Safety in the Body
I travel a lot to work. I travel in local trains and autos every day. At the local railway station, I have to take an auto to reach my house. Earlier I used to stop at the auto stand, talk to an autowala and bargain before I got into the ride. since I am a regular customer the person who manages auto stand has been kind to me. As soon as he sees me, he tells one of the autowallas my address, fare and asks me to get in. With this change I was feeling a sense of ease in my body. I was curious as of what is it that meant to me that I was relaxed and at ease while riding in this auto. As a person gendered female, I felt anxious while travelling in unknown cities and unknown streets in the past. It was a time when we did not have smart phones or GPS to track our rides.
Generally, I feel this ease and relaxation after reaching home. Is it the fact that I don’t have to talk to them, tell them the address or bargain about the fare? Is it that I can sit and simply choose to zone out? is it that I don’t have to keep track of route and constantly tell the driver where to go? Is this a sense of knowing? Sense of knowing is surely some safety. This is how I feel at home. Being able to sit and relax and not having to be vigilant about something, feeling safe. For most of us home is a place of safety and certainty. However, for few it may not be. I was recollecting a conversation with a queer person I was consulting with about their experience of anxiety as a constant companion. Living in a house that invisibilises their existence and having to be vigilant of their ways of being and not feeling safe even in their own home has contributed to this anxiety. I was wondering what would it look like to be unsafe and anxious in your own home? Is it like that anxious auto ride of mine where I am sitting at the edge of the seat in a totally unfamiliar place? The auto ride that never ends?
How unfair is that for someone to go through this? But their resilience and hope is what amazes me. Their ability to use humour to deal with everyday struggles is such a great know-how. How are they able to do such difficult work and bring themselves to therapy week after week? I feel humbled to be able to hold space for such wonderful people. To be able to acknowledge their journeys and be part of their joys and discoveries. “Madam” autowalla’s voice brought me back to the present moment. I am home already. I had a safe ride. I hope others have safe rides too and reach (find) their homes of safety.