The Tiptoe Method

The word ‘commitment’ used to stand for security and assurance, but now it’s often associated with deep rooted anxiety. Fair enough. When the options seem endless how could a concept as cementing as commitment come naturally to us? Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, we’ve come to a point where there’s always something else out there. Something better, shinier, newer, more compatible. It’s hard to settle down when an abundance of choices are available right at your fingertips. How do you commit to one if you haven’t experienced the rest? Jobs, apartments, phones, outfits, plans, and people. Everything has become effortlessly replaceable.

This never-ending supply we’ve found, no, created for ourselves, has caused us to seek shelter under a shield of avoidance when the time comes to actually decide what the fuck it is we want. We tiptoe around it, avoiding the ultimatum that this kind of thing brings us to. Am I done looking for the next best thing? Is this the one I want to stick to? Am I sure? Will I ever be?

It’s often a subject we prefer to leave unspoken. There’s no hard feelings if it’s never discussed, no stress, just keep moving along. Avoiding it means we don’t have to answer any questions. In dating, it’s easier to just assume we’re all open for business until you have “the talk”. When the time comes to talk about it, it kind of feels like the walls are sinking in. It’s time to decide, it’s time to actually commit to one thing. Instead, we all keep fucking around for a while longer, avoiding the issue, sweeping all our responsibilities under the rug to deal with later.

And yet, we’re only human, despite how close we’re getting to becoming half machine. Having feelings for someone does still come naturally, that part is unavoidable. It’s just the entire process afterwards that we all seem to be running from. Even if you think you have feelings for someone, you keep seeking out your options. Keep swiping. Keep going to clubs. Keep running through partners and having meaningless sex just because we aren’t sure when the time will ever be right, when just one person will ever be enough, who will ever be worth fighting for. People have become replaceable and therefore disposable. It’s as easy as a swipe of a finger.

It’s probably also vital to recognize that we are dubbed the “me” generation. We put ourselves first, which isn’t a bad thing to me for the most part. It’s driven me in my career and also taken me out of many shitty situations with people I knew better than to stay in. But the “finding yourself” excuse eventually wears out. When do you stop finding yourself? Never, I hope. I hope I continue to learn new things about myself until the day I die. I think that’s the beauty of life. The issue seems to be that we’re afraid to grow with just one person.  Is it just a defence mechanism to avoid someone seeing you in a place of vulnerability or is it purely selfish?

Of course, there’s also the fact that past relationships have fucked us up, as they do. People who you may have given your heart to that tore it to shreds. Relationships that you may have tried fighting for that just never seemed to work. We’re all scarred and that has led us to become kind of petrified to dive in again. Save a headache. We often sidestep from actually getting into anything serious because we have post traumatic stress from events prior.

Personally, I stay open with how I process my feelings. If they exist, you should know about them. I wasn’t always this way. I’ve been fucked over, used, I’ve hurt others, I’ve shut off my emotions, I’ve drowned my issues in substances and meaningless sex. But none of that was satisfying to me. I decided at some point that I wouldn’t conceal the way I felt because that would be lying not only to myself, but the person I was with. I’ve experienced different reactions to this. Some react in fear, some in the classic “she’s crazy”, and some go for it because it’s right to them too. The best relationships I’ve been in were built around this communication. And although they ultimately resulted in breakups, they were amicable and with people I still consider friends. That’s because there was nothing hidden, and therefore no feelings seriously hurt. I didn’t tiptoe then, and because of it I never fell over and hurt myself.

Those experiences had me set on continuing to stay open, but recently I’ve found myself tiptoeing around too . Maybe it’s because I’m in a new city, maybe it’s because I’m not ready, or maybe it’s just because tiptoeing causes me less grief. But I learned that the tiptoeing thing is what actually makes me act crazy. It’s what makes me have assumptions and conceal my feelings and therefore not communicate properly – the opposite of where I want to be.

What I’m saying is that the tiptoe method is bullshit. It’s built on a foundation of bullshit and it will continue to cause our generation to dive even deeper into the bullshit dating scene we’ve created for ourselves. Yeah, we have fun. Yeah, we’re wild. Yeah, date and sleep with whoever the hell you want, but don’t deny that it all gets old and it can leave you empty. It’s important to have fun and be single and empower yourself, but denying yourself of the things you truly want just because that’s where society is at is, you guessed it, bullshit.

Being afraid to jump into something will cause you to deprive yourself from an experience you could have had. We keep saying ‘everything happens for a reason the way it should’, but if you’re gonna cliche, you better double up- life is also what you make of it. We lose out when we cower away from each other. We miss something so big. Something, that in my opinion is the entire meaning of life. In all this hoopla and craziness that our world is comprised of, it’s the only thing that really makes it all worth it. Ask yourself, while you’re working and building and creating and growing and living and finding yourself, do you have magic in your life? Do you want it? Is it missing?

That tiny, giant L-word.  Four letters that either make no sense whatsoever or make all the sense in the world, depending on where you’re at. But love is all this is about, in the end anyway. You miss a big part of life when you avoid it. Love is a pool on a uncomfortably scorching day and we tiptoe around it, looking at it, wondering when we’ll be ready to jump into it while we stay burning under the sun in the process. We all want it, but some people never jump in. Some people fear they’re gonna drown. Some just hate swimming because they never learned to do it right. But eventually your feet get tired from the tiptoeing and only once you’re laying down by yourself you realize that you may have given up something you really wanted.

If you’ve been in love and you’ve been hurt, you know that you’ll never fully be sure of anything again- until you actually try it. The unknown is okay. The unknown is actually the best part. I say dive in. Life is too short. Time is fleeting. Fear is helpless. Be a little reckless with your decision making, and give your feet a rest.

 

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God Blessed My Persian Face

When I was in elementary school I was made fun of for a number of reasons. Being a visible minority in the 9/11 era and living in a waspy neighbourhood sucked on a few different levels. One of my most vivid memories of these events was being told I was ugly because my eyebrows were thick and bushy and full of Persian life. The whole “sand n*****”,  “terrorist”, “get out of our country” thing was pretty bad too, but a lot of my childhood was filled with hating the way I looked because I wasn’t a white girl.

I remember going home and looking at myself in the mirror and resenting my heritage for causing me the struggle of not being totally hairless and blonde. One day after a notably bad recess break, I went home after school and took my sister’s razor. With the fierce determination to lessen “the damage” of my thick eyebrows, I went to town. I looked ridiculous, of course, because I was 11 and I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing.

Today, thick eyebrows are everything. Terms like “on fleek”, “on point”, “proper” have been used to describe a girl with eyebrows like the ones I once tried to eliminate from my existence. There are multiple memes floating everywhere praising the holy thick eyebrow. I’m not gonna lie, my eyebrow game is proper. Why? Because my eyebrows are thick as fuck because I’m Persian, and we are born into the world covered in hair. Which is still not okay, by the way. Just the eyebrows are okay.

I hated them until about 4 years ago. I would pluck them into tiny lines like the magazines just to avoid looking the way I was born to look. Now? Now it’s cool. Now I get compliments. Now there are white girls asking me “how I got them so thick” so they can snag some tips. The same type of girls who once called me ugly. Nope. Now I refuse to ever let Western media determine how I feel about myself, and this happened after I was finally validated by it. Funny, that something as minor as eyebrows could have caused my life so much grief. So sad and alarming at the same time.

The cultural appropriation conversation is typically pretty cringeworthy. It’s a lot of political correctness vs. ignorance vs. oversensitivity vs. a lack of empathy. It goes in all different directions. I’ve thought a lot about what it means to me. Am I guilty of it? What is it even really? Why can’t we all just get along and appreciate whatever we want? Because it’s not that easy.

I’m not even on the bad end of it. Eyebrows are universal, I know that. I’m not saying anyone is appropriating Middle Eastern eyebrows. I’m saying how come it’s only okay when a specific group says it is? What about headscarves? What about bindis? And crownrows? Headpieces? Where’s the line? What’s okay and what’s not?

Girls like me, who were shamed for looking a certain way and then later praised for it, often feel resentment towards the people who are now embracing what they once rejected. It’s not fair that it’s only “cool” to look a type of way after white girls do it. Plain and simple. It’s not fair that my friend was thrown rocks at for wearing a culturally traditional bindi and now some 18 year old chick from LA is wearing one to Coachella and being photographed for Nylon. It’s not cool that girls with afros were bullied into relaxing their hair, then told weaves were “ratchet” and now you can clock a weave on any given white girl. It’s not fair because it was never okay until someone else said it was, we were never given the choice and never given the chance to actually enjoy the way we looked or the things we did until someone else said we could. Yes, it’s important to empower yourself via yourself, but it’s hard to do so when you’re young and being bullied by both your peers and society.

There’s a big difference between appreciating and embracing other cultures and exploiting them. My experience has been that my “exoticness” was never really appreciated until certain aspects of my image were sought after. I’m a curvy girl. I feel good about that, but I grew up hating it. I wanted to be a size zero, something my body physically will never be. Now it’s okay for me to have thick eyebrows. Now it’s okay for me to be “thick”. Now it’s okay for me to be “exotic”. And that’s cool, thanks for seeing it, but it wasn’t until it became “okay” that I realized how fickle the media and society’s view on me are. Fuck that. Fuck that forever.

That’s why when someone gets offended by you possibly cultural appropriating them it’s best for you to take a minute to think about the journey they’ve gone through. The whole process of learning to accept themselves that they might have faced before you assume they should take it as a compliment. How sacred what you’re utilizing for fashion is to them. It’s never as simple as you think it is.

I’m flattered by every compliment I get about my skin tone, my eyebrows, my hair, my anything that was given to me thanks to my heritage, but I will never forget how this very society looked at me before. I’m not saying walk on eggshells, I’m not even saying stop doing certain things, I’m just saying that it’s important to recognize where the resentment comes from. Empathy goes a long way. Evidently, so do good eyebrows.