Hold Me, I’m Vulnerable

Last weekend I was deciding whether I should take a fellowship that pays a meager stipend in the next year. It was one of those “what the hell am I doing with my life” moments that have colored my year after graduating college. I had been bottling a lot of insecurities and questions for a long time, and finally I broke down in my car. I had a good cry, but then collected myself before I went inside my house.

My mom took one look at me, and asked what was wrong, and I finally let go and had a good cry with her.

It felt great; it was a necessary catharsis that I had been denying myself for so long. I’m just not good at accepting and showing my vulnerabilities. As a society we might be very quick to point out our physical flaws, but character flaws and personality issues are a bit harder to be honest about.

I’m very afraid of showing my vulnerability, letting others (even those closest to me) see the moments of self-doubt, sadness, and self-questioning I have.

I’m not the only one either. It seems that particularly as women, and additionally as Middle-Eastern women, we feel the need to always look like we are in control, independent, and capable. We are all of these things, but we are also humans that go through healthy amounts of self-doubt, self-questioning, and self-consciousness.

Part of this may come from pressures from our family, and fighting against their expectations of having the perfect “career, marriage, children, family” path. We have to show them that we know what we are doing, and that we don’t need to follow their set expectations. The other aspect of it is the pressure of further proving to Western society that we are not meek, incapable, and dependent women, but smart and in control of our lives. I’ve seen this amongst my Iranian and Arab friends so often that it is the norm.

To make it worse, any instance of vulnerability has a backlash of opinions on the Internet and in society.

The moment someone shows vulnerability everyone jumps on the judgment train. [Read more…]

My Personal Comedian

JOONS:

Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful and amazing mothers out there. We wouldn’t be here without you… literally.

resp

As an ode to Iranian mothers - I thought there is no better way to celebrate today than to tell you all a little about my mother. No horror stories… well depends on how you look at it.

My mom has always been dependent but that doesn’t mean she can’t stand up for herself. I remember YEARS ago (like 17… she was pregnant with my brother), we all went to France for my dad’s engineering conference. I was eight years old and we had been warned that “gypsies” pick pocket. We were crossing the street to go to some museum (memory is hazy on the exact place…) – when all of a sudden, a group of about eight women came at us.

My poor visor-wearing, knee high sock and sandal fashionisto dad froze and just put his hand on his back pocket to guard his wallet as one of the ladies attempted to yank the big ass video camera hanging from his shoulder. My mom tightens her grip on my hand, walks up to the lady, and slaps her across the face. Needless to say, they scattered pretty quickly after that.

bitch

My mom needs someone to take care of her, but when it comes to putting bitches in their place – she has no problem. [Read more…]

Meet Nima: He’s Meeting Mommy Joon

Hey joonies,

It’s about time we got some quality Peeersian men on this blog. So please meet Nima –  no golden doodool complex here, just 100% Irooni man. Read his post and offer your most invaluable joonie advice:

I’ve been seeing this Persian girl for close to six months now. This week, I have the pleasure of meeting her mother for the first time. Her mother, who lives out of town, will be here for a couple of days, meaning that I have no alternative choice.

I wish I could say that I have to take my baba to the pharmacist, which he loves visiting, but she knows my parents are far from this city. I am meeting her.

Nothing short of a hysterectomy is getting me out of this one.

parents

A few background notes:

In case you didn’t realize that I still refer to my dad as “baba” in my 20s, I am Persian. My girlfriend has never “tasted home cooking” before, and this may be due to her mother’s insistence on keeping away from indecent Irooni boys.

Nevertheless, my coarse chest hair would exemplify my Persian-ness. [Read more…]

Go To Therapy, Not My Problem.

Sa-LAAM Joonies.

We set the mood this week with that ka-BOOM of a post I know- but we’ll send you off to the weekend with some laughs, I promise. I’ll start right now by painting an image of how I usually write my blog posts: in really ugly PJ’s (that don’t match), Crest WhiteStrips, 90’s music, and now I’ve taken to wearing my “Man-Repeller”  glasses (as somebody called them). They’re actually the EXACT same glasses that Dwight wears from The Office. I’m not kidding. Glamorous, huh?

I really never understood those girls that always looked cute, even at home—

Don’t you sometimes just want to walk around like all the Golden Girls threw up on you?

Thank you for being a friend.

[Read more…]

Porn is the Gateway to Persian Madness

Hi JOONAMS,

Hope everyone had a great fourth of July- and if your family is anything like mine, there was probably some fessenjoon involved or in our specific case- CHICKEN KABOB.  #I’mafattie   

I decided to take a vacation this week and come out to the WEST COAST (best coast) to visit the family… and as always, whenever I come to visit…

I am filled with guilt, stress and nostalgia– the Persian formula for family time.

My mom loves this quote (secretly)

[Read more…]

If Looks Could Kill

Behind every Persian daddy, there’s a mastermind: the Persian mother.  She’s not just the brains behind the operation, she’s the neck.  Your “Daddy Dictator” requires you to make him proud so that he can breathe easy at night- your success reassures him that you won’t be a total fuck up when you grow up—but you’re mother requires you to be outstanding for one overarching reason: so that she can brag. 

Nobody likes a show off.

Within the Iranian community, everything is a competition.  Who has the best grades, who’s the most attractive, etc.  Parents compete by posting their child’s report card on the fridge before a mehmooni (dreadful family party).  Let me just make one thing clear about ME:  My report card never made it on the fridge.  My mother had to come up with creative ideas to “show me off” to her minions:

Example 1: “Child Star” 

Growing up, I was a MAJOR Spice Girls/Mariah Carey (back in the “Fantasy” days) fan, who wasn’t?  I would frequently put my Spice Girls cassette tape on in our living room stereo, throw my hair in a high ponytail and come up with my own dance routines.  Looking back: the most God awful/humiliating routines you can imagine.  Bytheway- I was eight years old.

My mother forced me to perform my Mariah Carey dance routines at every single mehmooni we had (um yeah, in front of PEOPLE) WHILE lip synching the words.  I know what you are thinking… maybe I took a dance class?  No. Maybe I was a good singer?  HEEEELLLLL NO. I merely imitated what I saw performed on the music videos and on T.V.  Embarrassing?  Little bit.

But it doesn’t end there.

I’m wearing this so you can tell my mother how cute I am.

Obviously, I wasn’t a naïve bacheh (child) my entire life and I eventually, put an end to the one-woman-shows my mother tried to blackmail me with.  Unfortunately, that only caused the pressure to increase… We all know how it goes at a typical Persian party: after a few plates of food and shots of Tequila, the lights are dimmed and the dance party begins.  My mother forced me to be the first one on the dance floor every time.  Mind you: I was a shy child, but if I didn’t get my ass out into the middle, my mother wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the night.  That’s right, Farrah isn’t dancing?  GROUNDED FOR A MONTH.  All she had to do was give me that look and I was fucking running to the dance floor.        

Unfortunately, that “look” didn’t just apply to dancing.

Example 2: “My First Strip Tease” 

When I was seven years old, my parents signed me up to be on the club swim team at the local gym.  (Sidenote: Every Persian kid has to play a sport and an instrument… we have to keep up with the other hotshot Persian kids).  At the end of each lesson, I would be waiting for my mother to come pick me up to take me home in my drenched swimsuit.  The second she pulled up to the parking lot, she had the horrifying “look” on her face… I remember hesitantly opening the door and right away, she would start yelling at me, “Vhy are you still in your maayo (swimsuit)?!  My car is going to get so dirty tanks to you!  YOU ARE SO IRRESPONSIBLE.” (Yes, I was already irresponsible at SEVEN).

So, one day, swim practice ended early and I decided that I would be “responsible” and change before she came to pick me up.  I got out of the pool and waited for the other kids to leave the indoor pool area.  The only people left were me and my MALE swim coach. As he cleaned the toys from around the pool, I proceeded to be “responsible” by taking off my swimsuit.  I vaguely remember him glancing up at me, dropping the toys and bolting out of the room. But, all I could think about was escaping my mother’s wrath that I didn’t even realize that… you probably shouldn’t be getting buck ass naked in front of a random person.

and then I stripped for him.

Of course, my mom walked into the pool area right as I was putting on the ugly ass towel robe she brought me back from Iran and her sudden shriek caused my heart to literally stop beating for one second.  “VAT ARE YOU DOING?  YOU TINK DIS IS RESPONSIBLE?!”

But of course her wrath didn’t just cover proper etiquette and dancing…

Example 3: “Khar Shodi?” (Are You Stupid) 

One bright, sunny day- my mother and I went to Target after my third grade class let out.  As we were walking through the aisles, my mother suddenly pounced on me, “VAT COUNTY ARE WE IN?” I remember thinking… um county?

Let’s be real- they don’t teach you the state capitols until you are in the fifth grade (I remember exactly what year thanks to this particular incident) and when you are in the third fucking grade, all you’re really thinking about is whether you are going to play pogo or hopscotch at recess (just sayin’).  

When I couldn’t answer her question, my mother suddenly whacked me upside the head in the middle of the store with a group of other families surrounding us- staring in shock. 

After we left Target, my mother went and bought books about all the different states in the U.S. and their capitols, counties, etc. and forced me to spend an hour and a half after school everyday memorizing all of them.  That’s why when the lesson in fifth grade came along, I WAS SET. 

yeah I know the fucking capital of Albania.

Obviously, when I look back on these times it cracks me up… but what gets me even more? SHE DENIES EVERYTHING.  “How could you say dat? I NEVER hit you… I NEVER made you do dat.”  It almost makes me second guess my memories… did I just imagine these…? (No I fuckin’ didn’t… I’m not that oblivious, thanks).

Of course, I love my crazy Persian mother.  She made me into the person I am today… After I grew up– I made damn sure I could give her reasons to brag about me- whether it was what college I attended or what job I was able to pull after (and surprisingly, it doesn’t include stripping) or simply making sure I was just there for her when she needed ME, but to this day- I will NEVER forget that “look” that sent me running to her mercy… or the way she would yell at my father to “stop chewing his gum so loudly” because it was “rude” (when in reality, I never heard shit when the poor guy was chewing gum).

Was your Persian mother as crazy as mine?  Did she ever make you pinch YOUR butt so no one would “cheshm” (jinx) you?

SEXANDFESSENJOON@GMAIL.COM

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Your favorite amateur stripper,

Farrah فراه
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