The Final Judgement

Jean Leon Gerome Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind 1896
Truth Coming Out of Her Well” by Jean-Léon Gérôme

everything the female body is, wants to be, and cannot be /
/ everything the female body is not, despises to be, and does not have to be

I stretch like the salty Ocean where fishes swim without a care in the world, leap over the Mountains where the horizons of purple hues and dusty earth are connected and the sheep graze in their indolent manoeuvre. I have ripples etched on me that they call / CELLULITE / I bleed once a month, but for some reason, I am not glorified like a warrior, I do not resemble the war hero who has saved countless lives. Instead, I am muzzled like a petrified child who will wreck calamity over a civilization. I am hauled around with the secrecy of a clandestine affair, or perhaps concealed out of sight like opium and morphine; despite being the hero, I can never quite become heroic.

It is not that I have not made sacrifices, or that I have not allowed myself to be lacerated again and again. It is not that I insist on anonymity, to become a lost traveller on a journey unknown to me. It is not me who craves the taste of iron in my mouth, pain between my legs, shame inside my head. I have never wanted tattoos of ridicule on my skin. 

My shape-shifting abilities rival that of thunderbolts, I am the site of Pleasure and Creation. From me, endless potential flows. Yet, my forest is barbarously burnt, I burn and leave behind my savage ashes, and I drown in my ferocious blood. I was to be the beginning and ending of all — the great creator who became a Blackhole — my blood curdles at the sight of my creation committing my slaughter. My river water skin now becomes a swamp of muddy crudeness, a temple of pleasure is metamorphosed into a ritualistic sacrifice where I become the Scapegoat and the Executioner, no pardoner in sight.

It is not that I wanted to beseech for forgiveness, or that I admit to committing a crime. I cannot even claim if I have ever been allowed a life where my body was not a closed door; nails thrusting in persistently. I wanted to adorn my breasts, hail them as a site of cosmic significance, but they were branded as salacious criminals wanted for the crime of perjury, accused of an oath that seized my womb, ovaries, vagina and breasts: curtailing me to my flesh. I wanted to own my skin, my ocean, my mountains, but I have never been allowed the space to conceive an // OWN // for I am everything and anything but never my own. 

I have Scars called / STRETCHMARKS / that are bound to me like the poets clung to their muses for inspiration. They feel like the golden light of life that resurrects a gleaming opal vase. I was destined to become Art — mixed textures, a sensation of emotions, a symphony of tunes that sounded like oral incantations of bonding or the clattering of voices unheard that came together to start a revolution. I was crowned to flow fluidly like an Esper, wearing my confidence like an eagle and breaking through challenges with the perseverance of an ant. But my scars became grotesque, my textures a reason of shame. I was paraded around like a cemetery, caged inside my corpse-like body, my flesh became my imprisonment. A funeral was held when I wanted to soar in the sky, my face wrapped in a cloth of pretense when all I wanted was to just breathe and smile.

I have had to live as I have been decreed to, my achievements are never the fruits of my labour but rather the leftovers of a generosity I didn’t ask for. I eat the food that has been thrown away to rot and perish because I am made insignificant like a fruit fly that you can kill with a swipe of your hand. I am shown documents, scriptures, holy spirits and canonical fiction to declare that even when I am worshipped, I shall be branded as a sinner. Even when I am to be a virgin for my master, I shall become the phallic receiver of anyone who finds me unleashed like a dog, or a stag wounded with an arrow who can only flail around and become the prey of its predator. 

I embody the closest reality to magic, and I glow like an enchanted forest. I have endless potential for my body has been a site of exploitation, destruction, violence, and territorial feuds for centuries. Yet, I stand on my two feet, bleeding like an Eve resurrected, screaming like a Draupadi made naked, my perpetrator becomes my prey because as a Leda I feast on my Swan, and as a Mary I refuse to become the origin of a History. I bang my hands on the stone until I break my bangles and I shave my head because I decide to fly like my eagle.

I embrace my nakedness, the contours of my flesh. I touch myself until I am prepared to draw a silhouette of the bumps, and curves, and irregularities of my body the day I go blind. I build myself a temple where I am the religion and the only believer, and I become the god and the sinner, the creator and the destructor, the cessation and the beginning. I become an open door, I learn to make love to my body, I learn the intimacy that begins from the tip of my tongue and I start appreciating the colour red. I feast on my wrath like a well-aged wine, and I start building a home for myself, a room of my colours, a dwelling where my body ceases to be the Other and becomes its Own. 

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Priya Jain

Priya is a literature student who uses reading to expand her vision of the world. She is a queer feminist writer who wants to create a difference with her words and aspires to foster places of belonging for marginalized communities. She believes herself to be a blahcksheep because she wants to break the binaries and venture out of the normative to explore the subjectivity of truths.


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