I’d rather be Cinderella

Today, I’m wondering how I grew up to be a feminist, why gender equality was and still is one of the main agendas of my life, I don’t know when I wanted to break the stereotype of a pretty girl and become a successful one, an independent one, a talented one, a smart one, just like most men in my culture. I don’t know when, and why, and how. Because today, I’m sitting where I wished to be ten years ago and contentment is the farthest thing it seems. I’d rather be Cinderella, dreaming of a prince charming for freedom and my rescue.

I wish, like most of those I knew, I’d dream about a prince to come to my rescue, to be married off and be taken care of, provided for, forever. I always was the one on the horse you see, haha, ironic, isn’t it?

My grandparents told me to be myself, live freely, soiled thoughts of individuality and rights in my mind, books taught me better than to judge others and my religion helped me understand the essence of life, it’s not in comparison but unison. At 21, I was a fully formed woman, like many other out there, I believed in myself and looked out for myself, always finding a balance between the desires and the right, always tried being ‘good’ and as much as I loved being my individual self, I allowed myself to follow what was taught to me by my parents, elders, religion, friends, the world. This world. That was my mistake.

I put others before me for more than half my life, from tiny negligible things to major life changing decisions, didn’t complain, didn’t regret, it worked out good for everyone. Till I considered myself among the ‘everyone’.

I miss my old self-today because I can’t find it in me anymore, I can’t put others before me, not when my world was deprived of someone to do the same for me. At every point in life, I achieved more, more than needed, more than asked, more than expected, more than my peers did, until it became a habit, a tradition. I made lemonades all my life and in the end, it didn’t even matter because who asks what you got, they don’t look at what you did but what you have in the end. The road doesn’t matter to anyone, not that it should, but why then, do I put them before me and make my life unnecessarily deprived.

I worked up my way on the metal ladder that life blessed me with, no silver spoons, no diamond glass, only earth and metal and I used every last ounce of it. I climbed to where everyone couldn’t and was proud of myself. Was, because I was made to believe that there isn’t a thing to be proud of.

Everyday is a struggle for me, I wish to know if there’s someone out there experiencing the same, or someone out there who knows and understands if not going through it, I wish to know its not that I’m too whiny to be happy. I’m a career oriented women, I’m one of those who feel that work is as important as family, likely, I’m very particular about my mental and physical health. Most days I’m told how I need to focus only on looks and disregard health, physical or mental, to look beautiful. My skin, my hair, my complexion, my weight, all is a matter of public discussion, its sad and some days they get to me, making me feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

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Wedding Planning Fiasco

The thing is everything is going to make you wanna cry, Everything (almost)!

I was in denial for the most part of my engagement, I didn’t want to think about the marriage as it didn’t only freak me out, it also made me avoid my fiance. I wasn’t ready then, I doubt I’m ready even now but that’s to discuss for another today. Today, I’m definitely not in denial. Today, I’m planning (read freaking out) for the wedding and it’s a disaster.

First of all we don’t have a Big Day, we have a Big fat week! yea that’s right, a whole week of events and gatherings and guess who pays for it all? Well, the girl and her father. What shit, right? Right! Although I wouldn’t complain a lot as my man and his family have been beyond supporting, we’ve shared major expenses and he’s always been considerate of my wishes for the wedding, him and his family have fallen out the stereotypical wagon and have not once placed any deranged demand for dowry or like. Which is yet another topic for another post, for now I’m going to share a little bit of my madness with you in a hope to keep my mind sane, and my job (I don’t talk/write bullshit for a living- I actually research and run projects- yikes!) intact!

So yea, why is everything (and everyone) going to make you cry before your wedding? Because you’re either going to be so emotionally happy about it or completely mad. Let me give you some context here, I was ordering my invitation cards and I’ve been designing them in my head for a while now. I researched and picked ones that I liked the most and made a few alterations in my head. Now, normally I would be flexible ( or not, but meh) but I wanted the details to be precisely as I instructed and no one, including my dearest mother, would get how desperately I wanted so and I ended up being frustrated so much and to the point that I would cry. I spent 43 days of finding vendors, explaining designs and being told how what I ask is not possible or suggested to go with their catalog design, 43 days of sharing pictures and details with vendors all over the world in a hope to find the one that would comply. I thought of changing designs but that only made me more sad as its not what I want and since I would rather not marry in the first place, the overwhelm took over. 43 days and some three digit vendors later I did find one that made similar traditional cards and well then it took another week to be on the same page for the price. In the end, it worked out and I cried because I was happy to have it off my Everest-like To-Do list.

That brings me to the next point, you’re going to spend so much of money and you’re going to regret each ounce of it! Self-righteousness takes over your mind and heart but doesn’t takeover you and hence you do spend (read waste) money on things you desire oh so badly and then stay up all night contemplating your expenses and how your being in budget and all didn’t help at the least.

‘I’d rather do charity than a feast of three days for 400 people each.’

‘Let’s spend all that money on honeymoon instead of a fancy gathering.’

‘Building a house or investing all that money is better than wasting it on a party!’

‘How do these people afford such extravagance, I’d never spend that much amount on decorations or clothes.’

Wondered that?  Said that? Well, I’ve been there, done that! But if you’re going to turn all Chandler on me, let me tell you its not just a party!

I’m really, really particular about events and this ones my very own. I try to work on smallest of details for birthdays and even presentation days, I don’t want to let go the one week that I’m probably going to remember for a long, long time, if all goes well (in shaa Allah) I’ll remember it forever so I might as well work on it. Yea, I’ll try not spending all of the money I don’t even have.

I’ve been pretty organized with my planning, got journals and lists and folders but that doesn’t reduce the stress, not at the least. The variety you have for the smallest of details is overwhelming but welcome, the interference of all those relatives and neighbors on the other hand, isn’t. You’re already worried and freaked out, they need to add the sour icing to your salty cake.

God forbid, you thought it was your day. well its for all your family, immediate and extended, its for them to rejoice and gossip and discuss until the next wedding comes along. Sad, I know, but when you’re deep in the planning, its hell and it makes you cry all the same as it would when you gotta repeat your exam because your answer sheet got lost in the crowd. Not your fault, can do nothing about it.

An advice, don’t ever get sick or pick up an illness that affects your lifestyle a year before the wedding, no one understands the emotional and mental trauma you’re going through and it just makes it impossible to focus on anything but.

And in the middle of all this, if your career is growing and demanding more of you, well good luck to you!

Don’t get Harassed.

Seriously, what special kind of a fool are you?

I hear people suggesting to ‘Move on’ ‘Learn to Ignore’ ‘I’m sorry’ on most of the harassment matters, funny how I’ve never heard the same comment passed for those robbed, mugged, killed, tell me, when was the last time you requested of the victim to be careful not to get robbed or killed. Just what I thought.

The hate we have for those who steal, break, kill, rape, varies on the extent of their crimes, it’s funny how Harassment is only considered ‘unethical’ and not ‘illegal’ save for some places, many of which account it as merely a document and less than an active practice.

I’m done trying to not be harassed. Educate your children better, specially your sons, teach them better, make them better. Please. Because when you don’t they raise up to become offenders of the worst kind, how is it worse you ask? Because unlike criminals they hardly get penalized, hardly learn from their mistakes, hardly given a chance at correction, because unfortunately, most of the offenders don’t even realize their major offense towards those harassed, unfortunately, again, its women.

I’m not okay with men being harassed either, not at the least, but within my social circle and online community, I’ve never come across a case where a man was harassed and then offended, also I’m not a man so I’d leave their fight to them. Today, I’m speaking for women, all women, of race, ethnicity and gender without borders and boundaries. I don’t ask you why? I don’t expect an answer or a reason, I urge you to stop! Stop the behavior and habit of publicly or privately being unkind to women, anywhere, anytime, anyone.

If you’re unsure of what counts as harassment, its saying anything to a stranger you wouldn’t say to your mom or your sister. Even when you want to flirt, it can be done ethically, restricting yourself to a manner that is respectful, kind, and compassionate. Don’t ever make her feel like an object, but that’s what you do, all those pickup lines out there, personifying women as some sort of object to enjoy is offensive too and throwing it to her at the most inappropriate of places at the most inconvenient of times, you must be seriously deranged. But no, you’re an average boy too smart for your own good, you feel its funny sometimes to comment on a girl like that, you think its daring to be able to sing a useless line to her, or whatever else goes on in your pea sized brain, its not. It’s not daring, smart, or funny. Not at the least. So please, stop.

I wouldn’t tell you how to approach someone you like, but I’m sure of one thing, you possibly can’t be in love with a stranger in a day so never ‘confess’ it to her in a day either, and never comment on her body and expect her to respect you in return, even when complimented, she’d never take you seriously if that’s what’s on your mind.

I wish people would stop commenting on girls to be careful and act better and start educating men around them, of all age, of all kind. There is no man too young, just like you put it ‘ there isn’t a girl too careful’. Although the latter seems to boil off my nerves, but I’d let it slide by just as most of you would request me to.

Before I end my post, this isn’t a rant, it’s not just some topic I chose to babble about today, it’s a matter we need to address every single day in a hope that it would reach the right people and save if not all, at least one victim from the humiliation.

I’ve been harassed online, in a game and on social media, on places where the only info displayed was my sex: female, what do I take from that?

I’ve been harassed offline, in hospitals and schools, at malls when with family, what kind of protection do you expect me to have in an educating institute or when with my father?  Don’t suggest me ways to be careful, don’t dare say to another woman that it’s somehow her fault she got harassed, if that’s what you feel, I’m sorry you lack soul and dignity but I’m also glad, because only one who haven’t been harassed can go around saying that, expecting that.

Powerpoint Over Weighing Scale!

Last night we had guests over and it was a good evening, good until I decided to not hide in my room and join the female guests in the dining area. The conversations escalated quickly, I was asked about my life and gleefully I shared how the company I worked for and left called me back and gave me a raise, how I’m working at a managerial position that I could’ve only dreamed about at the age of 24, that, despite the hard laws and economic distress I feel lucky to be blessed with such an opportunity, well I would’ve shared if it wasn’t for the comment after just about two words from my mouth.

“Oh that is good, it would fix your routine and you wouldn’t gain more weight. But do take two months off before the wedding to work on yourself” goes beyond saying they meant work on me physically, get rid of dark circles, have a glowy skin and shit.

I possibly couldn’t have seen it coming and she caught me completely off guard. I didn’t have an answer to that, couldn’t have an answer to that, it wasn’t even a question.

Its not the first time I’ve been commented on my appearance, I can’t help but wonder if it was her son that was appointed as a Manager at such a young age in such a reputed company, if it were just any other guy who secured a good position while majority of the companies in the country sacked out experienced and old employees, I wonder how she or any other female in the room would’ve reacted on that. I’m pretty sure they would’ve been thrilled and congratulated the mother on having such a honhaar (talented) son.

I don’t want to talk about my condition here, let us assume that I’m fat because of my own actions, even then it is beyond me how it gets prioritized over the rest. Is it because of your lack of ability to be happy for another? especially when it’s a SHE? Or the habit to avoid professional achievements of a girl?

This comment only shows how my career doesn’t matter to you as I’m a female, I don’t think I’ll be able to move past it again. I would never compare myself to your daughter, or anyone else for that matter, never until today. Because I want to ask the world if being a makeup artist, being a vlogger, being adept at cleaning and cooking or just being ridiculously pretty is any better than being a Manager in a renowned organization? Because from where I come from, all those things you ask of me don’t make me great, don’t earn me money, don’t help me share the burden of my father, don’t pay my bills, don’t make me equal to men of my age, don’t even help me be a better Muslim or a better person, it only makes me a girl, nothing beyond, nothing more, and how foolishly worthless that is.

Sorry if this offended you in any way, I’m not against any girls that choose to be one of those, because that’s who they are, that’s what they choose to do, but what about the ones that have a heart of a unicorn? The ones that prefer reading over dressing up, prefer writing over music, prefer office over a kitchen, profession over love, isolation over solidarity, learning over makeup, games over gossips!

Why are they unacceptable? Why are they deemed ‘wrong’? Why are they so alien to you?

I’m genuinely looking for an answer. Till then, Powerpoint Over Weighing Scale!

This probably does not make any sense.

A book lay on the bed,
my book,
the blue book;

The wind lifts the cover away,
forces it open,
reveals the contents;

A crown sits atop the book,
the blue book,
on a big bed;

The crown takes the shape of a cage,
with thorns of diamonds,
covering the glass and metal;

The breeze moves the crown away,
blue book wide open,
the parchment untouched;

The crown sits on the bed,
my blue book now white,
bleeding edge of the throne;

Breeze brings red,
the vision all blurred,
nothing but a painful silhouette.