December 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Disclaimer: The following post contains random acts of narcissistic griping.
So for all that no one can see it, it’s pretty amazing how much of my identity is wrapped up in my hair. I got a botched dye job months ago in pursuit of the trendy “ombre” look and it looked absolutely horrible, The transition down the strands of my usual dark locks to blonde (yes, I know, what was I thinking) was about as subtle as Elton John.
So, I cut it all off. And subsequently got super depressed about my hair.
I mean, it’s just hair, right? I cut it, it grows back. But I looked so different without long hair. I wake up, look in the mirror, inspect my desi ‘fro and think, ‘damn girl, you fugly!’
And now, of course, is my usual end-of-the-semester-growing-out-my-eyebrows phase.I leave my tormented eyebrows alone until just before the start of spring semester when I get them freshly threaded. So on top of mourning my short hair I have to contend with bushy eyebrows. GOD MY LIFE IS SO HARD.
Last night I had another dream that my hair was long. Le sigh.
At least now it’s long enough that I can tie it back and no strands escape. I should be good in another six months and completely content in a year. iA.
I’m never dyeing or cutting my hair again! I love my hair I love my hair I love my hair.
It’s growing back in quite healthy I have to say. It’s difficult to keep the flat iron away but so far I’ve been resisting.
October 17, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Today, I am grateful that this ginormous zit on my chin is the biggest problem in my life right now.
October 16, 2012 § Leave a Comment
I heard my wheel make that adrenaline-spiking “THUP THUP THUP” noise and pulled over onto the shoulder immediately.
It’s terrifying being on the highway when you’re not the one driving. The air being displaced by 18-wheelers and oil tankers thundering by shook my car over and over again, and pelted my face with pieces of gravel when I got out to inspect the damage.
The tire didn’t look visibly flat. I called Florida Highway Patrol anyway because the noise had been enough to terrify me to pull over. (The long story involves dialing FHP and getting a list of menu options I couldn’t decipher, then calling 911, then getting routed to an officer in West Palm Beach who routed me to an officer in Orlando, finally.)
They said they’d send a Road Ranger.
When the truck pulled up with lights blinking and a white man in his 50s got out, I steeled myself.
I thought he would be someone who hated his job, someone who spent his days feeling put-upon and annoyed at crazy motorists, and worst of all I was resigned to dealing with someone who would look down on me and talk down to me and try to make me second-guess myself.
But he wasn’t like that at all. He listened and took me seriously when I told him what happened. He tucked his lanky body into the space between the chalky barricade and my car like he could have been there all day, carefully inspecting the wheel for damage. Not once did he belittle me or make me feel stupid.
After he had changed the tire and checked the air pressure of the other ones, I tried to give him some money. He rebuffed, even when I insisted.
I got back in my car. In my rear view mirror I saw him standing by his truck, motioning to motorists who weren’t changing lanes with both arms like he was throwing fish. They dutifully turned on their blinkers and switched lanes so I could merge back onto the highway.
I never got his name, but I’ll never forget him.
I prepare every day for a thousand little cuts and wounds, but I don’t prepare for kindness.
I think from now on, I will.
October 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Yesterday, I did not mean to eat a mini guava pastry, cupcake and a cup of weird-tasting soda, but I did, because it was there and I was there.
I was at Channel 9 logging football scores. As the night grew longer and the scores began to trickle and then pour in, I could feel my shoulders growing tighter and tighter and my breaths becoming shorter and shorter.
Don’t get me wrong, it was exhilarating. I felt like Mr. Universe:
After the last score was in, I finally took a deep breath. I laid myself down on the ground (no one blinked an eye) and felt my back and shoulders crack in three places.
The web manager asked me something and I shot up like a cartoon character. I did feel a little silly lying on the floor.
After I got home and in bed, I let my torso hang over the side of my bed to let gravity do its thing. I did a few sit-ups. I may have even cried a little.
I wanted a bowl of ice cream, but went to sleep instead.
This morning when I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror and thought, Damn, I look good. I can’t lose this.
Of course, on closer inspection I thought I can lose this and this and this, but you know what I mean.
That’s just one day. What if I had a shift like that every day? What if I wanted a bowl of ice cream every day?
What happens when I leave college? I need a plan.
I used to think it was difficult to keep the weight off in college, but UCF is probably the only reason I still fit into most of the same clothes. God bless it for being as sprawling as the city in which it resides.
I can’t afford to tell myself I’ll get healthy when I graduate. This is probably the healthiest I’ll ever be in my life unless I take steps to ensure it remains that way (or gets better) for the duration of my career.
Here is the beginning of a plan:
- bring my own food
- resist food that I did not myself bring to work
- resist pressure, real or imagined, to eat work goodies
- bring a ton of water and chug away
- arrive early and walk around Lake Eola before my shift
God willing, it works. I like being slender, but I will jeopardize it because I like journalism more.
Here’s to having both.
September 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
Writing is hard, and I ‘effing hate it.
For a gal pursuing a career in journalism, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who hates writing as much as I do.
I make a cup of coffee to steel myself. Then I make one more. I watch endless hours of British period dramas on Netflix to avoid the soul-crushing pain of confronting a blinking cursor in a terrifyingly blank Word document.
I. Hate. Writing.
Until I don’t.
Until the moment I bite the bullet and open those GODDAMN, WHY DO YOU EXIST, I HATE YOU RECORDER, YOU SOUL-CRUSHING INNOCUOUS LOOKING PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY THAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HELP ME interview MP3 files, pore over my notes, take those first trembling clickety-clacks of my keyboard, confront confront confront, I hate you confrontation … and simply write.
Tell a story. Hey girlfraaaand, let me tell you a story.
Sometimes I imagine starting my lede with “This is a story all about how _____’s life got flipped, turned upside down” but I don’t, because I didn’t know that entire line until I looked up the lyrics to the opening of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air just now.
Sometimes I really wish I was the daughter of a rich landowner who could flounce around in pretty dresses all day and never have to write a damn thing. Not one. Damn. Thing.
But then I don’t, because my philandering husband would go out, get syphilis and bet all the money on the horses. Also, I hate wearing dresses. Loathe.
I love having written. Having told a story.
Getting it off my chest, because I can’t not do it, I can’t not subject myself to this hair- and hijab-pulling, terrifying, beautiful, fraught with pitfalls of terror and avoid-at-all-cost error, this being a soldier on the front lines of history and telling a story about a real human being who breathes/d and loves/d and cries/d and lives/d.
Seek truth and report it.
I will probably never weigh what I once weighed before I got myself into this relationship. I will eat too much of the wrong things and drink too much coffee. I will cry and become furious. I will wish I was anywhere but here. I will always find my way back.
I will write about real human beings who lived.
August 21, 2012 § 6 Comments
My grandmother, whom we lovingly referred to as Nani Jaan, just passed away on Thursday. Her funeral was Friday. It’s slowly starting to hit me that I’m never going to see her again in this life. I just shoo’d the cat off the table because I was afraid he was going to pick at Nani’s leftover anda and roti (eggs and bread) but there was no anda and there was no roti. I’m never going to be able to make a cup of chai for Nani or roll my eyes when she asks me where I’m going or when I’ll be back. My mom always said we’d miss her when she’s gone but I didn’t believe her. I hope she forgave me for anything bad I ever did to her. I wish she was here so I could do everything over again and not get so impatient with her.
I slept for 16 hours yesterday. All the stress and lack of sleep for the last two weeks finally hit me. I can’t even imagine what my mom and her brothers and sisters are going through, losing their mom. That’s their mother. No matter how hard we try we can never replace our mother. Once she’s gone she’s not coming back to this life. It’s us who have to join her in the akhirah, in a good place, the best place insha Allah.
I’m glad though, that she went peacefully in the last 10 days of Ramadan. Her janaazah was on the final Friday of Ramadan. There were so many people at the funeral prayers. She was a strong woman, and well-loved.
I miss her. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for her. None of us in this family would.
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon. To God we belong and to Him we shall return.
August 3, 2012 § 4 Comments
In 2007, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I had struggled with it since I was 14 years old but it wasn’t until I was 19 that I was officially diagnosed and put on medication. After a few false starts, I found a combination that worked. With attention to diet, exercise and spirituality I found my life was changed forever in a good way. I could make long-term plans for myself without losing hope that four or three months down the road I would be in a deep dark depression.
Although I came to terms with the disorder, I still felt ashamed of it. I started an anonymous blog so I could write about my struggle with it without feeling exposed.
Every Ramadan, I started fasting with the intention of completing the whole month. Every Ramadan, I stopped fasting halfway, in tears because my disorder reared its ugly head with another episode. This Ramadan has been no different. People with bipolar disorder are very sensitive to changes in routine, especially sleep. Waking up at 4 a.m. and going to sleep after midnight threw me into a tailspin. I started missing more and more salah until I had fasted for two days without praying. I’ve just had to put the brakes on and get my priorities straight. Do I want to be healthy and pray on time, or fast and not pray because I’m depressed or hyper-manic?
“I wish my illness knew how great my life was so it would leave me alone.”
I saw this quote on PostSecret one day. It completely encapsulates how I feel.
I still want to try fasting a few days so I can feel a connection to my family as they fast this Ramadan. I have to take care of my health too. Reading Saba’s Ramadan Tale at Morning Wind inspired me to write this post. I’m not the only one struggling and feeling frustrated because I feel like a bad or not-good-enough Muslim.
I hope I can make up for it. I hope Allah knows I tried, and am trying. I hope it is enough.