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lessons of love
the women in my family taught me how to love women by not loving men no, they are not lesbians or queer or whatever labels you stick onto me, but they refused to succumb emotionally to men
the women in my family are embodiments of radical — they could not get tied to false ideas of hetero romance yes, they spat out the lies fed to them by the afsanay they read, the films they watched, the culture they adsorbed
the women in my family married men for circumstance, not love
and this is not their tragedy but their ferocity
[yes, this is not some sad poem about their oppression but a testament to their battle, to their unwavering courage]
the women in my family have been fighting since they hit puberty, and some even before then, and they do not tire they labor on and on in the kitchens and bazaars and offices by closing their hearts to men even when they can’t close their legs, by rising through hardened mud to build suns for their daughters
my mother has held the entire fucking world on her breasts and she still stands straight always my phuppo learned to make love to god after learning that the man she called husband could only make rape, not love, to her and my nani has had her head filled with clouds since she got married, and yet she never let it rain because the women in my family are like gentle thunder, whose kisses planted unbreakable wings on my back who filled their own voids by loving each other, who taught me to look beyond the heteropatriarchy being drilled into me from all arenas controlled by men
the women in my family taught me the different colors of love, the multiple directions I can get and give love, the million ways of drinking and savoring and holding love so deep inside me and none of these teachings
ever involved men
A version of this poem was originally published on Queer Zenana.
Nayyeema is a Pakistani queer-lesbian feminist who writes about anti-colonial and anti-nationalist politics. She believes strongly in decolonizing mainstream feminist and LGBTQIA movements. She is usually found reading Audre Lorde over and over again. She blogs at https://queerzenana.wordpress.com/