Because every woman has her own journey.
That was the moment I knew my son wasn’t my husband’s.
I am originally from West Los Angeles. Born to immigrant parents who fled the Middle East in search of a better life for myself and my sister. Life in my hometown was a bit suffocating, to say the least. My dad is Turkish (of Persian descent), and my mom is 100% Persian-- a fact that anyone meeting her learns within the first 8 seconds of conversation. For us, family gatherings were sights to be seen. Overly ostentatious handbags, jewelry, outfits, endless name-dropping, and bright accessories. There was never any alcohol visibly present, but the vibe couldn’t be more alive (wink wink). Although my family always put on a semi-religious front, many aspects of their lifestyles went against anything religiously related. The plastic surgery, the mini-skirts, 6-inch heels, and the toxic gossip—all of which were permanent fixtures of my family life.
I graduated from a college in California with a major in Communications. I always imagined a career in Media. Post-graduation, I worked several low-level jobs within LA; all of which were absent of the inspiration I was looking for. After on and off fights with my mom about entering the Persian media scene, I knew something needed to change. My life in Los Angeles was suffocating. Everyone knew me, circles were too small, and my life wasn’t really mine. It was my mom’s. Always.
I’ve always been what they call ‘bottom heavy’. Many women in my family are born that way. I’ve never had any issues with it—it was something skirts easily concealed. Yet, someone who had a major problem with my shape—maamaan. After a series of brainwashing efforts into plastic surgery, my mom won, and under the knife I went. Come on, this cannot be life, I thought. I loved my family, but I needed an escape. I needed to be away from the entire state of California and anyone who knew me. Cliché, but I needed to find myself.
I broke up with my Persian boyfriend, and told everyone that I landed an amazing opportunity as a producer for NBC news in New York City. My parents shortly asked about my pay. $95,000 base salary, I said. Everyone was oh so proud of me. They threw me a huge going-away party, and I was on my one-way journey to New York City. Anyway- all this was a lie. Did I land my dream job? No. Did I have a salary lined up? No. What I did have was ambition, and a few lies, which was all I really needed.
Upon arriving to NYC, I booked an Airbnb for 30 days. It was a minuscule bedroom in a dingy Lower East Side apartment rented by two artists. The images looked way better on the website, but this was all I was able to afford at the time. I spent my evenings wandering the streets and figuring out next steps. That was when I met Dennis. He was a bartender at a dive bar around the corner from my apartment. Went over his place drunk one night, had kinky sex, and reassured him that this was nothing more than physical.
Oh! Wait! Dennis, can you get me a job??
Dennis asked the bar manager, and just like that- landed my first NYC job—go me! I had no background or experience in bartending or waitressing. But it can’t possibly be that hard-- I lied my way to New York already! Might as well keep that momentum going. Boy, was this job challenging. 86 this! Open item that! I was overwhelmed and made endless errors my first few weeks. Luckily for me, I was cute, and most guests were too wasted to notice whether their burger was cooked to the desired temperature. But now, I got this.
It was a Thursday around 2pm. Thursdays were when the bar had an all-day happy hour special. A man shows up with a suit, leather briefcase, Chanel reading glasses (which I noticed immediately), and just smelled like money. What made matters even more perfect, no wedding band. PERFECTION. Off to table 4 I ran! Conversation was flowing, drinks were pouring, and into our conversation I asked what he did for work. He says: I’m an angel investor—well, actually my dad is, but I pitch on his behalf. I thought: wait. Ka-Ching!
Aside from the financial aspect, this guy was cool. Let’s call him Mr. N. Seems like he was the All-American man I needed to free me from my West Coast Persian upbringing, but also was financially independent and could you know, help me live?!
Weeks turned in to months and me and Mr. N were doing so well. I moved into his studio apartment in Fidi and one year later, we were married. After our wedding, things took a turn. Mr. N made up excuses for a lacking career and I started my own blog where I landed enough sponsorships to fund our lifestyle. I was okay though- at the time. Until Mr. N’s relationship with substances became a bigger issue. It started with endless marijuana, then stimulants, and tranquilizers, and it was overwhelming. I would come home, and he was nowhere to be found - always with a dead phone battery, and high somewhere. Was he cheating on me? No clue. But it wasn’t even my main concern, oddly.
One weekend, I took my New York bestie to an influencer event sponsored by the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. My bestie had a thing with the waiter and was basically MIA the whole time. Luckily I met this stunner --a marketing executive for the liquor company who also sponsored the shindig. Obviously the free cocktails didn’t help my situation; but I was chatting up a hurricane with Mr. Exec and it all felt so natural. His father is Chilean, and mother is Persian—so we got each other. After the event I called Mr. N to let him know that the hotel offered me a free night, so I’d crash and come home in the morning. Did my husband respond? No. Did he call back? No. You know what? Screw that.
One night stand here I come!
Not like I was getting much passion at home anyway.
Sex with this executive was mind-blowing. The type of sex that feels bone-chilling and illegal. The thought alone gives me goosebumps. Come to find out he was married and just never wore his wedding band. So that makes us even—I guess? I felt terrible, but not as terrible as I thought I would feel. I was a home-wrecker who in the process wrecked her own home. It was weird.
I made the vow to work things out with my husband and decided to get him the help he needed. A few weeks later Mr. N and I are on slightly better terms, and seeing both a relationship and substance abuse therapist, and dedicated to getting our relationship back on track. I guess that one night was what I needed to snap back into reality and figure things out. We were set to attend an influencer dinner when I felt so hungover out of nowhere. I only had one mimosa at brunch, so this was so odd for me. I had the highest alcohol tolerance.
Next thing - I learn I’m pregnant.
Things with Mr. N never fully resolved themselves. We were fighting daily, and I never felt true joy when I was with him. We were having a baby together and tried to make the best of it, but I knew things wouldn’t last. When my son was born, he looked exactly like me, and still does. My husband’s blue eyes, faint freckles, and light brown hair are nowhere to be found. One thing that is very evident: the large birthmark on my son’s upper back. You know, the same exact location and shape of the birthmark Mr. Exec had.
I’ve since moved to Arizona with my son, which is also where two of my closest cousins now live. The only reason I have my son full-time is because of my husband’s drug issues as they’ve never really ended. I’m also going through a nasty divorce now, where me and my in-laws have cut my husband off financially. One thing I do know- I’ll never reveal my child’s paternity, and pray I'm never forced into testing. I know it may seem selfish—then again, why start being honest now?
In the meantime, I’ll work on finding myself - again.
A, Phoenix, Arizona