The Makings of Make-Up

why do women dress up? We wear makeup for men? For ourselves or families? This debate has been going on for as long as women and makeup have been around. The simple answer would be that every human being likes to beatify themselves. Why does this need for women has to turn into degrading and shaming women. We don’t say that to men when they wear too much cologne or whatever else they may choose. I’m not knocking it or over simplifying the problem I’m actually here to present another perspective. What if the need to dress up comes from a need to connect? Everyone wants to be remembered and loved. I hope you remember my necklace story. My son just yesterday asked me again where my necklace was at bedtime. My skin is still healing. That’s what made me think of all those times my makeup, jewelry, clothes made us connect. 

I had been asking my husband to exchange our wedding ring for a bigger one. Now it’s the smallest I have. He always looks at me disapprovingly when I say that. “What? It will still come from you? With love?” I respond, every time. I was getting dressed for a party one day and I had all my jewelry spread out on the dresser including the tiny wedding ring hiding in the mass of colorful gems and beautiful decorated beads. My boys were helping me pick out what to wear. The older one says, “this is the best one,” in his hand was our wedding ring. That is the ring I wear most. It’s not about the jewelry. It’s about the connection. There’s a certain lip color my boys love on me. Whenever I wear it they always compliment me. I couldn’t put it together. Just recently adam said “this is the color of your kiss”. “My kisses don’t have a color” I thought. 

A while back his school gave us a cut out of his hands to send a kiss in to keep in class, in case the children missed their mommies. I was wearing that color that day. 

This is why. 

There are many different languages in the world. Many different ways for people to remain close and tell one another, “I see you”. This day and age has found another way to say this and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It may not be for some, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an expression. We need to let them have what works for them. 

 

Enough!

You should write a book. You should write a blog. What’s your secret? What diet plan are you on? Talk us through what you eat every day.

Are you taking some kind of diet pill? What motivated you to make the change? But there has to be some kind of plan. What’s your exercise regiment? Come on, you have got to know how many calories you eat/burn per day? Did you eliminate carbs? How many hours per day do you work out?

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Me 3 Years a go

What diet plan? WHAT DIET PLAN DAMN IT?

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Husband and I just Yesterday.

It was not a big elaborate thing this weight loss. I didn’t count my calories or plan out my days or weeks. I just started moving a little more and eating a little more greens and the other stuff thats good for us, bit by bit.  Kept it light and easy. In small doses so it didn’t over whelm me because it was for real this time and I didn’t want to quit or freak myself out myself out this time. So I started slow and steady as they say for the lack of a better term. And I’m not nearly done. I still have a long way to go so this is not a before and after thing. This is a work in progress.

Maybe the only two questions I can answer, are: 1. What motivated you to make the change? And 2. What kind of exercise do you do?

I guess technically what kind of diet “plan” would be a legitimate question as well: stop-eating crap. Literally that’s it. I’m not saying that I took out everything fun from my life because I couldn’t live like that. I did all those fad diets, and they just weren’t for me. The weight kept coming back because I kept going back to eating normal stuff. So my best bet was to lose while eating normal stuff that I like. Just eat it in moderation. Just eliminate the food that was not healthy and eat more of what is healthy. Something I could make a habit of and keep up.

And I do workout regularly. It is hard at first but gradually it gets easier and easier. Well when I say “easy” I mean it is eventually doable. None of this is easy. You need to find what motivates you. One day something inside you will tell you that enough it enough and its time for change. That day you will be ready for all of the change and hard work. Slowly but surely you will see it. You will see your face getting thinner. You will feel bones where once there was flesh. You will have to buy new wardrobe because clothes will not fit right (this is my favorite part). I am not a health nut. I don’t check calories on my food. I don’t automatically go for veggies and fruits. I love candy. Now that I have kids I can actually justify having candy and chocolate on my nightstand even though most of the kinds I eat they don’t like. Still I’m losing weight because I’ve found something that motivates me.

I was over weight for over 20 years. It wasn’t just a few pounds over and not just for about a few years. It was for over two decades and about 100 pounds. I have illnesses that make moving around difficult let alone working out. Eating healthy just wasn’t enough. And here I am today, moving forward with no plans on stopping.

Two days a go I walked up a pretty steep hill without pulling a muscle or needing to go back or stop. I have not wanted to get on the bus or take a taxi once our entire vacation. My husband keeps asking me if I want to stop or take a cab again and again. I get annoyed that he’s asking so much. Now Im realizing its because he’s not used to me being able to walk to so much and not get tired.

People always came at me with different diet plans and different workout plans. I could never keep up with any of those things. My needs were different. I have chronic pain. I have so many other issues that people didn’t understand. I used to get upset at first and used to try to explain my situation. Then I realized that most people are not concerned with my health they just don’t want something fat and ugly to look at so I just decided to ignore them and worry about me because that after all is the most important things of them all. I wanted to wait and see what suits me. The person who is concerned about my health, the person that wants me to be healthy is not going to talk AT me about losing weight and being healthy but is going to work with me on my time and my convenience. Between being ill, going to school, working and having children working out, and eating right becomes kind of difficult all the while having surgeries and on bed rest days and weeks at a time. Just stay with yourself. Don’t think you will stay that way.

Just remember that you will decide everything and everything will happen on its own time. It may not be now, or a year from now. But it will happen. And then it will not happen like a miracle. It will not happen and change your life over night. It will be an up hill battle. Slowly, you will take one step and then another and then another. You might even want to give up a few times. However, when you go shopping for a new wardrobe the first time or you grab yourself in a certain place and there isn’t any flesh then you will realize you are on the right track and the road ahead will seem closer and worth it.

Now close your eyes and think about what it will be that will make you say…Enough!

The Possibilities are all Possible

Every time I showed the faces of my 4-year-old and, 5-year-old to anyone and asked, “can they go up to Acropolis?” They paused for a second. Then very hesitantly they would say, “Well people have done it.” I don’t know. You can try”. However, this is one of those places where you don’t know when you get to go again. Once you are here you want to do everything. I also want my kids to experience as many things as they can. I want them to know the world not just from our eyes but from the eyes of others as well. I want them to see it and know it as others have known it. If they have a chance to learn that from this age then why not? So we took a chance and believed in our kids, and more importantly believed in our selves as parents.

The Possibilities are all Possible

On the way there and back I didn’t see a single child their age. It could have been a coincident. It is a place for adults after all. Not just for adults but for adults who really care about, history, culture, and philosophy. Kids care about none of that generally. I was scared to make this adventure with them. In the end I was pleasantly surprised. They loved climbing up. They did not complain once. Loved all the birds and bugs they found on the way. Pretended all the marbles was water and made a game out of everything. Every time they saw any marble or slippery surface that we would ask them to be careful walking on or running over they would scream, “BE CAREFUL OF THE WATER, YOU WOULD’NT WANT TO SLIP”. People would look around to see where the water is. A few times,  quiet embarrassed, we had to explain to people, that there is no water and the kids are just pretending. They went up and came down just the same, running and playing. It was great.

Goes to show you my kids surprised me. I don’t have a big huge lesson for anyone here. Just a small reminder for myself why I haven’t stopped traveling even after having kids. Its hard and frustrating sometimes but its worth it because in a few years I will have awesome traveling buddies who will understand the world so much better than me and might even teach me a thing or two about how wonderful it is if you just let your mind run free.

 

Female, Brown and Invisible

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Lets pretend I already had these pics and I did not take some selfies right now to post right now. It’s less embarrassing for me that way. It is a serious piece of writing after all. 

A lot has changed since I last wrote about anything. The world is a different place. A lot scarier and much less friendly; People ask me how do you keep ignoring all of it and just keep posting about everyday life like nothing is happening? How do you keep thinking and acting in ways as though what’s happening is not of your concern because you don’t live there anymore? You are still a part of that country. Are you not? Or have you given into what *they* want you to believe? You don’t belong there so you have left? Mind and body?

It’s true I have not commented about any of it on social media in a while. It’s true that I have not written anything about this in a long while. However it’s not that this, what’s happening out there does not consume my every waking hour. It’s not true that I don’t think of myself as part of that country mind, body, and soul. What I’m unsure of right now is my role as an American Muslim sitting in a foreign land who was born in another land. I feel a certain way. I’m seen another way. My voice is limited. My choices and options are even further limited. On top of that my cherry on my delicious cake, I’m a woman. A mother of boys; boys Im supposed to raise who can accomplish anything they want. Yet I am supposed to not lead by example but teach only by my words. “Look at that great big world out there” I am supposed to tell them. “Your mom can’t go out and get everything that’s in it because she has a huge list of do’s and don’ts attached to her but you go out there and do your best. I can drive you around (metaphorically because in this country I cant even do that), make your schedules and lunches and cheer you on and tell you how great you are and then sit on the sidelines and watch as you wonder why I cant do all the same things I tell you that you can go after. Oh also you have to remember kids, you are brown and Muslim. In some places you’ll have to remember to keep your head down and just smile. Just breathe in and breathe out. But I can’t guarantee you that this will protect you because I have tried it and I have not been protected. I have not been saved.”

“So you may not have as many restrictions as your mom because she is not just a woman she’s a Muslim woman who wears a scarf, but you do have some so keep that in mind when you are out there.”

You see there are many hands muffling my voice. There are many arms pulling me back. What do I write about? Where do I start? The every day of dealing with life and deciding what I want myself to be and what I want my children to be takes over and I sit in front of my computer with too many thoughts and too many words and nothing to write.

Yet I understand that it’s not a struggle as hard for those who are suffering in places and being denied a right to live. My life is too comfortable compared to theirs. Sometimes I stay quiet because it’s just not fair. What right do I have to be this comfortable when others wait for years and months for shelter only to be turned away? When they can’t return home to bury their dead.

 

How Will I Sleep?

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It’s a cheap pendant. I don’t even remember where I bought it from, I have thought about putting better ones around my neck but the amount of pulling and playing my boys have done with this thing stops me. I think, I’ll just save the nice ones for special occasions and keep this on for them to pull on in case it breaks. So, this has been here around my neck for as long as they can remember. They play with it right before bed. They pull on it when I’m wiping their little butts on the potty. Yeah, its pretty annoying for me but some functions this little necklace has found are pretty handy as well. For example, when my older son is throwing a fit I have him focus on the necklace and many times it gets him to calm down. I cradle him in my arms and ask him, “What shape is my necklace” or “can you tell how many shades?” it’s a weirdly calmly exercise for him.  I really didn’t realize what this has become to all of us.

When I was getting it, it was because I had a gift card to the place, it was the nicest thing at the store, and not something I necessarily liked a lot.

I took it off today because my neck was itching and put it on my dresser. I forgot that I didn’t have it on because it’s very light. My son saw it sitting there and brought to me. He says, “Mom your necklace was on your dresser, you’re not wearing it”. I said yeah baby my neck and facing are  itching I’ll put it on later.

He says, “No you have to put it on now. How will I sleep?”

And just like that this became the most coveted piece of jewelry I own.

It’s My Job

Have you ever tried to explain to a 3 and 4 year old that everything you do is for “their own good”? Yeah the good old mom line. I did that yesterday. I kid you not; I totally pulled that on my toddlers. What’s even strangers is that I think they understood it. I said something like, “My job is to take care of this family and sometimes that means stopping you from doing things you want to do because I know that thing can hurt you even though you may enjoy it.” One of them responded with, “Yes, just like when you tell us not to jump on the bed because it can break and we will fall and get hurt and we won’t have any place to sleep either. But sometimes we still keep doing it so you have to stop us angrily.” That makes my anger and yelling look real good, doesn’t it?

I digress.

You would think I’m exaggerating the level of understanding my children have,  but I’m not. I wish I had taught of this example myself. I realized that there is so many things we can make them understand that we never bother to because we think they are too young to comprehend. The only thing they’re too young for is putting words to what’s in their heads. We just need to help them with that. Once that starts to happen I think it will be easy to figure out what is the extent of their comprehension, which is definitely beyond what we as parents usually expect.

The interesting thing is on the one hand we brag about our children to whomever that would listen. On the hand we under estimate their abilities almost every step of the way. Why we do that is really beyond MY understanding.

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There are many things as the caretaker of the household that I have to do that my children don’t understand. This was becoming a constant cause of tension between us, specially as they get older. I didn’t know how to make them understand every step of the way. They had so many questions, some I can answer for them but some things they just have to trust me with. I wasn’t sure how to handle that. So one day I had this conversation with them.

This is not the end of it, not by a long shot. I have to keep talking about it and keep reminding them that this is the reason I do certain things and ask them to do certain things they don’t understand or don’t like. They still complain and give me a hard time but they now fight me less and are less frustrated.

Which obviously means I’m less frustrated and screaming way less.

I would definitely encourage sitting down and having this talk with your children no matter how young they are. This is not a one-time conversation but it is definitely helpful.

Talk to our children. Who would have thought, right?

 

It’s Not The Woman

The election is over. We have a president, and it’s not the woman. What a shock! Right? It’s a shock because it’s that man who makes us see and hear the truths we don’t want to. It’s a shock because we don’t want to know how much we are not welcome and wanted among the people we consider our own. We are saddened and disappointed because we can’t believe after all this time Americans wouldn’t want a woman to make decisions for them.

Problem isn’t that Donald Trump is a man hell bent on gaining power and destroying us in the process; the problem is, he is us. He’s our hidden face in its full glory shinning in the light of day for all to see. And guess what? Its pretty ugly. So ugly that even we are trying to look away and disown it.

It would be pretty easy to blame this entire chaos on the men of the country but a presidential race in not won only by the men. It’s not won without the help of the women who cry “feminism” and who cry “male dominance” at every step in their lives. So what happened when you had to tick that little box for a man who is the ugly side of every man or for a woman who was qualified for the job? You chose the man? At least some of you did. Those of you who did, don’t you dare complain about another man in your life again. Because you chose them to dominate and rule you as they please and by choices you make it seems you don’t mind it either. You took away your right to complain and your right to fight for it yourself.

So what’s next? Are we just really really screwed?

Anyone who might think that I am a Hillary supporter, I am definitely not. I don’t think Hillary Clinton was the lesser of two evils. I don’t know what she is. But we know for sure what he is. He was something to stay far away from. Her, we needed to give a chance…maybe it would have been a bad idea. I don’t know. But there’s no way this isn’t going to end badly. Time has come though, to move on and mend our differences. What’s done is done. I am ready to move on. I have no grievances with anyone. In fact if you voted for Trump please don’t tell me and we will continue to be friends and just move along.

However, this man spent months and months spewing hate against me and anyone else he chose. Let me have my day or week of mourning and sadness. It’s my well-earned, well-deserved right to say what I need to about him. We’ll come together and work harder than ever I’m sure to put right what he has broken in all of us. But right now I’m heartbroken and disappointed in my country and quiet frankly I have a right to be, so let me take my time.

So, what is next? Are we just really really screwed?

Yes.