Jul 24

My life is rough right now. I’m really angry about a lot of things. I’m angry that I’ve lived so long in Utah that I’ve finally learned with Mormon culture here is REALLY like. That pains me. I’m angry that my life is in turmoil and change. I’m angry that I’ve let things happen to me.

A couple of years ago I posted a post that talked about how I was coping with my father dying. One of the ways  was to listen to Suheir Hammad. Her beautiful voice reminding me about this place that I fell in love with and these people that I fell in love with two years prior. I haven’t stopped listening to her voice. I’ve been looking for other voices like hers and while I’ve found some, I always go back to her voice. Her passionate voice that helps me learn some Arabic because she so beautifully interweaves it into her poems. When I was in Jordan I asked what “Ymaa” meant because I kept hearing my sister’s son saying it and every time I heard him say it I could hear Suheir Hammad saying it. “Khan Younis. Ymaaaaaaaaaaa.” I played it for my sister and she was moved as I was.

Just now I watched Salt of this Sea. I finally bought the DVD of it. It’s a beautiful movie about being Palestinian. Suheir Hammad is in it. I’ll be honest, I think she’s a better poet and poeter than actor, but she still filled my soul up at the end when the Israeli’s were asking where her Palestinian passport was and she said “it’s in your hand.” (It was her American passport with her Palestinian being on that passport that made it her Palestinian passport.) I’m so far away and Suheir Hammad keeps my soul in touch until I get there. I need that. I need that a lot, and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

I know, it’s probably all colonialist of me to be so interested in the Palestinian issue and to call a Palestinian-Jordanian woman my sister, but my soul can’t help it. I hope, though, that I am using my americanism to help them, instead of just hurting them. I worry though. I worry that I’ll take a job from a Palestinian-Jordanian, I worry that in trying to be myself that I’ll be too american and that will continue the cycle of cultural colonialism that I despise so much. I hope not. I hope that by introducing my loved ones there to Suheir Hammad’s voice that not only does my soul stay connected but that she gives them some comfort and hope and they will to never stop being Palestinian and they will teach their children to be proud Palestinians and to never forget Ein Karem and Bayt Natif. I hope that’s the case.

Suheir – if you are still stopping into this place, I want you to know how incredibly grateful I am for who you are. I suspect I am just one of many. Really, though, I am. In fact in the thank you section of my dissertation – if I ever finish the rewrites – you are mentioned, along with Alix Olson. You two remind me of my roots and passion in all things good and just. I hope one day to meet you. Yeah, like so many others. I hope one day my sister and her family can hear you poet, in person. I remember Alix Olson saying, I think in a performance in my hometown of Eugene, that she was like one of those old traveling news tellers. She meant that as she travelled from place to place she told the news and connected communities. You are one of those too. You tell the news in your poems and you connect people back to a land they dream of every day. Do you know how important that is? Do you know what a gift that is for me to be able to give to my sister and her family? Thank you. Now, if I do, in fact, have your attention, will you please put out some of your poems in Arabic? The people who really need your poems can’t understand English, or don’t very well – not well enough to get the meaning. I know you are busy, but please? Will you? If I could I’d translate them, but I speak stats so much better than I do Arabic. I am only just learning.

Thank you,


Jul 1

I have become a wicked wicked introvert these past few weeks. I mean, I have huge tendencies towards introversion, but the last few weeks have seen me take my tendencies to a whole new level. I’m teaching 2 hours a day and I thought that may be impacting how much energy I have to give out, but I don’t think that’s it. I just have a lot on my mind. Too much? I don’t know, just a lot. And no, I haven’t started my dissertation re-writes so please don’t ask about that.

One thing I seem to be sarcastically expecting every day I check my mail is a questionnaire from the Israeli government: “We’re taking a survey of all those who have been detained and questioned. We are doing this so that we can make your next detainment and questioning more effective and more comfortable for you. Please fill out the following form and return it as soon as you can. Thank you. The Government of the Nation of Israel, est. 2000 years ago.” No, I’m not actually expecting it, but as I go to my snail mail box and see it filled with so much junk mail of various types, it does amuse me to think of getting such a piece of mail. These days I’ll take as much amusement as possible.

No. Do not ask me about the job search. If you want to go away. Also, don’t ask me if I have been exercising. I haven’t. Yes it’s hot, yes paddling out at Hyrum would be nothing but wonderful, but I don’t like being stared at by kids, which happens. My growing introversion tendencies don’t like being stared at by a bunch of kids, most of which are probably a part of the local population – to which if they knew me – I would be the most diverse person in their lives.

Oh yeah, and I’m feeling rather bitter too.

So there. Blah. If you want to communicate with me text based ways are by far the best.

Jun 11

i haven’t yet figured out how to re-enter this place after my time in jordan. i have no motivation or energy to do anything unless i’m meeting with someone. then sometimes i cancel. i have no motivation to apply for jobs, even in jordan. i have no motivation to read the cool things i have to read. i feel utterly lost. i don’t know where i fit anymore. i don’t belong in logan anymore, but i don’t have any place else to go right now. no reason to uproot myself just to do so and then have to uproot myself again. *sigh*

Jun 3

a lot happened on my trip to jordan. mostly what happened was internal changes to my psyche. thus, i’m not saying much to anyone. well, that’s a lie. i am willing to talk about the trip with some people, specifics of the trip. i’ve shared a lot of the trip with one person in particular. i’m still processing it and making sure i don’t make mistakes i made in the past. i’m also re-entering with all the issues i put on hold while i was gone. i really did “live in the moment” on my trip. it was survival.

i will say this. i miss my friend more than i could imagine. why does she have to live a world away? i just want to see her in person, to kiss her head, to give her a hard time about this and that. to hear her giving me a hard time about that and this. to hear her daughter following me around “khaltos, khaltos” (aunt, aunt). to see baby m and to coo at him and see his smile, for me. i want more time to talk to her husband e. he’s fascinating and knows a lot. he’s wonderfully sarcastic and beautiful with his children, sometimes both at once.

so, silence on this blog because there’s so much noise in my brain, and my heart wants to escape back to amman. my heart wants to put a hijab on with my cross underneath it. it’s more respectful that way, the hijab on the head.

i hate re-entry. i really do. i’m not a fan of this country and i don’t fit in very well here, and so every time i leave and then come back it’s especially hard. i’m not sure where i fit in at all. i wonder if there is anyplace in this world that i fit in, any culture at all.

so, i’m processing. sometimes out loud with someone, most of the time in my own head. and i’m not ready to start life back in logan and yet i have to. i wish i didn’t. i wish i could just continue to escape and process and then follow my heart back to m and her family.

Apr 13

I turned in my appointment for defense yesterday. It had to be done 2 weeks before my defense date. Today is 2 weeks before that date. By this time in 2 weeks I’ll either be curled up in a ball on my therapists floor or manically happy. Yes, I have a therapist. Dear my, I’m in academia, of course I’m neurotic. Oh, and this PhD crap is enough to send anyone not already neurotic over the edge to a therapist’s office.

2 weeks from last tuesday is the 2nd anniversary of my papa leaving us. I don’t like that all these dates are falling all together like this. I also think that this gone thing that he’s doing has run it’s course. That old freak of nature needs to quit this crap and just come back already. I need him to be here. I need him to be on the other end of the phone. I need to hear his voice filled with happiness when I do get this degree. I miss him more and more each day. I need him to be here for 2 weeks from now. I need him to be here for him to witness it. I emailed my Uncle John (uncle by choice, not by blood) about my defense (Uncle John is in academia) and he said that if there was anyone who would be present from afar it would be MY papa. I don’t want him in spirit, I want him in person. I really do. I miss him so terribly much.

On the sweet side of missing him my Uncle Tom and Aunt Janet are coming to graduation. Tommy is Dad’s brother. Tommy.. that’s what we called him when I was a kid. I am so incredibly grateful that Tom and Janet are coming to this event. Beyond grateful. I can’t wait to see him and just hug him and look at his face and kiss his bald head.  He and my dad sound scarily alike on the phone. As thrilled as I am that my dear Uncle is coming, it’s a little bittersweet because he and Dad are so much alike in their mannerisms. I’d rather have the bitter though to go along with the sweetness of him coming though.  I’m aching to kiss his head just thinking about it.

So, a lot going on. There’s more than I’m writing. There’s always more. I’m not going into it though. Some things are just too personal for blogs. I’ve been given the gift of an older sister figure of recent weeks. She’s actually not that much older than me – I think she has a few months on me, but she’s been on a similar and yet different path than me, so she’s got big sister kinda energy to give me. She’s who hears what’s not meant for this blog.  She’s a sweet gift of late that I’m incredibly grateful for.

Okay, I’m rambling.

Mar 19

it’s late, and i just realized i’ve not posted in a long time. i think i started an update post awhile ago, but i guess that didn’t happen.


not many. no, no job yet. i need to get back to applying. dammit, i hate this.

no, no defense date. i’ll know if i get one by graduation a week from now.

lots of personal havoc. fun. :P.

clothes are coming for my trip to jordan. yeah! beautiful hijabs. beautiful abayas and kurtis. i’m spoiling myself. oh, and i got a really nice camera too. i’m not missing good shots this time. oh heck no.

babies have arrived. no, not mine. friend j had beautiful r on the 11th. little baby love bug was a week early, sneaky girl. love the little girl. a lot.  got an email from amazing m in jordan, little baby m also arrived a week early, on the 16th! yeah! i haven’t seen a picture of that little bugger, but i can’t wait to meet him, and his crazy brother d and his sweet sister n, and their papa and grandpapa and grandmother and uncles and aunts, and to hug his mama again. a gift.

analyzing data. analyzing data. analyzing data. [not dissertation data]

begging for a defense date.

50 days until i leave for the beautiful amazing middle east. i may extend my trip. i may extend my trip to go into gaza. *nod* gaza. i need to. and to be able to snorkel in egypt. and to be able to spend more time with m. i can’t wait. right now i just hope m is getting sleep. and enjoying the smell of the new baby.

Mar 6

i hate dissertations.

Feb 7

a friend of mine and i are scheming. oh i love a good scheme. yeah. we’re scheming about something important though. we’re trying to figure out a way that she can visit her home, which, due to politics, she’s never been able to visit. i’ve visited there once, and i fell in love with it. she won’t fall in love with it, because she’s already IN love with it. she’ll just finally get to see a home that she’s loved with all her heart and yet only imagined. she’ll be able to come face to face with her love and know what it smells like, feels like. she’d be able to wrap herself in it like she’s only dreamed of. i’m contacting people and so is she. we’re trying to make the travel a little bit more legitimate, and besides that’s the only way the politics will work to let her go there. it makes me incredibly sad, frustrated and mad that i’ve been able to visit her home, and that we’re having to scheme to get her there, but on the other hand, scheming with this friend is fun, and the joy on her face when we make it happen will be, well, it will be something i’ll never forget.

i was watching some show last night that martin sheen, the actor, was being interviewed on. he spoke about activism. i loved what he said about it. he said “you do it because you cannot NOT do it and be who you are, who you are meant to be.” that’s why i am scheming with my friend. when she said to me today – this is going to take a lot of work and you already have so much to do, i responded that this was something i had to do, that it wasn’t just work, it was something of my heart. that it was something i couldn’t not do. i’m grateful she’s letting me scheme with her to do it.

Jan 30

Okay, so, Melissa died on Saturday night. What I know is that she’d taken a turn for the worst suddenly Wednesday or Thursday. It was unexpected, I know. The week before she was busy lecturing me on taking care of myself (and I her, of course, that’s how we ran – lecturing each other on things we knew, like being sure to take care of ourselves). I had to put my trip to see her off for a week, 1 simple, short week, because of ice in the Gorge and snow elsewhere. I was called at 1.34am. My alarm was set for 5.15am. Of course Melissa had wonderful friends, and on the other end of the phone was one of them. “I have something devastating to tell you.” She died peacefully in her sleep. She and I talked a lot about how she wanted to die, and this was how she wanted to die – peacefully, without pain, in her sleep. God bless. If she had to leave us, leaving us the way she wanted to is the best and most wonderful way for her to do so.

I’m back in shock. I was in shock after Dad died, and now I’m back in shock at Melissa’s death. *sigh*

Okay. *sigh*

Jan 25

i nearly quit this stupid dissertation. i’ve had it with all the bs that goes in to it. i’ve spent a lot of time pulling myself up from the pits. i’ve spent a lot of energy continuing to move forward. i got some feedback the other day that pushed me over the edge. it was the kind of feedback that was supposed to be helpful but wasn’t explanatory. it was feedback on a part of this thing that i’ve struggled with, a lot. i’ve fought with this part, i’ve read and talked and asked for individual lectures and taken notes on those individual lectures. i’ve gotten understandings in the middle of the night. the problem is, i still can’t do it. i can’t wrap my head around it. this shit is hard.

on top of the pile of shit that is my dissertation is everything else. it’s melissa dying. dammit, melissa is dying. it’s feeling taken advantage of. it’s feeling misunderstood. it’s loneliness. it’s hearing people make social plans around me and knowing i’m not included. it’s feeling like i’m just someone people put up with rather than someone people actually want around. it’s knowing i’m not anyone’s primary concern, that i’m not anyone’s primary person. it’s dad’s death. it’s letting down people, constantly. it’s so much more that people just can’t understand. and it’s reaching the end of my rope and having the dissertation on top of it all.

yeah, yeah. this is all feeling sorry for myself and crap, but i don’t care. people don’t know half the crap i carry. people don’t know what i deal with daily. i don’t tell anyone, i keep it to myself. okay, one other person knows, but they can’t tell anyone. frankly, i get to feel this way, more than i do. or at least more than i tell anyone.

and yeah, i know that people all over the world have it much worse than me. that’s why i hate how hard it is for me. someone with my privilege shouldn’t struggle so much. someone with all i have shouldn’t have to work so hard to get to where i want to be. i have a lot of privilege in this world, even in the US, but it’s so fucking hard. i hate it. i hate how hard it is for me because i want to be helping those who it is even harder for. i want my privilege to work for them, in the way they want it to work for them. i don’t want it to be so hard for me so i can’t help them.

if the weather forecast stays as it is right now i’ll be headed to oregon sunday. i’ll cry a lot. i get to see my friend jen though. and sue. jen is super sarcastic and makes me laugh, a lot. plus she’s got a justice seeking heart, mind and soul, is freakishly smart, and gets me. she misses me too. she’s got cat’s whose crap i don’t have to worry about. i can’t wait to see her, and sue, and melissa. and to enjoy some good hippie cooking. yeah, i plan to eat out, a lot, in the 2 days i’m there. i miss good hippie cooking.

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