I Really Hate Myself, But I Cannot Help Myself

 

I haven’t written anything in a long, long time. However with Ramadaan gone, I really wanted to reboot and re-energize my blog once more. When Ramadaan came this year, it made me think about many things, but one event really stood out. As many people know that my mom suffered a stroke around mid- February, and is totally bed ridden, unable to talk or even move  her fingers. My two sisters and their families are caring for her, and are doing a very good job. I visit her every few months and every time I go, I make a new resolve before going. I promise myself that this time I will massage her hands, read Quran to her, you know the little things. The problem is, with every trip, it takes me a about a day to muster up my courage to go inside her room. I cannot reconcile the stranger on the bed making inhuman sounds that I see with the larger than life person that I knew. What I remember is a very strong personality, one that could wither a person with a single look. I remember her fasting during winter months for years,  for two-three days a week.  I remember her reading newspapers and magazines, and I remember her as thoroughly enjoying the company of others. I remember that she liked to cook, and was extremely picky about her clothes. She had such an odd personality full of contradictions, likes/dislikes and strengths. She was born and raised  in India, and had a very interesting  and idyllic childhood. She used to share some pretty spectacular memories of growing up in the pink city of Jaipur. There’s so much to remember and not enough space to write everything that I recollect.

 

I am so ashamed for not being able to go inside her room, so ashamed for not being able to fulfill the purpose of my visit, so ashamed to be scared of the barely alive person on the bed.  Instead I go outside to do shopping, sit outside the room, do really insignificant chores inside my sister’s house, and take care  of really mundane things that can be left undone. To put it bluntly, I do everything I can to avoid going inside the room to face her, a life that’s really just hanging in there by nothing more than a single breath. I don’t even know if she can be called a life. I know with certainty that she would have hated this existence. I am so bewildered and grieved by her condition. Maybe I am afraid that one day I will be like her, maybe worse than her. She has very dedicated family memebrs taking good care of her, but I feel that nobody will be there for me. I have an existence without a country or a people, and  I fear that in the end I may be in that same kind of room with a thread of my existence  and no one to even check if that thread is intact or not.

 

Finally, I had a conversation with my seventeen year old son about the kind of death I’d like to have. He only offered one perspective, and it was that he didn’t want to die of old age. However, which death is better? The gradual death from age or sickness or a sudden death from an unforeseen accident. I am very scared of dying in an airplane crash, but my mom makes me think that dying in an instant in a ball of fire and explosion might not be so bad after all.

MALLS, MALLS AND MORE MALLS

 

 

I hate going to the mall, it’s so boring and not fun at all. I hate the stuff they sell there, it’s a visual assault on my finer senses. The clothing is so ugly, gaudy and poorly manufactured that it manages to make a person look ugly and fat simultaneously, now that’s what I would call killing two birds with one stone. However, at this point in my life I’d prefer to be neither. The only way I would wear the clothing is if I was about to be executed in the most painful manner possible, (like being thrown in a cage full of lions or dropped in a pit full of poisonous snakes…you get the gist of it), and only wearing those hideous blots on fashion would grant me a stay of execution. Apart from few choice brands, shoes aren’t much different from clothes. They are uncomfortable, expensive, and, tasteless, (again not something I wish to even contemplate buying.) Any piece of clothing or shoes remotely presentable is so outrageously overpriced that they can feed a family of five for a week. However, as a mother of two teenagers, I do have to make those dreaded mall trips just about every other week. Although my daughter would totally disagree with this frequency, “you never take me to the mall” or “we never do anything”, ‘doing anything’ in her language is another euphemism for going to the mall. I manage to give a few feeble responses, but the result is inevitable. Usually the one tactic that works, and I capitulate is when those Machiavellian teenagers tell me that my refusal has more to do with being tired which is a sure fire sign of advanced age. Needless to say, after this dirty trick, I find myself giving in, meekly led to the mall.

 

Although I must say the one thing I really enjoy is watching people. Sometimes I go to City Center on the weekend, and the visual, auditory overload is simply over-whelming. The diversity in people, religions, languages and ages is nothing short of phenomenal. There are rich people, poor people, brown people, white people, Arab people, Asian people. There are mixed couples and non-mixed couples, and single people. There are hijabis and non-hijabis. There are hijabis who you can tell don’t really want to be hijabis, but are covering under duress. Then there are the censorious hijabis looking at non-hijabi world with tight lipped judgment. There are the nervous looking white people, the confident Indian and Pakistani people passing each other with casual indifference, the perpetually smiling Filipinos. Then there are the uniformed maids looking sad and dejected, taking care of multiple kids, and my heart goes out to them.

 

I must say that the couples are fun to watch too. There are so many fascinating power dynamics in couples, I can tell by observation. My kids call this observation ‘stalking’. Did you guys know that power couples are present in every age, race, religion and economic strata? You can tell by looking at the way the couples are walking and interacting with one another as to who wears the pants in the house. Although some homes can have a partner who wears two pairs of pants, (another little gem from my two gems). Or in some relationships, each partner has one leg of the same pant, you know everything is shared fifty-fifty.

 

There are the couples where one spouse is just barely walking behind their other half with all the kids in tow, and you can see the defeat in their faces and the triumph in other’s face. It’s almost like witnessing a prisoner being led by a noose around their neck. There are the couples who are walking together and the kids are equally distributed too. It is fairly obvious that they have a power sharing agreement. Also, there are those who can barely wait to get away from each other, but the kids are keeping them together. Then there are the couples without the kids, and they appear to be quite happy to me, although not in all cases. Finally, happiest are the single men and women spanning across age, race and religion. I am not saying that because I am with two temperamental girls who are pulling my arms in opposite directions. I am certainly not envying the childless couples because I have constant verbal disagreements with both of the girls about the stuff that they’d like to buy and the stuff that they can buy. And I certainly do not eye the childless couples with any longing because I am stuck with two opinionated girls who don’t and I do mean don’t take no for answer. Also, I don’t entertain the thought of running into the crowd and never be seen or heard from again.

Another place I truly enjoy in the mall is Sephora, the makeup store. It’s so much fun to go inside Sephora. I feel like a child in a toy shop, or like a poodle rolling around in treats, well you get the picture. Now to afford something in Sephora is entirely another matter. The fact is that there are very few items priced at less than 100 riyals. I do enjoy looking at makeup and people who are trying the makeup. There are the ladies with pouty lips so wide that the lips practically have a postal code of their own. I mean how do women get lips like that, and are they natural or not? I can’t tell and I am sure touching someone else’s lips can land a person in trouble. Although I have wondered on occasion if someone’s very, very pouty lips were poked, would they bounce back or not? You know like a child inside a bouncy castle or on a trampoline. I am so eager to have pouty lips that anytime I go outside I put on a lip treatment called Fresh Sugar, and then stand in front of the mirror to make a pout, (I think a temporary pout would be better than none). Everyone in my family has learned of this pout exercise, and my son has actually learned to pout better than me.

 

The next thing I am so curious about are the eyes. The eye-brows are so perfect on some ladies, it’s as if God is devoting extra time and effort especially for making those amazing eye brows. Honestly, the curvature on those brows puts the St. Louis arch to shame, they are simply spectacular. Also, lets not forget the shoes, the heels that some women wear can practically be a murder weapon in a pinch, or can be used as intravenous needles in case of emergency surgery. I love those heels, and gaze at them longingly in the stores, but if I wore those, not only would I fall flat on my face and cause some serious damage to myself which in turn could lead to permanent mental and physical harm. Although sustaining serious harm in order to avoid shopping is certainly food for thought.

 

Finally, I’d like to share a few products that I bought from Sephora on my latest mall excursion and truly enjoy using them. I bought an eye pencil and a liquid lipstick by Marc Jacobs, and four matte, liquid lipsticks in various shades of beige by Huda Beauty. I bought these products because I had read good reviews about them, and when I tried them inside Sephora, they looked nice. Upon reaching home, I realized maybe I could’ve done without couple of the liquid lipsticks, but again impulse buying is a big problem for me. I try and buy products after reading their reviews on a blog or a magazine, and in my opinion, best buys are those that we use often even if expensive.