June 12, 2022

This year, was I competent? Did I referee my whims or elaborate on them? Did I express gratitude? Feel the potency of night?


Too Much and Not the Mood
By Durga Chew-Bose

"What new habits did I develop to cut myself off from the world? When will I learn that those habits are, it's possible, delimiting me from innocuous connections. Someone to sit next to on a couch too small, flipping the pages of a book too big, where the pages graze my sweater's stomach, and I can't pin why, but the whole small-big ratio of pages grazing my sweater creates an impression of secrecy.
Someone to wish well before his trip to Tokyo; to call when I can't sleep. To share a bowl of blanched almonds with, sitting on stools—small again too—that force my knees to bend at right angles, which feels somehow athletic. Which is, by nature, suggestive. 
Someone to provoke me; to watch Game 7 with; to accompany to a gallery where I don't care for the art , but oh, how I love being in the vicinity of someone I confide in daily, whose posture is indistinguishable, even under the lumpy mass of her winter coat, her scarf, the infantilizing fit of her boots. When will I learn? Nobody knows you're thinking of him, of her, of our walk along the Thames, eight years ago I think it was, after seeing Peter Doig's white canoe at the Tate, unless you call or write and say so."
(p. 76)

"This year, was I competent? Did I referee my whims or elaborate on them? Did I express gratitude? Feel the potency of night? Accept an offer to stay over without reciting the many excuses I use to screen my doubts?"
(pp. 76-7)

oof so much to relate to & unpack here.
"I was, back then, a decade or so away from clocking my brownness, from taking notice of its veiled prominence in my life. I wasn't so much blind to it, but uninvolved in it. Emotionless about it. I was a brown daughter too inclined by whiteness to appreciate that being a daughter extends beyond the home. That it's a furtherance. That my parents were handsome, strong, willing. Adaptable. Selfless. Brilliant. Beautiful. I was too busy troubling myself with what I thought was pretty.
So I cloistered my brownness. I wasn't yet ready to scrutinize my weird, even toxic, relationship to the exclusionary appeal of these older white girls. To their ubiquity. To their immunity. I was coaxed by my stewed and crummy and, invisible to me, feeling of inferiority. In turn, I praised these girls for the faintest reasons."
(pp. 102-3)

"I am sick for those years when I was paying attention without purpose. When I was arranging stories free of import, and when my imagination could draw courage instead of warrant that I stay in."
(p. 122)

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