By Shirin Choudhary:
For the launch of the KYBKYR 2.0 campaign, Shirin Choudhary, a 2016 TYPF Fellow, performed spoken word poetry on her experiences in the Know Your Body, Know Your Rights programme. The poem speaks for itself – so without further ado:
My mother and I speak a language that is shy.
We watch movies together
And wriggle uncomfortably in our seats
When there is a kissing scene.
Avoiding eye contact like we might contract a bug
If we acknowledged the feeling in our tummies.
My mother and I
Don’t talk about boys.
We have learnt how to talk around boys:
We talk about the troubles they cause when they are around
But not the flowers that bloom when we like one.
The first time I told my mother I was doing sex education with kids
She looked at me like I was one of the boys on TV:
Part disbelief, part discomfort,
And mostly as if she would contract a bug
If we acknowledged that I knew what sex was.
That may have been the first time we even said the word in our house.
My mother and I don’t talk about boys.
Sometimes, I want to tell her that
The workshops are the only place
I stretch out like a morning yawn
And allow myself the space to talk about sex.
When a young girl asks me if I have ever done it,
We both giggle. There is no silence here,
No awkward wriggling in our seats,
Only proud acknowledgement of our bodies and our desires.
I want to tell mother that
Sometimes I wish we could stretch out like that:
Like ocean on a beach, claiming ownership,
Like a dream of endless kisses and pleasure.
I want to talk to my mother about sex,
I want to tell her that my friends and I
Write poems about it and read to each other
On quiet monsoon nights.
I want to tell her that desire wells up in my body
And breaks out like a lazy morning yawn.
I want to tell her that in my workshops we speak
A language that is shy. A language that is full of questions
And ideas and desire. A language that acknowledges
That it feels good to feel good.
My mother and I don’t talk about boys. We don’t talk about girls either.
If I want to come out as ‘bi’, first I have to come out as ‘sexual’.
If I want to talk about desire, first I have to talk about having a body.
If I want to talk about love, first I have to talk about
Someday, I want my mother to see me what I do best:
Sprawl out like a bold valley in full bloom
Valley of pleasure and love
Space for a desire that is usually wrapped in silence:
A space for you, me
And maybe my mother to
Talk about sex.
The YP Foundation’s KYBKYR (2.0) campaign is a continuation of the Know Your Body, Know Your Rights campaign that we ran in 2010–2011. KYBKYR 2.o focuses on increasing awareness on the need for young people to have access to SRHR information that is fact-checked, evidence based, and sex-positive. The campaign provides resources that assist young people to advocate for access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) with the decision-makers and authority figures in their lives, including family members, teachers, and administrators in educational institutions. The campaign also reaches out to these individuals directly to support young people’s demand for access to CSE.
This poem was originally published on www.theypfoundation.org.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.