Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sometimes I Buy Myself Flowers

So what would you say if I told you that sometimes I buy myself flowers?
I mean, my brothers would probably make fun of me…
I obviously think it’s the right thing to do, because I do it from time to time.
Ya wanna know why? I’ll tell you:

Because out there on the streets of my city—
it’s an emotional

Just the other day I got done with work, where the men are my friends, supporters, representatives & bosses. Upon exiting that safe haven, I took to the streets to go record some music for a friend at his recording studio, just a 15 minute walk away. [I don’t take a taxi if I don’t have to, especially not for such a short distance, on such a nice, sunshiny day.] And as I’m happily walking to go do something I love for some dear friends, I put in my one working earphone & turn up the sweet tunes of Tristan Prettyman [my favorite].

As if my life were a movie, a car approaching me on the road starts honking incessantly. Do I know this person? No. Do I want to know this person? No. He gets closer to me & slows down. Unfortunately, my ugly white sunglasses broke. [Actually—that’s a “fortunately.” The unfortunate part is that I’m not wearing sunglasses when Mr. Honk-My-Horn-Till-You-Get-In-My-Car is staring me down.] I pay him no attention, readdress my posture & keep going. He stops when he reaches me. I ignore him. Then he rolls his window down. He’s still invisible to me at this point. He starts staring that creepy stare, making head motions, beckoning me to his car. I angrily wonder what makes him think that I’ll just stop, hop on in & thank him for the ride. [Please.]

I’ve found that I have an intense temper when it comes to situations like this. The treatment of women, even, or maybe especially, foreign women, really hurts my heart & the desire for justice burns within me. However, I know that I am only one girl & I need to make wise choices that are full of respect, honor & safety.

Yet, sometimes I fail. As he threw the car into reverse to go with me, [ya know, just in case, upon seeing his perseverance I should change my mind] I had had enough. I quickly scanned both sides of this busy part of town, taking note of how many spectators I had, & gave them a little show. I made [what some might call] an inappropriate gesture, said a few shaming words & continued on. He finally got the point & sped off, leaving me with an audience.

I didn’t feel any better. Some people here would say that encounters like this are my fault—because I’m not covered, because I’m foreign, because I’m “shagra.” Somehow, I was the one who invited HIM to approach me in that way, that he couldn’t help himself. “He’s just a man,” I’ve been told. I would beg to differ. There are many men in this world, & even in this city, who can “restrain” themselves from such behavior, acting respectfully towards women, treating them as humans.

As I talked myself out of my street rage & composed myself once again, I finally had reached my destination. In the elevator I looked in the mirror & saw that my face really did reflect my heart. I quickly put on some lip gloss, fixed my hair & cleaned up my eye makeup. I was delivered to the third floor where I was immediately met by enthusiastic smiles & warm handshakes of two men who just adore me. They had been waiting for me, as it was their day off, & welcomed me with a glass of cold water [my drink of choice]. I only returned their smiles & well wishes. I said nothing of my encounter outside—this is what we call, “aadi” or “normal.” I just gave them the chocolate chip cookies I had brought for them for their hard work.

I left their studio smiling, having been encouraged, knowing that I’m loved & appreciated, only to return back to the streets where I slap on my stone-cold face that says, “Do not mess with me OR ELSE!”, watching every man who comes within 20 feet of me. It’s a very normal day of emotional whiplash.

Before going home, I make a little visit to Sayeed,
the man at the flower shop in my neighborhood.
[His name meansHappy.”]
I walk in, he greets me like a queen, I hand him about $5,
take a seat & he whips up a bouquet of fresh flowers for me.

And so sometimes, I buy myself flowers.


  1. this is a great post. i don't deem whatever gesture you choose as inappropriate. i had a few in my mind. i'm so glad that you're getting to record music there! that's wonderful. we'll we get to hear it? love you!

  2. Sounds to me like you NEEDED flowers after THAT experience. I remember these experiences from my younger days in Istanbul...What took the cake was getting grabbed on the rear end by a guy riding by on a BICYCLE!

    May the Lord give you and all of the other young women serving in your area abundant grace and covering.

  3. sometimes i buy myself flowers, too. looks like you got some good ones from Sayeed!
    ps. the alchemist is my favorite book.

  4. Yeah--my worst day was when the truck full of policemen was harassing me as I went by. Seriously, guys? Seriously?

  5. awwww the flowers are SO BEAUTIFUL!I like Sayeed. I distinctly remember the times I was walking down the streets of a certain country like yours and all I wished was to become invisible every time I passed by a cafe, to escape all the stares. But the fact that friend-men like Sayeed only called me "gazelle" and "handled" me properly made it way better. Now, my selective memory apparently kept only the beautiful memories and hid away the unpleasant ones of the type you are describing here. So thank you for sharing your heart here with us... as I dream/wish/believe one day I will be sent in a country like yours (I'm in preparations now), everything you write is so enlightening. Although the MAIN things we do for LOVE would in theory be greater, these every-moment things make up life and it helps me understand it beforehand.
    you are SO STRONG and WONDERFUL! it may not feel like that sometimes, but at the end of the day you had the beautiful flowers and the ugliness of sin didn't win.

  6. Christina: You WON'T be hearing this music. Unless you're buying children's computer games and CDs by a certain company... haha. Thanks for your ever-loving support. You're my good friend. :)

    OT: I'm kind of impressed by Mr. Bike-Riding-Butt-Grabber. That's skill. I bet you BOTH told all your friends. ha. But still--it just hurts my heart sometimes. Flowers make me happier--it's like I can spite them--they're not takin my joy away today. Jerks. Thanks for your blessings. :)

    Jordan: You speak to my heart in ways you don't know. Thanks for loving The Alchemist, too. :)

    Christine: I remember the first time a soldier was staring me down and I remember thinking how if he's treating me this way, there's no way I'm safe. Who am I supposed to run to?? It's unnerving--especially if you grow up in America and being a girl is perfectly normal. I hope they all feel guilty for being mean to you.

    AnnaBananna: How's it goin?! I like Sayeed, too. He's a sweet man who takes care of me. Invisible is my secret wish of a super power!! It used to be teleportation, but now it's DEFINITELY invisibility. For the SAME reason! And I think Father blesses us with selective memories. It's kind of why I refuse to journal--I don't want to always remember how hard it is. Even though that's where much of the beauty is. So my loss on the lack of journaling. Thanks for your encouragement--I really am so grateful for you & your kind words. :)

    much love,


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