free stats Carmen's Web: May 2008
Friday, May 09, 2008
Palestinian Hip Hop Live in NYC!
Back in April I went to see Slingshot Hip Hop, a documentary that chronicles the explosion of Palestinian hip hop, at Lincoln Center. I had heard about it from my colleague whose friend worked with several of the volunteers who helped get the documentary ready in time for the Sundance Film Festival and was told that it was a must-see.

I didn't go expecting that this was something that I would enjoy. I've never really been big on hip hop. When we first came to this country it was the Beatles who taught me English and the Oldies that I clung to. It was lovely existing in Motown where most of the problems centered on matters of the heart. I could relate to that. I could never relate to hip hop as I was growing up. Tupac was too raw for me, too confrontational. I couldn't understand his pain and frustration. I may have enjoyed the rhythmic style of Kurtis Blow, but always preferred the lyrics of the Temptations.

I have no doubt in the world that my life would have turned out differently if I had immersed myself in hip hop. I may have ended up less broody and more assertive as a teenager.

Anyway, this post, for once, is not about me :)

It's about the emerging voices of Palestinian youth, how they use hip hop as a new form of resistance. Slingshot Hip Hop chronicles their journeys and if it's showing at a theater next to you, run and grab a seat. I promise you will enjoy the ride.

For those of you in NYC you can (MUST) go and see DAM and Sabreena da Witch live next week. They will be performing in Brooklyn (Park Slope) on Tuesday, May 13th at 8pm at Southpaw. While I myself may not be in love with Arabic hip hop, I have much love for these talented young performers.

Buy yourself a ticket and go support these boys and girls who are giving a new face to resistance.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 11:11 PM
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Thursday, May 08, 2008
A (Very) Long Engagement
R and I just realized the other day that we've got less than a hundred days to our wedding.

A hundred days.

It might as well be a hundred years.

When we first got engaged we both thought it would be a good idea to have a long engagement. I had to deal with my parents, they had to learn to accept us, we had to figure out a way to save enough money (we're paying for financial aid here). A year would be good enough for significant changes to be made and have all parties in question happy.

A year, however, has proven to be more stressful than I had anticipated. I'm not a issues with the wedding have nothing to do with whether the color palettes match or how the invitation is worded. I worry, instead, about whether my mother (who hasn't spoken to me in over two months) is even going to come to my wedding. Shopping for a wedding dress without her was painful. Deciding on a menu for the reception without her made me sad. I kept trying to think of all the food that she would have wanted at a wedding and I hated not having her advice. Registering for household items without her was confusing - Do I need an artisan mixer? How many pots and pans should I actually own? What about place setting?? Who the hell knows about this shit? I don't know what I need in a kitchen! I have one pot, one pan, four forks and spoons, and a handful of cups. That's all I, as a person living by myself, really need. What does a family need??

Planning the wedding by myself has been hard. There is no joy in it. If I do manage to find an inkling of joy, it gets sucked out right away the minute I think of my mother. It's frustrating. Because at 32 I DO NOT want to have momma issues. But here I am, full of them.

A long engagement has only exacerbated the stress of a wedding. I have cold (frozen) feet, doubt, fear, and anxiety. I have panic attacks at least once a month and those are NO JOKE. My chest tightens and I struggle to breathe. It really is a frightening experience. I wake up every day scared because I have no idea when another attack is going to hit. Ugh.

A couple of years ago a close family friend's daughter was getting married. She was nineteen years old and I couldn't believe her parents were going to let her get married. I refused to go to the wedding. Nineteen is too young and I didn't want to be happy for her. Yes, I was being judgmental. And I was probably a little obnoxious when I voiced my disapproval. But the whole thing just felt inappropriate.

My father, in the midst of my very long rant, told me that this was the perfect age for a girl to get married. Any older than this, or say 25, was too old. When you're young love is fresh and you're blind to the bullshit of marriage. You are less likely to miss your independence or worry about compatibility. Women over 25, he said, don't really fall in love. They may grow to become comfortable with someone, but they don't fall in love. They marry out of necessity or a fear of being alone.

My father is also a man who firmly believes that women have no sexual appetites.

I wonder, though, if i would have had the same cold feet if I were getting married at a younger age. Take away the interfaith and the family drama - that's enough to drive anyone crazy, young or old. But at this age I am so comfortable with my independence. I fought tooth and nail for it. I broke away from unquestioned traditions and cut an unhealthy umbilical cord. I've EARNED my independence and I fear that this will diminish once I get married. I won't be able to do everything I want to do. I have to worry about how things will affect my significant other.

I'm so set in my ways, as is R. We're both in our thirties and have been doing things our own way for years. Now we have to learn to compromise and I ABHOR that word. I like things MY way. I now have to worry about how HE likes it?? Please.

A hundred days away. I'm excited, but please pray that I get through these days with my mind intact.


Thoughts shared by Carmen at 5:33 PM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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