In anticipation of my book release (Woman Enough- coming soon!), I decided to interview some women who I believe are some of the bravest, and who deserve to have their stories shared. I want to celebrate women. Nothing more, nothing less. Here they are in their own words. I am humbled and grateful to have a small snapshot into their worlds.
My next interview is with someone I’ve admired from afar in the writing community on Twitter. I really only know her as SC_Author. Not only does she have the best retweets, but she has the most thought-provoking threads, usually calling out white fragility when she sees it. A highly intelligent, compassionate soul (and a talented writer), you won’t want to scroll past SC_Author.
Name: sohum (સોહમ અસ્મિ)
Please share whatever you would like us to know about yourself:
Hi! I’m a “trans woman” but more accurately, I describe myself as a Hijra-American cuz my parents immigrated from Gujarat, India, and we think of identity and self-concept in a very different way than the Western way. I love love loveee people, I think they are GOD and art. I’m writing a YA romance book called “Something More” that explores these issues of identity, duty, and Hijra Americans in a really meta, spiritual way (the book ‘unwrites’ itself and ends with a comic book-style “visual narrative”). Follow me at @SC_Author to stay in touch with it!
Looking back on your life thus far, what has been your biggest accomplishment?
I’ve done a lot of “cool” stuff, I guess (writing books, going to big conferences, making a lot of social change), but to be honest, I’m most proud of my self-work. I think it was finding the power of self and building myself up after I was accused of being “manipulative, abusive, and gaslighting” by one of my closest friends without being told how I was being so or what I should do to change my actions. It was a really dark time for me with lots of confusion, self-hatred, and self-doubt. I wouldn’t believe anyone who told me that I was the one being abused, gaslit, and manipulated. It took a really amazing therapist who demanded that I empower myself to dig myself out and up from that hole. It required so much self-work and investigation of past trauma and how to deal with my own insecurities. I came out of it a much stronger, self-assured person and I’m incredibly proud of that.
What makes you happy?
People! I love love people. People make me happier more than anything else.
What’s something/a time you look back on & wish you would’ve done it differently, if any?
I don’t know. I think that I would have made more use and found more enjoyment in my college time. I think I would have been more strong and stood my ground when attacked by the (well-intentioned!) “social justice” warriors on Twitter who misconstrued something I said; but on top of that, I think I would have been more clear on what I said instead of letting my anger of being misunderstood take over. I think I would also be nicer to my mother and spent more time with my grandmother.
I know that people say there’s no point in having regrets, and I agree. I don’t think I have regrets. At the same time, it’s important for me to know where I messed up and how to learn from that. I don’t regret what I did – I simply evaluate it and now, hopefully, know better. My dad says, “Smart people learn from their mistakes. Geniuses learn from other people’s mistakes.” I’m slowly getting to smart-level, and I want to get to genius-level lol.
Has there been any significant moment in your life that has altered your path/your being/your calling? Would you like to share it? If not, that’s okay. A yes or no answer is acceptable & beautiful in its own right.
YES. It was when I got into the college that I attended. I was never going to apply (it’s an East Coast Ivy League) and I never hoped to get in. I was planning on going to my state’s state school but on a whim, I applied to the college (wrote all my essays and submitted in less than 2 hours!). But GOD-willing, I got in, and it completely transformed my life. It was meant to be. I don’t know if I would be who I am today if it wasn’t for the experiences I had. I went from being an Astrophysics major to studying Visual Arts and environmental studies. I’ve been able to write and make art that I always wanted to. And I also seen into the belly of the capitalist, elitist, oppressive beast and learned how to fight like hell against it. It completely changed me (or, more accurately, it revealed me).
What makes you sad, & how do you deal with that sorrow?
Oo this is a hard one. I deal with sorrow by channeling it into my art-making, writing, and other creative expression (I love singing, but only by myself lolol). I think it’s because, growing up in the closet, I never dealt with my sorrow with other people. I always hid it, dealt with it by myself in isolation.
And yet that also was (and is) the source of my sorrow. Feeling alone. Being scared to being vulnerable with other people around me. A *deep* sense of loneliness. Being misunderstood, seeing people hurt themselves when they hurt me. Other people’s pain.
What is one of your mom’s traits that you admire(d)?
My mom’s still alive (thank GOD!). I admire her free emotions the most. She cries a lotttt, for very small things, and she also gets so excited for very small things. She doesn’t know how to hide her emotions and she’s so honest and absolutely grounded in GOD. Above all, her Love, and her knowledge that Love is an action and that action is hard hard hard work that she does relentlessly.
When you think of your grandmother(s), what comes to mind?
One of my grandmothers recently passed, and I remember playing pranks on her all the time 🙂 She got so cranky and mad whenever we played pranks on her (like pouring water on her face when sleeping, scaring her, etc.) and she also loved it as well. She said what was on her mind and was so strong in GOD and Love. I miss playing around with her and her laugh – it’s always with us though, in my mom, and in me, and in others she’s affected.
What time in your life do you feel was the most challenging?
The self-crisis that I mentioned in the “biggest accomplishment” section was a big one. But even before that, just being in the closet and slowly slipping into suicidal idolization, self-isolation, depression, and absolutely controlled by fear with bursts of joy. I still don’t know exactly how I got through that because it felt impossible. I still have my diary entries from that time and it’s always a hard thing to read.
Last but not least, how do you see yourself, & how do you want others to see you?
I see myself as the GOD that I see in everyone, and I want people to see themselves in me!
Please post any links below to your work or causes you’re passionate about.
I wrote this article under a pseudonym, and honestly… please just read it. For your own sake! Writing it was a process of self-discovery for me and I have that same experience every time I reread it. Hopefully it’s the same for you!
A new patreon link https://www.patreon.com/sohum