We have been featuring the best writers from our writers’ community for their committed contribution to FII, making it what it is today. FII would not exist if not for the passionate and loyal feminist writers’ community that we have steadily been building over the last three years. This October, we feature Anusha Misra.
A student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University, Anusha is a disability rights activist and the founder of Revival Disability Magazine – an online magazine on disability and sexuality. In her attempt to critique a largely ableist society, Anusha writes a fortnightly column called ‘Taking up Space’ for FII about her experiences of navigating so-called mainstream spaces as a disabled woman. Some of her popular articles are Taking Up Space: My Speech Disability Is Both Personal & Political, Taking Up Space: Any Match For A Disabled Bride, Sima Aunty?, Taking Up Space: Navigating The Campus As A Disabled Woman and many others.
FII: Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Anusha Misra: Hi! I’m Anusha but I prefer to be called nu. I like to write about my experiences as a disabled woman, navigating the world, sexuality, intersectional ableism. I’m 22 years of age and I would describe myself as disabled, queer and chaotic. It has taken me a lifetime to recognise and be proud of my identity. I’m a writer who realised her flair for writing only in 2020. My favorite colour is baby pink and my attachment style is anxious. I love to be vulnerable. This trait of mine scares people away but I hardly care, because they were never meant to stay. One day, I woke up and decided my life is a narrative and that I should write about it.
FII: How did you become a part of the FII writer family?
Anusha Misra: FII is the first publication where I started writing about my disability and in that sense, I came out with a visible disability and a chronic illness on FII. Writing these articles about how I take up space as a disabled woman in the world has been intense, to say the least. These articles require a lot of reflection, introspection and looking back at my past trauma. Being able to publish on a platform such as Feminism In India is truly a privilege. Also, being able to receive heartwarming messages from other disabled womxn about how they relate to my column is the most loving feeling ever. I’m so glad I found a community of powerful womxn at FII, a community of womxn that taught me to accept and love myself for who I am and who I will be. Thankyou for giving me a space to express my joys, struggles, rants, failures and pride.
FII: How and when did you become a feminist? Which issues within feminism are close to your heart?
Anusha Misra: I guess I was a feminist ever since I was born. All womxn should definitely be feminists. We need to all come together and create more intersectional communities of care and alternative, inclusive structures of sexuality, solidarity, thunder, joy, struggles and storytelling.
Nowadays, I often ask myself why can’t I write about something else besides my marginalised identity? Why can’t I be like Carrie Bradshaw, writing about finding love in a bright, big city? Why do I have to make everything about my disability? And lastly, why do disabled folks have to be activists to feel empowered? Writing about my disability and my experiences as a disabled woman has made me realise a lot, it has helped me heal, reclaim and redefine structures and systems of the world. To me, this has been the feminist issue that is close to my heart. Intersectional feminism has been a large part of empowerment for me. We need to include disability beyond a mere special mention at the end of the speech and instead as a prominent part of the speech itself.
FII: What is your favourite piece on this site that you have written, and your favourite piece on this site that you have read? Why did they strike you?
Anusha Misra: My favourite piece has definitely been Taking Up Space: The Need For Disability-Affirmative Therapy, especially because I’m studying psychology and I want to grow up to be a trauma affirmative therapist with lived experiences helping disabled folks. I aim to launch a nationwide crisis intervention helpline for disabled womxn. My trauma therapist has helped me realise and reflect on my personality and past trauma.
My favorite piece on FII that I have read is definitely Why Students Like Jaspreet Kaur Need More Inclusive University Spaces because I, as a student who had faced marginalisation within the campus as a disabled woman, relate to it a lot.
FII: What do you like to do when not writing about gender and social justice?
Anusha Misra: Well, I like to binge on Netflix, dating apps are mostly disappointing. I’ve also been reclaiming able-bodied structures of time, friendships, relationships, sexuality and creating my own accessible world. I like to paint on my body and on my disabled hands. I like to feel the healing texture of paint against my disabled fingers. I like to dress up alone in my room and dance.
I also write, edit and invite submissions for my magazine, Revival Disability Magazine. This magazine was the result of a revolution that was born in a mind stuck in quarantine. This community that I’ve built and that I’m in the process of building: these people, these stories, these narratives, they taught me how to accept myself and my body. They taught me to raise my voice and not be ashamed of my disability (to essentially, unhide my disability).
FII: What do you like about FII and our work? What more would you like to see from us?
Anusha Misra: I like the fact that FII welcomes all kinds of feminist voices, even dissenting voices. FII acts as a platform of resistance, a platform where we speak a language of rebellion. I like to see the hate comments on FII’s posts by butthurt cis men because that means we’re doing our job. I would like to see more content on Intersectional ableism, more visibility of tribal voices, sexuality and disability.
FII thanks Anusha for her timely and valuable contributions. We are incredibly grateful to have her as a part of our writers’ community and appreciate her for her deeply informative writing. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook and follow her magazine’s Instagram page here.