Who I am and what I want

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

February 2nd, 2011 • Living with Chronic PainPrint Print

Feeling a little bit lost and confused. Or maybe a lot. Why am I writing. Who am I writing for. Writing to make money. Writing to get a following, which in turn will lead to making money. Writing to get approval. Writing for me? I piss people off. I piss off people who will tell me I am deliberately trying to piss them off. That I’m trying to distinguish myself by pissing them off.

I became a writer because it was that or suicide, given the insanity of the world. I became a writer because I figured if I continued being as “out there” as I was, I damn well better have a platform and power and a following, or they’d come for me with a straight jacket.

What can I say, what can’t I? According to whom?

I wish I didn’t have to make money. I wish all the resources available for healing were accessible to me without having to balance making money and engaging in the part or full time job of healing.

What have I done with my life, what do I want to do with it. What would I have done with it if not for all this pain. Youth gone. 20s, 30s, spent in pain. Bedridden, wheelchair bound, house bound. Not being able to trust my body. Not being able to risk.

My mother asked me, when I initiated this discussion with her, when I felt most alive in my life. It was when I was hitting men. It was when I was going where I wanted, when I wanted. It was when I was walking on the beach at 5 am, and a man came walking down with his dick hanging out, and I blocked his path and forced him to put it back inside his pants.

It was when I rode my bike through the forest when the world was asleep. I told someone about that the other day – a man. He said it was probably safer than the river near where I live. Men always say that. When I do something and get through something without getting tortured or killed, they assume it must not have been that dangerous. Even my friends. Because this is how we are conditioned to think: Women cannot possibly step outside the bounds without getting destroyed. And if they do step outside those bounds and don’t get destroyed, that space they stepped into must not “really” be out of bounds. That man she fought must not “really” have been that dangerous.

What if I am the dangerous one.

My two most precious poems I lost. One I wrote in 1989. I don’t remember most of it, but I do remember the refrain: “I am wearing my bikini, a loaded gun in hand, and if you try to violate my being, I will answer with steel tearing through your guts.”

The other ended with, “because I am the voice in the shadows this time.” As in what the fuck. What the fuck assumptions and privilege do you grant your own damn self to assume that I’m the one to be afraid of you. Perhaps you’re the one to be afraid of me.

Women, why are you so complacent? Why are you not armed to the teeth? Why are you more concerned about your lipstick than your ability to go to the beach alone at midnight?

This society is fucked. And I am bored. And I wish that I didn’t have to deal with all this pain crap. I wish I had the physical prowess I had before my body fell apart, because I used it. I walked around the neighborhood at 3 am.

Oh yeah and when I’d encounter a man, he’d be like, “What are you doing out at this hour?” Ex-fucking-cuse me? Reeking with entitlement. “What are you doing out at this hour?” I’d throw back.

I’ve been feeling dissatisfied, jaded, unsure where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going. I’ve been questioning my direction. I’ve been on such a path, taking what’s come to me and making something out of it. But as brilliant and enjoyable as it may be, or as aspects of it may be, is it what I want to do with my life? What would I want to do with my life if all the negative factors were gone?

I’d want to be fully and vibrantly alive. Seeing the world. Going into nature at night. Taking risks. Running naked through the forest in the rain. Daring. Basically being exactly who I was before. Before the medical system. Before the bullshit doctors and bodyworkers who hurt me again and again and again. Before the Law of Attraction assholes who blamed it all on me again and again and again.

So my priority is dancing and biking and lifting weights. This is my path. This is what I want: to reclaim my body. To reclaim my physical prowess. And to go out into the world, into my life, into the night, grabbing those shining nighttime stars.

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