i am a nasty woman

i am a brown woman, the daughter of indian immigrants, the granddaughter of a midwife who was born in disputed territory in what is now pakistan and who fled to india as a refugee & new mother in 1947, during the partition of india & pakistan in their independence from british colonization. i grew up & was taught to assimilate in a neighborhood that was 98% white and upper-middle class. i have a responsibility to stand up against islamaphobia with this brown body, to confront anti-black racism & hindu fundamentalism in my desi communities & the majority-white communities i grew up in & live in now.

i am a disabled woman who is less disabled now, after two reconstructive hip surgeries and two total hip replacements, than ever before. i take responsibility for straddling the line, teaching those more privileged than i about folks with disabilities, and supporting & advocating for those who are more disabled than i.

i am a queer woman who is straight-passing. i have a responsibility to stand up for my queer & trans communities, to fight for their health & identities & lives.

i am a reproductive health professional, a clinic escort, a sexual assault counselor, a sexual health & rights educator, a full-spectrum birth & abortion doula. one day i will be a midwife & an abortion provider, like my grandmother & great-grandmothers who have come before me.

this week has been hard. but as my mentors & professors have supported & comforted & reminded me–the work goes on, & we can never stop fighting. this nasty woman will always, always provide care.


on orlando

it is a serious thing
just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in this broken world.
–- mary oliver

four years ago, i was in india again. lying on the floor of my cousin’s apartment. saw headlines about newtown.

yesterday. in india. lying on a mattress in my apartment. headlines about orlando.

again, again, again.

i feel so powerless from here, so surreal & disconnected — but i have felt that way after each & every shooting. as common as they have become. how has this become our reality? struggling with the need to acknowledge and also the need to grieve quietly, in my own way.

i too am a queer brown woman. i too stand with pride & love & grief.

again, again, again.


(many thanks to the mindful midwife for the mary oliver quotation)