Talking with myself — a madwoman’s ramblings on herself and her archive

Abigail Silversmith Irfan
3 min readJun 3, 2024


The archives of madness live in you. They breathe the same air you do, drink the same tetrapak of cheap rum when things get too much, kiss the people you kiss, take the meds and hormones you do … They are a living entity that lives with you, and the relationality you have to this archive is a relationality that you have with yourself. I write this as I hallucinate 13 year old me, before the conversion therapy, before most of the heartbreaks, before a state of fear of the self consumed every bit of flesh and soul. I kissed her on the forehead and told her things were going to be okay. That she should sneak out to go to the village pond once again to take a dip at 3 AM.

What am I really doing here? What part of the archive am I giving permission to speak and what parts am I silencing? And since i have said that the archive is a living entity, what am i doing to it?

I am clearly not giving the archive access to parts of it, for my hallucination was part of the archive. As a practice of care, i told her that things are going to be okay. I lied to the manifestation of the archive. Baby Abby doesn’t need the weight. I know she isn’t real but she is a child. Let her have a little bit of fun, drawing funny faces in her mom’s law books and getting bruises from falling from the cashewnut tree in the neighbor’s yard.

I denied the archive, a part of myself, access to themself/myself. We do this so much, much more so when we hold an archive that is bleeding. We are afraid of what the archive will be if she sees herself if it sees the scars of hir body are too much for it to take. We think of the archive as something that is incapable of holding herself. But should we?

Has the archive not been there ever since the self has? Does she not have the same body you do? What purpose does this policing have? Is it really care?

Truth be told, i am unsettled with her. She has a lot of things to say, some of them scary, about things that happened to my flesh, to my heart, to my self… and that is hard for her to hear, that i find it hard to listen to her. I keep a google photos album of all the psych ward visits. I do it to let myself know i’ve come through all of this and have the ability to go through more if need be, to make some peace with the hurt and heartbreak. But how much of the archive talks to each other? What am i doing by sectioning it into pieces? Is quarantining the archive from the archive really care?

I don’t know…

For now, I see myself policing my interaction with the archive and the interaction of the archive with itself. I see the pain and i don’t want it to spread. Is there a way to do this without being shitty to myself, and to my archive?

5 days from the start of writing:

The archive has new entities in it now. There are taints of the zionist and the sanghi empire’s collaboration. How do I speak to these thing while my body tries to make sense of the things that can never be made sense of — the horrific act of the zionist entity, the arms of the indian state aiding it in it’s terrorist actions. Creating an archive that is so devoid of love and care… or rather a care directed at the end of care — the thought of which would destabilize most of us.

200,000 archives have been destroyed by the zionist entity. They mean to erase all sites of joy, the zionists and their collaborators in genocide, for the palestinians have time and time again documented joy amidst the horrors upon horrors.

Death to the ones who burn the archives.

How do we have conversations from our archives and archives of falasteen ? Do we look at our taxes being spent on israeli weapons, those cokes we ordered with our old monks? That time we gave gal gadot money by watching wonder woman? How bloody are our archives? What do we do with this blood?