Taey Iohe

When our time is no longer ours  

This writing employs a co/autoethnographic approach to examine how traumatic bodily experience, and its memory, create a radical rupture in the flow of time.

Through the authors’ own experiences of migrant motherhood and cancer survivorship, our letter-writing and our collective care, we explore temporality in relation to a selection of moments of commonality, when our time was no longer, completely, freely ours. We both experienced a stasis, a liminal time, outside of the linearity of normative time, discovering instead a polychronic inflection of time. We experienced time as becoming and unbecoming, transforming our notion of ‘time well spent’, disrupting capitalistic norms of ‘productivity’. And we lived through precarious and delicate gestational times, literally and metaphorically, which challenged our embodied femininity.

While exploring each of these themes, we draw parallels between our shared analysis of our experiences, and the distinct temporal moment of the COVID-19 pandemic, reflecting on the radical uncertainty and temporal disturbances in the lives of billions across the globe. We interrogate our collective autoethnography as a queer methodology of resistance and decoloniality. And we conclude with thoughts about a wider responsibility for care, a carefully constructed solidarity, connectivity and reciprocity with and beyond humankind, and a move away from stasis, or cyclical time, to our own sense of a nurturing futurity, fecund with potential and possibility.

Exerpt from:  When our time is no longer ours: an autoethnographic exploration of temporality; productivity; reciprocity, co-authoring with Carmel Cardona

Keywords: temporality, autoethnography, stasis, vulnerability, productivity, reciprocity, COVID-19, migrant motherhood, cancer survivorship.