Tuesday, 23 December 2008


I thought I'd eaten an entire box of after eights the other day. I'd been given them at work and picked at them all day. When I got the box out of my bag later I found only one or two amongst the empty paper carcasses of their brothers and sisters. Horrific. I thought I had unknowingly developed yet another eating disorder and came to terms with this after a couple of hours of deep thought. When I unpacked my hand bag later (truth be told it contained two bottles of red wine, a small bottle of vodka, pack of fags, pro plus, nine biros, a bottle of herbal anti-anxiety pills and half a bag of cous cous) I found the missing chocolates had not been eaten, oh no, they had formed a sticky mess in my not inexpensive hand bag, a mess that resembled a mixture of tar and cum. Lovely. What surprised me was that I was more relieved that I had not in fact scoffed the chocolates than I was annoyed that my tres expensive hand bag was ruined. Say my chocolate binge would have cost me 500 calories and my bag costs 500 pounds and yet I valued the non-eating of the chocolate over the handbag (Balanciega if you were wondering). Madness, surely? No wonder then that the UK diet industry is valued at over 10 billion pounds if the UK is populated by mentals like me. And I am really not that mad - I eat bacon and cake and drink and scoff and sit on my arse and get fat and don't care too much. Except that of course I DO as this little anecdote proves. I just care in that helpless retrospective way. If I was a crack addict then the empty box would be a still-smoking pipe and I would be pretty pissed off at myself but as of yet unconvinced that rehab is for me. I don't have an eating disorder (any more) but surely there's something a little bit crazy about regret when it comes to food? You eat and get fat and look back and wish that you hadn't so why would you just not do it in the first place? There seems something much more disordered about that way of thinking than just being honest with yourself and everybody else and say NO FOOD FOR ME from the outset. And I know I'm not the only one dear reader. It seems the world is split into anorexics and anorexics that deny their anorexia like dry alcoholics - we're off the vodka but it's all we can think about. Therapy anyone?


Hello dear reader,

So, I am in Jordan visiting my parents. Why is it that the moment I set foot on this arid and peculiar land, I am instantly gripped by the impulse to drink a litre of vodka and throw myself at the nearest man in a dress that resembles little more than a handkerchief whilst dragging on a cigarette and raging incomprehensibly about feminism and democracy and freedom of speech...?

Anywhoo. My mother has been giving out my e-mail address to suitable young men of similar dual-heritage. This fills me with The Rage. In addition to this I am attempting to keep up my morning run whilst out here but the attention received from over-sexed young men is becoming a little unbearable. This also gives me The Rage. As does my decision to give up smoking proper. I can see the headlines now: Nicotine-Deprived Brit Slays Twelve. Horrific.

Occasionally, whilst driving round Amman, I am suddenly struck by the peculiarity of my situation. It is the sort of a sudden clarity you get when you are able to blink the tears out of your eyes or when you put your contacts in. It is the sort of clarity that is striking because of the abstract smudginess of the experience directly preceding it. I am never going to understand what it is like to wake up without a profound sense of confusion regarding one's own identity. Neither will I ever understand what it feels like not to feel obliged to constantly battle the subtlest forms of chauvinism and racism, forms of these things that are so subtle that they are only picked up by the over-sensitive mixed-race women of Muslim decent such as myself. I am a constant raging, rowing, point-proving ball of fear and confusion and dissatisfaction. I lurch from one row to another, from one confidant to the next, being constantly disappointed at the stupidity and ignorance of people I could otherwise potentially like. I get to know a person and they seem enlightened and interesting and interested and then they go and ruin it with some flippant comment regarding race or religion or gender, or worse, they ask me to speak some Arabic, "Oh go ooooooooon!", they might as well be shouting CLAP MONKEY, GO ON MONKEY, CLAP whilst I grasp my little symbols and stomp about with that vacant and tragic look on my face that only creatures subjected to this humiliating display of servitude can capture. Awful.

I take anti-anxiety medication to try and subdue all the rage and fear but alas- my doctor is unable to grasp that the problem isn't the hard-wiring of my mind but the fact that I exist in perpetual limbo when it comes to my identity, that I am forced to exist on the periphery of everything and that every row, every disagreement or run-in reminds me that fundamentally, dear reader, no one thinks quite like me. And this makes me sad and this makes me scared and lonely and angry. And so it occurs to me how truly wonderful and astute my mother is and just how well she actually knows me and how much I love her for trying to find me a man that thinks just like me.

Friday, 19 December 2008

The story so far

Hello dear reader,

I was going to give you some spiel about my background/upbringing/neuroses etc. but then decided midway through that it appears in my twenty-two years I have done nothing of real interest to either you or myself. This is probably largely owing to the fact that I am pathologically anti-social which leaves me with little more to offer up to you than a retelling of the blathering internal narrative that that has plagued and irritated both me and my psychologist (God bless him- not that I believe in the mystical and fickle patriarchal being you understand but it's a turn of phrase) for many many years.

Instead, perhaps I can interest you in some pop feminism???

I was reading in the Guardian today (my paper of choice, although, if I'm honest I only read the G2 as I can't be bothered with the kerfuffle of the broad sheet and actual news seems to be so morbid don't you think?) and came across one an article about Barbie. Apparently Barbie is turning 50. Yes, yes, I know it is hard to believe dear reader, considering her tits are still up by her chin (although nippleless which must have had Ken all shook up first time they got down to the wink wink nudge nudge) and there is not a single varicose vein protruding from her shapely legs like some obscene root vegetable or earth worm exposed to nuclear radiation nor is there a single dimple or bluing stretch mark on her eerily shiny peachy skin. However, 50 she is. And in celebration (in case you were wondering, I have realised that celebrating the "birthday" of a doll is a little peculiar at best and down right weird in reality) the Guardian had two feminist writers debate the merits and demerits of this icon of femininity.

Now, I realise I have spent an entire paragraph on the subject myself so feel free to shout "glass houses" at any point, but have "we", and I mean all those with a vagina, not got anything better to get all steamy about? Sexual harassment anyone? The sex trade? Female circumcision? Rape? Honour killings? There's a whole gory and gruesome list to choose from if you want to get riled, and this is most definitely the abridged addition, but I'd imagine that if we were to write up all the almost uncountable horrors and injustices inflicted upon our kind in the modern world then Barbie, with her 18"waist and perfect bosom, would probably be somewhere near the bottom along with Mother-in-law jokes and magic knickers. Far be it for me to criticise the good people at the Guardian, but can we please set these articulate minds to work on something a little more pressing?

I am not so obtuse as not to realise that writing this little critique only highlights my own disregard for the gorier feminist causes, I could have spent twenty minutes writing about sexual harassment, the sex trade, female circumcision, rape or honour killings, but the difference is that I am not a paid, card-carrying member of the feminist elite. These cropped-haired ladies have a platform and a readership, they have power, whilst I am, dear reader, just a neurotic twenty-something with too much emotional and intellectual energy to be productively channeled and this is just a form literary masturbation.