Unusual Cube

i.

“Your name is Tasbeeh. Don’t let them call you by anything else.”

My mother speaks to me in Arabic; the command sounds more forceful in her mother tongue, a Libyan dialect that is all sharp edges and hard, guttural sounds. I am seven years old and it has never occurred to me to disobey my mother. Until twelve years old, I would believe God gave her the supernatural ability to tell when I’m lying.

“Don’t let them give you an English nickname,” my mother insists once again, “I didn’t raise amreekan.”

My mother spits out this last word with venom. Amreekan. Americans. It sounds like a curse coming out of her mouth. Eight years in this country and she’s still not convinced she lives here. She wears her headscarf tightly around her neck, wades across the school lawn in long, floor-skimming skirts. Eight years in this country and her tongue refuses to bend and soften for the English language. It embarrasses me, her heavy Arab tongue, wrapping itself so forcefully around the clumsy syllables of English, strangling them out of their meaning.

But she is fierce and fearless. I have never heard her apologize to anyone. She will hold up long grocery lines checking and double-checking the receipt in case they’re trying to cheat us. My humiliation is heavy enough for the both of us. My English is not. Sometimes I step away, so people don’t know we’re together but my dark hair and skin betray me as a member of her tribe.

On my first day of school, my mother presses a kiss to my cheek.

“Your name is Tasbeeh,” she says again, like I’ve forgotten. “Tasbeeh.”

ii.

Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.

“Tas…?”

“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”

A pause.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”

“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”

She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.

“Tazbee,” says one of the students on the playground, later. “Like Tazmanian Devil?” Everyone laughs. I laugh too. It is funny, if you think about it.

iii.

I do not correct anyone for years. One day, in third grade, a plane flies above our school.

“Your dad up there, Bin Laden?” The voice comes from behind. It is dripping in derision.

“My name is Tazbee,” I say. I said it in this heavy English accent, so he may know who I am. I am American. But when I turn around they are gone.

iv.

I go to middle school far, far away. It is a 30-minute drive from our house. It’s a beautiful set of buildings located a few blocks off the beach. I have never in my life seen so many blond people, so many colored irises. This is a school full of Ashtons and Penelopes, Patricks and Sophias. Beautiful names that belong to beautiful faces. The kind of names that promise a lifetime of social triumph.

I am one of two headscarved girls at this new school. We are assigned the same gym class. We are the only ones in sweatpants and long-sleeved undershirts. We are both dreading roll call. When the gym teacher pauses at my name, I am already red with humiliation.

“How do I say your name?” she asks.

“Tazbee,” I say.

“Can I just call you Tess?”

I want to say yes. Call me Tess. But my mother will know, somehow. She will see it written in my eyes. God will whisper it in her ear. Her disappointment will overwhelm me.

“No,” I say, “Please call me Tazbee.”

I don’t hear her say it for the rest of the year.

v.

My history teacher calls me Tashbah for the entire year. It does not matter how often I correct her, she reverts to that misshapen sneeze of a word. It is the ugliest conglomeration of sounds I have ever heard.

When my mother comes to parents’ night, she corrects her angrily, “Tasbeeh. Her name is Tasbeeh.” My history teacher grimaces. I want the world to swallow me up.

vi.

My college professors don’t even bother. I will only know them for a few months of the year. They smother my name in their mouths. It is a hindrance for their tongues. They hand me papers silently. One of them mumbles it unintelligibly whenever he calls on my hand. Another just calls me “T.”

My name is a burden. My name is a burden. My name is a burden. I am a burden.

vii.

On the radio I hear a story about a tribe in some remote, rural place that has no name for the color blue. They do not know what the color blue is. It has no name so it does not exist. It does not exist because it has no name.

viii.

At the start of a new semester, I walk into a math class. My teacher is blond and blue-eyed. I don’t remember his name. When he comes to mine on the roll call, he takes the requisite pause. I hold my breath.

“How do I pronounce your name?” he asks.

I say, “Just call me Tess.”

“Is that how it’s pronounced?”

I say, “No one’s ever been able to pronounce it.”

“That’s probably because they didn’t want to try,” he said. “What is your name?”

When I say my name, it feels like redemption. I have never said it this way before. Tasbeeh. He repeats it back to me several times until he’s got it. It is difficult for his American tongue. His has none of the strength, none of the force of my mother’s. But he gets it, eventually, and it sounds beautiful. I have never heard it sound so beautiful. I have never felt so deserving of a name. My name feels like a crown.

ix.

“Thank you for my name, mama.”

x.

When the barista asks me my name, sharpie poised above the coffee cup, I tell him: “My name is Tasbeeh. It’s a tough t clinging to a soft a, which melts into a silky ssss, which loosely hugs the b, and the rest of my name is a hard whisper — eeh. Tasbeeh. My name is Tasbeeh. Hold it in your mouth until it becomes a prayer. My name is a valuable undertaking. My name requires your rapt attention. Say my name in one swift note – Tasbeeeeeeeh – sand let the h heat your throat like cinnamon. Tasbeeh. My name is an endeavor. My name is a song. Tasbeeh. It means giving glory to God. Tasbeeh. Wrap your tongue around my name, unravel it with the music of your voice, and give God what he is due.”


- Tasbeeh Herwees, The Names They Gave Me  (via libeeya)

(Source: rabbrakha)

via laughingatblueskies / 7 hours ago / 71,342 notes /
Me sleeping in class

Me sleeping in class

(Source: oill-spill)

via thesongofstorms / 7 hours ago / 188,151 notes /

askrattyspokes:

Here’s a pretty fun challenge for you guys!

Go to this site and generate a single random Pokemon.

Now try to come up with at least three different character designs for that pokemon, no matter what you get. (Yes, even if you get Klink. That’s what makes it a challenge!)

This is an nice exercise to improve your design skills, but is also especially useful for PMD-E! Being such a big group, you often bump into a lot of Pokemon of the same species, and sometimes accessories/colors aren’t enough to tell them apart. Being able to put a lot of variation into characters is a great way to prevent that from happening.

That and it’s really fun.

EDIT: Hey, if you do this, would you mind tagging it #pokedesign? I’m interested in seeing these and I’m sure other people would be, too!

jokesmymomwouldlike:

are you ever just like “lol white people” but then you’re like “wait i am a white people”

via he-was-number-wan / 1 day ago / 21,779 notes /

nehirose:

crich88:

ohhowlucky:

danteogodofsoup:

killbenedictcumberbatch:

standupcomedyblog:

John Mulaney | The Salt & Pepper Diner

THE BEST JOKE IN EXISTENCE

GOD I JUST TOLD SOMEONE ABOUT THIS STORY

This is one of the best pieces of comedy that I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. I love this. I have been looking for this online for awhile.

can’t stop giggling

the a/v synch is a little bit off so if that bothers you, be forewarned …. on the other hand i laughed so hard i almost threw up.

Dear irl friends: remember that time east played “what does the fox say” for 30 minutes straight?
This is what this sketch is about and it is beautiful.

(Source: timetoputonashow)

via dimsumbao / 2 days ago / 71,345 notes /
via justapalebluedot / 2 days ago / 300,623 notes /
softerworld:

A Softer World: 911
(it isn’t the storm that makes the ocean dangerous.)
buy this print

softerworld:

A Softer World: 911

(it isn’t the storm that makes the ocean dangerous.)

buy this print

via theangeldetective / 2 days ago / 3,248 notes /

hiatusisso2yearsago:

hiatusisso2yearsago:

itsdeepforhappypeople:

stumpxvx:

dont u hate it when its nine in the afternoon but ur eyes are just normal sized

I’ve seen this post three times on my dash and i still cant fucking figure out what it means is it like some secret code. are 22,000+ of you in a secret society????? what the fuck is going on?????

some of my favorite tags:image

image

image

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some more gems:

image

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image

via 443point7millilitres / 3 days ago / 386,278 notes /

cor1n:

A+ relationship: Playing video games together, rough sex, pizza and awful humor that only you two can laugh at. 

assholedisney:

working on cover letters


I GOT HIRED! People with money know I is smart !

assholedisney:

working on cover letters

I GOT HIRED!
People with money know I is smart !

via thesongofstorms / 3 days ago / 106,197 notes /
An Honest Question For ProChoice People

blue-author:

anaccountofmylife:

I know there are heated debates and people have been wronged on both sides of the arguments. However, I want to ask one question to pro choice people that will help you understand where pro life comes from.

Put aside your beliefs/biases/experiences…

A more neutral argument that is deeply related to this (http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/06/5516/) sums it up well:

“If a doctor in Kansas were butchering hundreds of old or disabled people, and legal authorities failed to intervene, I doubt most members of the National Right to Life Committee would stand by waiting for ‘educational and legislative activities’ to stop him. Somebody would use force.”

via siphersaysstuff / 4 days ago / 996 notes /
Then spread it in their face!

Then spread it in their face!

(Source: wannajoke)

via kalamajackie / 4 days ago / 89,141 notes /

imawkwardandyourecute:

Thanks, Night Vale

via cryptotoxicology / 4 days ago / 283 notes /

hungrylikethewolfie:

live-action modern day “the lion king”
NEW YORK, 1960s. The civil rights movement reaches its crest. Mufasa, a prominent activist leader in the city, clashes against his younger brother Scar, himself a prominent leader of the mafia underground. Politics against politics, brother against brother; Mufasa dies, Scar reigns. A new law governs New York in the 70s: blood and bribery.

Idris Elba as Mufasa, Michael K. Williams as Scar, Naomie Harris as Sarabi, Jaden Smith as Young Simba, Amandla Stenberg as Young Nala (not giffed), Taraji P. Henson as Timon, Mo’Nique as Pumbaa, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Older Simba, Kerry Washington as Older Nala, John Boyega as Kovu, Zoe Kravitz as Kiara.

OH

MY

GOD

(Source: stannisbaratheon)

via ourafrica / 5 days ago / 118,929 notes /

Q & A

At what age did you lose your virginity?

rubyreed:

I never lost mine, I just absorb other peoples’, making my virginity grow stronger and stronger in preparation for the final battle. 

5 days ago / asked by Anonymous
 
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