Colonial State of Mind
(Part 2 The Departure)
I took a deep breath when I arrived in Windsor and it made my lung hurt because my lungs were not used to such clean untouched unspoken unwounded air. And look here please directly at the covers of my skin: I am not white. I start off all my stories with this statement because this is the most defining aspect of me it is why I cry to allah when my mind mumbles and rumbles for dirty things it is why I still can’t eat pork without my stomach revolting and punishing me with immaculate peristalsis it is why I still get sad when I think about the sun shining off ma’s hennaed hair it is why I can’t hold back my tongue when they laugh and hiss and scream and tell me that I am wrong because listen here fuckers: I am not white and don’t you dare think I am ashamed of that.
They say that the concept of race never existed until the whiteman ventured out of whiteman’s land (he had gotten tired of looting and uprooting his own people) and when he saw the beautifully rooted people that inhabited this new clean world he needed a reason to massacre them and burn their pureness down. So he invented reds and yellows and blacks and browns and greens and blues and he mixed together all the primary colours of the rainbow so that he could label these others as others and because they were others and because these others were not his colour he didn’t feel quite as bad when he spread blankets of disease and death and shit over their once pure lands and is it any wonder that there is not purity left in the world?
The whiteman didn’t feel bad about ripping apart an entire people because the whiteman lacked the fundamental concept that every other people in the world seemed to have taken as an innate characteristic of human nature: broad-minded and well-rounded morality. The key to this catastrophe was that the whiteman was under the impression that his very narrow self-limiting concept of morality was somehow more truthly than the other moralities that existed in opposition. With this self-limiting and graciously self-defined concept of morality you can bomb entire cities and still get a good night’s rest because you are safe in the knowledge that your white jesus is better than my brown mohammad.
Even worse: the whiteman’s brand of designer-drug morality dispersed and metastasized over the oceans of the world like an aggressive carcinoma of destruction until even dark babies still in the womb sighed because of the battles they would face when they encountered the hideous vibrations that were sinisterly spread by this massive lack of awareness.
Look: I am not bitter but sometimes I can’t help feeling that maybe in the corner of the back of mind that maybe if the whiteman had just stayed and fucked up the land that he was allotted-with his gunpowder and greed, and grotesque lack of guilt-than maybe just maybe the world wouldn’t have been fucked up to such a massive degree.
I was once ischemic with thoughts that made me feel that the world was watching every blink and twitch that ran through me. In the hospital that brought me to my knees there was a man that lay in bed and spoke in little strings of words and he would stare off into space all day because his brain had burst open and made him unable to have full ownership rights of the left side of his body and look here: this man was white but I still felt like crying for him because even his whiteness hadn’t protected him from the disasters brewing within his own body. And even when I was sad I looked into his eyes as I tried to realign the spasm-rippling muscles and waves in his body and I tried to tell him that I knew that I got it that I understood but of course I didn’t because thank allah none of the vessels in my brain have burst open yet and I can’t stop thinking about it happening and that’s why I can’t fall asleep these days.
But that was three months ago and this is part two and I am still a terrorist for terrorizing my innards with terrible thoughts of the terrors that I can commit to myself in the name of assimilation.
That was back when I had still had deluded the neurons in my mind into thinking that we could for once undertake a task and finish it without disenchanted awareness and in the end I could not do it. I could not realign my personality and morality to their rules and policies and ancient archaic systematically inherently flawed OBJECTIVES and now I am back in the southeastest part of Canada which is just another metaphor for my state of spirits but also it is the present location of my current reality.
They wanted me to memorize their holey unwhole point of view of a narrow vision of a generally skewed demographic but I could not get mos def’s scripture out of my head. Yasiin’s gospel had been wired too deeply in my frontal cortex and in the end I spit in their face and took the train back home and the farther I got away from the whitest university in all of Canada the freer my thoughts felt (they were still restricted because many of the same functional variables remained: parents, religion, culture, personality, genetic predispositions, and overall self-inflicted brutality) but at least the most sinister and most foreign...the most whitest shall we say and the most evilest aspect had been cauterized. And listen my friends: it was the greatest failure of my life up to present reality dateness (this is the English translation of an urdu feeling) but I can breathe more easily now and I no longer feel like an oil-slicked imposter in my own scarred skin. I can look myself in the eyes for up three minutes in the bathroom mirror now and I don’t even need to be stoned to make it through the day.
I have finally figured out that all their promises of economic security and languid capitalistic propriety are not enough to make me forget myself and maybe maybe maybe there is another brown soul/body with a furrowed brow and painted skin and a soggy drug drenched mind and to them I say: listen to me brothers/sisters because their killing fields are still stenched and drenched with blood and their hands are still are dripping with fake reparations and sometimes you can’t help but feel that something is horribly incorrigibly wrong and just because they’re blind to their own blindness does not make your vision any less clear and don’t you ever let any wrinkled economically secure and academically enriched reality rejecting whiteman) tell you otherwise.
Am I making you uncomfortable? Please take three minutes to pinpoint the root of this discord: there may be neuronal pathways in your brain that you have been ignoring for too long.
I won’t apologize for this anger. My departure was steeped deep with anger and rage was present in the whole train ride back and I wrote three different stories while passing through perth-cobourg-toronto-smithfalls-london-chatham and ripped them all at the station in Windsor while I waited for my father to pick me up.
But those stories don’t matter because they were all a distraction and they did not have the undercurrent of that truthness that make words covalently organically and undeniably bond together into meaning and reason and sometimes truthfilled words can become charged without intent and commit treason and reveal the writer’s hidden sentimentations and this is why I write. I write for that electric burst of clarity shorter that the speed of light that illuminates all my white and grey matter (but mostly the brown) when I finish transcribing the oscillating reverberating renditions stuck in my head.
But their very first mistake was that they tried to put a price on my soul and they tried to tell me that keeping my head externally fixated downwards at all times was better for the overall structure of my wellbeing and even though my physical outside could have maybe somehow survived their flowering towering labyrinth of lies…my soul will never be for sale, fuckers.
But I am not a fool: I know that to survive in the present state of matters I have to play it from their side and show them my teeth in gritting spitting smiles and clap for their achievements with a gun to my back but I would rather accomplish this through calculated resistance than conscious submissiveness. I would rather wield my stethoscope with independence and burn through their social hurdles with eyes wide open mind clear and present heart-beat irregular but decadent than accept a stethoscope riddled with unspoken hypocrisy and attached to the chain of the bodies and souls below me that I had to crush in order to survive in “their way” (that-white-oldmoneyhoney-up–at-the-top-fuck-the-suckers-at-the-bottom way). That slow and long body/soul crushing climb to the top of a rotten mountain of sweltering bloodfilled (khooni) success is their tactic rooted in the vile laws they entrenched on a planet that we all helped decimate/eliminate/violate and I will consciously not take part in this ideology (though I may still have to commit a few more horrific acts of capitalistic violence I console myself with the promise that I will be aware of their horrificness and I will be cognisant of my crimes and this shall absolve my soul of at least three minutes worth of guilt from my bathroom mirror).
There are some laws of the universe that can’t be eroded but the laws of how people collide are fluid and always-changing and there was a girl I once knew at the place I departed from that had masala under her fingernails and thai curry curling in her curls and she told me about the incans and the mayans and the spaniards and the winding sliding gliding massacres of the southernmost americas throughout the centuries and I told her about all the disappeared/broken/unwoken women during the india-pakistan partition and we bonded/fucked/dissolved/finally broke apart in a shatter of dismal unbalanced biomolecules over our shared need for acknowledging the miseries of the past while being immersed in the weight of the future (as we suffocated in the present). At the time I thought it was all very poetic in the most narcissistic of terms and now I feel like laugh/crying when I think about the ease with which biomolecules can annihilate the bonds they create. And somewhere back in that white pinnacle of pornographically ignorant academic elitism there is a girl with masala laced eyelashes and rows of books by bell hooks and I hope the chemicals in her brain are treating her all right.
Back to the present: now some days I wake up feeling wounded with all the words I could have unfurled in the moments where their weight would have lifted me off the ground and some days I can’t breathe from the feeling of frightening rightness reverberating through the rivers and routes of the right side of my mind here in the most southernly stubborn summerland of southeasterly canada.
And inshallah to me my brothers in the east and mashalla to my sisters in the west because ma says all allah does is necessary for soul. And shhh please: sometimes I can almost trick myself into believing that (if only for 3 minutes).
Madiha Khan is a university student in Windsor, Canada. She loves bikes, books, and bell hooks. Her work has previously appeared in Literary Orphans, BlazeVox, Bombay Literary Magazine, and Corium Magazine. Contact:firstname.lastname@example.org