Behind Ta An

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My name is Beatrice-Batouly N’Daou. I am a 19 year old college student at Earlham College. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when I was 16 and try to find ways to balance my health and my ambitions. I go by the name Ta An when I write and aim to be a published author. My family heritage is Scandinavian, Afro-Caribbean, and West African. I write because it’s what makes me happy.

This was written in early 2017 and already I’ve found out more about my identity. I realized I was demisexual. But still, the piece I wrote is still relevant to me today, so I think sharing it is as close as a representation of my identity as I can make. Of what I know of myself, this is what I wrote:

Will I be in a state of constant turmoil, that like the Doctor of God, trying to understand my own nature and yet falling prey to the misleading sway of Order?

How exactly does one exist as they should?

An outsider in the outside, still an outsider even when surrounded by one’s own kin?

Yielding to the limited hive mind that changes everlasting like light on water,

Grow rigid to become the stone that is killed little by little until nothing remains but dust,

Or becoming the water.

I could say that I am from the land that provides and the land that takes,

Or the land in which a somber or

dour mein are said to have faded into antiquity,

But both would be lies- fabricated with the same purpose as the cuckoo in a strangers nest.

Survival.

Because what is the meaning of branding ourselves, cattle and small farm owner alike, trying valiantly not to succumb to the will of the landlords,

If not to declare;

‘This small part of the world I claim for my own,

All the variants of what you know are autonomous in their oddity,

Any poachers shall be dealt with at the owner’s discretion.”

If not to become our own gods-

Builders, destroyers,

Reveling in the dominion of ourselves.

The name of my country is in a language that died with freedom,

A remnant from the time when no back was broken to please or placate, no will was bent to Etiquette.

In my country we have gatherings with a thousand loud voices in a thousand variations of words,

The food is rich and warm enough to chase the chill of news of the war of minds outside the borders.

People live as they please- struggle with good humor to be the victor of disputes not as valuable as the interaction between souls.

In my country your role in the creation of life matters not more than the way you cherish and support it.

Dances lit by fire or silvery light meant only to evoke a sense of intimacy with the world, not a relationship of subjugator and subjugated.

In my country we love as love is,

Indescribable and yet more tangible that the tears and blood shed in it’s name.

We amass knowledge with the intent to share, leaving hoarding to dragons we visit to stand in awe of beauty.

Value is found in substance that need not allure the senses to exist,

These treasures of value that give pleasure to living, and life undaunted that deems us Sovereign.

A glance at the skin of this body I own,

A peek at the face that I show to the world and my name has already been chosen.

Words set ablaze and set into stone the marble that came from the depths of my earth,

This I brand, this I leash, this I lock away.

I am Master and Mistress here no other would dare to impose on this possession of mine.

Once I take off the mask I must wear for the masses,

my visage is blurred and shrouded in ambiguity I wear as a crown and a shield.

Even as I sit on my throne the hive mind sees my body that yields and buzzes quietly.

Woman, they whisper, receiver of men, a murmur replies.

Weakling, darkling, the buzzing grows and then fades into a arbitrary monotone.

A simple task for the God of the land to raise the walls of my domain,

I raise them high enough that the only whispers are those of my devotees.

Their bodies like mine with indescribable faces.

We wear no masks in this empire of mine, their name-shackles broken and strewn at the gate.

Unless I am careful I will become one of them for we are all one and the same.

So it is  a chorus of my own voice that calls out now, a melody all my own.

It is my voice that rises, that whispers, that screams.

My voice that can live deep under under sea, not able drown just softened and clear.

A prayer is heard from my people, myself;

Destroyer of lies, from the shattered masks on the floor.

Builder of sanctuary, from the lips of the sheltered.

Keeper, unnamed, unbroken, unlimited.

Words that lay golden at the foot of my throne.

The gate that I formed of my will and my divinity doesn’t shake,

Is silent and still as the legion, army, champion of Order,

scratches and claws to find any way in.

To find any way to conquer a lost land, to name and number and record.

But I am old, well versed in the war between them and myself.

It is this ill fitted name that they call my lands,

as if self was big enough, deep enough,

chimeran enough to be carved into me and call itself the true name.

As if a world could be fit into a word.

Or a holy text surmised.

For it is holy, this nameless kingdom of mine, and even an army cannot defeat the divine.

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