For my island Desis, exiled from the ocean for years, chasing foam wings in our dreams and awakening with the memory of feet sinking into sand.
I’m a 23 year old Sinhalese woman in Minnesota by way of Dubai by way of Sri Lanka. I am a Womanist, and part of my womanism is figuring out how to be in solidarity with my transnational sisters worldwide. I’m a daughter, a sister, a partner and a writer. I’m a brown girl who knows Shakespeare by heart and devours anything Toni Morrison. I believe in radical, revolutionary living and loving. I blog at Irresistible Revolution.
“There is an unexploded land mine heart in us
under every breast chest
waiting for breath
tears a moan
to crack the land open
and let the stories come walking
out of the scar”
-Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha “landmine heart”
For the Desis who haven’t seen our parents, best friends, brothers, sisters, cousins in too long, counting the days weeks months pennies years
For my Desis who know what missing a country, a land, a soil, a people with every drop of blood in our veins, feels like
For Hindu Desis who must watch the ancient rites of Yoga packaged and sold and gobbled up
For Muslim Desis walking courageously through the warzone where racism and Islamophobia intersect.
For Desis who watched the celebration of Bin Laden’s death and asked ourselves: now will the stamp of criminality be removed from our passports, our skin, our people, already knowing the answer
For Desis who drape our saris and salwars over the secrets of our bodies: the abortions, the secret birth control, the unwanted touching by a respected uncle
For Desis who know, that one phone-call to their parents by a malicious ex-lover could mean the funding pulled, college dreams crushed, but who are brave enough to own the rights of our bodies and make love anyway
For Desis who are afraid to tell of the rape, the abuse, the violence, because the ‘community’ is deemed more important than our bodily integrity
For Desis whose eyelids burn at the racist criticisms of that community, because goddamit it’s our community and WE will be the ones to change it
For Desis who love interracially, wondering why everyone is so bent on binary worlds when we have always lived in multiplicity
For queer Desis, daring to be both, a contradiction to so many oppressive definitions
For the Desis who said fuck it and chose motherhood, brown mamas raising brown babies in a world that despises both
For Desis who must listen to US-ians say ‘oh, international students are all rich’, and picture our parents’ drained life-savings, written away in check after unfaltering check to the colleges where international students are always the scapegoats
For my dark-skinned Desis, marginalized in our own communities
For my light-skinned Desis, ‘admired’ as objects and trophies, silenced as whores and sluts
For every Desi who ever read Shakespeare and wrote poetry, despite a world that tries to tell us we have no place in Literature
For my Desi nerds, proud of our nerdiness, despite the fun-poking from fellow Desis and the racism of fandoms
For my Desis serving sandwiches to their peers, impatient white college students that make faces when we speak our language, and wondering: as you grab your pulled pork sandwich, have you ever thought about food exile, about wanting to taste your mother’s food so much it hurts when you breathe?
For my Desis whipping up chapati and curry in cramped college apartments, sharing the taste of home with others
For all Desis, everywhere, defying boundaries, rewriting histories, re-imagining communities, fighting the good fight and making tortilla-chapati hybrids, loving our zari-thread saris and our bicycles too, rubbing coconut oil in our long hair and piercing our belly buttons: we were always more than what they could imagine, our lives are chimera flowers flourishing wherever planted.
For my Desis everywhere, I love you.