Something really weird happened to me today.

I had a minor but significant medical procedure involving several of my triggers (all of which are medical, all of which date to cancer treatment/surgery in my teens).

And I'm not triggered.

This is freaking me out in the best kind of way.

I tried to write a full accounting of what happened, to record it, but it turned out that describing it, making conscious the associations between what happened today and my prior experiences, was actually really upsetting. So I'm going to skip it. But the bullet points are:

  • Leigh is really amazing at being grounding for me during this shit.
  • I do not know how to categorize what happened while I was starting to feel sedated other than by saying that a nurse held me. Maybe she was holding me in position for something? I don't know, the point is, human contact.
  • I said I was nervous. I explained why. I don't know if these particular nurses were particularly good at being calming, or if I'm the difference here, but, um. This was good.

I think these are tears of gratitude, and maybe overwhelmedness? I don't know. But, despite yesterday having been awful because of prep for the procedure, and feeling not entirely well again after it, today is a really good day.

Shake It Out - Florence + The Machine

I actually feel kind of amazing.
amalnahurriyeh: XF: Plastic Flamingo from Acadia, with text "bring it on." (flamingo)
( Dec. 13th, 2012 11:03 am)
Does anyone feel like they have a line on the aesthetic sense of fourteen year old boys? I'm buying my nephew a cell phone case for Christmas (on the request of my sister), and I have no idea what to pick. In terms of clothes, he's a jeans-and-t-shirt dude, and shows no color sense to speak of; he's a Boy Scout, and kind of outdoorsy; and he's in marching band.

My family swears by OtterBox for our cell phone cases. Well, *I* don't have one, but on the nagging of my brother, he, my mother, my wife, and my mother-in-law all do. And I tried one, but I didn't like it. I, on the other hand, have a variation on the Speck Candyshell, which has served me well the past year and a half. In terms of color, I'm thinking something in the green or black family. The blues and reds all seem too femme.

Or, I could go Etsy. I think this wood one but I don't know if the design is too weird. He plays video games, and I like this one a lot. The dot design on this one is pretty cool. And this Sriracha one is pretty hip.

What I am saying here is, halp, plz to be preventing me from being Uncool Aunt.
SCENE: Leigh and Amal are putting away the clean dishes from the dishwasher.

Leigh: *picks up the pan from baking cornbread last night* Amal, did you even scrub this?
Amal: ...No.
Leigh: Then why did you put it in the dishwasher.
Amal: ...I have a theory. You see--
Leigh: Your theory is dumb.
Amal: Yes, I know.
Leigh: You can tell it to me anyway.
Amal: I have a theory. I think dishwashers should wash the dishes.
Leigh: *mutters a lot of things*


Leigh: *hands Amal a Tupperware* Can you put this in the cabinet.
Amal: *notices there schmutz stuck to it* Needs to get washed again. Geez, Leigh, did you even scrub this?
Amal: ...I did?
Leigh: YES.
Amal: Well, that backfired, didn't it?


Leigh: Am I being too mean to you?
Amal: I thought we were bantering. Are we bantering?
Leigh: Yes.
Amal: Then it's OK. You can be actually mad at me while we're bantering, though.
amalnahurriyeh: XF: Dreamwidth Sheep, with alien eyes and little UFO in the background. (alien sheep)
( Mar. 23rd, 2011 11:31 pm)
I made a post at LJ because I needed the poll-making function. It's about Masuharu Morimoto and subtitling.

What I wanted to say before Yuletide reveals go live is: I want to know if anybody guessed which story I wrote. I will say that I have Evidence that at least three of you (who were not my beta) have read it, but I really want to know if I was made. (Part of the reason is that I feel like I wrote the most obvious story in the history of obvious stories. I didn't have a paper bag over my head. A pair of pantyhose at best. Nude pantyhose. With the receipt with my credit card number on it stuck to them.)

If you think you know which story I wrote (and are not my beta, not that she would ever be that disreputable), comment to that effect (but without revealing what story it is)--and then tell me if you were right at reveal tomorrow (I'll post the link and title then). And you drabble/flashfic in the 'verse of the story? Is that an adequate prize?

Now, back to grading my incredibly shitty final papers. Sorry to those on Twitter for the epic amount of complaining. It's just sad, because I had smart kids this semester. Apparently no one ever taught them to write. My roommate suggests its the NCLB hangover, and I think he's probably right, but still: paragraphs, people. They matter. Learn what a dependent clause is, and then never give me one instead of a sentence again. Look words up before you use them. Proofread.

Happy New Year!
amalnahurriyeh: Dana Scully in a man's white dress shirt, looking annoyed and super hot. (scully hot)
( Dec. 27th, 2010 09:51 am)
The Nahurriyeh household is covered with holiday detritus. All around the living room, my son's arranged his new toys in piles: there the plastic guitar, there his extremely large pile of small plastic animals, there the box for Mommy's new slow-cooker, with an eye-hole cut so it can be a robot costume. The Christmas tree, in all its fiberoptic glory, is whirring away on the table, at the kiddo's request. The remains of Christmas dinner (which I posted about here if you want to see what we ate) are sitting in the fridge, waiting to be microwaved back to life.

Isk keeps asking where Santa Claus is, and announcing that it's Christmas, as if he can conjure it back just through desire.

Meanwhile, we are a little snowed in. The east coast got hit with a blizzard, decent amounts of snow but, around here at least, 70+ mph winds. My wife said the news called it a hurricane with snow last night, and had a picture of it with an eye and everything. Here is a picture of the view from my couch, out my French doors to the porch:

From banners and graphics

Despite the frightful weather, this has been a lovely Christmas, not least because it was my first doing Yuletide. I received one story in regular Yuletide, and two more in Yuletide Madness. All three are great, if very different. More excitingly, they are in three different fandoms, which is part of the beauty of Yuletide: one can like everything all at once.

  • Things Unknown and Longed for Still is a story about Sierra/Priya, my favorite Doll from Dollhouse. Without dodging precisely how awful her story is (Priya is the one Doll who is trafficked into the Dollhouse and made into a Doll without her consent, and the one who experiences it as the greatest violation of her autonomy, and is also most obviously subjected to sexual violence during the show), it's a moving portrait of who she was before she was a Doll, and who she became after, especially how her relationship with Victor/Anthony grew, fell apart, and built back up during the ten year gap in canon. Lots of points for the use of "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings," which does lots of good intertextual things.
  • Wondaland Interludes is a set of two little character vignettes in the world of Janelle Monae's Metropolis. The moment of Cindi Mayweather meeting Anthony Greendown, the lover for whom she will eventually lead the android uprising, is really lovely for the way it plays with the relationship between programming and personality, and the sense of what difference means to an android. The portrait of 6ix Savage is more sketchy, but I love the idea that he's got a history with Wondaland, and that he knew something was up with Cindi from the beginning, because who wouldn't?
  • Nightmare: A Response is fic for Dar Williams's song Iowa. After a song about repression and the difficulty of love, the song ends with the narrator running to her lover, singing "I woke up from a nightmare that I could not stand to see/You were a-wandering out on the hills of Iowa and you were not thinking of me." This fic is a response to this line, from the perspective of the lover. It's just gorgeous, and just a reading against the grain of the song, and yet fits perfectly within it. Amazing that 200 words can do something that cool, but, then again, the song's only 290.

I am in the middle of compiling a recs list, but the one that everyone, no matter what, should read is Goodnight Room, which is Goodnight Moon apocafic. How good is it? Good enough that I brought it up on my computer and made my family read it during Christmas dinner. My brother called it "Goodnight Room, only 2001: A Space Odyssey."

Now, back to snowday activities with the family. I think I'll make soup.
My hard drive is in the middle of a catastrophic failure, so I'm backing up what I can before taking it to the shop tomorrow for what will, hopefully, be a brand-new, covered-under-warranty hard drive. Many files are corrupted, because my computer fucking hates me.

I just transferred all my fic to the back up drive. The computer informed me, politely, that the following two stories are corrupted and cannot be copied:

Five Times Mosley Drummy Wishes He Never Met Fox Mulder
Nonverbal, which is better known as the Mulder/Scully/Krycek threesome suggested in Narrative Thrust.

Quick, come up with a category that includes those two works. I dare you.

(Hint: The category is "shit I wrote that Wendy really likes.")
What's the standard warning for a ship with a huge age gap? Cross-generational? Inter-generational? Warning: nekkid old lady (implied)?

Yeah, you know what I'm writing.
In the US, today is National Coming Out Day. Like many holidays, it is both a product of a major marketing campaign and a legitimate expression of community feeling among many, many, LGBTQ folks.

In the spirit of recent efforts to encourage queer youth in their struggles with bullying, self-identification, and depression (see: the It Gets Better Project and the We Got Your Back Project), on this National Coming Out Day, sixteen years after the first time I came out, I present:

Five Times Amal Nahurriyeh Was Glad to Be a Crippled Teenage Lesbian

Vague warning: This post uses discriminatory language in its reclaimed forms in many places (like the title); if this bothers you, this probably isn't the post for you.

Amal relies for moral support on two classic volumes of queer American literature in this: Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and Willa Cather's My Antonia. They're good. You should read them.

Sometimes the need to mess with their heads outweighs the millstone of humiliation. --Fox Mulder. )

Amal Nahurriyeh is the fanfic-writing pseudonym of an academic living and teaching in New York City.  She is happily married to the former Leigh Freidman, and lives with her, their son Isk, and her best friend in a rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood.  After a decade of therapy, she's getting less crazy.  Fourteen years after she was diagnosed with cancer, most people she meets don't know why she limps.
So, female Catholic priests: how would they be addressed? I always called all my priests Father Whoever; so would female priests be Mother Whoever? All my Googling for information on the splinter groups ordaining women fails to mention what the hell they call them once they've ordained them.

Yes, it's fic research. A totally minimal point, but the awesome thing about writing in a universe set in my future is that I get to enact the radical social changes I like. Carsharing is big in the 2020s, FYI.


This week's [community profile] fannish5

Five worst retcons in your fandoms.

Oh, ha ha ha ha ha. Fannish 5, you gotta stop giving me such good ones. (Although some of these are closer to continuity errors than retcons, I guess.)

1. Doctor Who: Journey's End/The End of Time. Fuck you. Fuck you so very, very, very fucking much. I actually think I hate you worse than all the XF retconning, because you're just mean.

2. X-Files: Wait, when did Scully get that necklace? Because this one's just dumb. How hard would it have been to double check that?

3. X-Files: Mulder's Amazing Disappearing Brain Disease. The original brain disease makes no sense. That it never gets mentioned again after Three Words makes no sense. The whole thing: no sense. Is made. By it.

4. X-Files: Amazing Disappearing Behbeh Act. Oh, did you just realize that giving your protagonists a baby means that them being on the run is ~~awkward?~~ I'm so sorry, but BABIES CAN'T JUST DISAPPEAR. IT DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT. (I have a logical rant about how a private adoption wasn't Scully's best option if she thought she couldn't protect William, too. But mostly let me just wave my arms around.)

5. X-Files: Aliens! Humans! Starlight! Seriously, you give us seven seasons of Samantha drama, and then resolve it by snapping yo' damn fingers? NO, NO, ACTUALLY, YOU DON'T. Anyway, I want the Samantha Clones back. A lot of them. Just to fuck with Mulder's head.
amalnahurriyeh: XF: Mulder, looking down and laughing (mulder laugh)
( Oct. 1st, 2010 11:55 am)
I ask my mother if she can watch Isk so Leigh and I can run to the store to grab a new bottle of baby vitamins. (Drug stores without the New York City markup are a great pleasure for us; we save minor purchases like this for trips to the motherland where possible.) Sure, she says. My father, cooking dinner in the kitchen, asks if we need money. Don't worry, I say, as my mother hands me her debit card.

Well, I want you to have money, my father says. He comes to the living room, presses a wad of cash from his pocket into my hand.

Thanks, Dad, I say. And like always, I wonder if I should keep it or not.


My dad wasn't diagnosed as bipolar until I was seventeen. It was bad, when shit went down; it was bad, and it was shocking, and it was totally unsurprising given that one of his sisters is schizophrenic and another had better be a diagnosable sociopath, because 'evil' is an inadequate diagnostic conclusion. Anyway, my family lost it for a while. My mother was reliving her sexual assaults in therapy once a week; I was silently deferring all of my emotions for a time when cancer and Ivy League applications wouldn't be better distractions; my brother was deciding that disappearing was his best bet to get noticed; and my father had a psychotic episode at work and was getting medicated to within an inch of his life.

I don't know if we're better now, but it's at least less unpleasant.

No, that's not true. We're better now. My mom's stepping off her Prozac; my brother's business is taking off; I am capable of letting my mother's judgement roll off my back without feeling crushed by it; and my father, now retired on disability, is okay. He has his swings, but he's generally staying in the vicinity of somewhere that can communicate with others. He's not normal, but he's fine, and that's what matters.


My therapist asked me how my father was after a recent trip to the motherland. "He's fine," I said. "I mean, sometimes he does things, and you can tell it's something his brain is making him do. That sounds stupid, but you know what I mean."

My father's brain made him ask me, every weekly phone call home from college, if I was warm enough--so much so that it became a running joke within the family. My father's brain makes him press twenties into my palm every time I leave the house these days. My father's brain makes him spend half a day obsessing over how I'm going to print the thing I need to mail out while I'm visiting--how will I connect to the printer? Will there be enough ink? Will there be enough paper? Should I print on best quality or draft quality? Will I see the necessary dialogue boxes? Is the printer USB or not? My father's brain makes him shop impulsively, so much so that, in his real manic phases, my mother has taken away his credit cards, that her will states that, in the event of her death, their money will go into a trust, rather than directly to him. In his normal phases, he just buys new televisions.

Okay, once a car, but only once. And my brother did need a car.


My brain makes me do things.

It makes me stay up late, later, latest, because if I lay down then the thoughts will come: that I'll never get these jobs I'm applying for. That I'm a terrible teacher. That my son will run into the road and die because I don't deserve him. That the world would be better if I--left.

It makes me burst into tears in the kitchen because the ants ate the donuts, which is CLEARLY a SIGN from GOD that I am A FAT LAZY BITCH WHO DOESN'T DESERVE THINGS.

It makes me read the words of my friends recovering from eating disorders and struggling with self harming, and wishing I could do those things, because it sounds like it would help.

I hear words leave my mouth, and some part of me goes: Oh, I'm here again. Dammit. And the worst part is that knowing where here is represents a victory, hard-one through thousands of dollars of therapy. Just being here--wherever the fuck here is--is an accomplishment.

There's no winning when you fight your brain. There are only truces.

I never learned that when I was fighting my body, either, for what it's worth.


The problem with being at the place my father's in, or the place I'm in, is that you don't know, sometimes, whether you're doing something, or your brain is.

Does this research proposal suck, or do I just think it does? And what is wrong with me that I can't--no, wait, stop, that's just going to make it worse.

Did I do an okay job teaching today, or am I deluded? And if it went well, was it me, or did my students manage to pull out a win without any help from me?

Did my father hand me the money, or did his brain?


My father is generous. My father is kind. My father is the silent type. My father is artistic. My father can't talk on the phone for more than five minutes these days.

Can I pry my father's symptoms away from his personality? Can I figure out what is legitimately his, and what is his brain tick-tick-ticking away in the corner?

What would I be like without depression as my companion? Quick, Amal: picture yourself with no crises of confidence, no days where you lay on the couch and think how much happier everyone you know would be without you, no days when you stare at the computer screen and think that everything you've ever produced is pointless, no nights writing letters to people you are convinced hate you until you wake up. Pry it out. Who are you without your ghost?

I am my own best critic. I am intensely focused. I am capable of working like a machine under terrible conditions. I am the fastest graduate student my department had ever seen. I am generous. I am artistic. I am self-sacrificing.

I am my father's daughter.

Tick-tick-tick, says my brain. Tick-tick.


amalnahurriyeh: XF: Plastic Flamingo from Acadia, with text "bring it on." (Default)
Amal Nahurriyeh


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