I write for freedoms sake. I write to fully embrace my freedom of expression to freely express the anguish of the closet and the trauma of homophobia, on behalf of myself, my beloved father, and all others like him who were blocked from such freedom. I write because every human being is in theory entitled to freedom of expression, and yet the queer community so often is prohibited from this basic human right. I write to break the shackles, seize my rights, and use them to speak out about my experiences of oppression, as well as the experiences of people I love whose existential need for freedom has been assaulted. I write because it is my right.
I write to retain sanity. I write because I would frankly go insane if I did not, if I kept all these thoughts and feelings and realities bottled up forever, as I did for 25 years. I write because the closet – my father’s, my own – was a brutal force of censorship to be reckoned with. It silenced me, forced me to keep my emotions shut-in, and to live in a secret world of my own for too long. That silent, wordless world felt annihilating (I can only imagine what it felt like for Dad). The closet was a fog that kept me adrift in comfortable numbness. Because I could not express my feelings, perhaps I tried to kill them. So I write because for me, the silence of the closet was deadly, and writing about it has been life-affirming.
I write to create community. Because when you aren’t allowed to express your truths, and can only experience them inside a secret, wordless world, you start to feel like an alien. When you don’t know that others like you exist in the world, that there are others out there who are gay, or other daughters with closeted gay fathers, for instance, the alienation can become so profound that you begin to question if you’re even really human. You literally start to feel like an alien from another planet, which is a sad and lonely day-to-day experience. I write because by sharing my story, and connecting with others who have stories similar to mine, I am reminded that I am indeed part of the human species. I am reminded that I belong.
I write because I love. I love my father, I love myself, I love the human beings around me who sparkle so beautifully and brightly in their truths, yet whose truths have been forced into shadows by a wounded society that struggles to love. It has taken me a long time to relinquish the internalized homophobia that I absorbed from this sick society, and to transform my shame into love. I write to express pride, adoration, tenderness, kindness, compassion, affection, and loyalty. I write because writing is an act of loving resistance in an oppressive world burdened by hate. And so, even when I feel afraid to write, when the closet’s promise of safety evokes a desire to just continue to keep my mouth shut and remain silent again and again, love gives me the courage to speak. Love is the very reason I am writing this piece for you, for me, for us. I write because I love. – Nisha
Read all of our posts for the month of February on the topic writing here.