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“We were born sick, you heard them say it” – Hozier

Written By: Navya Asopa

The following piece was one of the winning pieces for the Sexual Harassment Awareness Fundraiser Writing Competition organised by Her Campus Ashoka. The prompt chosen by the author is as follows: Hozier Lyrics

Incessant, ignorant chitter chatter, useless banter, unsolicited sympathy. All of this and more if your love speaks a different language or if your gender is different from what they appreciate when all they appreciate is men. 

Hozier was right all along; I was born sick, I am sick. But my question is if the world that sings in praise of sanity is sane itself? 

I live under a tree that has no roots, the tree of binaries and purity. These false ideas have had no place in the heart of our original history but the contemporary hails it. Woman and man, with no more space for us under the rootless tree but our constant effort at receiving validation. Do we need it, though? And what is validation, anyway? 

It’s 6:30 a.m. right now. I didn’t sleep last night for I was busy blaming myself for everything that is wrong with the world, I was busy living with the guilt of armchair activism, I was busy with nothing but myself and in that very moment, I realised our obsession with the self and how we always direly wish for everyone to think the same way and agree, how we wish for them to be homogeneous. The  Latin origin of the word is “Homogenea” meaning “of the same kind” which is celebrated as well as outlawed in India; celebrated when Brahmins marry Brahmins and ‘diligently’ exclude Dalits but,  outlawed when a woman wishes to marry a woman. There is hypocrisy residing even within the so-called straightforward rules of our society. So, am I sick or is the world? 

Love is powerful and politicians like to keep power to themselves to abuse it, to abuse us. Thus, love scares them. Today, being a topic of debate in the national forum, the uncontained, untamed fuzzy feeling of love has rendered Dalits, Muslims and the LGBTQIA+ people with the flawed and disrespectful tag of “impure”, leaving progress at the shore. The right-wing Hindutva ideology activates conservative men such as those in the Bajrang Dal to police and moralise certain people.  And “Love is Love” becomes a radical idea, too radical to ever be acceptable. 

It is ironical in the saddest way that Hozier sings “Take Me to Church”, a direct contradiction to what the churches want, to what religion wants. Religion may have not said this but our interpretation makes love exclusive, tamed, regulated. While containing an uncontainable emotion, we form a  book of law that determines, the gender, caste, religion, shade of skin, salary, height and IQ level needed in a partner. This defies the very idea of love, the idea of defying binaries. This also shows how we want to be accepted with our love, how we wish to visit the same place that abandons us. Another interesting line in the song is “Worship in the bedroom”. Here, the lines between the lover and the divine blur and the lover themself is worshipped to cope with the restriction imposed on them, created by religion. Thus, their beloved becomes their safe haven, the only heaven. 

Hozier wishes to have worshipped their lover sooner, to reclaim their agency, to feel that they are not wrong, the world is, religion is, and to have found the right religion for them. This is the power of love; it becomes one’s religion when there is no other accepting power in sight. In the beginning of the song, Hozier seems helpless and wishes to find ways to be ‘fixed’ by asking someone to command them to be well, by shouting ‘Amen’ at the top of their lungs in order to purify themself of  the sin of being in love without taking society’s dos and don’ts into account.

But there seems to be a shift in the tone towards the end of the song where Hozier says “Offer me that deathless death, the good God”. They seem to have given up on the notion of acceptance and accepted that their love cannot be changed, that their homosexuality cannot be ‘fixed’. The radical white Christian men kill their lover but their love lives through their death. Amen.

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