Segment 1 of 4: woman, women, woah man.

In recognition of International Women’s day, and all the associated feels, I am reflecting on the importance of women in my life, how women are involved in my life, how women interact with each other and probably much more.



As I get older, I find myself yearning for deeper relationships with women around me. Women have so much power and strength.  There can also be so much tension between women. Mostly recently, I have been conflicted with the concept of feminism–what it means, what it means to me and who it is for (then I came across the concept of inter-sectional feminism and my Facebook comments got lit.)


I moved to US from Saudi Arabia. When I came to America in 2005, my first desire was to set my tits free. I went to Forever21(finally!) and found a top that would serve as a non-verbal proclamation of my freedom in this new found, liberal, accepting society. I felt so empowered. No one could tell me what to wear, no one would judge me for showing ‘too much skin’.


That didn’t happen. I received enough judgmental looks to feel very uncomfortable in my own skin (again).  Isn’t that what America was about? Why were women giving me these looks? I expected it from men…but not women…Maybe I was doing it wrong.

I tried to strike a balance between showing some skin and being covered. For example, a group of college women and I went to a lake. I wore a sleeveless top (first time!) and a skirt that fell below my knees. “Why is your skirt so long? You know you’re not in Saudi Arabia anymore”.

How did that work? Tits out and I got disapproving stares. Attempt to strike a balance and I’m encouraged to be less conservative.

Fast forward a decade and some change and here is what I think I have learned and a question or two that I may have:

  1. White feminism is an actual thing and it is dangerous. DANGEROUS.
  2. Feminism is more than reproductive rights and equal pay.
  3. Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar white men earn. For white women, it’s 78 cents. Write that on a poster.
  4. Black women and black girls are overly sexualized and this can be traced back to slavery and the treatment of black women and girls during slavery.
  5. Related to 4: If historical references are triggers for you because you think that we should “move forward”, “get along” you won’t get any sympathy from me.
  6. I am a conservative dresser. This is not because I lived in Saudi Arabia, it is just who I am. Once I accepted myself, I dressed for myself and no one else.
  7. There is absolutely no correlation between clothes and morality, or purity or anything else. Have you seen a witch in shorts ? —Ya.
  8. It is important to build deep relationships with women from all walks of life.
  9. It is dangerous to be offended by someone’s offense to the offensive comment you made. Stop that.
  10. Those shirts/posters/paraphernalia that say, “The future is female”–what does that mean? Who does that include? Who does that exclude? Think about it.
  11. You won’t find me praising Susan B. Anthony. Not here for it.
  12. I do not like being called a lady. Get away from me with your social prescriptions.
  13. If I ask you if you are a feminist and you tell me that you prefer ‘humanist’, I will verbally execute you.
  14. Politics is human. If you can put politics aside, acknowledge that as privilege.
  15. I need to better equip myself with the vocabulary to better advocate around LGBTQ issues.



Butterflies don’t chill with caterpillars: Where I acknowledge my progress

I started blogging because I wanted an outlet for my ideas, wanted to practice writing, and perhaps re-channel my anxiety.

To an extent, I think I have been able to do this. I have written about struggles with positive body image, shared personal experience and I’ve touched on some of the challenges I have faced as a third culture kid (TCK).

In fact, my experience as a TCK is the original anchor of my blog. This year, especially in the last several months, as my personal challenges took shape, I relied less on this attribute. It was no longer useful for me narrate my experiences  and emotions through the lens of a TCK.

I didn’t start my blog for followers or likes, but I have been lucky to attract the attention of a few loyal and remarkable followers. I have looked back at my blogs and I’m impressed with much of the content. I have been able to express ideas I’ve suppressed for many years. I’ve opened myself to possible critique, and I’ve maybe given those I’ve shared my blog with a chance to see a different side of me. Or perhaps, just me.

I’ve held back names and some finer details of particular events but for the most part, I have written honestly and to the best of my ability.

This post acknowledges how far I have come and the positive changes I’ve made thus far. Granted, while I have made an overall positive shift, there are things I still struggle with daily. This is just a part of life. What I am positioned to do now is reflect upon these daily struggles with more positivity than I have in previous years. I hope that I have put to death my former ‘doom and gloom’ mentally.

What do I need to work on moving forward ? Well, I’ve spent time doing repairs and I’d like focus on maintenance. But I’m fully aware that life being what it is, I’ll inevitably have to do some repairs along the way. The difference will be in the tools I use–tools that heal without causing more damage.

I’m dedicated to maintaining my ‘ship’ and keeping the water out. As Joel Osteen says, it is not the water surrounding ships but the water that gets in, that sinks ships.

& other long stories

That time Joel Osteen dropped several truth bombs on me

Do you talk to yourself the way you talk to other people?

I remember my parents directly and indirectly teaching me how to communicate; what to say, what to not say. It’s something we learn how to do all through life really. Less time, unfortunately, is dedicated to learning how to speak to ourselves. Our intangible thoughts are powerful because they facilitate our relationship with ourselves and with other people. I know I have had less than positive thoughts about a person but it’s all unicorns and rainbows when I speak with them. It’s a little harder to make that switch when you talk to yourself.

When I look back and think about all the things I have said to myself, I am bully. I have picked apart and spat on myself. I think because it’s internal and automatic, it can be hard to control, hard to notice. But the effects are devastating.

Let’s take body image; the less satisfied I have been with my body, the more weight I have gained. If I had noticed this a few years ago, I would have stopped and started yelling compliments at my reflection. My words and my thoughts were negative and they did not reflect what I truly wanted. I wasn’t telling myself that I was healthy, capable of change, beautiful or confident. Instead, I was telling myself that I couldn’t ever lose weight, that I would forever be a slob, and much more. Words matter. As I talked down to myself, I didn’t encourage any positive behavior. In fact, when I spoke negatively, the bad habits and lifestyle that got me to that position were empowered and worse, justified. It was perfectly fine for me to just sit around and eat because, well, I wasn’t ever going to lose weight, that’s what I was telling myself–so there was no need for me to replace my three-topping pizza with a large bowl of kale and dates (or whatever Kate Hudson eats).

Had I changed the conversation I was having with myself sooner, I am confident that I would have experienced different results. As you know, I have been listening to Joel Osteen for several days now and he is having a remarkable effect on me. In The Power of I Am, Osteen says that our words prophesy our future–I think he’s right. It doesn’t mean that if I say, “I will win the lottery tomorrow” I can quit my job today though. Osteen says, “God will release for you what negative words have delayed”.

I can either talk my way to success by believing that the best is coming my way, or I can feed my demise and speak negatively about my future and myself. If I choose the latter, inevitably, my negative words will impact my actions and my attitude. When I started telling myself I was capable of making better food choices, instead of submitting to my thunder thighs (now said lovingly), I was less entised by a slice of pizza (truly!). When I started telling myself, and saying out loud that I was talented, I had a great skill set, my perfect job would find me…I felt less useless, my unemployment wasn’t a burden, it was an opportunity to be creative.

If you’re rolling your eyes saying here’s another bible bumper. My first response would be that I haven’t opened a bible in a long while. I just started listening to a different voice because my own voice had been hurting me for too long. If it helps to replace “God” with “The Universe” or whatever it is you believe in, be my guest. I spent most of my life believing that prayer was activity of the idle, so I will not judge you.

But if you’re repeatedly telling yourself the opposite of what you want, what purpose does that serve? I found that it didn’t serve me, so I changed the conversation.

It’s working.

sans un titre (without a title)

sans titre (without title)

If I could talk about it, I would.
If I could tell you, I would.
If I knew that you would not judge me, I would tell you.
If I could press release on the burden, I would.
If I hadn’t been conditioned to carry the burden, absorb the shock; know that I would have told you.
If the consequences wouldn’t both relieve and hurt me, I would.
If I knew that by cleaning up, I would make a bigger mess for myself, you would have known. You would have known when it started. You would know that it happened again, and again.
If I wasn’t so deeply embarrassed, yet faultless, trust me, you would know. You would know everything.
If I had had the vocabulary you would have known.
If I could have been a child, if I hadn’t been wiser, far beyond my years, I wouldn’t have protected the rest  of you.

I wouldn’t have taken the fault when I was blameless.
If I hadn’t been conditioned to my silence, if after all these years, I hadn’t been forced to find comfort and resolve in my silence, if I hadn’t had to put in the work to heal, if I hadn’t been strong enough to do that, if being fed your weakness hadn’t made me this strong.

If I wouldn’t be praised for being strong. I hate that.

My strength is a seed of pain, how dare you water it.

If I had the opportunity to weep, be weak, fail, blame.
If all of you didn’t interact with me like it didn’t happen.
If I didn’t still try to have a positive,meaningful relationship with you.
If I hadn’t sought, in my adulthood, the protection you did not give me as a child.

You have all dug into the depths of my conscious.

And left your shovels.

And I have been forced to dig deeper to find my escape.