury to the external setting. Maybe to someone prudish, but she liked the green. She liked how it separated them from the outside. There was no deception. They knew where they were.

Without blurring boundaries the truth proved to be ugly.

She read somewhere once that green complements brown. She felt her numb self melting as she sat on the green bed holding this box that had what she needed inside.

Wool. Knitting tools. Her creation would be complete. She is the gift that would keep giving.

Moving from green, to dancing shadows, to door, to the salty air and harsh winds, she moved further up hill. She moved further up until she sat down by the cliff where she made love to the draught and achieved loss. Now she would make love to herself, looking forward to the never ending horizon instead of loving at a wet brown body lying on top of her.

She finished moving and sat on the cliff. Her house, the draught, the green, the dancing shadows were behind her now. She could only do and not think.

Spreading her legs and replacing the emptiness with the box, her feet floated a mile above the smooth wet rocks being licked by the ocean’s children.

She knitted brown and green to finally hold up to the sky and laugh. I am not submitting my creations in accordance to you.

She knitted until there was no wool left. A shapeless scarf that required more warmth and comfort. So, pulling on a thread of her long yellow dress she continued knitting. Each click was a welcome and a goodbye. Each click would be heard by her failed creation, by the house, by the draught.

The winds licked her legs and attempted to comfort her vessel to make up for the space left by the discarded box. Wet drops from the clouds above kissed her layered stomach and life giving breasts as her dress was hitched higher and higher. Her hair was so dense due to the length getting confused with the threads from her yellow dress. The threads of her head became one with her attire, she was becoming one. A foot of jet black mingled with the shapeless green, brown, and yellow.

She was being made love to by her surroundings as she became altered with her hands inching up herself. Her unrelenting hands. Her fingers came closer, pulling on her skull as the clicks became louder. Deafeningly loud. She had never heard anything so close to her.

She was now a puppet, with her hand made strings pulling her spine forward into the oceans embrace. She joined her floating feet and swooped down the chalky cliff, clicking along to every heart beat she wanted to give warmth and comfort. She clicked, finally clicked with it all. Her soft stomach gave a click as it welcomed the knitting needles upon greeting the wet rocks entwined with the oceans embrace. She clicked.

She is the gift that finally gave. She gave back.

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