Still Floundering

It has been five years since I took off my headscarf. I don’t wear it anymore, but I did for about sixteen years.

I can’t stand my face without it or a turban. I wear neither, and I wish I did.

I hate my body. I miss covering it with shapeless oversized clothing. Form fitting clothes are very comfortable, easy to exercise in, but they are revealing. Everyone can see my issues.

I took a quick online test for body dysmorphic disorder and I scored just below- I probably don’t have it. I am currently working on processing trauma and I haven’t touched on how I loathe myself for being myself yet with my therapist.

When my hair gets longer and the wind blows it in my face it feels good, the sensation of wind is pleasurable after not feeling it for so long, but it also feels like it is an insect attacking me. It always gives me a start. I can’t get used to my own hair.

Last fall I shaved my head for my daughter when she got hers clipped short, so we could grow our hair out together. I thought it would force me to accept my face. Nope.

No Inkling

I never, ever imagined as a child that I would make it this far into adulthood without a tattoo. It was something discussed from middle school on, what sort of tattoo one planned to get.

I was born in a dragon year, and that was my original thought-a dragon, but as I got older I wanted a tree tattooed on my spine. An actual tree found at the junction of 494 and 7, a twisted yet full thing that never seemed to leaf out, standing alone and defiant on a hillock in the cloverleaf. Blackened and twisted from trunk to sky.

Something on the outside to show the pain inside, the literal scoliosis, arthritis, and also the emotional futility of my reaching towards the sky. I had it quoted back then, at half a month’s pay. Cheap as I am, I never went for it.

When I converted I cast that goal aside, tattoos are frowned upon in the faith. I have no such constraints, now.

But now I don’t see myself quite in that way. I mean, it all still hurts but I balk at having pain define me.

I wonder what does reflect me. I seem to look back and see different people at different times in my life, and only right now do I bear any resemblance to myself, my personality, as a child. I mean my feelings, not my behaviours.

When I was a kid I lived in squats when I could, and hung out with squatters on days off of school when I was living at home. I ran away countless times and I did my best to stay gone, usually. There were a lot of reasons for that, but this post is about symbols and self identity.

I have always wanted to make a squatter sign quilt (it would be a sort of inside joke, for what squatters can sit down and gather material and do a months long project? Probably only European squatters, who don’t have to move so much.), but arthritis is not conducive to that hobby.

I googled it, to see if that was still what people used for squatting, as it is two decades and some since then, and I found it quite readily. But not as we used it. We added the female sign to the tail, and in my search I did not find it that way, anywhere. Who would think equality was more prevalent and conscious in squatter culture back then? At least in my city.

If I were to pick a sign today for myself, would that be it? Probably.

Maybe I should major in subcultures- I test into college next week.

Everyone focuses on the wrong word…

4:34 Surah An-Nisa
But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.- Sahih International Version

In my opinion the key in this ayah is “fear”, and indeed I have never seen it without that word. Fear is not proof or witnesses or even any tangible thing. Fear is a man’s paranoia, his personal issues, his deep-seated insecurities, his mental illness, his worry, his stress. Fear is the justification, here. Fear alone makes it permissible to beat your wife.

Everyone looks at “strike”, which is often translated as “beat” in English versions. I have seen that word picked apart, worried over, given alternate meanings, historically analyzed, excused, justified, and explained away. Daraba, the root of it. To hit.

The ayah is not simply a license to hit, as they claim and also deny, depending on their sympathies. It is a license to use fear itself to justify physical and moral authority over an adult female.

You can reach your own conclusions. You know what mine are.

So I am out, and now you know.

I Thought About It..

One of the side effects of stopping my daily hormone pill is that I became less afraid. Being less afraid made me more outgoing. Being more outgoing made me feel more lonely…
I toyed with the idea of joining a dating site. I even wrote a tiny blurb and put a photo out on a site that is very very low traffic.
Then I went and read the profiles of the men in my selected age group (yes, my own age group!).
There was one very long profile on there, very well written. The guy was not a model, and that was fine with me. What I liked was his writing. One of the things he mentioned was how he had kids and it would be a long time before he introduced anyone to his kids and he expected the same. This makes sense, anything less is irresponsible.
This also makes dating impossible for me. I can’t afford the sitter. I deleted my profile.

Festering..

I admit to having some unhealthy unresolved resentment about my relationships.
My first husband was promoted because I did most of his homework while he was at work.
My second husband did work while we were together but I pitched in a 100% of my income to support him and his siblings while they were attending university. They never had to worry about anything. When his parents handed us money I used it on their medical bills or put it into my in-laws accounts. I never took it for myself. I tried to keep his family living at the level they were accustomed to, and it was a huge mistake on my part. I never thought he would divorce me, I thought we were in for life. So when he did divorce me, I took nothing but what I went in with, which was my possessions and his debt (he years later paid it off) and a car loan.
My children’s father I put through vocational school, and paid off the cost for eight years-three of them after I left him- because it was in my name as well as his. Letting it fall behind meant that they would look for me, to collect. Finding my information on a joint account means he can access that information. It was my responsibility, AND my safety.
It all seemed like a good idea. You invest in your family, right? My second husband and I even had a deal, and his entire family had heard me say that I would go to school when they were done, like taking turns supporting each other.
I was a skiptracer when I was younger. I spent all day, every day, finding people to collect on their debt. It’s a habit I retain, unfortunately.
Today I found my ex-sister-in-law’s new house. It is worth so much money that I could buy about six houses with it where I live. I paid for her living expenses for her first few years here. I am not jealous so much as I am angry. With a house that big, she must have children. Do her children get told no for just about everything they want, like my children do? Does she have to juggle daycare fees with swimming lessons? No.
I am the drowned fisherman they all used to get out of the water. I was so stupid. I should have secured my own fate before tying it to theirs. Now I have to watch my children being raised below the poverty level because of my own mistakes. I am enrolled in community college but I work so much I don’t know how long it will take me to finish. I haven’t even started, yet. I still have to test in.

Don’t Ask For Help

Don’t put a general plea out there for help if you don’t really want it.
This is what I do for a hobby, is help women get free.
If you really are trapped in a house etc etc I can help you. But if you are just pissed off because you want to marry some guy and your father won’t let you and the laws of the country you are in require his permission…
Don’t ask.
I won’t help a woman trade jailers.