Means finding out where I got lost. Pinpointing where I was misguided to believe that my self worth, self care and value for resting was less than that of White folks living with Bipolar II Disorder. And that, for me, to be a survivor of mental health and trauma, as a genderqueer Person of Color, I must reject all westernized forms of (me)dicine and thought, as a means to be realigned with my kin.
But what if I have never been fully aligned?
What does it mean to be decolonial, to align with my ancestors, if sage and herbs are not stopping the voices, the pain and the debilitating weeks of mania? Where do I fit into the decolonial narrative where, im like yeah, fuck the system and then turn around be like, I gotta go pick up my Western (Me)dication or I might die. Decolonial organizing, rhetoric and thinking has let this differently abled, Brown, giggly, sissy, sayad fag – down.My mind has ran away from me this past year and what filled its place was that of Harry Potter, dementors and realizing that the entire cast of Lord of The Rings was white. Leaving me to wonder what my wildest joys and allegiances are too. Having the privilege of access to healthcare, I have had to self advocate through intense manic episodes, show up to appointments, explain and explain again my stories of why I deserve access to (me)dication, and when I wasn’t able to show up, or advocate for myself, I most certainly, went without. Best believe, folks on the other ends of the phone and reception desks, quickly realized that I know my worth. That I know my mind and cosmic relations, my Brown skin, my weight, my hair, my height, my genders (and no that is not a typo), are all birthed from my ancestors and I know without doubt, that they would want me to feel better.
So when I look for support from other folks who claim to decolonize their thoughts around (me)dicine, meaning that herbs and limpias and sweat lodge ceremonies are the go too, I wonder why they hold up the very same oppressive themes of Spiritual elitism by undermining my need to use (me)dication. Meaning that, when I’m with my homegrrrls, and i bust out with talk of queer, kinky sex, all my fluid faggotry, around expanding decolonial theory or casually mention my diagnosis with Bipolar II disorder, they look at me as if im talking about some unholy, colonial rhetoric. Leaving me pissed about their righteous ableism and feeling isolated within a movement claiming to deconstruct hierarchies and inequal access to healing; where do i go when my (me)dication and diagnosis are all that people see of me? Especially in places like holistic health circles, queer and trans organizing circles reclaiming ancestral wisdom? Yes, I will go there, because if decolonial theory, health and (me)dicine undermines very real episodes of mania and trauma, it is a death sentence to not only me, but countless other queer and trans people of color who are reclaiming their health. Not only that, but I know that folks wouldn’t walk up to someone and say to someone with a visible disability, that they should try a more holistic route as opposed to using the assistance of a cane or wheelchair. To be met with, “Have you tried the holistic route”, or “It’s not that bad”, completely undermines my diagnosis and the intense struggles it took to get me to the point of accessing (me)dication; which suggests that all precolonial remedies can solve and resolve postcolonial traumas and mental health issues. Grrrl bye. Not to mention myself enduring immobilizing flare ups while waiting for the herb bundle i just smoked to kick in, (no shade). Now I’m not a naysayer of herbal remedies in anyway, but what happens when burning sage and smoking chamomile and limpias aren’t enough? Do i need to explain anything to them? Hell no. But what I do get a thrill out of, is busting out my (me)dication at tables when were all sitting around eating recipes from Decolonize your Diet. Why? Because if people see health as only one dimensional, there is nothing decolonial about their medicina or healing in any way. A hunger games elitism, has been born out of decolonial movements of who can out decolonize the other. And while I can get down with sage, Palo Santo burning, reclaiming multiple genders and so forth, i always feel a sense of defense when homies be like “Yo, i prefer a more holistic form of healing”; and if i feel defensive about discussing the ways that I survive colonialism, an ongoing occupation none of us were meant to survive, because i use western (me)dicine to do so, then your decolonialism is bullshit and rooted in some egotistical elitism.
Hablo Rodriguez-Williams is an unapologetic, Brown, genderqueer artist, poet, freelance writer, author, scholar, disability rights organizer, native, herbal healer and social critic. As a shape shifting, self proclaimed, “Sadboi”, Hablo’s werk centers a decolonial lens around Queer and Trans POWER and disability.
@sayad_fag on Instagram