Me Too?

In October 2017, “Me Too” spread as a trending hashtag on social media to denounce sexual harassment and assault. Millions of people came forward with their experiences using this hashtag, highlighting the banality, commonality, and extent of sexual assault.

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when you are constantly asked;
“but did you?”
“are you sure?”
“maybe you imagined it?”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when you are told consistently
that it is not just you —
“it happens to everyone”
“learn to deal with it”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
and say,
“I don’t want your pity or apology”
“I don’t want you to fix me”
in the same breath?

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
after a lifetime of gaslighting yourself;
“it is all in my head”
“it didn’t happen…
surely not?”

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
when words are nothing
but a rearrangement of the alphabet,
a sequence of phonetics,
that offer no closure?

How do you gather the courage
to say “me too”
and do you, unlike me,
still have that courage,
when you sit alone,
all by yourself?

How do you, if at all,
gather the courage to say
“me too!”
when your memory
no longer remembers —
only the body does?


When Anxiety Banters With Me

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

It does not tie me up — instead, it seeps in slowly from the pores of my skin and mixes with my blood, warming every inch of my being. It softens my bones and heats my flesh; quickens my breath and lowers my reflexes.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

Those nights I think of U, where U is the variable for all those pretty eyed boys that I gave my heart to. I close my eyes and focus on U until I can recreate the exact smell that hung between us that summer. Other times I stare into the dark abyss and try to recreate faces too. I then sigh.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

I try to focus on one thing, failing to focus on any. My cluttered head spills out thoughts on my pillow, staining it with all shades of blue. I feel insecurity dripping down my back like one long thread of sweat. I toss, turn, and wallow in nostalgia. I longingly look at my ceiling, hoping to see stars, thinking of all the bridges that I have burnt.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

Some have said that I should try and fight it — that if I try hard enough, I will be able to defeat it. On most nights, however, I let it tease me. I invite it for midnight tea and offer it cookies. I let it consume me and break me apart in the desperate hope of feeling something, anything. I use it to escape the numbness in my soul.

//On some nights, anxiety banters with me.//

On those nights, I banter with anxiety.

3 A.M.

The clock ticks loudly,

the window is dark;

and all noon chaos,

has ceased to bark.

Rolling, tossing, turning,

I sigh at my ceiling;

already counted sheep,

now deciphering feelings.

The fireflies are fearless,

all nocturnals awake;

the moon keeps shining,

for autumn’s sake.

Some dreamily snoring,

others drowned in love;

all these loud thoughts,

angels guard from above.

Inevitably, I am too a part,

of this magical possibility;

hoping, waiting, for miracles,

to transcend my reality.

A Woman’s Sexuality

A woman should discover womanhood through her dazzling sexuality —

she should feel power and strength in the phenomenal woman that she is.

Her sexuality and self-awareness must empower her;

a woman should be self-aware of her womanhood.

However, in my world,

a woman is made aware of her womanhood.

Right from her birth, until her death,

with every step, and every breath,

she is time and again reminded of her womanhood.

Her sexuality is condemned,
her liberation is mocked,
her freedom is nabbed.

She is made aware of her womanhood.

When she wants to embrace her desires,
she is reprimanded.
When she submits to the flow of society,
she is subjugated.
Her costumes, manners, and gestures are regulated —

she’s made aware of her womanhood.

They tell her how she is the reason of her troubles;
she must fully dress and slowly whisper.
She must comb her hair and like pink.
And if she’s a feminist,
they tell her it’s a bad thing.

She’s made aware of her womanhood.

She must cook, clean,
and remember her moral duties.
All her life she must strive
to be pretty.

If she gives in, she’s slutty;
if she doesn’t, she’s bitchy.
If she shaves, she’s a wannabe.
If she doesn’t, she’s a rebel.

She’s made aware of her womanhood.

Oh, only if these morons knew that
containing a fire doesn’t end it;
it’s fire, it’ll spread.
You can douse it,
but never kill it.

And if you play too much with it,
it burns down everything
that comes in its way.