We Don't Talk About Boys in Our Home - 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

Myself. 

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.