Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Quick Poll for the Men
One of my father's oldest friends came to visit us last week. Pleasant fellow who thought I should receive a medal for working in Brooklyn, a borough he believes is overun by drug lords, gang bangers, and prostitutes. I wonder when that image of New York will disappear...
Anyway, couple of hours after he left I went to use the bathroom and noticed that the toilet seat was up. So now I know that this man pees standing up. TMI for me. At least he had good aim because the rim was spotless.
He should have, however, put the toilet seat back down. It infuriates me when men do that; the seat must come down guys, okay?
This incident got me to thinking: do the majority of you guys pee standing? Is there a difference between sitting and standing? Is it just a matter of what's quicker? What's more comfortable?
Boyfriend thought I was retarded for asking him these questions. "Why in the world are you asking me about this???"
He seemed so weirded out that I didn't bother to ask follow up questions.
So, guys, enlighten me...
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
To all Anons
An anon, in the previous post on my breasts, kindly supplied me with the Quranic reference that forbids interfaith marriage for Muslim women. Apparently he/she must have thought that I somehow overlooked that verse when I read the the Quran and attempted to enlighten me. After all, we women don't have the ability to be discerning readers.
Seriously, though, guys, would it kill you to post comments under the appropriate posts???
Anyway, I'm answering his/her comment here because I want all the anons to read this and BACK OFF. You throw verses at me as if I were an ignorant cow and offer opinions that have absolutely no basis in the Quran. You think you're doing me a favor, but all you're doing is confirming to me how many ignorant people really exist out there.
First of all, I will completely ignore anon's earth-shattering interpretation of 2:221 ("It is not permissible for a Muslim woman to marry a non-Muslim from any other religion, whether from among the Jews or Christians...") because there's nothing to back that claim up.
The Quran says that NO MUSLIM, man or woman, is allowed to marry a mushrik
(2:221) nor a kafir
(60:10-11). NO MUSLIM. Period. End of discussion.
What most of you anons are telling me here, then, is that God, by allowing Muslim men to marry ahl al kitab
(People of the Book) women (5:5), abrogated 2:221 and 60:10-11 JUST for men and allowed them to marry a mushrik
or a kafir
. You really think that God favors men THAT much to give them that kind of license? "Sure guys, go ahead and marry a mushrik
. They're not as bad as you think they are..ignore the basic spiritual message I'm trying to convey to you. You're exempt because you're men". It doesn't sound like something the God I know would do.
But that's not my main argument. Silence on an issue does not equal a prohibition.
What makes Christian and Jewish MEN kufar
, but not Christian or Jewish women? Why didn't verse 5:5 read, "made lawful to you are chaste mushrik women"? THAT would definitely have abrogated all the other verses (2:221, 60:10-11).
No where in the Quran are Jews or Christians referred to as kufar
. Some of their practices may be considered a type of kufr
, but Muslims can very easily fall into that category as well. A kafir
is a "rejecter of the truth", a person who is convinced of Islam in his/her heart but for some reason or another rejects it. You are not allowed to call anyone a kafir
because you do not know what is in his/her heart, what he/she is convinced of or believes. That's up to God.
That's one down.
No where in the Quran are Jews or Christians referred to as mushrikeen
. A mushrik
is one who ascribes partners to God. While a lot of you anons like to say that believing in the trinity makes one a mushrik
, none of the Christians I know actually ascribe partners to God. And if you talked to any Christian and tried to explain to him/her that they are ascribing partners to God, they'd laugh in your face.
Furthermore, the Quran has NEVER addressed Christians as mushrikeen
Christians and Jews have been referred to as People of the Book. Why are you and your kind, who portend to speak for God, define them as mushrikeen
, denied to ALL Muslims by God?
Since you're so fond of pulling quotes from the Quran, what about these:
"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve". (2:62)
"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians and the Christians,- any who believe in God and the Last Day, and work righteousness,- on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve". (5:69)
"Those who believe (in the Qur'an), those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- God will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: for God is witness of all things". (22:17)
Not all who call themselves Muslims will enter heaven. Not all who do not call themselves Muslim will be condemned to hell. Look at 22:17...are Christians referred to as polytheists???? That verse CLEARLY separates them from the polytheists, the mushrikeen
you tell me I'm not allowed to marry, no?
What people like you, anons, are doing is filling in the silence of the Quran regarding the question of interfaith marriage for women. Neither the Quran nor the Sunnah explicitely forbid interfaith marriage for Muslim women. YOU are forbidding interfaith marriage.
"The halal is that which Allah has made lawful in His Book and haram is that which He has forbidden, and that concerning which He is silent He has permitted as a favour to you."
Reported in Al-Hakim.
So now please leave me alone unless you've been given some clear directive from God to change His word.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
My Breast Friends, part I
My workday starts at 8:30am, which means that if I leave my house at 7:45, I can make it to school, park, and be in my classroom by 8:15. I try to leave a bit earlier, though, because I have the kind of job where the day cannot begin until I arrive. If I'm not there, everything goes topsy turvy. Kinda makes me feel all powerful and mighty, but also keeps me up at night because I worry about oversleeping.
Alternate side parking forces me, however, to leave my house by 6:45 on Wednesdays so I can be assured a parking spot near the school and not in the dodgier areas of the school's godawful neighborhood. My father always leaves the house before I do, but this morning we crossed paths in the kitchen as I was making my tea. I kissed him good morning, went to my room to put my jacket on, returned to get my tea mug only to hear him tell me nervously:
"When you teach kids at the puberty age, you should wear things that won't distract them. You have to make sure to wear things that won't make them look at things."
"Uh huh," I said. This is not what a woman wants to hear from her father. And I'm sure it wasn't something he wanted to say either.
He continued, "I'm being serious. Didn't anyone tell you this? Hasn't anyone said anything?"
"Uh huh," I said again and just walked out.
I admit, the turtleneck I was wearing at home was slightly form fitting but only because you're supposed to wear a sweater over it. I left said sweater at work and was planning on wearing it when I got there. I didn't tell him this because the entire conversation was already offensive. At this age and level of my life, don't you think I know what I should and should not wear?
My breasts have always invited more attention than they should have, and most of it has usually been negative. Remember last summer's confrontation
It never really matters what I'm wearing. I could be wearing my 6'3" brother's x-large shirt and my breasts will still be there and someone will always have a comment. Now, I'm not saying that people shouldn't look at my breasts. If I'm wearing something that reveals cleavage, I KNOW that people (men and women) will look. If I'm wearing a tight shirt, people will look. I'm not saying that people ought not to look. People simply need to keep certain comments to themselves.
When I was younger and my mother was the one buying me all my clothing she'd always get me the largest size possible in tops. As a result, I would always be a walking fashion disaster. Certain clothes are meant to be form fitting. But because I had these mountains, she never thought them appropriate. When I finally started buying clothes for myself I was shocked when I realized that I wasn't the plus size my mother convinced me that I was.
I began resenting my big breasts. Having them denied me certain clothes I wanted to wear. When I would buy the large shirts, I'd look like a librarian. If I bought their medium counterparts, I'd be subjected to the "you want to show off your breasts...you're an exhibitionist" bullshit.
I began to be extremely aware of my breasts. They were there, ALL THE TIME. I couldn't go through a day without someone saying something stupid. People have often assumed that I use my breasts to get attention when the only reason I choose my tops is because they look much nicer when they actually fit than when I'm swimming in them. The problem, according to my mother, is that I have an hourglass figure and tight tops accentuate that. If I were slightly fatter, the big breasts in and of themselves wouldn't be a problem.
I hid my breasts when I got to Egypt for college. When I was out in the streets I'd wear a shirt over my shirt. Not happy with covering up like that, I also bought sports bras to squish them into oblivion. I wore what I wanted to wear when I was in AUC, but after a couple of months of crap I even stopped that.
When I got back to NY it took me some time to "unveil" and when I did I was accused of showing my puppies off. I just could never win with these breasts. It was always something.
I think I managed to develop some ill feelings towards my breasts as a result. Subconsciously, of course. I was never consciously ashamed of my breasts. But last year something happened that made me realize what kind of feelings I was really harboring about my breasts. I was ashamed of myself for feeling like that and for allowing my subconcious to dictate so many of the choices I've made in my life.
I think what bothers me the most in this is the liberty 95% of people take with regards to commenting on the breasts, whether it was to do with my clothing, cleavage, or general size. It's highly inappropriate. I don't care if you think that my clothes are tight. I don't care if you think my cleavage is hanging out. You don't have the right to criticize. If they bother you so much, don't look.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Never a Bride
Been invited to a bridal shower next month. I'm actually excited and am looking forward to it, but when I got the invite I just let out a long sigh. Once again I'm reminded that everyone around me is getting married or settling down and I haven't even been able to introduce the man in my life to my own parents.
It's time, I tell you. It's time I get off my lazy ass and do something about my static situation. Yes, I know I've complained about this a million times before
, but forgive me. This is the heavy burden of my soul. It's the itch that I can't seem to scratch and it refuses to go away.
Of course it won't just go away by itself. I'm a firm believer of not pushing things and giving events time to take their own course. And I thought (WISHED) that somehow, as time passed, my situation would perhaps resolve itself or that at least I'd become better equipped with the tools I need to fix my life. But as more time passes, the only thing that happens is increasing frustration at my fucking impotence.
What am I waiting for, you ask? Why don't I just rock the boat already and let things fall where they may? I mean, there's bound to be some calm after the storm. Maybe I need to finally let it loose.
I haven't been putting all this on the back burner. For the past few months I've been working frantically at figuring out a way to lessen the blow that's going to hit my parents. I've been talking with experts, sheikhs, and people who've been in this situation and have read every single opinion on the web. I've even found some sheikhs who would officiate an interfaith marriage such as ours. And while I've managed to gather more information than one's head should contain, I haven't found anything that would truly appease my parents.
I can't imagine a life without my parents in it. I can't imagine having a wedding without their presence. Can't imagine raising children without grandparents there to spoil them. It may never get to that point. I've been told that my parents may be angry for a little while and then perhaps they'd just get over it, but for right now I'm bracing for the absolute worst. I have not allowed a sliver of hope to enter my brain. Definitely better than thinking the best...at least if something halfway decent happens it'd be a truly joyous thing.
For the past two weeks I've had this inexplicable urge to walk into the house, sit my parents down, and tell them about my plans with the boyfriend. This urge started on my birthday. I had received some very bad news that day and as I was driving home I started feeling like I should just blurt everything out to them. I chickened out, of course, but this feeling hasn't gone away.
I have to plan all this carefully. I still live at home. It'd be really awkward to live at home after breaking this type of news.Was going to move out a couple of months ago, but it doesn't make sense if the BF and I are planning on doing this anytime soon. Better to save some more money and hopefully put a down payment on a home.
Uff. I can't even picture having a wedding. Planning a wedding. Having a shower. Being with family that's actually happy for me. I'm never going to have a normal engagement where the excitement builds up and the joy at finally getting to your destination is felt. This whole thing will just be a continuous struggle and I'll probably never feel what a bride should really feel. My cup will definitely runneth over when R and I finally make it, but it'll still be tainted by this whole drama.
So after all this ranting what am I going to do? I'm going to go make myself some hot chocolate, check out the gift registry for the bridal shower, put on a movie and wallow for the rest of the evening.
I promise you, one day I'll grow balls and you'll read a post entitled "I DUNNIT!". But for now, just let me enjoy my movie.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
A Hair's Tale
"Ya habibi, enti helwa by nature. Mish lazem teghayari ay haga, sha3rik, shafayfik, hawagbik...enti beautiful by nature" (Habibi, you're beautiful by nature. You don't have to change anything, your hair, your lips, your eyebrows). My father just said this to me as he was walking into his den, shaking his head at my latest hair"style":
(highlights are MUCH, MUCH
lighter than they appear)
I spent five hours at the salon today only to come out with the second worst highlights I've ever had. The first has GOT to be the one I got in Egypt about four years ago...my highlights back then came out PINK. Seriously. HOT PINK.
So now I have JLo highlights and look like practically every woman in Queens. Apparently all hairstylists in Queens graduated from the same beauty school because at this moment there is nothing to distinguish me from Fulana.
My mother loves my hair. So does her best friend, our next door neighbor. But they're also the kind of women whose ideal of beauty is that of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, slim and slender girl-next-door.
My father, on the other hand, is mortified. I've never seen such disappointment on his face. "Blonde? Why blonde? What was wrong with your beautiful hair?" he kept saying as he picked at my roots. He added the above addendum later, I suppose, in an attempt to make sure that I love myself as I am and don't resort to more drastic measures to change my appearance.
I hated my hair when I was younger. I hated my unruly curls, hated the deep black color. I remember staring at my hair in the mirror when I was eleven and crying. Really crying. I wanted so badly to color my hair, to make it a bit lighter. Not blonde, but a shade of brown or something. My mother had walked into my room in the middle of my tears to put away some laundry, asked me what was wrong, and immediately told me to stop being stupid (my mother has never been emotionally able).
When I got a bit older I dabbled with henna and had reddish tints in my hair throughout high school. I never colored my hair till I got to college. I spent six months with highlighted hair before I dyed my hair black again. Six months later I got highlights again, only to darken them once more. This has been going on and off for the past ten years. And you know what? The happiest I was with my hair was when I had finally stopped messing with it and just let it be.
So why did I decide to spend my entire Saturday at a salon??? I don't know. I just wanted a change, I suppose. Birthday blues and all (my birthday was HORRIBLE though I must give the boyfriend credit for turning my whole day around). And although I've never been lucky with highlights, I really thought today was going to be different. The boyfriend's niece has gorgeous hair and I figured that her stylist could be trusted.
I hate my hair. Truly hate it at the moment. I went by the drugstore on the way home and bought some dye, but am terrified to put anything else in my hair today. It has suffered enough if you ask me.
I will never, ever mess with my hair again. If, after ten years, I haven't been able improve upon nature, maybe I should leave well enough alone.
I often get the "look" when someone learns that I'm a die-hard Buffy fan. What kind of normal person would even admit to watching a show where the heroine's name is Buffy??
For those of you who have never watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS) you have NO idea what you're missing. This show was one of the greatest shows on television. Ever. Joss Whedon created a universe that can never be replicated and television has not been the same for me since Buffy and Angel went off the air.
SO, imagine how happy I was to see that Buffy LIVES
!!! I can't wait for this series!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
My Body is Mine
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Cute Daddy :)
My father always forgets my birthday. It was really nice, therefore, to see this on the calendar:
This little heart more than makes up for past forgotten birthdays :)
My favorite birthday presents (at least the ones I can remember...)
Lladro flamenco figurine
I've always loved Lladro figurines. I never bought myself one because I didn't want to get a figurine just because it was pretty. I wanted it to represent something, have some meaning.
On a visit to Granada one summer I went to a gypsy flamenco show. And was floored. Right then and there, the only thing I wanted to do was change my name to Carmen, run off with the gypsy guitarist, and live my life dancing. I searched for such a long time for a Lladro flamenco dancer and my heart skipped a beat when I received "Carmenita" as a present.
Tickets to an oldies show
When I was 16, my brother bought me tickets to an oldies revival at Madison Square Garden. This was at an age when my peers were listening to Sir Mix-A-Lot, Kris Kros, and freestyle was still popular. For my 16th, I spent the evening with The Ronettes, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and Dion and the Belmonts.
My obsession with the oldies started when we first came to this country. It was the only English I understood. The lyrics made sense and the songs all told linear stories. Very easy for a kid like me to grasp. To actually see the performers who helped me learn my English was a very special treat.
Tickets to see "Mamma Mia"
The first time I ever left the country on a trip of my own was when I was 17. The Italian Department at my high school planned a trip to Italy and I begged and pleaded for months to be able to go. One of the greatest and most memorable trips of my life. We went from Milan down to Rome in 10 days and I felt like I would burst from happiness. What a trip for a 17 year old girl!
Anywho, when we got to Florence we went to a club. Till this day I have no idea how my friends and I managed to get into that club, the underage beings that we were. I also have no idea how we managed to get drinks. It was at that club in Florence that I had my first drink; Sex on the Beach. I had no idea what it was, didn't even know it was alcohol. Just wanted to have it because it sounded cool.
I was then dancing non-stop. And when Abba's "Dancing Queen" came on, I was in my glory. ("You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen"). It was as if the song had been written with the future me in mind.
For my birthday last year, the BF took me to see "Mamma Mia" on Broadway. I spent over a month after seeing that show listening to Abba. Or, as my brother would say, obsessed with Abba. I could not stop talking about the show, so much so that when Toots returned from a trip to London he gave me an Abba postcard as a souvenir.
Gold Snake Bracelet
This bracelet is one of the most valuable things that I own. My grandmother died exactly one month before my 20th birthday. When we started clearing out some of her stuff from the drawers, I learned that one of the bracelets she had promised to give me was gone. She was in dire need of money and was too embarrassed to ask anyone for anything, so she ended up selling a lot of her own jewelry. I was really sad. Not because I necessarily liked it. I HATE snakes. Snakes and geckos bring out the banshee in me. But it made me feel special that she wanted to give me something that belonged to her.
A few weeks later, on my birthday, my mother and my aunt handed me the bracelet. They found the shop that my grandmother had sold the bracelet to and they bought it back for me. Made my heart melt.
$100 gift certificate from Barnes and Noble
My ex wasn't a rich man. He made barely enough to keep himself afloat. But we always had amazing times with each other and always found things to do that cost no money. The $100 gift certificate meant a lot for two reasons. One, coming from a man who lives from paycheck to paycheck, it was worth a fortune. Two, he could've gotten me a gift certificate from anywhere. But he knew that I had a special love for books. (He learned that the hard way when we spent close to an hour one evening at a bookstore...) It was good to know that he was paying attention.
Small enough to take anywhere. Brother went out of his way that day to make sure I got a special present. He had already seen how mopey I was with the prospect of turning 30 and wanted to make a grand gesture to get me out of my slump. He took the day off of school, visited three Best Buys before he was finally able to get me the camera. It's taken a lot of pictures since.
A party at FM
French Kitty planned a great big party for me at a local bar/club for my 26th. The boyfriend and I had broken up a couple of months before and I was feeling really down. Once I got to the party, though, I couldn't stop dancing. It was then that I realized that the best antidote for depression is dancing. To merengue.
Card from my grandfather
My grandfather used to send me the greatest birthday cards. He was such a fabulous man. I keep this card in a frame and this would definitely be one of the things I grab if my house were on fire.
Labels: birthdays, memories
Monday, January 08, 2007
Reading the New Yorker used to be a weekly pleasure of mine. I always looked forward to receiving my copy in the mail and would spend the entire week leafing through its contents. I recently let my subscription lapse and have been on withdrawal since.
I was looking for a book this past weekend in my "library" and found an old copy of the New Yorker that I had saved from March 27th of last year. I kept it because there was a piece in there that had knocked me off my feet. Calvin Trillin, longtime journalist, had written one of the saddest, loveliest, funniest stories I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. And I kept rereading the twelve pages it over and over and over again.
"Alice, Off the Page" was a posthumous love letter that Trillin wrote for his wife who died from cancer five years ago. I was jealous. No man will ever love me the way this man loves his late wife, or at least be able to express it in that way. (The boyfriend loves me, for sure, but he loves me in a sort of Santa Esmeralda "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" kind of way).
I just learned that a slightly expanded version of this essay has been published into "About Alice". I can't wait to get my hands on that book.Here
is the essay as it ran in the New Yorker. It's very, very, VERY long, but definitely worth a read.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
We're supposed to hit 70 degrees today (20 or so for my celsius friends). 70 during a month where the maximum average temperature should be around 40 (4 celsius).
This has been the warmest New York City winter I can remember. Four years ago I literally froze my ass off on January 10th. It was so cold that day, icy cold, and I was convinced that all my extremities were going to break off. It's one of the reasons I hate winter and wish I could migrate south like the birds every year. So far we've only had four icy days since the start of our winter.
Trust me, I complain not. I'd much rather have this kind of winter than our usual one. It's a little worrisome with regards to the ozone and all, but since I can't do anything about it at the moment I'm going to take myself into the city and enjoy what will probably be the warmest day of winter.
Babies on the Brain
Went to see the Bond flick tonight (which was really good, but awfully long) and as I drove home I started feeling some strange emotions, like there was something I was supposed to have but didn't. When I parked my car outside the house I couldn't get myself out. I sat there listening to a song and reclined the seat back a little bit.
Is it possible to miss something you never even had? Because at that moment I started missing my unborn daughter. It sounds ridiculous even as I write it.
I never wanted to have children. When I was younger, there was none of that tugging at the heart or biological ticking going on. Why would I ever want to bring a child into this world? I didn't have the best of childhoods and I know it's had a huge impact on the way I live my life today. I simply did not want to have a child and make it go through the bullshit I've had to go through.
Two years ago, however, this resistance to having children began to disappear. I saw my curly haired daughter in a dream and I was in love. I've been aching for this girl ever since. I've got a song for her all picked out ("mi dulce nina, tu eres mi vida, contigo nina quiero pasar los dias") and I've got all the love in the world waiting to be poured on her.
Am not sure why babies have been on my mind this much recently. I'm not worried about the biological clock. I think I've got another good six to eight fertile years left and even if they pass me by there's always adoption (if any Muslim even thinks of writing in and telling me that adoption is not allowed in Islam I will snap your neck. You've been given fair warning).
I'm emotionally ready to have children. I have things to offer them, stories to impart, recipes to pass on. I may not be financially ready at the moment, but who is? That gets sorted out along the way. My parents were broke when they had me. And they remained broke till I hit my teens.
Maybe the babies on the mind is due to the fact that I really AM ready. And am with the person I want to have them with. It's just too bad that we've got to jump over all these hurdles to start on our happily ever after.
Monday, January 01, 2007
New Years Blah
Spent the entire day uploading music on my new iPod, an early birthday present courtesy of the boyfriend. He was trying to keep it a secret (my birthday is next week) but his brother slipped up during a New Year's Eve gathering last night and let the cat out of the bag. BF had no choice but to give it to me. Well, he had a choice. But my nagging kinda got in the way.
Uneventful day, really. I hate big days. Big arbitrary days that are supposed to demarcate your life. It's too much pressure. I felt like I should've been doing something today, enjoying it somehow. First day of the rest of your life kinda thing. Instead, my iPod and I got to know each other and I watched eight episodes of "Love Soup". And I didn't get out of my jammies.
I'm getting bored with the pace of my life. This job sucked me into a whirpool that I keep having difficulty getting out of. I can't remember the last time I went to the gym or did something just for myself. I don't even know what my hobbies are anymore, that's how long it's been that I've done something fun.
So here are some of my New Years resolutions:
1. Make quality time for myself
I'm dedicated to my job, but there is such a thing as TOO dedicated. I will try to do something different/fun at least once a week. I'll take a cooking class, art class, language class, anything. But it's got to be something that has nothing to do with my job. I'm open to suggestions.
2. Spend quality time with:
Can't recall the last time I spent time with a friend. Shit, I can't remember the last time I SAW a friend.
I may live with my parents, but there is nothing quality about the time I spend with them. I'm not sure what I can do to improve it. My father is glued to his computer, my mother is addicted to her ART. It doesn't help, either, that I'm living a secret life.
3. Spend quality time with the boyfriend
I see him mostly for a couple of hours on the weekends and while it may have been acceptable for a while, it's beginning to wear and tear our relationship. All of the fights we've been getting into all revolve around the fact that I want to spend quality time with him. In either case, we gotta pick up the pace on this relationship. We keep treading carefully on thin ice, afraid to make any big moves but I'm afraid if we don't make them soon we're going to keep having problems.
Hmmmmm....seems "quality" is the buzz word for this year.