In this corner, the jolly fat guy. In this corner, the other jolly fat guy.

My seven year old wants to celebrate Christmas.  He’d like a Christmas tree with the the works.  He insists on presents and stockings.  My husband remembers asking the same from his parents when he was that age.  I do too.  Christmas probably has the distinction of being the most beloved holiday for kids, because of this guy. santa-claus-clip-art-9izM4z6iE

What’s not to love about Santa?  He’s a fat old jolly dude that brings free toys.  Which is great and all except for one minor technicality –  we’re not Christian.  We’re Muslim.  In our house, Dec 25 usually just means we get to sleep in and you have to buy essentials early the day before because even the zombies at Walmart get the day off.

But try telling my kids that.  I wouldn’t know where to start.  Saying Santa only visits Christian homes makes him sound like a selective, prejudiced bastard, so that was out.

Before you tell me to haul my non conforming ass back to my own country, let me tell you that celebrating or not celebrating Christmas is not the issue here.  We respect all religions and to take part in the festivities of any holiday, be it Christmas or Diwali, would just mean more fun for us.  Besides, Muslims love Jesus just as much as Christians do.  I look forward to buying a little tree and sticking some presents underneath it, while telling my sons I texted Santa the code to our alarm system so he won’t set off the motion sensor.

The issue is that for my kids, Christmas is Cinderella and Eid her fat footed, big nosed sister.  No, we don’t celebrate Ramadan, just like you don’t celebrate November.  Eid is the name of the holiday and Ramadan is the the holy month that precedes it.  In the voting booths of kids brains everywhere, Christmas has taken a far lead over Eid, since one means presents and the other means a month of daily food deprivation.  Clear winner here.  This isn’t the presidential election of 2000.

In an effort to make the holiday more appealing to kids, my husband and his college friends once thought up a character by the name of Eid Saeed.  A Muslim Santa Clause.  I don’t know what they were smoking when they did it.  Eid Saeed would shake things up for the holiday, all right.  The idea of a Muslim guy who enters U.S. air space by magic and goes into people’s homes in the dead of night with a bag full of things you can’t see is definitely going to excite people.  Especially the authorities.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I really don’t have any solution to the aforementioned problem so that’s right, I’m just going to leave things hanging.  We already make Eid an occasion more  enjoyable for our kids than visiting Disney World.  I’m not going to fly Mickey Mouse out here now, too, because his ginormous rodent ass only travels first class.

It’s Jurassic Park around here and just call me Tyrannosaurus Rex

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Warning : Intense bitching and discussing of female issues to follow.  Enter at your own risk.

Those dinosaurs?  They’re me.  The kid scared out of his mind, cowering behind the desk?  Anyone that crosses my path a certain week out of certain months out of the year.  It’s not always like this.  It’s not always bad.  It’s usually pretty easy, minus a few cramps and way too many trips to the bathroom.  But when it gets bad, it gets bad pretty quickly.  The angry verbal lava you are spewing from your mouth runs hot and fast and before you know it, there’s been a lot of damage done.

I don’t know how women who have to deal with PMS every month manage to survive and with their marriages intact.  My periods have always been pretty symptom less, but post pregnancies, they got complicated, just like everything else in my life.  Now I don’t know what each month will bring.  It’s like being on the Price is Right.  There could be a new car behind that door or a frying pan.  I could be writhing in pain and sofa bound, cursing my uterus, ovaries, estrogen, mother nature and the cosmic forces that made me a woman.  Or the week could breeze by with minimal discomfort and I can toss and turn and sleep in whatever position I want to without worrying about waking up to the Chainsaw massacre.

This guess and go game of my reproductive cycle is distressing.  It may not seem that way, but I don’t like being a bitch.  No, I really don’t.  I feel like when I am, it’s because I’m provoked.  Examples would be when the old fart next door is mowing his lawn for the >insert any number of your liking here, it’ll work< time and that too on a Saturday morning, when no one wants to see the ass crack of dawn.  I feel like I’m usually nice to a fault, but I’m sure my husband would disagree.

This post isn’t about me, though.  It’s about me in relation to PMS.  Premenstrual syndrome.  I don’t know why they call it that when you feel the symptoms before, after, and during your cycle.  Someone enlighten me.  The worst thing, in my opinion, about PMS is that you JUST CANNOT FREAKING CONTROL IT.  It’s like a damn affliction.  When I’m swearing at the spaghetti water because “how the eff do you dare to boil that slow, your mother must have been some form of reverse osmosis shit”, I know I look like a mad woman.  But I can’t help it.  It’s like you know the bridge has collapsed and there’s a bazillion foot fall but you’re going to go on ahead anyway because your brain has lost control of the stick shift that is your mental balance.  That’s what it is.  A momentary (long moment) loss of mental balance.  Describes it perfectly for me.  I just didn’t want to use the term out of respect to people who really suffer from mental illness.  But then they say PMS can sometimes be a form of mental illness.  This is such a face palm moment.

Anyway, I hope I didn’t gross you out too much and you managed to enjoy your little tour through the female brain during uterine shedding season.  And no, I don’t think women are superior to men because they have to deal with Niagara falls in the overalls every month, even if the vein of this blog post seems to be heading in that direction.  As someone once snarkily pointed out to me, men have issues that are unique to their gender, also.  Like how to deal with their wives when aunt flow is visiting.  I see my husband’s face when I’ve turned into the housewife from hell and I hate the look I see there.  It makes me sad that I’m so mean and he’s so helpful, which unleashes another spewing of demonic proportions brought on by the frustration of knowing I’m so mean and he’s so helpful.  It’s a crazy, vicious cycle.  Pun intended.

So there’s my rant of the day/ode to my sistas.  What’s that?  I shouldn’t blog about female issues because it’s a public platform and it’s gross and what’s my problem, do I have cooties?  Well, what can I say?  That’s just how I am.  I don’t mind discussing issues of the female persuasion in the company of males as long as it’s done aesthetically, meaning I won’t ask you to see if this tampon can fit inside your nostril but I can help you out if you want to know what medicine will work best for your girlfriend and her “female problems.” What?  I sound like a bitch?  Well then, you’ll just have to forgive me.  You see, I’m on my period.

Dinosaur pic courtesy of http://www.pmslweb.com.

Fair and Lovely

I heard a story from a friend that both saddened and frustrated me.  This friend has a cousin who is in her early twenties, which in Indian Pakistani culture is considered just the right age range for courtship and marriage.  As soon as a girl nears twenty, the pings, similar to the beeps of a dying battery in a smoke alarm, start going off in her parents brain.  Apparently the dreaded age is thirty.  If you’re past that and you are a female of southeast Asian descent, shame on you for not settling!

Of course I’m exaggerating.  Not the shame and settling part but the stereotyping part.  Not all Indian Pakistani families treat their daughters like heifers competing for first prize at the state fair, the prize being a husband.  An education and a career is what is prioritized, especially here in the good old USA.  However, I don’t have to tell you what kind of treatment women receive in terms of education, marriage, and procreation in parts of India, Pakistan, and other developing countries.  You can grab a newspaper from those countries and read it for yourself.  Sometimes that stone age mentality finds its way into society here as well.

The cousin of this friend has an aunt.  This woman has been living and working in this country for the past thirty odd years, but apparently back in the old country, she was the village idiot.  This aunt raved on and on about a neighbor of hers who she thought would be perfect for her niece.  The only problem was that he was twice divorced.  What’s the problem, the aunt asked.  You know ——- won’t find anyone better.  She isn’t thin or light skinned.  Mind you, this was all said directly to the girl’s mother.  I’m sure you’re thinking the mom must have gone ape shit, right?  Unfortunately, no, and I’ll tell you why.

There are some backward ideas floating around in Indian/Pakistani culture, similar in annoyance to the common cold.  There’s no cure for them, they’re annoying as hell when you’ve been afflicted, but they usually won’t kill you.  Only a small minority thinks this way, but it’s that minority that ruins it for the rest of us.  Backward idea numero uno is the obsession with light skin. Light colored skin is prized.  Now, light skin is beautiful.  My sister is light-skinned and she’s gorgeous.  But we’re talking light skinned, as in Dracula just fed off you light.  You need to look like a fresh bulb.  The paler, the better.  Don’t ask me why.  I have no idea, especially since majority of Indians are of the darker, wheatish hue.  Some people say it’s an inferiority complex left over from British colonial rule.  I believe them.  Oprah once did a segment on her show where she talked about how India is the number one country in the use of skin bleach.  I’d have written a complaint to her on behalf of my people if I didn’t have slightly used tubes of Fair and Lovely sitting in my dresser drawer, remnants of my “I want to fit in” phase.

Another lovely gem of this thought process is that if you’re fat, you are ugly.  No ifs or buts.  An aunty once told me, “Girls only look good if they are slim”, which confused the eff out of me because she herself was fat as hell.  And slim doesn’t mean slim/curvy.  No, slim means flat chested, skeletal, and with cheekbones that would make Maleficent jealous.  So unless you’re a  fluorescent toothpick, it sucks to be you.  Don’t believe me?  Attend an Indo Pakistani party, especially one where lots of middle age ladies that are looking for brides for their sons are invited.  If you’re pale, I guarantee you’ll have a fan following within the hour.

So the mother of the cousin of the friend said nothing.  She just sighed and said her daughter would never consider a suitor who’s been divorced, twice.  She did that because she herself believed that her daughter, a lovely, round faced, wide eyed, sweet girl, isn’t attractive because she isn’t light skinned or thin.  Which makes no sense because her daughter has plenty of male attention.  Lots of guys find her exotic looking and she’s been asked out often.  She’s aware her mother has had this conversation, but she’s shrugged it off to a way of thinking that’s stupid and illogical, yet something that had been ingrained into her mother and aunt at a young age by their mother and so on.  They’d been through it and it’s hard to change someone’s way of thinking.  Besides, she told me, she’d never marry someone her mother picked out for her, anyway.

Of course, not all Indians and Pakistanis think like this.  As a matter of fact, things are actually getting better in India.  There are now lots of desi  (slang for Indo/Pak, I can use it, I am one of them) actresses and models who are refusing to bleach their skin and take pride in having a tan.  There are “dark is beautiful” campaigns all over the Indian media.  It’s a slow process, overturning centuries of backward thinking, but I’m glad there has been a start.

If you’re wondering if I’ve been through the revolving door that is Indian Pakistani style match making a few times myself, then duh!  You’re right.  Where else would I get my writing material from if not life itself?  I don’t know any desi girl who hasn’t, light or dark.  It’s just the system itself.  It’s barbaric.  But I’m happy to say it was only a few spins before I found myself a sweet guy who couldn’t care less what I weighed or whether or not he’d save on his electricity bill if my skin color wasn’t the right wattage.  My husband says the thing he liked about me the most is that I was easy to talk to.  Now if it were only that convenient for everyone.

First time

This is my first time ever.  Blogging, that is.  Why’d I start?  Being a stay at home mom to two little boys is great but my kids aren’t the best conversationalists.  There’s only so many times I can hear that I’m the worst mom in the world.  I’m married to the nicest guy ever, who has always been encouraging me in my endeavors.

I used to write regularly, in a journal or diary, before time to myself became a luxury I couldn’t afford.  Now, with my own laptop and much less self doubt,    I figured I could give opinionated information to the netting world on topics that sorely need first hand experience info sharing.  I should also act before my vocabulary goes to hell, I start referring to myself in the third person, and I can’t speak in much more than pronouns.  If nothing else, this blog will get my the wheels of my creativity turning.  I figure if it doesn’t work out, there’s always the delete button.

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce my sisters and co-bloggers, Sumayya and Fatima.  They’d prefer to go by Sumi and Fati.  I don’t like to be called Sheemi.  We are three Indian American sisters living in Chicago (Fati, me) and Dallas (Sumi).  Sumi is the sweetest nurse you’ll ever meet who’s a mom to the most adorable nephew on the planet.  Fati is a very independent senior in college.  She’s majoring in business and finance, has a full load of college classes, and still manages to look super chic ninety nine percent of the time.  Since their schedules are busier than mine, I will be the main blogger, but you’ll get their input often as well.

This blog is going to move slow, since I have no idea what I’m doing and it’ll take a while for my audience and writing skills to grow.  Unfortunately over the past few years, my language has accumulated some not so nice words that I’ll try to keep the usage of to a minimum.  Sometimes, though, that’s the only way to get the point across 🙂