ISSUE Magazine

Parts by Atiqah Mokhtar


Holy shit, I look like a mess today.

Remember being 18 and vowing never to be one of those women? One of those women who wear makeup so often that when they don’t, they look a bit off, as if a cartoonist forgot to outline their face properly? Well. So much for that.

Why is it the older I get and the more I earn the more I seem to find things to remedy about myself? I could have sworn I spent the majority of my life with a personal care routine comprising of a good bath and shampoo, that’s it. Get some deodorant on and a quick brush of the hair and boom. Sorted. How did it go from that to a routine with three different types of shampoos to use on alternate days, body lotion, compact powder, eyeliner and a whole bunch of other crap before that last spritz of perfume? Has my hair always been this dry or did I just start noticing it now that I can afford to get treatment at the salon every once in a while? Is it just me or was my skin better back when I didn’t have to buy and use moisturizer, toner, blackhead gel, sunblock, and the rest of those things that are supposed to be helping me get better skin?

I swear, some days, I feel like they’re rebelling against me – my hair, my skin, my feet. It doesn’t matter how much attention I devote to them, there is always something else I need to buy to smooth over another imperfection.


Good grief. They’re at it again.


The others are jealous of me. You can feel their spite, it travels up her spine and emanates through her, warming her blood.

Why the ill-will? Well, she spends a lot on me. The most, I suppose. She pays attention to me more than the rest of them put together, probably. But really. The fact of the matter is, I am important. Why shouldn’t she spend that much time and money on me? I am who she is. I am HER, for God’s sake. Strip away everything you know of a person, I’d be one of the last things to go. I am her point of recognition; I am what people see in their heads when they think of her. Can any of the others claim to be even remotely as significant at me?

So really, they have no business, no right to be all indignant. I am more important, and they are not. They should learn to suck it up.


There she goes, buying something for Face again. Face is fine, why does it get all her care? Cleanser, toner, moisturizer, face masks, pimple cream. All those products. If she spent half the time and money on me as she does on bloody Face, I’d be happy. Doesn’t she get how important I am? When people see her from the distance, do they see the pores on her nose? No! They see me! I am her statement piece, I am her femininity, I am her goddamn tresses, her locks, the first visible indicator for people to tell whether she’s got things in control or whether she’s a mess. Jeez.

Sure. I know she brushes me daily. And that time she went to the salon, she did get that special Japanese shampoo and hair tonic the hair-dresser was flogging. Which, to be honest, wasn’t as great as I thought it would be. But still. Better than that supermarket brand shampoo. Eww.

It was only that one time I went really matte and dry that shook her up a bit. She got me conditioner, which she should have started using forever ago. I need to retain hydration. She thinks she can just blow-dry the bejeesus out of me and I’ll be all glossy? Honey, please.

I know. I know what I’ll do. I’ll show her how she needs to start paying attention. I’ll go really dry and I’ll stick out and be as unruly as I can. No wait, I KNOW! I’ll start shedding. That ought to scare her. And then she’ll start spending on me for a change. I am worth it. Hair treatments, here I come!


I really don’t want to complain, but I do carry her around everywhere, and I’m tired. I’m tired, that’s all. I have to admit, when she finally got a job and started earning money, I was half-hoping she’d start showing a bit more care for me. Not much, maybe a pedicure every once in a while, or a massage. Or maybe she could take me to that place where they let fish nibble me? I hear that’s quite an experience.

I know she works long hours. But I just wish she’d stop wearing uncomfortable shoes. They pinch me. I think she can afford to get better ones now, the ones with the soft soles and the comfortable fit. And she spends so much on the rest, what with the new clothes for Body, the haircuts and tonics for Hair. Don’t I deserve some attention as well? I know I shouldn’t be complaining. It just feels unfair.


She likes to stare at me in the mirror sometimes. She’ll tilt her head to one side, looking at my curves, our curves, and she’ll sigh.

I can’t remember the last time she was fully content with how I look.

Those days where I make her feel horrible about herself are endless.

What kind of life is this? I’d rather be any other part of her.


Why the fuck can’t she pick up a couple more books to read? What’s the point of looking good if you don’t keep ME nourished? You’re so trigger-happy when it comes to spending on perfume or shampoo or moisturizer, but it takes you ages to get that Maya Angelou you keep contemplating on buying, and have we given up on trying to read the classics? Don’t even get me started on arithmetic or brain teasers — that last attempt at Sudoku had me on my knees, if I had knees, whatever. Holy crap. Is that a Michelle Phan video I see you clicking on? OH HELL NO.

Hair (not on head)

Can’t she see how I love her unconditionally? She keeps trying to get rid of me, she has never loved me like she does the others. But it’s ok. I’ll just keep growing. No matter the shaving or the laser treatments or the wax strips. I’m resistant. I’ll survive.

Image is ‘Soaps and Shampoos‘ by takot on Flickr.

Atiqah - Thumbnail

Atiqah stopped blow-drying her hair after washes in an attempt to save it from feeling like dry mee hoon. Luscious healthy hair? No. Concerned parents wondering why their daughter stumbles off to work with wet hair? Yes.

This entry was written by atiqahmokhtar and published on 14/12/2012 at 16:45. It’s filed under Atiqah Mokhtar, Essays, ISSUE7, Writings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

6 thoughts on “Parts by Atiqah Mokhtar

  1. thank you for the laughter – I LOVE THIS!
    there’s a kind of amused eerie-ness that kept me giggling. i love Hands – that brevity, separating Girl and the disentangling of herself. HEEEE! 😀

    • atiqahmokhtar on said:

      haha, I remember writing this and thinking that all the body parts sounded so imbalanced, I thought it would be good to have one that seemed sensible, thus Hands, lol. YAY I’M GLAD IT MADE YOU LAUGH! 😀

  2. So much rage here tiqs. Tsk tsk :p

  3. alzaquan on said:

    This inner monologue is MY LIFE basically. Except with even more conflict and friendly fires. Also, SKIP FREAKING MAYA ANGELOU lol I have irrational contempt for her.

    • atiqahmokhtar on said:

      hahahaha, better not let Dhi hear you say that Al, she loves Angelou!

      If my body parts gets any further conflicted I’ll be broke :s

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