Language eludes me.

For a little over a year now, I’ve been sensing a gradual deterioration in my lingual proficiency.

I’d forget words; forget how to structure a sentence. I began to speak in disjointed phrases, and would often falter and stutter halfway through.

Needless to say, this has been very alarming for me. After all, without words, what am I?

— — —

I like to imagine that my language slips are a result of living with depression for over a decade, reasoning that to be articulate requires a grounded self.

And living as a depressed migrant queer black woman is like standing on quicksand.

— — –

I don’t fear living in the closet; I fear that the closet will become my pulpit

How should I react when a fellow Arab uses the n-word in my presence?

That’s a question that I unfortunately have to grapple with more often than I would like (which is never).

My impulse is to scream profanities, to react in outrage, to unleash the pent up anger and hurt from years of racist encounters. But more often than not, I choose to resort to silence. Beyond the trepidation that comes with having to explain histories of marginalisation and oppression and the anxiety of having experiences delegitimised and written off, I hesitate because explaining why it’s a slur requires…

Kaw Thar

woman off-colour; person of culture

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