…being Saudi means that my social status is either limited to spinsterhood or a legal status correction that includes the change of hands to my guardianship from one Saudi (my father) to another (a foolish husband).
That last trip to the Saudi Embassy confirmed it when the very shocked Saudi Diplomat's eyebrows touched his hairline because I had told him that I'm quite happy living in a non-Saudi country. "But that means that you may never get married! Aren't you worried about THAT?!"
I know a lot of my kin would rather not marry Saudis. And it's kind of expected to want to have a non-Saudi wife when you have had and been raised and fed by a non-Saudi mother. Especially for my chronically Oedipal cousins and brothers.
Whatever in the world gave those law-making Saudis the assumption that ALL Saudis would only want to marry other Saudis? Are our options limited to marrying just our own cousins?
Dude, not even the bedus do that anymore.
Some Saudis do get away with marrying a non-Saudis by having the right wastah to smooth things up for them in the Department of Innards. But for us hybrids - who are practically second generation immigrants by Purebred Saudi Standards - beyond elementary school, our collection of wastah are only powerful enough to book airplane seats on peak seasons. Which means that there's no way that we can puff our ways into the legal Saudi systems.
Much less legalizing an international marriage.
I almost sound like a bitter spinster even though it's very unlikely for me to rant on such issues; for I have never so grateful for my unleashed status, nor have I laughed at the peculiarity of my life as much I have today. This what happens to a girl on PMS and reading too many feminist-Saudi blogs in one day, giving way to that devilish thought to creep up on me: why have I not been dating Saudis if that would have raised my chances of marrying?
Right, because no Saudi boy would want to live in a Javanese farm.
Thank God I still have that.
All of the things here work marvelously for me, that's why they're written with such enthusiasm. Tell me which are the ones that work for you too, and maybe add some more.
1. Help me choose and purchase outfits.
The question "what do you think about this shirt?" or "how do I look?" really are serious questions because I've been severely cautioned from wardrobe shopping unattended. No, I don't have a bad fashion taste, I just don't have taste at all. Except for underwear (which I still buy on trial-and-error basis), I always have someone to choose it for me.
2. Go out on a walk/ride/drive.
Some of the best stories I've heard came from fellow travelers. Some of the best conversations were exchanged during a walk/ride/drive. Something about being on the road does things to your head and attitudes. They can be quickest way to trigger meditation and it only gets better with good company.
The bonus is that once the conversation dies and sweat begins to break, the silence is surprisingly never uncomfortable with the change of scenery shared with someone else.
3. Cook. The kitchen is like a playground for grownups. Good food warms the heart as much as it fills the stomach. Experimenting with ingredients brings out the creative side in you. Even the seemingly tedious work of plucking leaves from the spinach stem has that calming effect. And nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing someone enjoy the food you've prepared.
I'm almost certain that lack of physical contact makes us prone to loneliness and more aggressive/defensive towards others. Massage is one of the best ways to tackle the lack of physical touch because it can be done almost anywhere, doesn't require condoms, or complicated emotions.
A good massage doesn't require the recipient to lay butt naked in a mystical ambience with candles and New Age music. A good massage only requires the sincerity to wish wellness for the person receiving the massage. If you got that part right, just press your palms and fingers, and let your heart flow.
5. Teach me something. Some of the most practical lessons in my life were learnt out of the classroom. Skills like driving a car, standing on my head, punching a drill into the wall, saying "F*ck you" in German and Acehnese, drink a tequila from a shot glass with no hands, navigating through South of Jakarta. Every time I use these skills, I remember the people who taught it to me, wishing them (most of the time) well.
Others: - Tarot card reading. (works like math)
- Gossip marathon. (see how many people you can talk about in one hour)
- Compliment. (Everyone is a sucker for these)
- Share things. (Shirts, photos, music, food, candies, stories, stories, stories)
- Travel together. (I read this quote somewhere: "You never know someone until you've traveled with them.")
- Cuddle for a full-minute. (No such things as too much love)
- Try a new place to eat.
What's your thing?
When Ammu sneezed, she really gusted.
Ammu sneezed in continuous bouts, like a bitter chain reaction triggered by the need to explode in a cleansing rage. She sneezed in the mornings, right when her bodily fluids are readjusting to the positional change from fetal to vertical. She sneezed until it shook her balance and forced her seated. She sneezed hardest and most persistent when frustration stuck in her nasal passage and her sinuses demanded forgiveness. She sneezed until her face turned red, and her eyes filled with tears, and her ears twanged with a dizzying ring.
One morning, Ammu's ever s often sneezing bouts concurred with Apu's ever so rare visits. Apu, who is Ammu's only daughter and our only sister, has rarely been home in the last seven years, especially ever since Ammu's sneezes had infected her and forced her to learn sneeziology.
On this very rare morning, Apu quietly decided to take on the mucous hail that sheathed Ammu's heart with rage and bitterness and hate, and sat down within dangerously mucous-range proximity in front of our wheezing and sneezing Ammu.
When we thought Ammu's spittle might soak Apu's hair and white, foreigner's clothes, Apu brazenly pressed both of her thumbs an inch behind Ammu's thinning hairline (where bitter sneezes fed on Ammu's soul), the way no child should without the elders' permission.
We held our breaths for another knockout sneeze, but Ammu seemed to have forgotten how to sneeze. Her sneezes halted abruptly, and the color on her confused face quickly faded into a lovely pink, and Apu smiled to her knowingly.
"Look what you've done," Ammu scolded in between hollow breaths of half-sneeze and half-relief, "I lost my sneeze."
They sat in the middle of a puddle of mucous and tears and sneeze-dust that was slowly submerging into where thoughts and memories and emotions are buried and forgotten, and the air around them calmed with antihistaminic glow. "You're welcome, Ammu."
We haven't seen Apu again since that morning, and Ammu refuses to forgive her for that. But once in a while, when she thinks that she's alone in her raging sneezing fits, we see Ammu following the imaginary trace of fingers that Apu had left on her head, to press and pass on the longing for our missing sister, to the earth beneath her.
Inspired by Maya Angelou's quote: "Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns all clean."
عقل من علمٍ، مؤمن من عمل صالح، أرض من ماء، بذؤ من ذكر.
A mind from knowledge, a good man from good deeds, land from water, and a clitoris from male.
Imagine that. Female lust is compared to land and goodness and mind …The Prophet sure knew how to set a punch line.