If you want me to beg you for your attention and your time, I will certainly disappoint. The intentions purposefully due to be exposed here are entirely self-indulgent expressions of my personal sentiments, discoveries, and interests.
I aim to impress no one, rather to cultivate the creativity and ever-expanding awareness I feel brimming amongst the in-between spaces I keep quiet. I step outside my comfort zone, having learned as I face my fear, I accomplish my most impressive moments of growth.
I struggle with beginnings. It has never been my natural talent to find joy in the first days of a task or the thrill of a blank page. Daunting is how I would describe my initial feelings when faced with starting anything from scratch besides what happens from behind the kitchen cupboards. As such, breaking the mold and writing an introduction about myself seems less important, not to mention less enjoyable, as tossing aside conventional structure and offering up something much more mentally stimulating. I offer in its place a bold, magnetic poem by Kamala Das.
An Introduction I don't know politics but I know the names Of those in power, and can repeat them like Days of week, or names of months, beginning with Nehru. I amIndian, very brown, born inMalabar, I speak three languages, write in Two, dream in one. Don't write in English, they said, English is Not your mother-tongue. Why not leave Me alone, critics, friends, visiting cousins, Every one of you? Why not let me speak in Any language I like? The language I speak, Becomes mine, its distortions, its queernesses All mine, mine alone. It is half English, halfIndian, funny perhaps, but it is honest, It is as human as I am human, don't You see? It voices my joys, my longings, my Hopes, and it is useful to me as cawing Is to crows or roaring to the lions, it Is human speech, the speech of the mind that is Here and not there, a mind that sees and hears and Is aware. Not the deaf, blind speech Of trees in storm or of monsoon clouds or of rain or the Incoherent mutterings of the blazing Funeral pyre. I was child, and later they Told me I grew, for I became tall, my limbs Swelled and one or two places sprouted hair. WhenI asked for love, not knowing what else to ask For, he drew a youth of sixteen into the Bedroom and closed the door, He did not beat me But my sad woman-body felt so beaten. The weight of my breasts and womb crushed me. I shrank Pitifully. Then … I wore a shirt and my Brother's trousers, cut my hair short and ignored My womanliness. Dress in sarees, be girl Be wife, they said. Be embroiderer, be cook, Be a quarreller with servants. Fit in. Oh, Belong, cried the categorizers. Don't sit On walls or peep in through our lace-draped windows. Be Amy, or be Kamala. Or, better Still, be Madhavikutty. It is time to Choose a name, a role. Don't play pretending games. Don't play at schizophrenia or be a Nympho. Don't cry embarrassingly loud when Jilted in love … I met a man, loved him. Call Him not by any name, he is every man Who wants. a woman, just as I am every Woman who seeks love. In him . . . the hungry haste Of rivers, in me . . . the oceans' tireless Waiting. Who are you, I ask each and everyone, The answer is, it is I. Anywhere and, Everywhere, I see the one who calls himself I In this world, he is tightly packed like the Sword in its sheath. It is I who drink lonely Drinks at twelve, midnight, in hotels of strange towns, It is I who laugh, it is I who make love And then, feel shame, it is I who lie dying With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner, I am saint. I am the beloved and the Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I. Kamala Das