I'm tired of not being seen. Of having to choose to dodge or to push. Of having to subserviate myself to people who don't even acknowledge my existence. Of having to make the conscious decision to hold space— space that I am repeatedly promised, but only in theory, never in practice. I'm tired of the reaction when we collide, bitterness that I didn't yield to begin with and confusion in the internalised expectation.
I'm tired of not being viewed. Of having to choose to be seen for my gender or for my race. Of having to accommodate to Westernised standards of beauty and of being defined on binaries that never counted me as a one but as a zero. I'm tired of being seen only in parts, and never in whole. A supporting actor, always.
I'm tired of not being heard. Of having to assert my voice to take space at work and at the bar, just to hear my words float in limbo rarely processed, rarely heard. Or in a rare instance when it is heard, it is repackaged in a larger box, with more packaging with someone else's name on it. That palatable, approachable box delivers.
I'm tired of not being felt.
Of having to defend the truth my lived experiences with data and screenshots and typed out summaries of paragraphs from those who came before me who survived similar things. Just to have it all invalidated as hyperbole or as outrage. I'm met with the requirement to listen to the intents and the meanings and the intents and meanings and intents and the meanings without ever being asked just once—what kind of impact that it might have had on me.
I'm tired of not being valued.
Of having to repeatedly prove my worth in an industry that never conceived that I would be allowed to sit at the table. I'm tired of being told that the right person will come along; that the loneliness of being single will pass from people who will return home to the comfort of their significant others. I'm tired of being told that the right company will finally see my worth and will hire me, if I just hold out, from people who can expect their paycheck on Friday from their steady jobs.
I'm tired of not being believed.
Of having to reexplain how racism requires prejudice and power, how the microaggressions hurt differently but no less, and how yes, you, my beloved friend, were and are and continue to be capable of the most racist words and actions. And how your complicit silence hurts more than explicit slurs.
I'm tired of not being trusted.
Of having to hear how I should or should not be feeling from people who are supposed to love me unconditionally. Of having to hear how my brown thoughts are overreactions or misconceptions in their white world. Of having to hold space for feelings as so many of us face an imminent fear of death.
Most of all.
I'm tired of living in a world of buts and ors.
In a world where you win, or I win. In a world where I have to crawl on the backs of people who look like me; people who are struggling in the same and in different ways. Because my existence doesn't work that way. I exist in a world of ands and withs, being multitudes and holding opinions that seem like contradictions where more than one truth can exist—it is a world of abundance, of not only resources, but of perspectives and of truths.
I'm tired of the balance.
Of not giving up on everyone while repeatedly being beat down by disappointment. Of being cautiously optimistic as I am seared into pessimism. Of seeking love and happiness in a world that returns me so much hate and sadness.
I'm tired of asking:
How do I survive in this world of mutual exclusion when what nourishes me—what might provide me a momentary meditative rest— is mutual inclusion?