Picking out the shoes to step forward (aka plans bc epiphany)

This weekend was different than usual. Saturdays are usually reserved for Aiman and I time, but because of school obligations, he couldn’t make it until Saturday night. I took the opportunity to collect much needed hours from the lab, which I did (6!).

Actually, the daIMG_2984y was super disorganized. Firstly, Aiman was supposed to arrive at 4, which is when I would finish my workday. This was because the dress I was wearing happened to be severely transparent, and my polka-dotted panties literally turned heads. I made it very clear to Aiman that I would not be making the mile trip home through campus AGAIN. Being the unironic- chivalrous man he is (thank you, mother in law), he insisted I stay in the lab and wait for him to drive me home. He arrived by 7:30, passing on the info that he would be returning home to fulfill those aforementioned obligations, then return home to me tonight. My jaw dropped, he took me to buy greasy food from Detroit Street, then dropped me off with my heart-burn grenade of jalapeno poppers (spice!) and a chicken parm sandwich (which sucked this time, yikes).

 

True to his word, he came back and brought me my Oreos. I proceeded to inhale them, plus the other new release (pb chocolate pie). I actually ate so many that my back began to ache by this evening. We also went out for brunch and split a carb-y English muffin sandwich. No pictures of that, but look at my plumpy self, looking all cute and attractive to Aiman!

Which brought me to my epiphany. Why do I keep breaking my vows to avoid food that triggers my muscle pain? And why do I break when it comes to Oreos? Especially when I am wrestling with the palm oil in them and increasingly believe that palm oil is a vegan issue and that those who say it is an environmentalist issue use labels as a way to fucking-drop-the-ball. And it is grossly similar to white feminism being anti-feminism. Nothing but harm is accomplished by the end of the week.

So, why in the hell do I fantasize about quality dessert flavored cheap desserts? It may be a get around to my ban of quality desserts. meaning no more bakery items. From here on, I will eat the damn dessert I am trying to find in a shitty Oreo cookie. I am very excited about this.

Also, Aiman and I are looking into local exercise facilities, and I’m really eyeing an indoor pool facility. I very much want to return to swimming, majorly because of the pride I had when my stamina could kick ass. Like 3 straight hours of anaerobic exercise. I also miss having a functioning metabolism, and honestly, I need a sport that matches my eye for dessert.

Because Aiman is more interested in weights, I agreed that I’d go with him to the gym for accessory and strength exercises alongside swimming. I understand that “lift heavy, get thick” aesthetic for women these days seems radically fit, but in reality, their cardio and stamina is for shit. A dirty potato lasts longer than some women when it comes to practical sport. Exercise isn’t all anabolic…

SO, I HAVE LISTED HABITS THAT WE WILL PRACTICE IN OUR SOON TO BE SHARED HOUSEHOLD:

1.) NO BOTTLED HANDSOAP; why waste plastic packaging when you could use bar soap? I can’t believe we as a society got hooked into foaming and liquid handsoap. That’s what I use in my bathroom currently.

2.) REDUCE PALM OIL; that means taking a serious knock to processed treats, namely cookies and candy. But the orangutans are more fucked than we ever will be (unless fascism really sticks and starts coming for Middle Easterners before we elope to Canada).

3.) NO NON-VEGAN COSMETICS; I replaced my nail polish remover and have taken a hard stance against buying new nail polish. I also picked a vegan hairspray versus the cheaper Pantene brand. I also have a replacement for the Simple moisturizer I’ve been using for the past five years; it’s an alba botanical one and I hope it works.

4.) LIMIT NEW HOUSEWARE; that means no buying things from primary sellers; instead, we’re getting them from secondary retailers like TJ Maxx, thrift stores, and Overstock. You know, places where things that don’t get sold and will stop being manufactured anyway end up. Yay for reduced demand readings.

uhhhh, that’s all for now, the manifesto will continue soon. Also, Aiman and I are going to buy my dowry gold (LMAO) next weekend, so await my description of Arab-Islamic marital traditions.

PS: Aiman’s Persian mother has arranged for me to do customary engagement party things like henna, cardamom play?, and other stuff I don’t know because I’m Lebanese and we’re a special breed of secular. Did I mention my family’s also no-frills when it comes to culture?

Ps, my father is leaving for Lebanon for a week and I so envy him. The beach? The ocean? The mountain? Adoring family? NO OBLIGATION?????

Augh my neck is starting to hurt badly….

A break from the world midweek

Today, I celebrated the Fourth with Aiman. We had decided earlier to watch a communal fireworks show, which we haven’t really done before. Due to our shared experience of being in war zones (him during the Libyan Revolution and myself in the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon), neither of us are very fond of lighting explosives for fun or having them near our homes. We found a spectacular one in a nearby city and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was so amazing, we plan on making it a tradition, seeing as home-fireworks disrupt more animals, are expensive, and encourage trash production.

Since the show started at 9 (more like 10), I spent the former part of the day watching Total Drama Island (still good!) and waiting on Aiman. Due to car circumstances, he ended up coming with his brother’s car, leaving his brother (who I didn’t really know that well) as a guest.

I’m PMSing bad, so I insisted that we chase down the newest limited edition Oreos so that I could slut all over the artificial flavors. The Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream bars tasted like their inspiration but were cloyingly sweet and the cookie was too hard. However, until there is a vegan alternative that includes cookie pieces all over it, I will take to whatever incarnation I can get. It was literally last night I swore off Oreos and HFCS since they super aggravate my fibro, but I gave in. As I write this, my dorsal and ventral neck are throbbing (my most sensitive trigger point). I’m also supposed to be swearing off desserts since I’m trying to fit into my dress for our engagement party, especially since I’ve gained fifteen pounds since February thanks to birth control, stress, and abundant yummies to entertain my hormone-induced cravings.

But, despite no longer being my alarmingly waif-y self, I am not so malcontent with my fuller figure. Aiman loves my normal size body and has never disparaged it, even when I weighed 114 lbs versus 140. But that doesn’t speak to the value of self-love; I don’t need approval for my body, which is what my disorder is rooted in. But it certainly is eye-opening to be loved by someone who does not pressure my body to be any sort of way. Sadly, I never tried to teach myself that I would ever deserve that when I was younger.

 

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I’m really glad for today. Sometimes I feel that the ratio of leisure to work is tragic, but holidays really prove to me why we scramble for the holidays the way we do. Oh, what working teaches a privileged young lady.

Treasure Chest of the American/Immigrant Sweetheart

I don’t mean artistic or aesthetic love when I talk about my love. I mean the biological/pressure/reward that is felt by the psyche. I catch myself zooming in and out of my feelings for Aiman, feeling both present and observant, but not in a weird layering but as a compound experience. I’m saying feeling white, not the rainbow.

With myself being an immigrant’s daughter, I feel conflicted about my closeness to Aiman. He is a recent immigrant- refugee, actually. And it confronts my perception of immigrant/ethnic status being conflatable, at least since it felt like there was little (or an unpleasant) difference between the two in my first generation-immigrant community. That community spans three cities, so it is verifiably a culture.

What’s more, I’ve always been an imposter in the ethnic/non-white status, even as I wore a scarf. My house was not full of Arabic, Arab community/socialization, or domestic culture. My father was not close to his culture or he just didn’t bother to pass it on. I always had a hurtful suspicion it was because we were half-white and therefore our mother’s children. There was certainly cultural and racial tension in our home, which doesn’t bid well for three mixed children. It always felt like a purgatory between disownment and spiteful possession.

The rituals and roles of my American-Arab culture gave me plenty to grasp in imitation. I even romantically prefer Arab/ Middle Eastern men because I get the old kick of “I’m NOT white” while maintaining an Arabian and Western approved physical and social appearance. I’m different enough for both standards to be a fetish intellectually and sexually. And to my great hypocrisy, I have fed off of it in my adulthood, for friendships and romantic relationships.

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Aiman likes that I’m mixed. He likes the treasure hunt for the blatant European and Middle Eastern features of me, personality wise and physically. He likes the red in my hair and the width of my face. And am I complaining? I can’t. I like being looked at. I like being acknowledged as my mixing being something ornamental because that’s the only way I’ve ever acknowledged it.

I feel more salted about it than bitter. I crave in the most defeated parts to be pretty without wrestling with the significance of why it is that way. Being in a mixed home didn’t give me anything but an existential loneliness and a greediness to have single ownership over my mixed-ness.

When I’m with Aiman and he showers me with flattery and praise, orating how beautiful I am (public and private), it is a peach pit grinding briefly with the flat of two front teeth because I know this fetish for fascinating faces won’t leave my mind. He could love me and want me forever and I’d still pay humiliating homage to that.

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IN REAL LIFE: He and I had a very close weekend together. We spent Saturday per usual, then went to Cedar Point with my family.

 

 

 

 

Pretty Bunny

After my stint with BBW and their non-cruelty free status, I decided to dive into the advancing world of vegan cosmetics. I mentioned earlier that I abide by routines, following as: wash, moisturize, (then apply acne cream nightly).

Because of this regimen, the pill, and genetics, I only have minor acne. But, my skin is sensitive and I know that I won’t be treating acne ten years into the future. I use very mild cleansers and moisturizers that are admittedly not cruetly-free. I use generic Cetaphil and Simple moisturizer, the latter saying it doesn’t use animal ingredients but we know that’s a red herring for HEY WE USE ANIMALS THEY’RE JUST NOT IN THE BOTTLE. When I was living with my parents, vegan facial products were just not in Kroger yet. But, I’m ready to transition to a routine with animal-friendly facial products (all my make up is vegan though). I also read a persuasive, passive-aggressive spiel on a self-care blog on Instagram about neutral face products being pathetic compared to their vitamin enriched, botanical competitors. And with all the products on the market, I’m ready to be convinced that toner spray is worth it.

I bought a discounted sample box from vegancuts this week and it arrived today. It contains all sorts of items, some I already have vegan versions of (lip balm, lotion, makeup), some I wanted vegan replacements to (nail polish, nail polish remover), and stuff I’d never tried before (toner spray, body oils). Will establish opinions soon!

On Commitment and Male Attention

Listening to

I’ve rearranged my weekly schedule to have time for the lab. Closing the restaurant every night is exhausting and ungratifying. I used to think that closing would be responsible since the hours were better than those on a morning shift, and I thought that a free dinner every night was worth the minimum wage I was earning.

However, the policy has changed and I have to pay for my meals from now on. My meal was a large salad with no meat and no dressing; as innocuous an order as can be. Even though I’d been working there for three months with no complaint, when the issue was brought up it came off as an accusation. It hurt my feelings a bit to be reprimanded, but I’m over it now. I’ll now be working fewer hours only in the morning so that I can dedicate my time to work that’s not just business labor. I’m annoyed that I’ll have to start buying groceries for dinner again, but c’est la vie.

Anyway, another issue bothering me at work is Male Attention. When I shed my headscarf, I finally had domain over my own beauty. But it happens that I’m at an age and independence where men see a relationship as possible, and I’m getting really uncomfortable with the attention.

Of course, there’s positive impact when you’re attractive and young. Admiration from a distance is nice and empowering. But when some men try to close that distance, it makes me very uncomfortable. A new coworker has been flirting with me and yesterday just asked if I wanted a private yoga session, complimentary ofc. I didn’t give a hard no, which pisses me off. I just implied that I don’t have time.

And here is when I keep finding myself protecting men. I really don’t want to acknowledge that he’s flirting with me, for my sake more than anything. I want to will away the advances, will that I don’t have to consider his feelings. I don’t know the guy and he doesn’t know me, but (extreme as this sounds) it feels threatening. If I don’t know someone, it means he wants me physically. I do not want to be envisioned sexually by anyone, especially fucking strangers. Its as if in those spaces I feel like one of those dolls engraved onto a wooden slab where there are spaces to put on clothes. They’re vintage toys, so let me find a pic. Also, a pic of me looking very Middle Eastern! Nice!

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It’s aggravating, too. You thinking I’m pretty isn’t sufficient to have access to me as a person. Also,  ASK IF IM IN A RELATIONSHIP. Is it default to be single 2018? Also, he was one of those guys with an opening question of “what’s your nationality?”.

Also! I found a freaking awesome nut butter company.

So far as I can tell, everything is vegan (except honey in some). Alas, they are super expensive and I should be shedding upper-middle-class family habits instead of fantasizing over earrings, clothes, and treats. Aiman shares this opinion, but he thinks its endearing that I’m spoiled. Pretty privilege invades everything.

murder my savings

 

It’s early to you, but not to me

I love Halloween very much. Even though it’s changed for me as I am too old to trick or treat and can’t cherish the candy I’d reap, anyway, I anticipate it this year more than ever.

The last Halloween I spent was with a HS friend at a party at The Lunchroom (the first of the vegan resto triad). My costume was mediocre and it wasn’t fun. But! This year is different.

Since I’ve moved away, my social circle has been growing slowly. Very slowly. I have social anxiety rooted in low social self-esteem, that people dislike me. Despite that, and with the help of Aiman, I’m friendly with his brother and his gf and some of their mutual friends. They’re all quite older than me, but I enjoy myself with them.

ANYWAY, I want to do a couple’s costume with Aiman, leaning towards Popper Cinderella and Prince Charming. The plan is to win a Best Costume(s) Award from the Lunchroom at their party and to begin a tradition as we move in together.

Aiman also really likes Halloween, probably because I like it so much. For me, it’s a wonderworld I can voluntarily live in. It was magic for me as a kid because it was of the few things my mother would do for us that our father objected to. We weren’t;t allowed to enjoy Christmas (still can’t) because my father won’t behave. Halloween is a holiday that excludes my father and my culture’s controllingness and I guess it’s why it’s so precious to me. I love the fantasy and the submissiveness of horrible things. Spiders are sweet decor, ghosts are fun company, etc.

This year, I want to do Halloween right. I’m going to throw a little party, watch classic movies with full-size vegan candy bars and popcorn and I’m going to have Aiman enjoy it. Who knows, maybe I’ll find something for Pepita to participate in.

 

Today, while I have Time

Listening to

I’m running really short of hours these past weeks. I’m supposed to be working at least full-time hour-wise between my two jobs, but I honestly couldn’t manage it. In spite of the subtle pick-me games I played with my parents (as I continually try to be the foil to my older brother), I can’t actually live up to those expectations.

I don’t think my limitations into discomfort are the result of poor character. I honestly feel ill and malaise when I am overworked or accumulate some threshold of anxiety. And with my IBS and fibromyalgia, stress really affects my perception of when to press the abort button.

Anyway, while I decline to go to my day job today, seeing as I’m not working on the computer I really should be on since my lab partner needs it this week, I’m going to attend to my apartment.

This apartment is gross and not in a compensatorily cozy way.

Since I began working, I haven’t been available to keep up with our living space. My brother/roommate won’t clean or respect boundaries out of a deep spite for my family and domestic life. Some misogyny is mixed in there, too, I bet.

So our sink fills with fermenting food scraps and dirty dishes, our counters are covered in residue and trash, and our recycling bin is overflowing. The living room is littered with debris and our bathroom sink is again afflicted with beard hair. Two weeks after my mother visited to help me purge the place with bleach and several hours of work.

While the brother stays in the dorms to supervise a university summer program, I get to live alone for a good six weeks, excepting his occasional visits. This morning, I’ve run a load of laundry, a load of dishes, took out the trash and will begin to pack my winter clothes for the big move this August. I am whittling down my possessions with each move so that I shed my upper-middle-class shopping habits.

My goal is to donate one trash bag worth of clothes, or as Aiman prefers me to do, sell a few on Ebay (his forte).

I’ve also applied to a local Teaspressa, which is a tea cafe. The pay is much better and I can imagine how much more comfortable I would be since I wouldn’t be surrounded by fryers or roasting spits. I wouldn’t be covered in grime and sweat for an entire week and I’d actually get to keep the tips I make. I hope I am hired, but that would mean quitting the restaurant. I’ve never left a job voluntarily (only moving or firing), but Aiman insists this is an adult thing I must do. Alright, I guess?