GERMANY WON THE FUCKING WORLD CUP FUCK YASSS | First day back at the studio for a shoot | I went to class with a tiara on and my classmates corrected the professor every time he didn’t add Queen before my name | Three houses burned down on my street | I went to see a musical where I sat there awkwardly not laughing because I didn’t understand the language | Getting high on good ass sativa at my bae’s place.
Through a film of tears pooling in my eyes I appraised the woman in front of me. Hair cut in a way that evoked not much style as convenience. Face touched by not a speck of make up. Sensible steel framed eye glasses that gave her an air of authority. Simple white floral blouse, no accessories. I looked at the woman in front of me, my thesis advisor, a mother of two, former chairperson of a non-government organization specializing in the rights of overseas workers, but more importantly, my favorite professor.The voice in which she spoke quivered with every syllable, ready to break at any moment. What began as a consultation for my thesis in sex trafficking became her telling us stories of the things she had witnessed in Sabah while on duty for her foundation. Men working in slave-like conditions, forced into backbreaking work then locked up at the end of the day in warehouses like storage boxes preparing to be shipped. But the men, they weren’t going anywhere. Neither the next day, nor the next. Women, and that’s stretching their age as far as it would go, dancing around poles wearing as much as they’re paid- next to nothing- with a hollow look in their eyes and a weakness in their shoulders. Yet she tells us, she tells us these people don’t want to leave. She tells us, this man who is worked until his fingers are blistered, this girl who is molested and raped and abused and who knows what else, don’t want to return home. She tells us, because they say that this hell, ‘this hell is better than the hell back home’.. where they have no jobs, no prospects, no nothing. And as her voice finally broke as did the barrier that was holding back my tears, those words rang in my ears with the persistence of Christmas bells on December 25 when I don’t even celebrate that holiday.
this hell is better than the hell back home.
This is actually pretty hot.
I think back to all the times where I had made myself proud. Or more importantly, my mother proud. When my fingers used to move on their own accord across ivory piano keys, with my eyes closed in blissful concentration. When they filled in the blanks and circles in tests and were met with a red check next to them. When they thumbed through books deemed too advance for my age and ended on the last page with my head swimming with questions I wanted the answer to. When my feet landed in plies, on their tiptoes, on a 90 degree angle extended in front of me with the other foot 90 degrees facing the other direction behind me and my hands forming a gentle oval above my head. When they kicked with all their might against water filling a huge rectangular depression in the earth, my body half exposed to strangers in the same attire, dripped wet with red marks around their eyes where their goggles formed vaccuums. I remember all this with a nostalgic fondness, for the little girl so full of promise that lay dead within my very self. And I turned to tell my friend, “Sometimes I ask my mother, remember when my life was going somewhere?” and my friend tells me reassuringly, “but it is going somewhere.”
and sadly, I reply, more to myself than her, “But not in the direction I want it to go.”
Some days are so grey I cannot discern my melancholy with the color of the pallid sky. My very being blends into the monochrome heavens, and I feel at one with its lack of color, or sunshine, or a contour of a cloud. I dissolve into the crisp white sheets of the place where I sleep, fading into its spotlessness, until I, myself, am gone. And through my eyes, all I see is the black of my hair, the white of my emptiness, the lack of color in the sky, my sheets, and my life.
I wonder if you think you’re strong
For causing bruises to erupt on my flesh
With your tightened fists and the back of your hand
Painting a nebula on a pale abyss
I wonder if you think I’m weak
For not fighting back or breaking free
You’ve broken my bones and cut open my skin
But that isn’t enough to break me.
Haven’t written one of these in months
If there’s one thing I wish I could tell those girls, it’s that those men kidnapped them not because of some anti-western agenda. Those men kidnapped them because they’re afraid of what a girl with an education is capable of.