Friday, April 22, 2011

Notice you. Noticing me.

Before I begin today's post, I'd like to give a shout-out to a  friend. (yes, he's been begging me)! It won't make you famous, I promise...however, our friendship will be much more meaningful if you spread the goodness of this blog and find me readers/followers. 

Charles Anthony Paul. Usually, I don't know what to call him because his name can be anything...Charles or Anthony or Paul or any other variation. A dedicated reader, a true admirer of my Desi swag...you are officially a part of this blog. SHOUT OUT.

I'm going to step away from my comfort zone and write about something I have not yet discussed in any of my posts. I don't know what to call it, but here it goes. I rode the bus today (4/21/11). No, it's not about the bus ride or riding on the bus. While walking to the bus-stop there were multiple stares and hollers from random street men, which all women go through. And these men are usually not prince-charming or any ideal man for a relationship or a cup of coffee, unless you want to put yourself in danger. This is the truth of the matter, so no one come to me and try to discuss why and why not. Anyways, I got off on Nostrand and Church (primarily a black neighborhood) where I waited for my friends to arrive. While waiting, I was definitely a HIT amongst the black men. I stood there and heard 'Oh you look good.' 'Wow.' 'How are you today?' Aside from boosting my self-esteem, I realized the craziest thing: black men dig me. I've observed this many times before and have finally reached a pleasant conclusion. I seem to be eye-candy for black men. I asked Ruqayyah, who seems to be an expert, as to why black men find me attractive. She answered "You know why right? It's because of your big eyes, voluptuous body. And you look mad exotic Shahana. Like a mix between Spanish and Indian! Black guys go crazy for that ish." I don't know how much of this is true, but regardless, it definitely made me laugh. And I'm reading this paragraph over while editing, and her response is still making me laugh. And you're probably laughing too right now. I like the attention. All girls do. I believe that every men has a certain race/physical attributes they like more or look for when it comes to women. And I guess the same goes for women. However, I don't think I've seen women hit on men on the streets. Have you? Sometimes it's necessary to discuss experiences that  make us seem conceited or self-absorbed. And don't lie girls, you know you like it when a guy hits on you and you're dying to tell someone. I've shared my experience, so now I'd like to hear yours. Men included.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Prayer, peace, possibilities

I was so close to publishing my long-awaited post yesterday afternoon, however, the entire shit got deleted without any of my consent. Clearly, I don't matter to this blog. Anyways, here I am once again recalling every piece of bullshit I intend to enlighten everyone with.

I haven't written in a little over 4 weeks. Those who have been reading my blog since its advent should already be aware of how much of a number and countdown fetish I have. Numbers are a way of life. And in terms of organizing and recollecting memories, numbers allow me to reflect on time and summarize experiences. Don't worry though, I won't go on a number rant here.

I'm off the crutches and regaining some of my mobility. This is good news. But there's bad news. The new hip is already giving me problems. I immediately went to my doctor to make sure everything was okay and in terms of x-rays, the hip looks how it should look - nothing to be intensely stressed about. He mentioned my pain could be due to muscle weakness or cramps or it may just be my damn MIND. Sinha advised me to moderate my activity level (what activity level?!?), take hot water baths and lose weight (um, how exactly without activity?!?). I can reach overall wellness only through experimentation and that's what makes this journey very difficult. I've been reading up on arthritis and anti-inflammatory prevention and cure but at the end of the day, Lupus is an individual development and pain relief varies from person-to-person. However, I've got my friends Bengay and various pain reducers (Oxycodone (Percocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin)) to help me get through some of the tougher times. I mention these two medications specifically because you've probably heard about them - they've probably destroyed more lives than curing. Oh yes, and I have my other friends.

Activity Level Moderation: The doctors talk to me as if I'm running marathons. Walking one, maximum two blocks is probably the most active thing I do. This much activity feels like a marathon. I stop mid-way to catch my breath and I look at the finish line which seems impossible to reach. Good poetic twist there. It always hurts to think about how disabled I actually am. And this is why I don't think about  disability anymore. I don't think of myself as a disabled person. Reaching this level of thought took a lot of woman-power and endurance. I may be physically unable to walk more than two blocks but it doesn't frustrate me anymore. There's no rush where I am. And time is under my control. Of course when Dr. Sinha advised me to control my level of activity he meant to avoid engaging in multiple plans all at once (multitasking and going crazy running errands around the world all within a day), to go easy with college classes (this is still a very conflicting/debatable issue as he wants me to pursue an online degree rather than being in a physical campus), and to control my stress-level (this is considered a form of activity). It's difficult to follow his recommendations because it makes me a whole new person. However, I want to live to enjoy as much as I can and if that means I have to understand my "new" limitations, I'm ready for that shit.  

Hot Water Baths: This will probably sound absurd to many, but I haven't sat in my bathtub since 2008. I haven't sat on a solid ground surface in almost 2 years. And I remember the last time I sat on the ground so vividly: I was having lunch with a friend on "The Quad" (Brooklyn College's grassy terrain). Even then I need help to get back up. I truly miss sitting down on the grass. I miss being so carefree about sitting without seeking help to get back up, standing without losing balance, walking without feeling I'm about to collapse, and going up the stairs with both legs in equal coordination. I miss those days. My weak bones/arthritis/multiple surgeries have left my body and mind to be afraid. I've conquered every possible bad thing that could happen to anyone and yet I'm scared to sit on my tub for a peaceful bath. Basically, a hot water "bath" is not happening anytime soon. However, I've sat with a bath chair and showered myself with hot water. I don't know if that has helped me at all, but who seems to be helping me these days is my massage therapist. One hour of Swedish massage. Must I say more? Pure ecstasy. I'm in heaven. After my initial massage on March 26th, I felt a sudden burst of energy in my body and my mind felt revitalized. My spirits were uplifted. Damn that shit is amazing. And I'm walking a bit better.


Losing Weight: I'm always tortured about this. Due to my limited mobility, it's hard for me to lose the weight. I eat accordingly to lose body fat, however because of my intense medication regimen and slowed metabolism due to most of the medicines and unlucky inheritance of the fat genes, it's twice as hard to lose the weight. The doctors fail to realize how much my body has suffered in the past 3 years. I feel sad for my body. I lose sight of the reality sometimes and fantasize about becoming thin - and I'm not gonna lie, I look pretty damn good thin. However, right now is not the time to fantasize about being thin. I'm on a healthier rode and  really, I've become very health conscious not just to lose weight but to strengthen my baby: my body. I'm thankful every morning when I get out of bed and especially when I take that first step. Second and third steps...the sweet reassurance of being able to walk. 

So what exactly have I been doing to keep my self sane and mentally stable? The answer is nothing out of the ordinary. I've surrounded myself with friends (even though everyone is busy with college and I've lost contact with many. By "friends" I mean Ruqayyah Batts because this girl, midterm or not, even in her most busiest weeks, will call to see how I'm doing. And I find that pretty amazing.), family (even though they're really awkward to be around, I cannot imagine myself without the presence of my mother, father, youngest sibling Sazia, cousin Rifat, and niece Suhana), Brooklyn College (I am not a student this semester, however I've been  involved with many club events - I sang the Honduran National Anthem at the Medical Brigades Honduran Banquet on March 31st. In SPANISH. Very spontaneous, I know, however, you know I'm all about spontaneity), writing (clearly, I have not been writing as much as I should. There's nothing to write about and I'm most certainly not the type to write about "how I'm feeling"  or some "interesting" new shit that came out on a daily basis), and lastly, prayer. Oh and I love sorting the household mail. We have a single mailbox and I like to get all fancy while sorting for the tenants.

Prayer is an interesting occurrence because I am the least faithful person you'll ever meet. I don't believe that prayer is the cure to anything. However, prayer is not about this. We always seem question or look for answers when something goes wrong. But what about the times when things go right? Along with my best friend and sister Ruqayyah, we've both been able to rediscover our faith through prayer and praise. Prayer allows me to find internal and external peace. And when your body and mind is in a peaceful state, yeah, it's a damn good feeling. The good high that doesn't cost a penny. I'm also thankful to a very special well-wisher of mine, Miriam Bhutta, who inspires and motivates me in our every conversation to pray, believe, and be hopeful.

Peaceful harmony leads the path to a happier state of being. And I've been happier these days.

Give peace a chance.