So this is what I was thinking of as I was drifting off last night. On invisibility, if your audience persists in not seeing you, the choice is this: make them see you or leave them alone.
I’ve written about the invisibility of yellow folk in the UK, on how the violence against us is ignored or not taken seriously, and how we are excluded even from the language of talking about racism.
I’ve been thinking about the invisibility of mental illness and for the first time, I’m experiencing how difficult it is to move amongst friends and strangers who do not really take on board the reality of mental illness. Matt Haig’s book, Reasons To Stay Alive had a little but important section on the physical nature of anxiety and depression. It seems so obvious but I feel it acutely in my body. And in this age of hyperbole, “acutely” isn’t an exaggeration. Developing Bryony Kimmings’ cancer musical at the very start, we heard from cancer patients who didn’t receive enough care and sympathy because they didn’t look ill enough.
So. Yellow. Anxious. Depressed.
I don’t look oppressed enough and I don’t look ill enough. And I sure as hell am not going to overplay these things just to get attention, sympathy or action from some general audience – I’ve got my own shit to take care of. But what happens when it makes sense to make the pond I swim in better so that my existence is better?
I totally get the strategy of not integrating. Avoiding those who do not allow space for you. Avoiding those who make your world smaller. Avoiding avoiding avoiding pain.
Tomorrow, The Good Immigrant launches.