Hadatha Fi “Mithli” Hatha Al-Yawm1,253 views
It all started exactly 365 days ago (fi “mithli” hatha al-yawm) when I sent an e-mail to Salma:
I am Emcee. I don’t think you’d recognize me from the name, but you know me when you see me… I was a student majoring in the same area you were and now doing my master’s; I bump into you every now and then in the building where you work and I sat next to you during the latest discussion by the free thought society and HELEM…
Anyway, what I wanted to ask you is the following: since you’re a member of HELEM, do you happen to be a member of Meem as well? If yes, then do you know where exactly is the “womyn house” and when are the weekly discussions held there? I tried checking out Meem’s website, but the link to the womyn house seems to be broken… so since you’re the only one I know who may have connections with the girls at Meem, I was wondering if you can fill me in on this…
Sorry for any inconvenience and thanks anyway,
Well, maybe it didn’t exactly start from there… Actually, it was Bekhsoos that got me into this in the first place… It was Phoenix’s revolving door, Nadz’s drive and Aphrodite’s musings that got me hooked up… they kind of tapped into feelings I have for so long tried to analyze, question, and investigate but never given myself the chance to experience. I have turned them into mere means to an end (understanding myself) and forgot that they were also ends in themselves to be lived, whether carnally, mentally, or anywhere between the two… It was Bekhsoos that gave me back that chance; it was Bekhsoos that had me getting those butterflies in my stomach and that heart-wrenching, tear-evoking empathy that had me reflecting for days on end about what it would be like to finally let go… Bekhsoos gave me that safe space where I could leave my thoughts and feelings to wander around freely, trusting that there are fellow companions in that same meadow, whether aware of my presence or not… It was a link on Bekhsoos, that opened my eyes to Meem; and the self-questioning took on a different turn…
Salma’s reply was: “if you’re online let’s chat.”
With a crimson face and feeling utterly exposed (despite knowing that this was self-inflicted), the conversation went as follows:
Salma: so tell me, why this interest in meem
me: well, I came across the magazine they publish “bekhsoos” and I liked the articles… and I sensed it was a very tight knitted group; very supportive of each other… and they had intellectual activities going on as well: book club, movie club and held some interesting discussion groups…
me: and so since I am one of those “questioning” women, I seem to fall under the category of a potential member.
Salma: that was the answer I was looking for
me: I knew that… but was stalling
(and with a labored lungful, I just realized I’ve been holding my breath for far too long)
Salma: i know
well now that we got that out of the way…
me: so… u gonna answer my question? or keep me hanging there? ;-)
Salma: if it helps I’ve been out for 3 years and I am still sort of questioning
me: that’s nice to know…
Salma: i’ll do better than answering… i’ll take you to meem soon
At that point in the conversation, I turned all scarlet, from head to toe… I don’t remember any other time where I blushed as profusely! It was a HUGE step for me… and I felt like I’m being engulfed into something I was yearning for as much as I was dreading… What would taking that step mean to me? Will it mean that I’m admitting to being a lesbian or will I still be able to keep up the uncertainty of being a “questioning” woman? Am I throwing myself into something I can’t handle? Do I know all the consequences of this? What am I really committing to, whether towards others or towards my own self-perception?
That decision was probably one of the very few (if any) which I’ve jumped into without as much consideration and pondering as I’m used to… and I never regretted it one bit!
At first it felt a bit awkward… especially after meeting the faces behind the names in the Bekh team. They looked nothing like I expected! None of them did! I never imagined the group being a family of girls who fall within my age group! I expected to find someone in whom I can see my future self… but no… It seems we were mostly fighting similar battles, trying to plow our way through the rugged paths. Nonetheless, the girls mean a lot to me now… there may come times where I don’t see any of them for months; times when I need to be in my bubble… but the knowledge that they’re there, that the house, our house, is still bustling with active voices, is alone a solace… The support for me is derived from the group’s fixed existence; its constancy despite its continuous “proliferation”.
I finally visited the house for the first time… it was a Bekhsoos night. The team welcomed my blushing self… so far so good… but then as I sat listening to the team discussing future articles, Aphrodite decided to welcome me in her own way:
Aphrodite: “Emcee, why don’t you write us an article for Bekhsoos?”
Emcee (blushing again, now that all eyes were on me): “… mmm… ye… yeah… I’d love to, but I’m not sure what about…”
Aphrodite: “What about you start with a personal story?”
… but that’s another tale to tell