Thursday, September 22, 2011

(more) dress patterns

A late bloomer, I took the plunge. My lion's mane had a good, shameful run out on the streets and I can't say it brought me anything but trouble so I guess it's good riddance. But it is there, just hiding.

I am used to wearing costume-like attire and named them all: pirate-outfit, clown dress, Alice-in-Wonderland, sailor 1-3, tina turner, french maid, old maid, librarian 1-17, bee, gramma, grampa 1-3. Years ago I invested in a mannequin which my mother tried to dispose of in parts, one leg at a time.

The hijab names sound sort of like ice cream flavors or OPI shades of nailpolish. Palestinian servant girl, post-Hammam Tanjawia, Erika Badu, nun, rebellious nun, Chiquita Banana lady, Persian tween, bloods, crips, turban, gramma, fabric braid, Amelia Earhart. towelhead, cancer patient, etc.

If anyone can, I think I can have fun with this. And in anticipation of any curious minds of distant relations, people are way nicer to me now. Maybe I used to be unapproachable and now an extra barrier from the world is somehow inviting people in. A barrier against my hair and also against my old costume-outfits. I am hyper-aware that anyone that knows me is sure it is a passing phase or a desperate attempt at an escape from moral bankruptcy, so it makes the most sense to add this to my list of personas and see how many people I can alienate.

The key to "in with the new" is out with the old, so there will soon be lots of dresses nailed to my wall. I did this my freshman year of college but with baby clothes, but its unfortunate resemblance to a shrine for a dead baby forced me to disassemble it in favor of Bjork posters.

May we all be open to purging old habits! Thinking up new ones! Sewing new pants to accommodate a new sense of comportment and then step into them one leg at a time. Let them be pants with ships on them!

With some mending and elongating I am confident that I can successfully hijabify my old costumes at least in time for Halloween to try them out, except that inshaAllah I will be across the world by then and far far away from where I am now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I never wrote my post Ramadan thoughts because then it would mean it was over. A blessed month is time for house cleaning. I rearranged my lists of things to do that I have not done and reorganized my boots according to the probability of slipping and falling in preparation for November snow.
Buffalo is brilliantly autumnal and jobless and when the sun sets its like a hole-punch. Days are spent at a local coffee-shop that constantly reminds me that it is not the Hungarian Pastry shop. In the old episodes of Law & Order they place the scenes in actual shops in recognizable intersections in the city, so now I feel free to drop the names of my favorite places in my writing. I like to think it also proves that I am real.

Ideas about routes and streets and places have been blowing off steam around the corner and I'm starting to round them up from off the bathroom floor. I think they are all just sleeping but some of them look like they might be dead. They are blueish and don't move when I poke them.
These are ideas about places I've had and emphasizing that I feel displaced from them and probably replaced by another introverted foreigner who wanders the streets and befriends cafe waiters. They are an easy target because they always work in the same place and I always know where to find them, and I have never been one so I can't gauge how creepy it is. The recent place where I used to take up space is still there, maybe two sizes too small for me now.

I wear my old dresses as A-line shirts.
I packed away all my stockings.
I look at all the books on my shelf and can't help but wish that all those spines that say SPACE were books about blacks holes and meteorites and not just theories about spaces written by dead white guys.

It is a form of worship to study the stars. From my rooftop I can watch them as I try and get work done at night to make up for the mid-month slump that arrives with the days that it is recommended to fast.
Foggy-headed and curious, asking why we are where we are in life and why the stars look like they are blinking like they are watching me too.

But under the stars we feel more clarity, knowing our names are written up there somewhere,
along with our loves and losses and lives in general. Everything is decided.

Pluto is tired and the stars are looking back at me, and God knows that if I can pull off the old wardrobe, I can pull off the new. And He knew that if I can pull off the nose, I can wear a hijab without causing a commotion.
But I cannot promise I won't stop traffic.
Because I already promised so many people that I would stop traffic.