These days, I find myself thinking about my ancestors. I have no idea what they may look like. I happen to think they inhabit the air I breathe. They played many roles to get to me. This is a limited and relatively selfish perspective and yet it’s an important one to write about.
I have a lot to unravel as a person that writes.
My ancestors played a lot of roles. Some of those roles are fuzzy and unrelatable.
I am more familiar with recent generations who are seemingly more linked to the silences and traumas I have held inside me. You too will hold these stories in your flesh, in the pace of your walk, within the seconds that skip between your blinking eyes.
By now I know the ancestors that played the role of a woman had played it mostly through silence. When silence grows in you, you perform towards your world quietly, without questions.
Silence is an act of self-preservation.
I find myself thinking about their opinion of me.
Mostly because I am writing things: twisting and strangulating their absurd amount of silence into submission. Every year, I write something that surprises myself. Things like my body and its betrayals become easy to document on paper. Deconstructing my own ideas of love and my internalization of toxic patriarchy has become exhilarating painful things to write. Like picking at a lovely fresh scab.
First I’d write things, small tests, small truths fluttering about between the threads of a soft cotton veil (let’s call it fiction).
Over the years, I have opened up old wounds and let them spill into paragraph puddles. They grow into floods. I think they might drown me at first.
I know my ancestors are cautious people. They live within me and are in shock. When they see what I write their anxiety travels into my chest. When they really want to catch my attention they give me migraines. You need to really think if you can put this out there, they tell me. After all, generations of silence is a hard thing to translate. Careful.
And yet over the pandemic, when the days melt into each other, they come in my dreams. No vision, I don’t know what they look like still. But I can hear their thick whispers.
Are you sure you want to write that? (Please do)
I don’t think you should write that (But please do)
You’ll be finished if you write that (And it must be done) [Read more…]