Problematic Chic

An essay on the concept behind Yargiwood

Please take this as the first and official welcoming to I hope your stay has been pleasant. Let me start off by saying thanks for spending your time here. I know you have choices. Plenty, even. You could be looking at naked bodies or researching ethically sourced baked goods yet you’re reading this. Congrats. You’ve committed time with another person’s thoughts. An action of immense weight in a post-pandemic social media scape. I’m not sure where you are in your relationship to the site. You may be a close friend, someone familiar with the voice behind the writings (I will not write a character based on you, please stop asking). Or you might be a stranger, a keen eyed wanderer who stumbled in and simply can’t find their way out. Either way, if you’re still here; you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. It hurts a little bit, I know. Once your head stops throbbing I’ve got a secret …If you’re coming to me for entertainment, you’re fucked. With great taste.

My entire life my words have gotten me in trouble. Whether speaking too loudly or too foreign, I’ve been sent to the principal's office for 23 years (literally for 17, metaphorically for the remainder). Warning: get your eye rolls out before I continue. As a first generation, child of immigrants growing up in the bible belt south, simply being myself was the spectacle. That by no means made me a rare breed on the broader plane. Though growing up in the context of my closed-minded community, I stood out because of my culture and mother tongue. It didn’t stop there. I was also traditionally fat (a word I use earnestly in this essay), witty, and dying for attention. A lethal cocktail for a girl on the verge of downward-spiraling. I liked putting on a show knowing the attention wasn’t on me for conventional beauty standards. I had all eyes on me at 2__ pounds. I didn’t play sports, participate in pageants, or hook up with hotties. I liked things like musical theatre, older guys, and cult movies.

In June 2016, I had enough of suburbia. I moved to New York for 8 weeks and decided I would go back the second I could. I barely survived my last 10 months in the suburbs. In August 2017, I enrolled in The New School. Holy fuck–the college for kids who don't want to go to college. A hodgepodge of half-genuine marxists, famous nepo-babies, and studied intellectuals. I ended up doing tremendously well in a solid and respected philosophy program, though it cost me my innocence and soul. I have at least 25 completed journals, a third of which are dedicated to traumatic memories from my time at Eugene Lang. Because of my proximity to two Manhattan fashion schools, I'd have to adapt to not get eaten alive. This wasn't your regular college campus. You show up to class in sweatpants you're getting dirty looks. It was that serious. Everything is the image of being. You have to perform to play. Why? Big pockets track that school. The world of beauty & fashion watch New School students like crows, and the students eat it up. On the flipside, the school is a central hub for socialists of varying degrees. It's a doozy. At one point I was reading Fanon and researching Miu Miu archives.

Eventually, I was playing with the big gays & girls. I turned myself into something new, intellectually and physically. For the first time, I had eyes on me outside of the spectacle. That was an insane fucking feeling. I got to be objectified just like everyone else. I don’t care what anyone tells you: pretty privilege is a thing. I’ve never gotten so many free things in my life. Garlic knots, plants, events with people whose name I wouldn’t dare drop for free. Everything is discounted when you’re a pretty bitch. With that feeling, the girl who used to binge eat couldn't shut up, repeating one thing; don’t forget that you’re funny. You didn’t suffer all those dateless dances to not build up a demi-god resilience. I did what any rehabilitated damaged person would do, I tried stand up.

In July 2019, I performed at my first open mic.

In May 2020, I booked my first pro gig. A whole whopping 7 minutes.

I had everything to lose, and I lost. I knew I wasn't alone, pretty much much everyone living on earth could understand what March 2020 means. Collective energy. I couldn’t handle the universe telling me it wasn’t my time. I had reinvented myself more times than I could count, only for the world to fucking stop the moment I started to feel myself. I attempted a brave face for a while, dove into my studies and fitness. I started dating which made me glad I didn’t experiment during my teenage years (knowing if I had a true highschool sweetheart, I’d be with them no matter how boring or abusive). I got my heart shattered by the man I loved secondly in life. Like the majority, he was covered in tattoos and smart but he took a taco-bell shit on my life. He was good for a while, I made him greater for longer.

I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I had experienced--and processed--too much at a young age to not have a story to share.

I've lived my life in two different bodies. Eastern and Western. White-passing and Brown enough. Fat and Skinny. Christian and Muslim. I even had an americanized nickname (Jasmine) of my real, persian name (Yasamine). Girls that bullied me suddenly were interested in what I had to say, wear, and do. Guys viewed me as a trophy, a 'who could get to her first' situation. All because I looked different after looking different my entire life. It broke my brain, as I’m sure it is yours.

In December 2021, I injured my back. The final stone thrown at the glass before shattering. Everything went to darkness after that, I couldn't hold onto the little bit of light. I couldn’t walk or use the restroom without agonizing pain. I couldn’t see my friends or do the things I love. I lost control over my body due to the hands of a poor trainer. It wasn't just an injury, it felt like a negligent violation. Someone hurt me because they needed control. The thing I feared most happened, I’d start to look like the old me. That love went back to hate before I could even catch myself. Even if I could love my body, I'd have to deal with the internalized fatphobia. I remembered how everyone treated me in my old, now-new body. I thought if I damaged myself, it would justify the future rejection. Once I returned to the body I was uncomfortably most comfortable in, my strengths transformed to weakness. A thing of ego, insecurity, violence. I didn’t want to lose my power but it was no longer my choice. I had been out of control. I was now fighting on who to be. My gift now a weapon...My weapon, like The Bride’s Blade though it is a wet tongue. No more than 3 inches of flesh jabbing at the most vulnerable parts of life. My words–the jagged edge. I love the way it looks when I pierce. I believed that the only way to evolve was through destroying myself. Thinking that if I went through war, there would be victory. Can you blame me, I am majority American after all. If I burned every bridge, I wouldn’t have to walk anymore. Nothing had to hurt anymore.

For more months than I remember, I held a lighter in my hand sitting on the ashes of my own life. Then I met the right people and realized I could be sweet and fill many beloved ears with impromptu sonnets. I started to remember the beauty I had lost, like Artistophanes's creature. Then I met the wrong people and saw the world as cunning and manipulative albeit stimulating. Enter Alcibiades. I didn't have to just be funny. I didn't have to be something worth looking at. I didn't have to hate myself. I could be so much more than that.

I, dickless, had something people could emotionally sit and spin on.

No longer in trouble for my words, I learned to talk my way out of the principal's with a wink. I became a woman of words. Then, I had to do something really stupid: convince myself of writing. It was the only way to save myself. It was the only way to feel in control of mind and body. I don't know if I love myself, but I know that I did at one point and I think that's the best I can do.

I live and die for a good story. I’ve lived most of my life dramatically, with little-to-no boundaries, if you've gathered by now.

From the inception, yargiwood has intended to be an unfiltered, entertaining experience. I’ve tried to keep it as real as possible while creating a fake world. It’s been a little over a year since the site went live. You got questions? I don’t blame you. I can only answer as many as I’ve posed, and I’ve asked quite a few. Before I continue please know that I am trying my best in real life and yargiwood.

By self-publishing, I’ve committed myself to a performance of writing. As frustrating as it may be, a thing like yargiwood is best treated as a process rather than a product. Meaning it has to unfold how it wants, building upon its own structure as a means to survive. I couldn’t publish pop-journalism, a book of poetry, or a newsletter. No, it had to be something you could be apart of. Something you see in your mind and on screen. An original experience pursuing sustainable growth.

There are no deadlines. There’s nothing to be sold. If it’s a slow burn, that’s how it was cooked. If it’s hard to understand, that’s how it was written. If it’s vulgar, call your pastor. I have no idea the outcome. Nor do I know when it’ll be over or–in the chance of a miracle–evolve past adequacy. That’s the honest truth of yargiwood. Things will change as many times as they need to until they are right. You, dear reader, are a part of this process. You are not simply seated for the performance, you are apart of it. You are the one privy to firsts drafts, you are watching the gardener water seeds in hopes of a blossoming bushel. You decide if I am worthy of your palette. You are Ego, I am Chef Remy. You decide if it's funny. You decide if it’s trash. I wish I was brave enough to tell you more about the power you have over me. Part of me likes it, otherwise I wouldn't have dared even try it. Those that do will feel the butterfly digesting in their stomach.

To be frank, I don’t know where these thoughts will take me a year from now. Even worse, I don’t know how I’ll feel reading them in the future, but I know one thing. If I've done my job, it'll be easy for you to keep believing in yargiwood. With that being said, I'd like to answer some specifics very generally.

When do you post?

Given the right place, right time, and right trauma.

Who is Yargi?

Wouldn’t you like to know. Keep yer boots on, this one is tough. For the sake of the site, Yargi is the MC. Her job is to connect different pages throughout the site. She’s this world’s Tinkerbell, you need her to take you through Neverland. I’m not Yargi but who wouldn’t want to be? She’s eternally pretty with a limitless closet. She’s a part of the hot-girl-B movie, listening-to-Fiona-Apple fantasy. Things like Yargi sit in another realm until they’re ready to be plucked out. This whole thing works as far as you’re willing to buy into it. It takes a village to build a persona. In the real world--which is a yucky place--Yargiwood started an inside joke. Isn't that something?

Who Designed This?

That would be AKA Mae. Everything on the website was built by her. I basically chipped in on what colors I like. She took a dream and made it happen. She has the patience of a saint and an original eye.

So…Who Are You?
I’m Yasi. I’m the writer behind yargiwood. If you see words, they’re mine. If you see a bad decision, it’s also probably mine. I’m the parent that lets you sneak a joint in the house while no one else is there (but only because I smoked your stash earlier).

Are you a narcissist?

Not clinically. I write with the intention of everyone reading with the expectation that no one will.

Do You Get Embarrassed?

As much as I can. My brain doesn’t process math or shame.

What’s Happening With The Story?

It continues. More chapters will be posted until the story is finished.

Is The Story Based on You?

No, but it had to come from somewhere, right? Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write about it. My best answer for it: the feelings can be real (at times) but the people, place, and thing never are. That’s the whole point of a story. There’s a narrator, while unreliable. There’s a narrative, while haphazard. While many manic mavens have held the namesake, my particular Clementine was inspired by the children’s book character by Sarah Pennypacker. Though, I’m sure most are familiar with Charlie Kaufman’s Clementine. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A movie I watched for the first time on February 16th, 2023. Almost exactly on the 1 year anniversary of yargiwood. Great film. I couldn’t deal with the fact we both dedicated something to the unknown woman named Clementine. Then I searched ‘Clementine’ in spotify. Dozens of songs. There’s something about the ideal of Clementine that lends itself to being a muse. There’ll be an essay on that soon.  

What’s next?

More writing. More visual components. A multiverse of manic pixie madness. A desperate attempt. Something worth enjoying. Whatever you want to call it. Whether you want it or not. On the page you’re reading this on, more essay like content with be available. Call it autofiction, personal narrative, ‘save it for your therapist’ journaling. My voice in real time talking to you on shit that matters to me. Coming attraction; In depth think pieces of pathologizing the aforementioned childhood. Fluff ethnographies on the artistic differences between New York and LA. Maybe I'll rank the foolish men who needed me for short lived, high stakes affairs. The 5 best shoe brands for people with wide feet. How my ex-bestfriend squeezed my back fat and said “you need to work on it.” Maybe I’ll even go on an apology tour. Who Knows? If I knew my next move I wouldn't be doing a thing like this.

Why'd You Do It?

There might be something at the end of the road.