The Men’s Washroom

Trigger warning: This poem contains mention of sexual harassment, which could be triggering for survivors.

I have lived through the chapters of my own
death where I have run towards places just to
survive. Things that make home in your body,
always tries to make you dissolve in it.
My trauma with my childhood, and as a teenager
has always made me question the importance
of acceptance. As a child, when my finger tips ran
through the knife, I learnt life isn’t a god gifted
concept, it’s you and your own mind that
gives the gift to live every time death crosses your mind.

As a teenager, going to a washroom full of men
always made me scared to even gasp a breath
because I never wanted to grab their
attention. The culture around the bond
a group of men form is always a way to disregard
each other somewhere. I remember how
I was made to pull down my pants out of fun and seeing
my waist, made it terrible there. My loneliness
grew when I heard words that Ma never made me
aware of. Ma always told me there are bad people,
but she never said why there are bad people because
I don’t think we deserve that. While stepping in
the washroom, my veins used to crumble in an
ache that I would be bullied, I would be slashed
with homophobia and shaming bodies stitched
by the mothers of unwoven patriarchy.

Women bring life to earth, and yet when a son is
born, they know why they were being alerted as a child.
Mothers don’t stitch men with hate, men garland themselves
with chains of toxic masculinity in their hands
while disregarding a queer person’s choices.
I remember when my teacher told me to take every bully
as a joke because apparently a queer person
being disregarded was just how this society shaped
it’s intolerance towards acceptance.
Today when I hear stories from queer men, their heart stops
with the chapter of men’s washroom because every
queer body is stripped inside there, to make them proof
our bodies are the same, yet untouched from love.

Every memory, builds home and a home is not broken
till you learn to move out of it. I sit here,
remembering every thing because while getting the
knives at the back, I never realised I will have
to let this go and forget a day like it never happened.

But Ma always tells me, forgetting will always make you relive it again.
So before you say goodbye, you have to hurt yourself because you accept that you never deserved that hate.

Men’s washrooms have echoes and cries of queer men who slashed knives in them.

How do I forgive everything and move on when no one heard when I cried alone in that washroom?

Harshit, plucking traumas from the cactus.

Harshit Jalan is a 22-year-old Journalism student, writing poems and articles on queerness and social issues. His genre runs around Queer representation and feminism.

Featured image: Help Stay / Unsplash