If you weren’t boycotting Saudi for its exploitation of women or for its reign of terror over Yemen, don’t bother skipping on Hajj to protest how expensive it is for your poor little pockets. By all means, go. Cry vacantly over your soul. Muslims who value money over blood need all the redemption they can get.
In the midst of frustrations with my tragus, I’ve arrived to a realization about my body, and that’s if it reacts with complications to being wounded—i.e. those helix piercings that weren’t healing because I ran my hairbrush through them—it’s not going to heal properly around the wound unless I completely remove the piercing, let the wound heal until the cartilage is new, and repierce so that it heals properly this time without interference. No degree of tea tree oil, Neosporin, or cortisone injections to artificially “treat” the damage is going to reverse it until I remove the source. I have. To start. From scratch. If a single thing runs counter to acceptability, I have to tear the whole operation down and start over. I can pretend in vain to patiently accommodate the problems for a while, try to reason and negotiate with them, but I will recognize in the end that all I’ve done is delay what I inevitably have to do: tear the broken system down.
It frightens me how much my body is like my soul.
We really are soulmates, you & I.
How are your earrings?
Good! I still haven’t yet repierced the lost upper double helix on the left ear, but my right ear has a helix, tragus, and daith piercing. They aren’t healing without complications because my hair notoriously wants to entangle and fully swallow any object in orbit, but they’re still healing pretty well.
How’s the vaginismus?
I’ve made a lot of progress.
How’s the book? (Are you on your first or second?)
You might have heard me make references to two books because I tend to work on multiple projects simultaneously, so yes, there are… three. The books are not exegetical. The first is still in editing (but it is complete). The second is coming along, and I’m very excited about it! The third is a page. That’s fiction. I also have a non-fiction memoir/travel book that should never see the light of day, probably. You should not ask about this except with grave concern.
There’s a possibility some of my short stories may surface at some point in the near future.*
*When a writer says “near future,” what she actually means is several months.
Are you aware that your professional twitter has a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT tone than your TFF twitter?
Yes. If you follow me on twitter @ my first and last name, that account is very dreamy. It’s nothing like TFF’s kill-you-with-a-look twitter. This is greatly amusing to my friends.
How’s your career?
I’m not sure what people are referring to when they ask this question. The books? Law school? My current profession? My unrealized dream to start a girl band? It’s safe to say I’m paying my dues in each one.
How’s studying for law school?
I’m very smart. And very undisciplined.
Where’s the guest post with Misha you were supposed to produce in June?
It’s coming I promise.
Did you register for the AWP like you promised?
Yes! See you in Oregon!
While waiting in line, a woman sporting a Louis Vuitton handbag exclaimed to me that she was absolutely enamored with my purse. It’s black lace, with unexpected gold zipper detailing over the front. “Where did you get it?” she asked. I replied that I could not remember: it was some random place in the open market and the bag had cost $12. I actually didn’t notice that her bag cost a couple of thousands, until she sighed, “Your purse is so unique. I’m so tired of all these styles I get that start to look the same.” I peered at her handbag as she said this then, and then I bristled.
I tried to understand my reaction when she was being perfectly kind.
She meant well. I know it even now. But essentially she was complaining to a working class woman of being tired of designer handbags. Maybe I’m misplacing her too. For all I know, she could have saved up years for that handbag; although, from her cavalier attitude about how all her bags are the same—an allusion to multiple—I doubted this.
For her benefit, I entertained the excuse for her (that I’d misplaced her) anyway. After all, I’m often mistaken for upper middle class, and that misunderstanding is frustrating to me. I don’t know what it is about myself. When I confront people who’ve told me they get this impression, they usually point to the way I dress, the way I speak, or some other reason I find irritating. “It’s just that you’re so… classy!,” they say while I tastefully swallow down the retort, “Well that wasn’t.” They think it’s a compliment to tell me I’m not like the others in a truly not-like-other-girls-esq way.
The working class are artists, for your information. Highly cultured. Inventors and visionaries. And it’s also just as outstanding not to be either traditionally “classy” or well-educated. These things say nothing about a person’s conduct, character, or knowledge at all.
“In my home city,” my mother said to me yesterday, “the poor never arrive as guests to your home empty-handed. It is always the wealthy who come to dine offering nothing in return, unless the host, too, is wealthy like them.”
It’s a source of distant amusement for me the way men parade around championing the idea that a man won’t commit if he’s getting everything he wants in a relationship without commitment. (I overheard yesterday a man loudly informing a woman, “Why would he commit? He’s already getting everything he wants from you! You gave him the benefits of a relationship without the restrictions!”)
Commitment in itself is a desirable element—it is not a byproduct. I’ve seen men deeply unhappy because the woman from whom they were getting literally everything else they could want refuses to commit. I’ve seen them straightup state that “it isn’t the same” with hollow looks. Because the fact of the matter is, without commitment, you’re not getting everything you want in a relationship.
Never listen to a man’s advice about what he wants. That’s partially satire because it’s always said about us, but I’m also kind of serious—misogynistic men are rarely if ever attuned to their own needs, and women, not men, who are the ones who have reasons to avoid marriage. It literally kills us. I’m extra smug about it when I hear men complain that they feel women are out to “trick” them into commitment. Notice the self-victimizing language in order to avoid responsibility for one’s own feelings or come to terms with reality that they exist. Especially considering that a great number of girls in the world actually ARE forced into marriage. There’s not a person on earth who actually wants someone by force. (Unless that person is a man, and we all know men aren’t people.) You really have to be this delusional to function within the parameters of masculinity.
Thank you for your emails, and for your patience as I stumble to find myself at the ripe age of 27. With changing high heels and careers, practicing for law school and the imposter that is disappointment, paying credit card invoices and my dues, and waking up over a pile of manuscripts on the couch wondering whether I dreamt of self-playing violins that sound like nihilism because I happened to have been asleep on top of that particular page or because of broodier implications, the only time I’ve had left has been expended in casual conversation with coworkers.
On one occasion, I recounted to a coworker asking an astronomy instructor what was at the center of the universe, a question he insisted was demonstrative of a misunderstanding which he could not identify. He asserted instead that the universe is both a sphere and has no center.
“I’m sure it’s possible to have some weird center-less geometry,” said my coworker in an attempt to resolve the issue. “Maybe that guy was a bad explainer though.”
“He was bad because he said pointedly that the universe is spherical.”
“Yeah it seems like spheres have centers. Is there nothingness inside the sphere?”
“That would still mean it had a center, unless there is a kind of nothing that is nothing. I mean, if the logical opposite of nothing is not nothing, and something surrounded nothing in a spherical form, then the nothing would still be at the center (as opposed to elsewhere in the spherical something), but if there is no center at all, then it is a different kind of nothing than nothing.” I paused. “It is non-existent.”
How many kinds of nothing are there? Or, I suppose, how many kind of nothing aren’t there? (Or is this a double negative?)
Most pressingly, what kind of nothing am I (not)?
I have neglected the obligatory Ramadan post, and that is partly because the month caught me by surprise and partly because Ramadan this year has been effortless for me. When I’m enduring a rough time in my life (as I am now) I do not feel hunger. Dizziness from lack of energy, sure, but not hunger. These past couple of days, however, I felt the hunger pangs for the first time, which is a sign that my body is waking from the depressive trance-state.
I am grateful for the ease that the difficulties in my life have brought to fasting. I’d always been told I have striking eyes, but I saw them for the first time this past week when I happened to snap a photo of myself at my lowest point. I was taken aback by my own gaze.
This is your author at her worst.
I’m working on getting rid of the look in them. In the meantime, please read these two very important posts by Em. And enjoy gazing at my favorite flower, columbines. (Very few people know that this is my favorite.)