Me & the rest of Iranian women
By Parissa Sohie
October 15, 2003
I think my husband worries about my insomnia more
than my other problems. If my stomach bothers me, I'll
just complain about food--ok, maybe I'll whine a little--but
if I have insomnia, I'm probably start surfing, getting
crazy ideas in my head and even writing things for Iranian.com.
I suspect he wouldn't worry if I stayed awake writing the
thesis that won't go away (if you're wondering, at
this point it's an albatross on my neck) or doing something
significantly productive; but staying awake and telling complete
strangers my life story...even I find it a little strange.
Yet, not strange enough to stop me from doing it anyway.
I'm going to let you in on a dark little secret
of mine. Now, if I ever meet any of you face to face and you
mention of this I will not adamantly deny it or anything.
I'll just look at you as if you are unwell and I have no
idea what you're talking about. So please, in the interest
of writer-reader confidentiality, let's keep this between
the few of us.
What is this secret you wonder? Well, as much
as I hate to even utter these words, I'm not perfect. That's
Unlike some Iranian women who are absolutely sure that everything
they touch, do or say is Perfection, deep down inside (and I
mean really deep) I know that I'm not God's gift
to Creation. Of course, this realization clashes with my other
deep, dark secret--my curiously unjustifiable ego problem.
I mean on one hand, I know I'm not Perfect, but on the
other hand, I see no reason why this should prevent me from being
admired and adored by everyone I cross paths with--or even
those I don't cross paths with for that matter.
crave being the center of the Universe. I see no reason why the
Universe should not revolve around a slightly heavy, petite woman
whose hair is constantly out of control. I am honest enough to
admit that while inspired and awed by people I meet or even read
about, I also want to draw closer to them in hopes that some
osmotic process will give me some of their greatness. Why else
would I greet everyone last Friday with, "Hi, the Nobel
Peace Prize went to an Iranian lady named Shirin Ebadi." I
know that admiration for her bravery, compassion and strength
are only things that I dream of, but that doesn't prevent
me from bragging about her nationality--the only thing I
have in common with her. The same goes with my friends and their
It just cheers me up, when once in a while by
some freak accident, someone thinks so highly of me. A few weeks
ago, I got a call
while I was cleaning house. My friend B from Switzerland called
making small talk: "Hi, how are you...blah blah blah...How
do you make borani?" While I love cooking, I know that
my cooking skills are directly proportionate to how hungry my
audience is. Still, I tried to give my idea of how borani is
prepared (did I mention that I have never liked borani?). And
there it was: "Parissa, you have to say something! It's
just not right for people to say..."
It seems B has
a little less patience with some things than I do. While I
would probably smile and wonder if they knew how foolish they
B would look at them as if they had lost their mind. Ok, she
would probably tell them they were a little crazy if they went
too far. But the funny thing is that she would also call to
recruit me into telling complete strangers how crazy they are--from
the other end of the world (by the way, it is this kind of
of faith that feeds into that little ego problem I mentioned
earlier... but I digress).
For the next ten minutes or so, we discussed how
absolutely sure some Iranian women are when it comes to their
The problem is, not only are
they perfect, but they have the Midas touch, for everything they come close
is faultless. Their parents had to be perfect in order to give rise to such
a perfect being (which in a way is kind of logical, albeit
false) and it would
only make sense for their offspring to be as perfect as they are in every
way. Lest you think I'm exaggerating, look around you.
While I adore my mother,
I remember when she was happy with me, I was just like her. When she
was less than thrilled about something that I had done, I had
the other side of the family. B's mother is the same.
Go on, keep looking.
I bet you'll see a few hamvatans with the same habit. While everyone
has something to offer, do any of us really believe that everything we
offer the world is evidence of how amazing we are?
This brings me back to my current little confession.
Since I cannot reach the lovely lady that was driving B nuts
a while back, I can try to offer
alternative. Heck, who knows? My little confession may bring fellow Imperfects
out of the closet. It's not like we have to stand on roof-tops yelling
that we're less than marvelous. All we have to do is come down from the
roof-tops and stop yelling that we're the end-all and be-all that the
world has to offer.
Maybe eventually, one day, we will be able
to admit to ourselves
that while our parents did great things and loved us, they were not
all princes and princesses lighting the world around them (unless
were princes and princesses of the Ghajar or Pahlavi families, in which
case, this doesn't apply to you). They had faults and made mistakes.
us by love, trial and error and as a result we too have some miniscule
faults and imperfections which we may eventually pass on to our beloved
Welcome to the world, that just makes you like every other human being.
The way I look at it, even the rose has thorns,
that doesn't take away
from its admirers. No I didn't just compare myself to a rose, but
if you compare me to one I won't rush to stop you--I'm too sleepy