AN EXORCISM FOR EVERY WOMAN AND A CURSE ON EVERY MAN

The post below is hard to read. It is written with a great deal of rage and pain and grief. It is a post about sexual violence. It is not explicit in any way. It does not describe sexual violence. It describes the feeling of being before the violence of masculinity. It describes the violence of the feeling of feeling. Which is why it is hard to read. You may wish to think carefully about whether you want to read further. Please consider this a trigger warning. 

Today I performed an exorcism. I performed an exorcism for every woman, and everyone who believes herself woman, and lives woman, and every one who lives as not man. I performed an exorcism for everyone who is not a man. I performed an exorcism for every man who is not a man. I sat and let violence flow through me. I let image, upon image, upon image, upon image, upon image, upon image, flood my mind. I performed an exorcism of every image that floods the media of sexual violence, of rape and mutilation, of violation and the killing of the not man body, of violence that should be undoable and unthinkable, and I let the image move through my mind and my body. I opened my mind. I opened it as wide as I could, without filter and protection. Eventually I let my mind break at the seams for many hours. I let my mind descend into terror. Rank naked terror. I let my mind touch madness. Incoherence. I let my mind become a not mind. And not by reaching atman or bhramaan  believe you me. I let my mind touch madness.

I let the headlines move through me. And I brought these images into my mind. I let the headlines come inside my body and my mind and I let them sit there for many hours. I vomited. I emptied my bowels. I felt my intestines become long coils of pain. And I let the headlines come as far as my intestines. Because they have. The headlines have gone as far as the insides of a woman. The headlines are sharp. I imagined my vagina and my vulva and my anus and my rectum. And I let the headlines sit there. The mind collapses in front of the sharp headline. I imagined my breasts. And I let the headlines sit there. And I imagined them torn and raked over by the headline. I imagined my mind and I let the headlines sit there. I imagined my mutilation. From the inside to the outside on every surface. I touched my body. All over. And I let the headline touch my body. But touch is too soft, too neutral a word. Too neutral by far. I let the headline become an Iron Maiden. The box inside which there are sharp sharp sharp teeth that push through you. And that is the headline.

At first I wanted to bring these images into the mind of every man on the planet. I wanted every man on the planet to carry these material images, because I wanted these images to inhabit them. Because they inhabit me. I can’t rid myself of them. I wake up in the morning and I read the paper and there is the image. I can’t turn away from it. All day I carry the image and then I wake up the next day and here is another. And another and another. There is no shortage of the relentless image. And I wanted them to look at the faces of the women in their lives – their daughter, their wife, their sister, their friends, their lovers, their grandmothers, their colleagues, their transfriend, their gay friend, their queer lover, every single person who has fled masculinity  – and I wanted them to imagine these images being done to them. I wanted every man on the planet to imagine these images on the bodies of their daughters because I wanted them to vomit. Because these images are on the bodies of their daughters and on the face and in the mind of every single woman you know. As soon as she knows herself woman she is inside the headline. And even before she knows herself woman, when she is an infant, when she is not even a human being she is inside a headline. Some man has brought here there. I wanted every man to scream and descend into horror. To imagine what is unthinkable, unimaginable, unreal and real, and real, and real, and real, and real, and real, and real, and real. Everyday real. Every day unreal. Every day real. Everyday unreal.

I imagined the headline real on my body. I let myself become porous. I let myself be flayed. I let my skin open and burn and scream till my throat tore. I let my vocal cords break from screaming. I let terror into me. I let my voice become voiceless.

I will not describe the headline. I will not describe the image. You know what those images are. You know what they are and I will not describe them. 

I wanted to describe them, because I wanted them to tear open a man, as they tear me open. And she who loves me told me not to. She said no good will come of it in the world. Because of what the image will do inside a man. And inside a certain kind of man the image will produce desire. Sick fantasy. Sadism. And there are many men such as this. And I wanted to describe it so badly. Because I wanted every man who thinks he is free of violence, who believes himself to be good, who is convinced he is good, and every man who does not think much about these things, and thinks he is outside the image and outside the headline, to imagine the image, and to imagine it inside themselves. I wanted them to carry it. I wanted them to scream in terror and fear and horror because I did not want to carry it, and no man has to. No that is incorrect. Those men who have been caught in the grip of this same violence turned onto them, they have to carry it. And we have to carry it. We read the headline and we are flooded with image. We imagine our body there. In that place where she is, where she was, where she will be, where they are, where he is. In that place of terror I wanted a man to imagine himself. 

And then I knew I could not describe it because of how sick men are. How deep a sickness lives in them because this is the world you have built. And don’t you fucking tell me you are not that, you are not this. These are your people. Your people have done these things. You have done them because you cannot imagine yourself there. And don’t tell me you can. I don’t care what you read. I don’t give a fuck about what you think you can imagine. You cannot imagine. There is a barrier to your imagination. If you are inside masculinity then headline is inside you. But not the way it is inside me. It is coming out from you. And it is coming into me. And the difference between these two is all the difference in the world.

And I am broken with grief. I am sick with rage. I am sick with the image. I am sick with the impotence, the horror, and the rage it produces in me because there is no pedagogical moment here. There is no teaching here. The men who will read the description of the image will take pleasure from it, because those who do not take pleasure from it will close their mind to it. They will close their mind immediately because they cannot allow it in. And those who will let it in will get off on it. Because it is they who have made the image. They have made this image of unimaginable violence. They have torn, and broken, and ripped apart, and mutilated, and burnt, and acid, and torture, and grief, and pain, and pleasure, and cutting, and grief as pleasure, and torture as pleasure, and sick sickness as pleasure.

And it is a continuum. All of it. From touch, and sleaze, and sneaky, and finger, and fiddling, and pretending, and mouth, and penis, and hiding, and gaslighting, and you want it, and no I don’t want it. I want none of it. From right up and until across the entire spectrum of touch that I don’t want. I don’t want it. And you can stop right here. Reading. But you don’t stop doing. Because the image is there. Everyday the headline is there. And you and your people are doing it. This is the world you have made and you and your people are doing it.

And you do this to your own. You do it to your own. And that image, that image of ripping your own apart let that image into you. Because then you can imagine it. You can imagine the image of what you do to your own. And that is also in you. That which you do to us on a scale unthinkable you do to your own. And you get off on it. On pain. And those of you who do it to your own you imagine your own as a woman. You imagine your own as a woman and and as a not man and you do it to your own. And imagine yourselves there. Where he is where he is where he is. Imagine the police station. What is happening to your mind now? Are you recoiling in agony? Are you shutting your mind? Can you keep it open? Can you allow the headline into your mind. So imagine it. Let the headline inside of you. Let the headline invade you. Let the headline tear you to pieces there where you fear you become a woman. There where if you went and went for pleasure if there which you fear you want and there where you fear you become a woman. Let the headline invade you there. Can you do it? Try it.

Just try it.

Just try it.

What is happening to your mind now?

Is it collapsing before the agony of your imagination?

Is it tearing apart at the seams as you descend into pain?

Into unbearable agony?

And you do this to your own. As you make them into women. And you do this to your own because you are scared of loving your own. Those of you who are masculine men. Just you. If you call yourself a man then you are this above. Up till it all you are this above. And don’t you fucking show me your fucking credentials of your fucking goodness that this is not you. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t fucking care. I do not give a single fuck about your fucking denials. These are your people. You are your people. And so you are there.

And don’t you think you need to be really bad, to produce the unimaginable, to be responsible. All of it is horrendous. All of it. Every single bit of it. Every single touch that I do not want makes me vomit. Retch. Throw up. Descend into grief. And I know what this feels like. I know up to and until. I know it in varying degrees, in many shades of horror in my mind and in my body. We all know.

We all know. And we are sick with it. We are pregnant with it. Sick with it. We are bloated and heavy and sick with it. We are pregnant with the sickness of the headline. And the grief and anger and pain and torture of what living in this world you have made requires of us.

And I curse you. I curse you. I curse every single man on this planet. I will not do violence unto you. That is the curse. The curse is that I will not do violence unto you and these words will never leave you. These words will never leave you. They will sit inside you forever. They will sit inside you like worms that will never be satiated. They will burrow into your brain. These words will never leave you. You will be assailed by the unending nightmare of these words. They will never leave you.

Because the image never leaves us. Because there is nowhere we can go where we are safe from the image. And nor will you. It is now inside you. It will not leave you. You are accursed and you will bear this curse all your life.

Everyday we wake up. And everyday we eat the headline. And every day the headline eats us. And everyday we must live. As though it is any other day. As though it is any other day. As though it is any other day. As though it is every day. As though it is every day. It is any other day. It is everyday.

By Fulana Detail

(This post originally appeared at Kafila, here.)

(Illustration: Janelle Rainer, Dead Head, in Guernica Magazine.)