We want to believe that the creative industry operates within a meritocratic framework because it paints a nice picture of reality. But it also happens to be a lie — a harmful one, because it implies that marginalised members of a given industry are the ones to blame for the lack of opportunities, the double-standards, the misrepresentations, the prejudices they face. That BAME authors aren’t getting the recognition and the same opportunities as white authors because they haven’t earned it is a dangerous misconception.

Moreover, there is a tendency in fiction to confuse diversity with identity. People who aren’t part of a given minority community can, of course, write about marginalised characters all they want, but what we, as an audience, really want is accurate representation.

Continue reading

Absence is our form of normalcy.

The absence of people that are supposed to stay, the absence of warmth that should have been arms, the vacancy of hearts, the unmade conversations falling onto deaf ears. Routines, murmurs, nods. How do we fill the spaces between spaces?

By stashing in whatever we can — with urgency — to occupy, to blind an eye from what is truly missing. To it exists a sad beauty in which no one can quite pinpoint.

We are the shadow of normalcy — mortality, a plague that follows every man. These things wait at every turn, too close, too comfortable, for even our own skins.

Youth is not the problem, neither is experience.

The disturbing thing about normalcy is its ambiguity. We never seem to have the right opinion on it. It is always there that, once removed, the space that should have been becomes a big gawping hole, always drawing the wrong sort of attention. It is almost concrete, carrying its own weight like a living breathing thing, always wanted when it should be feared.

Normalcy is being sad for so long that you confuse it with being okay. It is eternal happiness short-lived. It is feeling better and feeling worse, it is the social metre of your worth (which in no way is equivalent to your actual worth).

The sort of normalcy I fear is a homeless, hopeless, pointless sort; a starvation that makes growing up a many dotted chaos than a straight line, the kind of headiness that disregards societal concept of time, life, beauty, despair and loss.

Because you cannot lose what you never had — cannot know hopelessness when you never tasted hope, cannot bother with time when it never mattered, nor understand the point of it all when you didn’t have one to begin with. And that’s the beauty (as well as the ugly) of life, I think. This isolation; when ‘better’ had always been unimaginable, life is bearable for the less fortunate, makes it worth living, somehow, turns the ugly beautiful; normalcy spinning itself on its head.

So, yes, life is bearable, not too sad, not too lonely, thus pointless for you to feel sorry in our place; I am okay, I am alive, and maybe that isn’t enough for me, but it shouldn’t matter to you.

Hello, my name is Boo, and I plan to save humanity from itself.

During the twenty years of my life, I suffered from four different mental illnesses, was handed from doctors to doctors. My life was littered with hospitals, stalkers, physical assaults, more hospitals, media play, and a couple of suicide attempts.

I used to dance and sing, having been misled to believe that to succeed in life, I’d have to beat my way into the limelight. “You’re a fast learner but you are lagging behind!” they said. “Pathetic. Focus.” That was what life was like for years. And school was (“You psycho!”) just as great…

Reality’s more tragic a story than any greek mythology, and I wish I had known that, that somebody had told me something, but instead what did I get? Disney cartoons and fairy tales with princes in shining armours.

Continue reading