May 4, 2011 § Leave a comment
I was sad to leave my two new Egyptian friends. One is starting an art cooperative and the other recently quit her job. At the moment, they decided there was no better time to travel. I would have loved to stay and chat (we were having pastilla and tea on the terrace), but all too soon it was time to meet Louis at the Kasbah’s grande porte and speed off to our Youssefia dinner party. And a party it was. Or rather, a bonga-bonga, as they say in Cameroon. Overstuffed but intent on proving myself, I joined in the dancing as soon as the soccer match was over.
I got concrete feedback on my project today, and now I’m a wobbly noodle drowning the amount of work I have left. Essentially, I was told that I’m doing a good job, but not to forget the purpose: presenting MY fieldwork, not a report on existing literature. There was beady-eyed irony looking back at me from the paragraphs I’d written insisting we give women a voice, let them have meaningful involvement in gender and religious discourse. At the same time I was using far too many citations and references to articulate my own voice. I’m letting the criticism sit on my skin and soak through my hair follicles, and with a little luck, seep back out through my fingertips. I will admit, I’m feeling a little like the male buck that loses his antlers. A castrated and dejected being who has revoked smoothness with women, going out on Fridays, and being the life of the party. No, it’s time to get focused, to shapeshift into a masochist as the deadline gets closer and closer.