Being in love comes with a desire to protect the person you love. This feeling becomes more heightened in queerships of color because of the bigotry and violence that we face. Trying to do inner emotional work in the face of feeling torn down by the world can feel like trying to organize your closet while your house is on fire.
When the odds are stacked against you, your confidence, your ego, is your biggest asset- it's your fuel, and something necessary to protect. Additionally, an ability to pretend, lie and camouflage is mandatory for survival. While these qualities keep you alive in the world, they can be deadly in interpersonal relationships which demand vulnerability and intimacy - qualities that cannot exist in survival mode.
I have been codependent in most of my romantic relationships. Codependency is defined by Merriam Webster as, ‘excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.’ I see it as two people playing a role for each other: one the villain and one the victim. I've been on both sides. It always starts with dishonesty, biting my tongue, pretending something is okay when it's not mostly out of wanting to protect the fragility of my partner's ego or being too afraid to lose what I have. After my last relationship ended, I got off the proverbial horse and started to focus only on my own inner voice. I came out to my family. I left professional and personal environments that felt draining. I downsized my life so I could afford to have more time and space to be honest. I feel more like myself than I ever have, and I like who I am. I continue to practice detachment from external validation as a form of self-care. External validation is junk-food confidence, even when it’s coming from someone who loves you. True nourishment is how you feel about yourself.
I've replaced my search for a partner with a search for community. When you feel starved for love, you can start to believe you deserve the way you've been treated and lower your standards. Being around people who “tolerate you” because you make them feel good about themselves is not the same thing as people who are genuinely happy to see you. We all need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We are hardwired to find love and belonging, even over food and shelter. It's dangerous to try and substitute that for the approval of one person, but that's what happens when we feel rejected by the communities and families we were born into.
The process of healing is simple to layout, but hard to play out. Still, here it is: subtract people who are using you to feel better about themselves, develop self-reliance through self-exploration (*read* alone time,) and finally practice radical honesty when meeting new people. You have to reach a certain level of self-knowledge, and self-acceptance before you can truly be honest with others. Without that, it's impossible to have healthy levels of interdependence. Know Thyself.
If you’re queer and brown, you have to know that you are here to lead the rapturous changes coming because you understand more than most what it’s like to be marginalized. It’s really important to spend time learning and appreciating who you are, and unlearning who you were told to be. Make your value inalienable to yourself. In that process, look for love and appreciation rather than urgency and need.
May the force be with you x
As a third culture kid, NISHA was raised in the United States, and born Indian, in Nigeria, NISHA’s music is a reflection of their unique identity as an ‘Artist of the Diaspora’.
As an artist, NISHA has been featured in publications such as The Fader & NYTimes, Rolling Stone India, and Earmilk, as well as on Sirius XM Radio, Spotify’s New Music Friday and NBC and Netflix shows. As a songwriter, NISHA was the recipient of an RCAA certified Platinum record for writing Gryffin & Illenium's 2017 hit “Feel Good," and has written other hits like Lil Miquela’s hit “Money.”
NISHA’s style is a mix of R&B, Pop, and Hip Hop that celebrates their multiculturalism, queerness, and gender fluidity. Their goal as an artist is to empower people to embrace their worthiness and fight for their happiness.
IG handle @thisisnisha