The first weeks of spring were marked by cold and rainy days, so when the sun came out in full force, my friends and I decided to bask in it. I called my little sister (AKA “Patron Saint of Planning Shit”), slicked my hair into ponytail with styled edges, and jumped into a backless romper with tall heels. When I walked into the house her boyfriend shares with his two friends, I was stoked to find all there there punting around ideas about how to best take in some sun. Everyone was smiling and laughing. Someone put out a spread of wings. Another paired their phone to a large speaker. For the first time that week, I felt relaxed.
And then I saw him.
He bounded down the stairs in a floral hoodie and grey joggers and we just stared at each other. Stared and stared until we finally talked to each other. Then we exchanged numbers and, to my disbelief, texted and called each other every day after that. Finally, he did the one thing that no one else had done in the three years I was single: he asked me how I felt about him, and if I could see myself being with him. And the craziest part was, I actually could. Read More
With a glass of champagne in one hand and my phone in the other, I casually snapped shots of party goers as they chatted, played cards, or lamented the political climate. At the dining area table, one group had brilliantly blended all three. As I darted between both rooms of the suite my sister and I were only able to afford because we booked months in advance and used disposable flatware left over from my mom’s haaj celebration, I couldn’t help but feel like a curly-coiffed, glittering ball of black magic. At times I caught my reflection in the arrangement of beveled, hexagonal mirrors that adorned the wall near the bar, and paused to admire the new lines and curves of my arms and legs. All of it earned from several rigorous weeks of pole dancing classes. So this is 35? I let the thought wash over me in a gentle way this time, and the apprehension I felt when I celebrated my actual birthday in Costa Rica a few months back was gone. And that was a relief, because in the months leading up to the excursion I’d hit a down spiral so disorienting that I could barely discern up from down while inside of it: had I gotten better, or worse? The question itself was a wormhole, efficient enough in its pull to leave me feeling emotionally churned and altered as it sucked me in. Traversable worm holes are hypothetical, after all, and transmutative ones? Sci-fi entirely. Yet there I was, with questions swirling at me from all sides: am I a good person? Mother? Friend? Writer? Am I in any way…better? Read More
This birthday is a milestone year for me, and so far it’s been packed with enough revelation, accomplishment, and teachable moments for me to now comfortably say that I am not entirely fearless, but I’m as close to it as I’ve ever been.
I had a crappy winter that didn’t really turn a corner for me until late Spring. I felt realigned by the time May ended, taking Ramadan with it, but then my bike accident knocked me off kilter and I spent my last few months on an uphill journey to find balance again. But even as I followed my usual regimen of self-care, I still managed to slip into free-fall emotionally as I dealt with the aftermath of managing the physical and legal side of the ordeal. All of a sudden, everything felt piled on top of my head. My creative projects and social obligations started to feel like hostage situations with my sanity as the ransom. Worse, seasonal depression lurked on the outskirts of my thoughts, waiting like a sadistic yet patient lover to welcome me back into its embrace. A release was what I needed, so that’s precisely what I set out to get. And so I turned to the solace I often find in wild summer nights. Only this time, the nights weren’t filled with exhilarating, self-destructive behavior. Instead, for the first time in a long time, I embarked on a journey for pleasure that involved considerably more self-control.
Sometimes we move too quickly and pile too much on. This time last year, I spent my mornings in my grandmother’s basement writing furiously as I took on any freelance gig that would help me recover financially from my separation from my husband. After a few hours in front of my laptop, I’d crack the door that led into the laundry room and open the back door that led out the yard, just so the light would flood in and I wouldn’t lose my mind in the shadowy space. Fast forward to this year, and I’m making more than I’ve ever made at any other day job, working around the clock on creative projects while trying to scale a business, and juggling my fitness and parenting goals in between. Awhile back, I started feeling a little overwhelmed by my schedule, but I kept telling myself I’d take a decent break after Ramadan, which ends in mid-June. Only, I didn’t make it that far. The universe put me on my back instead…when I got hit by a car while riding my bike.