Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why "A Fig Tree"?

I think this would be an appropriate time to discuss the significance of the "fig tree" and why I chose it as my url. My favorite novel is "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath (maybe one day I will explain to you why my blog is called "My Bell Jar"), and one of the motifs in the novel is "the woman that wants everything."

Ok, enough said.

I'm being facetious :) As I said, it is my favorite novel, and the protagonist is quite interesting. It's somewhat biographical of Sylvia Plath and her struggle for perfection in different facets of life. Below is a snippet of the novel that discusses the fig tree and it's metaphorical meaning. It identifies the struggle for a woman to be a scholar, mother, lover, businesswoman, philosopher, and wife all in one -- the woman that wants to be everything. Sylvia Plath wanted it all, and below she describes the struggle:

"...I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree.
One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet." ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 7

Sylvia said, "
I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest..." -- I, too, want all of them. I want them, and I want to do them perfectly. I would hope that these identities are not mutually exclusive. I aspire to be the perfect mother, but at the same time, I want to be the boss' boss. I want to coach, but I want to teach, too. I want to be an independent woman, but I want to love and live for my husband and kids. I want my figs, and I want to eat them too.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Capitalism and Religion

Religion has always been apart of my life -- not in the way you may think, though. I attended Catholic School for 9 years (and can probably still do a decent job at Bible Quiz), I attended Arabic/Muslim School for about the same period of time, and have taken a couple classes regarding Judaism. While I used to be a spiritual person that believed in some sort of superior moral being, I was never a religious or denominational person. I was always resentful of religion because I have seen first hand the divisions it causes. I have seen the aftermaths of war, the look in people's eyes when they are threatened by what is different, and the inability to cross those unnecessary divisions.

People argue that if religion were followed the way it was intended to be followed, then it would promote cohesiveness. I don't buy it. I would argue what I think it promotes, but that is a completely different argument. Anyway, let's take this example. It's similar to a company that produces a new product. The intent of the product is to do 'X', but it repeatedly fails; the margin of error is too high. Sometimes it works, but when it fails, it fails big time and causes the user injury and sometimes death. How long would a product like that stay on the market? Not very long. I am sure many of you are shaking your head at my extremely capitalistic example (Back off Commies :), but regardless, I think the logic stands. I understand the argument that religion is supposed to promote peace and give people stability, just like the product is supposed to work a certain way. I understand the argument, but, nonetheless, religion fails. The margin of error is too high. It often causes distress and more often than not, it causes war, hate, judgment, and chaos. That has been the function of religion. Religion is not needed to promote social cohesiveness. A friend once told me that a local Sheik at the Dearborn mosque said, "Those that are moral solely because they are religious are neither moral nor religious." I couldn't agree more. Religious teachings and morality may go hand in hand, but morality can operate completely independent of religion. It's quite logical, but that is another post. I have not done this issue justice, and would have to write pages upon pages to begin to scratch the surface. Take this post for what it is: a blog.


It has come to my attention that if you go to figtree.blogspot.com instead of my url, Afigtree.blogspot.com you arrive at another person's blog that discusses Israel and whether or not it is described as a fig tree in the Old Testament.

hehehe. One letter separates a world of difference in opinion and meaning.

Oh, the irony.

I wonder how many of you are anxiously waiting for me to discuss Israel...waiting...waiting....


..."I bet she's going to criticize Israel right now because she is an Arab and that's what they do."

No, I won't discuss the fact that I become LIVID when I see hummus, falafel, and 'hookah' (properly known as arguileh or shisha) described as Israeli culture. I won't discuss the Arab-Israeli conflict here because the only appropriate place for such a sensitive debate is Facebook, of course. That, and my apartment at 5am after a night at Rick's, right guys?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Golden Gate Bridge

I got some feedback after posting my lost blog. Some of you seem very concerned that I will not be writing with the same edge and honesty. No worries, my friends. I am every bit the sarcastic jerk I have always been. Now that I have a Michigan degree, I am even more arrogant and self-righteous than ever.


This past weekend, I was biking across the Golden Gate Bridge -- hold up. I.was.biking.across.the.Golden.Gate.Bridge. Wow, life is beautiful. Anyway, as I was biking, I saw the most beautiful view I have ever seen in the States. It was breathtaking. The second the fog lifted and my bike made it's way around the edge, I saw the mountains, the ocean, and the San Francisco skyline in one blink. I don't know what came over me, but I said, "Bism Allah al Rahman al Raheem" (translation: In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful). To those of you who know me well, this should come as a great surprise. I haven't said that in a year; the last time I said was instinctive as well because I was in a bad situation. As a devout agnostic, I pride myself on relying on everything logical to get myself through situations. I was very weirded out when I said it, and I thought about it then for a few days. The thought escaped me, and a year later, here I am thinking about it again. Why did I say it this weekend? One possibility is that we have been conditioned as children to say it when we are scared, happy, in awe, or in need. It must have been pure impulse. The other possibility is that the vision of beauty reaffirms the fact that a god exists; a view as magnificent as this can only be created by a creator with a plan.

Well, I thought about it all day...for the rest of the bike ride actually, and I know what I think. I am not sure I care enough to let you know. The people that know me well have stopped asking questions because they know what decision I came to.

A New Beginning

I began to start posting to my previous blog when I realized that a completely new blog was needed. The colors of my old blog were dark, the tone was aggressive, and the person writing was very defensive. I told a friend that I was thinking of starting a completely new blog instead of bringing the old one back to life. She said, "Good. Start over."


The very reason why I am writing this blog is because I am starting over. New city, new job, new lifestyle, new attitude....new blog. Things are new and exciting, and I want my blog to represent how I feel. I think it's important to mention that I think the previous blog was pretty damn funny, and the asshole that wrote those things is still very much alive and well. I am just at a very different stage in my life and I think my readers have changed. I am no longer speaking to a campus community consumed with "activism" and judgments. I no longer feel the need to appease or piss off. I am not as angry or resentful. I used to rant about things coming to an end, and more often than not, I polarized many issues. The first two words of this post are, "I began..." -- Indeed, I have begun something new, and I am happy to write without the intent of provoking a reaction.

I have many things to say, and many posts to share them in. I want to discuss religion, politics, god, friendships, people, and emotion. I have so many things to share, and I need to start sharing them. After all, it's just like a fig tree. Imagine that each story or idea is a fig. If I stare at the figs long enough without choosing one, the figs will grow old, die, and fall to my feet. That would be such a waste, wouldn't it?