Saturday, June 23, 2012
I'm proud, this year, of Hanifeh, the young, Shia Muslim, Afghani woman whom I've never met, with the Sunni husband of whom her family does not approve and the three year old daughter named Dayana, and who lives on the 10th floor of my grandmother's apartment building in Toronto, and who has begun to help my Mamani bathe, as she has trouble stepping in and out of the tub on her own.
I'm proud, this year, of my mother, who, when I explained to her a few months ago that I would like to have a child soon, with no partner in sight, offered (without batting an eyelash at my queerness and my singleness and my "unconventionality") that I move back to LA so she could help me. This is the same woman who today saw my tattoo for the first time and, breezy as could be, just said it was pretty.
I'm proud, this year, of my Baba, who is practicing remembering the stories of the inexplicable wonder of his youth, and the homeless man called Sheikh Ebrahim, who slept in the morgue in the winter, and who would come to his family's home in Arak to remind them that magic is real, in the midst of my Ameh's stomachache, or after the time that it rained rocks for three days.
I'm proud, this year, of my Mamani, who makes the pilgrimage to Mecca whenever possible and knows how to ask for what she needs and continues to do what she wants.
I'm proud, this year, of my sister for taking care of herself. I am proud of her for seeking happiness.
I'm also proud, this year, of all of you, lazing about in the park and drinking Prosecco, picking up on each other and vomiting on each other's shoes, complaining about full bladders and ex-lovers and broken hearts and flaky people in the port-a-potty line. I'm missing you, this year, complaining about corporate sponsorships of Pride and non-profit jobs and how hard it is to make art when you're broke. I'm loving you, this year, marching in the streets and avoiding those who hurt you and those who lied, walking and stumbling your ways through community and through celebration and through life.
As much as I miss all that, I'm proud, this year, of myself, for being here with my family through all this. I'm proud, this year, of bringing my queer self, fragmented and a bit lonesome and a bit tired of hiding and a bit tired of being invisible even when I'm not hiding, to this family, this history, this language and this laughter and this table full of food. I'm proud of myself even when I fall back into old patterns, old practices, the trances that resurfacing trauma flings me into, and yell and cry and leave. I'm proud that through that, I can always practice letting myself fall back into the arms of these imperfect people, my blood, always ready to embrace. And I'm blessed, this year, to be here with these mouths, who know how to tell stories and curse and gossip and also, who always have for me not just one kiss, but two . . . one for each cheek. Like my people do.