Of course I’ve noticed how you’re drawn to what you call my wounds symmetry doesn’t beckon the eye no— disruption & disorder a lopsidedness reminding you you are dreaming the rest of
your life asleep in expectation until a patch of bark shows you a swirl & a swelling about a gap that once was wholeness my surface wavy like old glass the slow assemblage of cells moving in to cover & protect rippling up the roughened river new growth a whirlpool whose center narrows
by season & I know you want nothing more than to stick your hand into this soft- edged opening to feel reparation what we trees are go ahead touch me & awaken to doubt
Faltu: Meaningless. Without a purpose. Without any promise. Imposed upon. Unwanted. Something that can be got rid of easily. Useless.
Thwackk! The blow was unexpected. Swift. Unnecessary. The blue and white carpet, with its odd, congested geometric pattern, rises up to meet me. I realize with a pang! that they are not flowers. They are just straight lines that criss-cross each other. Why didn’t I notice this before? Why did I think they were flowers? I am suddenly mortified, and then I am flying across the room. My body is a hot spring and a cold glacier melting into each other. The searing pain of contact. Black. Blue. Purple. Nights and days that cross each other off. The pain comes and goes. It travels up. Unravels down. A shimmering wave. A recurring nightmare. I smell the fear. Taste the blood. Crouching nights. Mindlessly long days. A never-ending doodle. Unread letters. Unwritten notes. Dreamless sleep. Unlived memories. Tabula rasa. Run. Keep running.…
Behind every crazy woman is a man sitting very quietly, saying, “What? I’m not doing anything.”
At some point, you realize you aren’t waiting anymore for your life to start. Your life’s happening right now, and it’s pretty dull.
– Jade Sharma, Problems
There’s an unspoken yet ubiquitous set of expectations we have for women in an attempt to keep them palatable. They shouldn’t be “too loud” or “too much.” We praise them on their restraint. We associate femininity with being demure. Maya, the narrator of Jade Sharma’s Problems, has freed herself from the shackles of these notions, so much so that her behavior directly upends them: She’s a drug addict. She’s blunt about not loving her husband. She’s unapologetically unfaithful, sleeping with a much older man who doesn’t bother pretending to be interested in her. Her thoughts radiate an unabashed selfishness. She’s a compulsive liar. She enjoys rough sex and actively seeks it for validation. Her language is vulgar.
She’s an unlikely heroine and just the one we need.
Even amongst the growing trope of “bad women” in contemporary literature, Maya stands apart. For one, the female antihero is rarely a woman of color. There’s something exhilarating about having an uncompromising, profane protagonist who isn’t white.…