The longer your ‘gevity is, the more confidence you build.
“Don’t get too high and mighty, ladies. Don’t step out of line. Don’t do anything to upset or disappoint men who feel entitled to your time, bodies, affection or attention. Your bared body can always be used as a weapon against you. Your bared body can always be used to shame and humiliate you. Your bared body is at once desired and loathed.”
Teach me the language in which your name is the word for love. I hope it’s a difficult one. I hope there are rules and rules for me to lose my body in. I hope it takes me the length of an ocean to learn to pronounce you without an accent.
I’ve been thinking about people as kaleidoscopes. How we are different versions of ourselves with different people. Some of them more or less naked, some of them gift-wrapped as the occasion requires. And yet all of these selves are us, even the fake ones. That fake smile and forced small talk is still me, as much as that helpless silence. The petty, jealous self. The needy self. The best version of myself I want to become. Turn. Now I am interested in your story. Turn. Now I tell you about my poem. Turn. Now I repeat someone else’s opinion as my own because I think it makes me sound smart. Turn. Now I am alone and still lying to myself. Inside the little chamber all of the pieces of me, orderless, trapped between mirrors.
After the gym we get falafel and a baklava triangle and a maamoul. The baklava is disappointing, stale and bland, with a suspicious sour undertone that I try not to dwell on. I should stop buying baklava because it is never my mom’s baklava and therefore it’s always a disappointment. But the maamoul, a buttery nut-filled cookie, is sublime. I’ve never had one before but now I want to make them. Will make them. Rose water and pistachios. Dates. Small fragile pleasure dusted with powdered sugar.
The self as a list of wants.
The self as a recipe box.
The self as an ocean of words and a constant fight to drag the right ones to shore.