Conversations with Mom

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Age 9-10, Home

Lynn: Mom, c’est quoi la masturbation?
Mom: C’est donner plaisir à soi-même.

Lynn is very very confused and spends two more years wondering what “donner plaisir à soi-même” means.

Age 12, Beirut International Airport

Lynn: Mom, je suis devenu “une jeune fille.”
Mom: [wondering if I had sex and panicking] yih, kif ya3ni?
Lynn: [hush hush voice] J’ai eu mes règles…
Mom: Non! Elti la baba?
Lynn: La2a, ma rte7et la khabero.
Mom: Tab shu 3melti? Leh ma eltili 3a telephone? Leh ma elti la tante Fatima?
Lynn: Dabaret 7alibs c’etait très difficile.
Mom: Habibi! Tu es une jeune fille, ma32oul?

Lynn is relieved her mom is finally back home.

Age 13, School Playground

Mom: [proudly] Aslan Lynn iza bit shouf shab 7elo, ma btefro2 ma3a. Mish metel be2e el bannet. Elle est très mature pour son age.
Lynn is wondering why all girls her age drool over boys while she feels indifferent. She would like to trust her mom that it’s because “elle est mature pour son age.”

Age 14, Watching “Friends” in Parents’ Bedroom

Lynn: Mom, elles sont des lesbieeeennes! Haha!
Mom: Shhhhh! Mish eddem bayyik.
Lynn: Euh, lesh? Ghalat ykouno lesbiennes?
Mom: La2a, bs bayyik ma byet7amal hal eshya.

Lynn is shocked, insulted and very confused. “Hal eshya?”

Age 24, Bedroom

Mom: Ana eltelik shaghelten inti w zghiri - ton corps est à toi et je veux que tu sois indépendante.
Lynn: Betzakar. Ktir 7elo ino eltili hek. 3anjad.
Mom: Tu me connais, ma btefro2 ma3i kel hal eshya. Kil wa7di hiyi w jesma, ma 7ada khaso fiya.

Lynn wonders if this were her cue to come out. Nope, not gonna ruin the moment. Maybe some other time, soon. She wishes her mom always felt as free.

Lynn is actively involved in Meem, a community of queer women and trans folk. She's also into pixels, among other things.

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