I’m proud to have co-written the following with Katucha Bento:
I love writing with people – it’s the back and forth, the call and response, building across different knowledges and lived experiences; it always creates something beautiful, exciting and different. And this feels like the most poetic piece that I’ve worked on. It was so nourishing to have this opportunity to send and receive voice notes with Katucha; and immensely satisfying to weave those threads into a (short) piece about our struggles to imagine care while also navigating the intimacy of structural racism.
In this piece, I’m trying to return to the parts of academia that bring me joy, while also working through the knowledge that the cancer is no longer responsive to treatment. I name some of the structural carelessness that I experienced within Feminist Review; but really, both Katucha and I are interested in naming the layers of heartache we’ve experienced without letting that heaviness overshadow our being.
This will also be the last post I make on my personal website, to make way for this new stage of my life.
While I can still be contacted for speaking and writing engagements, I’m going to be working at a rhythm that suits my body, rather than trying to keep up with a world that has proven to be unsustainable time and time again. I am also refusing all bad faith conversations about the function of anti-blackness and white supremacy (i.e. evidencing the violence we have to experience… for who? For why?)
There is a particularly perverse fascination with “seeing” and “exposing” the violences that people experience, with little focus on actually tending to those wounds once they’ve been exposed. Whether we’re talking about the consequences of broken and non-existent healthcare systems globally; the (past and present) graveyards across bodies of water, as our people have attempted to escape inhumane conditions; the terrorizing of queer and trans siblings who want space to live, space to be; the climate disasters ripping families and worlds apart; the military, prison and detention industries that enable the mass-scale disappearing of so many people… All of these instances of horrific violence become known through how our bodies become brutalised: there is little interest in providing ease and comfort to those forced to experience this brutalisation. And I want to reject this dynamic with everything that I have.
Part of this is coming about as I’ve realised that I’m working through an immense amount of anger: anger at every single time I was told that it was unrealistic/naïve to expect things to change now, anger that this condemns me and so many people to die while waiting for things to get better. And I’ve also seen how – once the words “cancer” and “death” are uttered – the space to tend to my own pains is further minimised. Instead, my personal space is inundated with claims of “well wishes” or “care”, even and especially from the same people who could look away from the brutalities that produce these experiences in the first place.
And honestly, there’s still a lot of grief and frustration about letting go of the life that I haven’t lived, the career that I haven’t seen. I have to work around so much illness, feeling my experiences within academia informed by a near constant absence. But as I’ve said before, the truest thing I could ever say about myself, is that I desperately want to live. So I’m going to work at that here and now. I’m going to build space for us to live. I’m figuring out how to live my life fully with all the heart and soul that I have, with a community who are ready to imagine and embody liberation. And that includes letting go of the type of writing I should be doing, or the type of opportunities I should be looking for next: our being is so much more than our labour.
In this moment, I want to focus on believing fully and unrepentantly in me. I believe I can make my presence bigger than anything I’ve felt before, something rooted in honouring my own embodied home.
So let’s go.
Please note: While I hope these words resonate, I am still processing this stage of my life with my closest loved ones. As part of respecting my boundaries, please do not get in touch (unless I have explicitly reached out).