On coping with not getting

Giving up on what I don’t have and coping with not getting

I am 33 and I still can’t get to grips with not being able to get what I want. It’s a bitter pill to swallow- denial, restraint,  temptation, abstinence, elusiveness or off-limits. Can’t touch this. I am having to work on reconciling myself to the unpalatable reality that I am coveting something that is not on offer to me.

It’s quite the tease, and I’m not the model of self-control. I have to be exposed to this temptation on a daily basis and it leaves me pining and inclined to sulk or have an ‘I want it’ temper tantrum complete with hyperventilating and tears and a red face.

The risks are huge and the consequences of my unhappy will being met are ugly. I should give up my fantasy of getting satisfaction on this one. And in the meantime, I should transfer my interests to a different brand of candy. Preferrably the type that is for sale.

At the tender age of 4 or thereabouts, I threw a tantrum in a supermarket aisle when my parents refused me ‘confectionery’, candy or some such.  I rolled around on the floor before all aghast shoppers screaming, reeling and writhing, foaming at the mouth in a fit of frustration that what I wanted I did not get. Delayed gratification was lost on me.

Today, if I pulled that old tantrum act in the office, I’m not sure it would be the victory it was then. I learnt then, my parents tell me, that ‘No’ usually more or less meant ‘No.’ As adults we need to qualify  the yes or no with possibilities and their consequences. Black or white is usually grey or dusty white, a murky dirty hinterland of degrees of sin. When the barriers are not imposed for the good of your teeth or to control hyperactivity, but for your moral rectitude and code of conduct (for the workplace) it is still no easier to accept going without. Hierarchy and status are no longer as rigid as in the days of yore though, so why can’t I bend the situation to meet my will?

Just maybe if I smile sweetly enough, wear strong enough perfumes and highlight my sleepy but Arabian eyes, I’ll find that where there is a will there is a way, and my obstinacy, steadfastness and ambition will pay off on the career ladder to ‘success’.

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Modesty Overrated: Inside a Conservative Ladies’ Locker-room

I never thought I’d use my blog-space to post (indecent or bold) rants or tirades that were  better or more decently at least left in my head or aired in a personal diary, otherwise mentioned to a friend in passing. Blogs, I thought should take the audience into consideration much more and therefore press upon me the obligation to write only what often thought but n’er so often writ.

But maybe this pet-hate of mine or grievance will find agreeability  in others of a similar yet unvoiced or even shy disposition on this topic.

The notion of female modesty has long-been cherished or admired as a virtue in society, especially in view of its growing extinction in culture that vaunts or celebrates casting off this cumbrance and rejoices in the weight- off-the- shoulders relief that comes with shedding modesty. But this modesty is really just a byword for virginity. I find reserved behaviors (regardless of marital or sexual status)  sometimes needlessly clumsy and inconvenient or cumbersome.

Modesty is more than just the attitude of an innocent. It is how you carry yourself and infers an etiquette or code of decency that society find preferable to a state of public undress or immodesty as it were. It may be, and likely is, that a virgin feels modesty more keenly and is shy of her womanly body that has not yet been viewed in a state of undress by the eyes of a husband or midwife or indeed male gynecologist. The pink tinge on the face of a bashful virgin- eyes averted- are not just the myth of a bygone era. A girl trying on her fast bra is shy and feels awkward about her body and would feel horror at being exposed to prying or unwanted gazes.

Even in a romantic setting. Even feels affronted by the disturbance of a mother.

But what of modesty betwixt female-kind? In a ladies locker-room/ changing room. Can we not just allow practical concerns like getting hurriedly dressed and rushing to make it to or back to work on time (if taking a gym time out at lunch-) Is their any need to guard preciously our female bodies from the eyes of our female comrades and kindred?

Veiled women I find make the ordeal of communal undress or naked-dness more awkward than it need be, considering the veil’d  primary function is to ward off the male roving eye.

Praying ladies in the female gym room…. In the space where I have to get naked, (or near-enough to what I can get away with in order to shower and remain semi-decent) showered, dried, and dressed and orderly for work. Why add an unnecessary obstacle to the chore of the ritual of cleaning up after a work-out in a short space of time when time is money…Why should I feel that my body offends the religiously supplicated? My nakedness should not feel dirty (even if it is after a sweaty workout) or should not suggest that I have lost all modesty and virginal attitude. Regardless of my state of purity, I may just need to forego my innate shyness or awkwardness for expedience and the need to exploit that we are in a female only environment.

I find prying female eyes far more threatening and judgemental than the male eye. The male eye makes me want to carry my head high, and relish the interest, bearing myself coyly,  prancing around soaking up attention. The female probe makes me withdraw uncomfortably and shyly. Veiled females expect, nay demand, modesty of the other…I have no time for modesty in this fast-age. It holds you back. Even as an unmarried woman. The odd exposure of my left (or right) breast should not cause discomfort or undue interest in this setting.

Guys (or Gals rather) give me a break, I’m just in a hurry to get on with my day after my luxurious work-out – that-  let’s face it is decadent since the chores are still undone and the inbox still creaking under the load and the boss still waiting. No time to make sure I’ve concealed all my private bits. Even though I am shy of my cellulite and thigh blubber. Even accutely aware of the unplucked hair in places a man would rather never find out about.

I implore you fellow woman-kind, to go easy on us immodest fool-hardy girls with a mission (to get to work).

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Discovering my Taste in Dance is Palestinian ‘Country’!

Today the realisation dawned on me that Palestinian folk dance was my dance form! It’s not like I knew I’d been seeking a dance type to call my own.

I must admit I’ve never been particularly drawn to Salsa — the most en vogue dance to be mad about. Aficionados (unlike the uninitiated Philistine yours truly) seem to study the art form of Salsa, wax lyrical about its romance and Latino je ne ce quoi,  indulge in its social spirit and even practice it for sport at their local fitness club, taking lessons and doing the homework.

Ballroom dance, while replete with charm, class and a proper grown-up feel, never won me over for longer than a clumsy college half-hearted extra-curricular activity. Belly dance took my fancy but I didn’t take to it as my hips did more than lie, and went so far as to trick,  beguile and embarrass me with their wooden, leaden attempt to ‘shake it’. Regular modern hip-hoppy-grinding antics you witness on the average dance floor did not sit easy with the prude or shyer me and did not inspire me with feeling the ‘beat’ either. For a while, I thought my only option was to just dance like the goofy monkey that I am– Jungle?- or else devise my own art of ‘monkey-dance’.

I met my dream dance on stage at a charity show titled in true zeitgeist style “Jerusalem Spring” today– held at Amman’s Hussein Culture Centre. Palestinian Folk Dance galore!, including the dabka form– a long-time admired tradition I have been more spectator than practitioner of.

Mother, then a resident of Trans-Jordan, took school classes in Dabka and can pull of a vestigial bit of foot work when I ask her nicely.

Those accomplished in the folkdance form, tend to look light and agile on their feet as they bounce and spring about with fun flourishes and a whole series of neat mean rapid foot-art, that I long to master.  Syncopation and off-beat rhythm seem to prevail, and I assume, from my limited albeit enthusiastic, attempts at wedding parties when pulled into a fledgling ring bringing expert together with novice, strong coordination would help.

I’d love to join this excellent proud tradition of dance and fitness regime and acquire the brilliant ability to bring culture and tradition to a wedding or to the right moment at any old party.  Maybe I’ll even pull off the nimble and light, agile and graceful look in the process. I particularly admire some of the mimicry of sewing and olive-picking that permeates the dance form. I love it when dance can be utilitarian or meaningful, and not only about courtship or mating (Palestinian folk-dance is awash with couplings and man-woman mirroring too, I hasten to add, and find agreeable to boot!).

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