kungfufighting: (princess bride)
"Why do we always fight on important dates?  Last time it was my birthday, now on our anniversary..."

"I know why.  It's because you always ask for things on these dates, and I get depressed because I can't give them to you, and then it all starts."

I'm 29.  I live with my husband of 2 years in my mother's house.  I sleep in a bunk bed.  My mom not only insists on doing, but folding my laundry.  Including my husband's underwear.

It's interesting what you take for granted, being married.  You assume you'll have a place of your own, you'll pay bills and go to school or work or both.  You'll look at each other and go, well, we're in our twenties now, but in ten years, things are gonna look great.  

We knew we'd end up losing our apartment.  It was just a matter of time.  He wasn't working, I only had a part time job.  We put it off for as long as we could.  Mostly because it seemed too ridiculous to bear - our first home together?  Nah.  It was there for good.

We spent the first part of June moving out in bits and pieces.  On our last trip away, after we'd locked up and dropped off the keys late at night, my husband got in the car and cried.  I did too, but only a little - I'd been crying all month, and I was already prepared for that moment.  All I could do was remind him over and over again, "We'll be fine.  I love you.  We'll be fine."

Up until the move, I kept telling him every time he got depressed, "It'll be fine.  As long as we have each other, it doesn't matter where we go."

It's kinda a little bit bullshit, isn't it?  We both knew it, too.  And even though he's in a great program in school that will give him a wonderful shot at a well paying job when he's done, for another year, we're still in limbo.  

When we got together, our assumed gender roles fell into place really quickly, I'm a little ashamed to say.  Being married brought out the dormant provider in my husband and the way, way dormant nurturer/domestic goddess in me.  He loved giving me things, I loved making our lives more beautiful and comfortable.  

Now, I have no home to spruce up.  No kitchen of my own to cook in.  And he has no means of income.  Love is literally all we have.  And yes, the answer is, it's been enough.  It is technically enough.

According to one of our songs (yes, we have an entire album's worth, because choosing is hard), love is all you need.

Just barely.  Saying "I love you" to each other nowadays seems to be code for just hang on.  

kungfufighting: (will knit for tattoos)
Not long after I enrolled in my second attempt at college, my father sent me an email.  It consisted of just a link to a news article about a local man - the usual inspiring thing.  The man in question had visited a university as a teenager, and at the end of the visit, he took his name tag off and stuck it underneath the bleachers.  He vowed to himself he'd return as a student and be successful, and years later, after his share of struggles, he came back to find that tag still there.

I sent a somewhat snotty response back to my father.  I had flunked out of my first college and moved back home very, very reluctantly.  I was full of hope about this second chance, but I also sensed that most people, my parents included, didn't have much faith in me any longer.  I replied, "What are you implying, Dad?  You know things are going to be different this time.  I'm not going to mess it up like I did before.  You'll see."

His response?  One line:  

"All I'm saying is, don't forget where you put your name tag.  Love, Dad."

When I got married, I found myself repeating another of my father's one liners to my husband.  Growing up with a chronic liar of a mother had made me somewhat bitter in the promises department, and gestures have always meant very little to me.  After a routine fight, I informed my partner that words meant nothing to me, and actions meant everything. 

I'm sorry.  I won't ever do that again.  I promise I will change.  Things will be different.  I don't do that kind of thing anymore.

Put your money where your mouth is, so the saying goes.  Right?  Actions speak louder than words.  And don't forget where you put your name tag, people.  

kungfufighting: (i love my brick)
It's not as if I was busy anyways, what with the college and the job and all.

Bring it on.

LJ Idol - Season Eight Signups
kungfufighting: (Default)
I've never been one of those "insert groom here" women.  A lot of girls have their entire weddings planned out by the age of 6, and though they don't always stick to their desires for a winged pegasus to fly them into the ceremony, one thing usually stays the same until they grow up - the little cookie-cutter hole type shape where the groom fits in.  They continue in this fashion for years until finally, the long-awaited proposal hits, and the lucky man is informed, "This is how our wedding will be."

Not me so much.

My mother and father eloped to England when they decided to get married.  My father was stuck in Iran, having been trapped as a political prisoner in 1979 after being one of the many students participating in the overthrowing of the shah.  (All those students who protested at Tehran University?  My father was one of them, and ended up in jail as a result for a time.)  He had previously spent some time as an exchange student in the United States and had met my mother in Illinois at a coffee shop where a friend of hers worked.  They had planned on being together, true - but the situation hurried the issue somewhat.

They eloped.  Two weeks later, she went back to Illinois, and he stayed in England.  They spent the first two years of their marriage apart.

Meridan and I had a similar situation, though not with quite so much daring and danger.  He and I got together a week before he was to leave for a year to Ecuador on an exchange program.  We could have waited until he returned - but, well, romance won out.  We managed to keep things together long-distance for that year, and have been together ever since.  I demanded love letters from him in the mail, which he sent.  I wanted one mostly because I had read a particularly sappy, ridiculous one that my father had sent to my mother while in England.  That was my romantic ideal, and I stuck to it, damnit.

I had no fancy proposal or diamond ring from Meridan.  He proposed to me somewhat off-handedly one afternoon after having sex, and I said yes before I realized that he was in fact very serious.  The moment was lost, I suppose, but I was still over the moon.  We bought my engagement ring together - no diamonds here, just a Mystic Fire Topaz grown in a lab (with SCIENCE!).  We planned a wedding in 6 months.

In 6 months, we ran out of money.  So, the day before Halloween in 2009, we scurried off to the courthouse with two of our best friends in tow.  That was that.  And anyone you ask will tell you that we did it like that to get married before the end of 2009 so that we could file our taxes jointly.

My romance has always been there - but the fuss has been somewhat lacking.  I pine for it sometimes - but I know I have more than most of those cookie-cutter women do, since I waited for the man, not the dress and flying pegasus.  

written for the lj idol competition, season 7, week 6. topic - not of your world.
kungfufighting: (Default)
 "Dance with your new sister!"

Without warning, the dancing mass of women pushed me toward the woman in white, who held her hands out to me. Caught up in the music and laughter, I grabbed them, and we flew around and around in a circle. I found the rhythm quickly enough - the lovely thing about Jewish wedding music is that each song has the same tempo. It's a beat that goes through your entire body, and paired with the massive volume and natural headiness of a celebration, dancing is inevitable.

Before I left for New York, I asked my boss just what I was supposed to call a woman who was marrying my brother-in-law. It seemed like too many levels of separation for a familial term, and Scott, being a good authority on most things geneological, replied, "Nothing." According to him, she was indeed just my brother-in-law's wife.

This lesson in family trees seemed to be one that all of Brooklyn had missed out on, however. All day long, people referred to me as Tikvah's new sister-in-law, and I wasn't surprised. After all, Brooklyn and the orthodox Jews that inhabit the majority of it seem to come out of a completely different era - a different planet at times. Rules are obeyed without question, but technicalities are milked dry so that modern life is possible. Everything revolves around making it work. No ecosystem could be more delicately balanced than the Jewish epicenter of Brooklyn. And it has to be important to maintain a sense of family in a community that thrives on arranged marriages such as the one we were attending.

Everyone carried some sort of baggage with them to New York that weekend. Besides the physical luggage, we all had enormous chips on our shoulders to some degree. Mostly, these came from fear that our endorsing an arranged marriage would be somehow bad. Leyzer was clearly happy, Tikvah and her family were happy - but we were hippie-dippie Washingtonians. This shiksa had already secured her interfaith elopement, and it seemed somehow wrong to celebrate a marriage that had all the feeling of a business deal. Not to mention the massive list of patriarchal rules. Modesty and segregation of the sexes seemed to be the theme of this wedding, and I was none too pleased.

"They're not roping me into dancing," I said firmly to Meridan when we were packing our suitcases. "And they can't stop me from kissing you."

All my anger at having to cover my collarbone and my elbows, my panic at having to be separated from Meridan throughout a good 90% of the event, my frustration at attending a wedding ceremony entirely in Hebrew that was impossible for me to follow - it all trickled away, bit by bit. Dozens of strange women congratulated me throughout the evening with such love and excitement. The tumultuous relationship with my mother-in-law entered into a period of smooth sailing as I stuck by her side throughout, becoming in effect the daughter that she needed. Despite the language barrier, I still shed a tear as I watched my brother-in-law's face while several rabbis gave blessings in Hebrew. And when my husband, giddy from the drink, dancing and insanity from the men's side of the hall, snuck through the curtains to sweep me up, my heart nearly exploded with happiness at seeing him again. Our kiss attracted no attention after all, and after so many hours apart, the separation and the romance of the evening hit me, and that one small kiss was better than anything we'd ever shared.

When we met for the first time, Tikvah announced to me, "You're my first sister-in-law."

Stunned, I replied, "You're mine too." I have only one brother myself, and Meridan comes from a family of three boys.

"I mean, I have sisters," she continued, "but you're my first sister-in-law."

I could only smile. I mean, even if she isn't my sister-in-law or whatever, it doesn't matter. And the little girl who's due to be born in about three months is still going to be my niece - that's a point no genealogist could argue.

written for the lj idol competition, season 7, week 6.  topic - not of your world.
kungfufighting: (Default)
I'm a list maker. Most of the time, I don't actually do the things on my lists, but I keep making them nonetheless.

It all comes down to fear, I suppose. Fear of taking action, because I always assume things will fail before they even begin. They tell me it's anxiety disorder, which is just a nice, clinical way of saying that everything scares me shitless. Any time I think I'm ready to get up, get moving and do something... I just can't.

I obsessively watch the show "Intervention" on A&E. Recently, when I cut my cable, I discovered that the past 7 seasons were on Netflix, and I've been tormenting my husband with episode after episode. For those who've never seen it, it's a show profiling various addicts. They convince said addicts that the film crew is just there to make a documentary about their addictions, but in the end, each one is given a surprise intervention, full of family and friends begging them to go to inpatient treatment. The majority of the addicts go, but a good number of those relapse.

Meridan hates the show. It depresses him, he says, and he has trouble relating to the addicts. I know he hates it, and I continue to watch it. Because, while I also can't relate much to the addicts, I'm obsessed with watching the behaviors and reactions of the families.

My mother has been an addict for nearly 25 years. Her primary drug is of the prescription variety - Percocet, Ultram, Vicodin... you name a pain pill, and she's been hooked on it. She augments with alcohol when she can't get the pills, and while the pills are horrible, the person she becomes when she drinks is unlike anything I can describe. And while the addiction is bad, the lying and deception are what ultimately lost her everything - my father, my little brother, her jobs, friends, you name it.

Once, she spent a year in therapy. That year was the happiest of my life. After it ended, I found a letter she'd written torn up in the trash, and I noticed my name on it. I spent an afternoon piecing it together, and finally made out this sentence:

"My addiction has affected my daughter. Moni used to be a happy little girl, but now she is always closed off and withdrawn. I regret what I've done to her."

My mom has done terrible things to me. But when she calls me, I answer. When she needs money, I give it to her. I prepare myself every time my father calls me, because I'm always sure he's about to tell me that she's dead. And I don't know whether it's love that makes me answer the phone each time she calls. Sometimes, I think it's fear. Because all those years of being withdrawn were simply because I was too afraid to do or say anything for fear that I would make it worse.

Being around my mother means never being able to feel as if you're on solid ground. It's never okay to just relax. Because there's never any guarantee that she'll be fine the next day.

I have a list in my head of what I'll do with all of her belongings when I finally have to go and clean out her house. I know what I'll say when I have to call my relatives. And every time someone on Intervention says something similar, I think, Yes. I understand you. You're not a bad person.

My co-dependency is a trap. And I keep falling into it again and again.

written for the LJ Idol competition, season 7, week 3. topic: it's a trap.
kungfufighting: (Default)
She simply wouldn't slow down.  That much was clear.  He knew she had to be aware of the panting and wheezing coming from behind her amidst the rustling as they passed through cluster after cluster of trees, but for whatever reason, she was choosing to ignore him. 

"Hey!"

Silence. 

"I'm talking to you!  I know you can hear me."

Still nothing.

Well, this was insane.  He'd never been ignored before.  This was unfamiliar territory.  A week ago, he would have known how to deal with the situation.  To be fair, a week ago he never would have been in a situation, period.  Situations were for peasants and pregnant chambermaids.  Honestly, how can you end up in any kind of predicament when your every move is decided for you by a vast network of advisors, noblemen, guards, and the like? 

It occurred to him that there would be no such network on this journey.  Like it or not, this was a party of two.  And the other half of this illustrious duo wasn't about to fall at his feet any time soon - in fact, she didn't seem to care a bit about his feet, blistered and aching as they were.  This would require some tact and diplomacy.

"Mistress Hunter, the sun is nearly down.  I can barely see the path before me.  I really do think we ought to find shelter soon."

A sound finally escaped her, but it wasn't the one he'd expected.  Really.  As if it was acceptable to snort at someone of his stature.
"Scared of the dark, are you?  Shocking."  Her deep voice drifted back to him on a wave of derision.  Still, that was the most she'd spoken to him at one time since they'd left Bern this morning.  That had to count for something.

The huntress stopped abruptly, causing Artan to stumble over his own feet once again and nearly collapse.  "Fine.  Here will do."  She turned and looked directly into his eyes - also a first on the journey.  Hers were narrowed, and she flicked them up and down the length of him once, then snorted again.  "Don't get your hopes up regarding shelter on this journey.  We have to cover as much ground as possible every day, which means we can't spend time finding inns full of booze and loose women for you to mess about with.  We're talking cold, hard ground every night."

Well, he was no idiot, though she clearly thought him one.  Not to mention she seemed to have little to no regard for his survival skills.  He would just have to prove her wrong somehow.  "I understand.  I won't complain."  Whatever else, he knew his life was in her hands.  The thought made a ripple of cold pass through him, and he abruptly slumped to the ground against a nearby tree.

Nothing to be done.  Whether he could get along with this strange woman or not, he couldn't return to Bern.  Ever.  Now he knew why Sanjar had once referred to exile as the cruelest of all fates.  Oh, he could not let himself think of Sanjar now.  He knew if he did, he would lose what little strength he had left to keep himself sane.

Her mouth did not soften, but her eyes did, just a touch.  She loosened the buckle on the strap across her chest, setting her pack on the ground.  Rummaging through it, she removed a small wooden box and held it out to him.  "Salve.  It'll do until we can get you better boots."

"Thank you."  His voice was low, but calm.  He stared at her arm as he took the box - it was the first good glimpse he'd gotten of it.  The dragon tattoo wrapped around her forearm like a snake, swallowing its own tail. 

Mitra noticed him staring, but didn't comment.  Obviously, he'd be curious.  He was royalty - he had to know that there was more to it than a simple bit of artwork.  She wouldn't have to explain to him the significance.  After all... it was the reason they were there, together.
kungfufighting: (Default)
ljidolzero1


You'd think anyone narcissistic enough to keep a public, online journal for ten years would have no trouble talking about herself.  But I'm finding this hard already. 

On the surface, I'm just a 28 year old chick.  I'm two quarters away from finishing a 2 year degree that I started 10 years ago.  That's downright painful to write down. 

I didn't waste those ten years, though.  I've convinced myself of that after a long bout of ohmygodwastedmylifeaaagh.  No, I don't have any pieces of paper beyond a high school diploma yet.  No, I'm not employed full time with a glorious career.  And no, there are no babies yet... although, I never planned on those until 30 anyways.  One of the only pieces of my grand plan I stuck to, oddly enough.

I'm nearly 30.  And I've lived. 

I struggle with identity like anyone else.  I rushed into getting married to my husband - in fact, I said "I do" a year ago today.  And for that entire year, I've had the nagging feeling that I permanently changed something about myself without any forethought.  I don't have regrets in the classic sense - I love my husband, and I truly feel we're meant for each other.  But is married Moni still Moni?  Is 'wife' a term that I ever imagined carrying around?

I've had jobs.  Some amazing, some terrible.  But something good came out of every one of those career paths - in fact, the worst job led me to meet people who I now consider to be my second family. 

I've bounced around from college to college.  I fled to Seattle to attend the University of Washington when I was barely 18, and came home 6 months later an emotional and physical wreck.  A brief stop at the Evergreen State College didn't land me a degree, but it did get me a husband.  (There's one degree I DID earn... my M.R.S.  Hah.)  Every time I got fed up and left, I never cast a thought to how far I was setting myself back.

At 19, I was convinced I was going to be a writer.  I wrote every night - awful, painful Mary Sue-ish works of fiction and self-absorbed journal entries.  I abandoned it all a few years later, and to this day, I barely write anymore beyond my LiveJournal.  All the stories I have churning around in my head do just that - swim around with nowhere to go, because I lack the confidence in myself to get them out properly.

But I have so many stories.  Stories about my parents, from romantic elopement right out of a movie to painful divorce 30 years later.  Stories about my mother, which are the hardest to write, because being the child of an addict is something that you carry around like a scar, making me both proud and embarrassed.  Stories about roller coaster relationships and fantasy worlds and reincarnation and road trips and... well, the list goes on.

Might as well get them out, I think.  Maybe then I'll be able to sleep at night.

I'm currently headed down the perfect career path for a failed writer - I'm working to become an English teacher.  All I need to do is try, fail, and get it out of the way.  Right?

I'm Moni, and I'm 28, and I've done a lot of stuff.  Sometimes, the way I describe that stuff is kinda funny, so people like having me around.  And that's okay with me.
kungfufighting: (Default)
So, I see it's time for another season of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol.

So, I guess I should sign up, I said to Meridan.

So, he told me to just shut up and do it.

He's super bossy, but whatever. Punk.

Also, he told me in song, because he was messing around with the guitar at the time. And I like to do things that songs tell me to do. So there you go.

It's all Aleph and Beth's fault.

kungfufighting: (Default)
So, I see it's time for another season of [community profile] therealljidol.

So, I guess I should sign up, I said to Meridan.

So, he told me to just shut up and do it.

He's super bossy, but whatever. Punk.

Also, he told me in song, because he was messing around with the guitar at the time. And I like to do things that songs tell me to do. So there you go.

It's all Aleph and Beth's fault.

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kungfufighting

March 2012

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