Who is Alia?
If you marry the inquisitive mind of Sherlock Holmes and introspection of Paulo Coelho with the dogged heroism of Harry Potter and the humor of Mel Brooks, you have a fair representation of my Pinterest page. But you may be holding hands with something you mistook for me.
Instead of diving into a personal Kalevala, I'll tell you what matters here: I am the product of multinational parents, and I am a steadfast reader. I am also a underprivileged gourmand. I can no longer, after a lifetime of indulging in cultural savories, eat anything I want. Specifically, I can no longer eat wheat.
My father was diagnosed with celiac disease in the 1980s, when I was a toddler. My sisters and I grew up watching our parents navigate what, at that time, was uncharted culinary terrain with little more than a rudimentary definition of gluten as astrolabe.
Thirty years later, I received my own celiac diagnosis. It was December, 2012. I had been married for one year, and the complexity of stepping into my father's shadow was overwhelming. I could see how rest of my life would unfold, see how my relationships and sense of self would change, see how my children might relate to me.
Now, my son is a toddler, and I want him to see me for who I am: flawed but hopeful, sometimes frustrated but fiercely loving, struggling but not surrendering.
And now my father has turned seventy, and I want him to know that I understand. Everything.
First, we relearn to eat. Then, we relearn to live.
I currently work as a freelance editor and writer. My poems have been published in Sixfold Journal and Rusted Radishes, the literary journal of the American University of Beirut. I edit books ranging from memoir to fiction to poetry.