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  • Rabia Khokhar

What does it mean to make my own 'table'?


What does it mean to "make your own table?"

...

Most of my life has been spent being excluded and othered by the spaces I have been in because of my identities and lived experiences.

Most of the time my work has been ignored, silenced and belittled.

People have taken a look at me and thought that I do not belong in this space and that this space is not for someone like me.

People have been shocked I speak English, ask me "so are you getting used to the snow? and have hurt me physically and verbally.

But more than that, the feeling of being excluded has been traumatizing. It is a deeply haunting and lonely feeling.

It makes you constantly in a state of heightened consciousness, nervously waiting..."what will come next?"

...

Going into spaces where there aren't many who 'look' like you is hard. It is never easy.

There is always a lot on your shoulders.

You are questioned for your intellect.

You are questioned for the space you take up.

So then what does it mean to make your own table?

What does it mean to 'make' or 'take' space for myself?

What does it mean to hold some power now?

What does it mean to have a small platform?

What does it mean to have people come to you for insight?

...

For all my life, for as long as I can remember I have had to create a space for myself.

I have always had the support of my family, friends, mentors and allies.

So it feels incredible and most definitely unbelievable.

...

I recognize most of the spaces I was in, were never designed for someone who looks like me to sit in them.

But here I am, being given the opportunity to create space for myself.

I recognize that I have always had to strive to be the representation I have always needed.

I could never have done this alone.

I stand here because of a village, a community standing with me.

And I am truly humbled and grateful at this 'new table' that is emerging...

...

I am constantly reminded of a quote by Rupi Kaur that inspires me deeply to tell these stories. To tell 'my' stories.

...

our backs

tell stories

no books have

the spine to

carry

women of colour -rupi kaur




















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