Why Don’t Drink the Koolaid? Well, because I’m half Indo Guyanese, and the only thing anybody seems to know about Guyana is Jonestown, which by the way, is not an actual name of any real place in Guyana, but only some disturbed white man’s failed attempt at self-god-ification. Of all of the things that could put Guyana on the map, it has to be some disturbed narcissistic US American. So, don’t drink the koolaid.
I’m Roxanne – I sometimes use my Hindi name Shamdai – and I’m a mixed race writer based in Vancouver, Canada. I write non-fiction essays and articles, though have been known to write fiction on rare occasions. To be honest, I really prefer creative non-fiction to any other form of writing. I like to explore the personal narrative as a style of writing, because ultimately, writers tell stories. My interest in the lived experience of creatives, women, the chronically ill, survivors of trauma and violence, and persons of colour means that I frequently write about rape culture, addiction, mental illness, reproductive health, race and colonisation. I like to explore processes that make things, people and institutions tick, and I have a somewhat strange and morbid fascination with the ideological autocracy and tribal warfare phenomenon that is Twitter.
I do not ascribe to ideology or support movements that police the message. I rail against the notion of compelled speech, and find hate speech laws a slippery slope. I find the politics of the left ironically rife with oppression and deeply rooted in violent, patriarchal thought. I find the politics of the right arrogant, entitled and rife with white supremacy and Eurocentrism. I find society extremely misogynist. I find anti-racism racist. I ascribe to human nature, compassion, empathy and to smashing the patriarchy. I do not believe we will smash the patriarch without the abolition of gender. I do not ascribe to violence as a form of activism or conflict resolution. I’m not down with anyone getting an asshole pass, no matter their status or lot in life. I believe we must tell our trauma stories; I reject the notion that they must form the basis for our origin. I’m not cool with this victimhood culture.
I wrestle with chronic Bipolar Disorder Type 2 and PTSD. I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, multiple rapes, domestic violence, drug addiction, and divorce. I have Vitiligo, the skin disease that Michael Jackson and Winnie Harlow have. In my past professional lives, I’ve worked as a government policy analyst, as well as a medical-surgical and oncology nurse, and a nurses’ aide. I’ve written Treasury Board submissions, briefing notes and speeches for Cabinet Ministers. I’ve administered complex chemotherapy protocols, and managed the care of several patients with multiple critical medical issues. I have watched people die. I have dressed and shrouded corpses. I was a member of the inaugural nursing team at Insite, North America’s first Safe Injection Site for IV Drug Users.