I’m Not Sure How To Tell You

By K.Kalpana

I’m not sure
how to
tell you
I’m not sure
if I should
tell you
if I can actually
tell you.

You should not be so naïve
as to assume listening
as to assume articulation
I am told
Think long and hard before disclosure
I am cautioned

Because disclosure is not a warm, fuzzy, plush couch on a talk show

Disclosure is like
Tank Man in Tiananmen Square
Named after the very thing he resisted
Achingly quotidian,
Standing at the edge of the frame
A stand-off forever.

Section 23 Subsection 1 of the Mental Healthcare Act states

“A person with mental illness shall have the right to confidentiality in respect of his mental health, mental healthcare, treatment and physical healthcare.”

Because

Disclosure could elicit
Discomfort
Discord
Dissonance
Discomposure
Disruption
Disorder
Distress
Disintegration

It could elicit
Disbelief
Distrust
Disrespect
Disdain
Disregard
Disgrace
Dislike

It could elicit
Disengagement
Discrimination
Displacement
Dissociation
Dissection
Dismemberment
Distortion
Discipline
Dismissal
Disavowal
Disposal
Disappearance

Because disclosure is me and you
Together
Interpreting, making meaning
Of me, of this body that speaks.
It is me with you
In my vulnerability
Open to injury.

I risk loss
Jobs
Colleagues
Community
Friends
Siblings
Family
Support
Life support
Life

But

I am told
That I must speak
Speak up
Speak for
Speak up for
Speak up for one’s self
Speak out
Speak out against
Speak my mind
Speak
The unspeakable

Because

Speech
Utterance
Is
Acknowledgement
Is
Restitution
Is
Justice
Is
Healing

And

Because

This body leaks
Like blood stains on school skirts
That stay
Oozing stampedes of stammering, stainless steel, stage fright.
This body leaks
Like unhinged roof tiles in the monsoon
Dilly-dallying with stale urgencies
This body leaks
An icky rickety seeking of odd diction,
De-linked Freudian slips deprogramming rage
An-aesthetic
Anarchic
This body
Can no longer contain
The implosions

But

Words
Words break
Break their frames
Break out
Break in
Break away
Break from
Break into
Break off
Break up
Break down

English will never be enough

Language will never be enough

But

I will
I must speak
Speak
About the places where words escaped from
About language
About losing language
About loss
About empty spaces
About what gets filled instead

And

I will
I must speak
Speak
About how surviving gets called an illness.

_______________________________________________________________________

The Photo for poster for this writing – courtesy Gabriele Diwald on Unsplash