jdeena

Never settle for what is…come tomorrow it will be what was

Month: March, 2012

Betrayal

Am I bad a person?

Do I deserve for people to treat me with disrespect? Do I deserve to be humiliated and shamed? For those of you who have known me my whole life, you might say yes, I do. This can be based on certain assumptions you have made about my life from my actions. A lot of times I make decisions selfishly with only my happiness and security in mind. I do feel though that I give myself to my friends and I can be a very sturdy rock to lean on. I have had friends go through many life-altering events and I have held their hand every step of the way, even though I was not given the same attention when I needed it. I like to think of myself as a good friend, and I don’t just tell people what they want to hear; I tell them the truth.

I was betrayed by a really good friend of mine. Someone who was going through a very hard time and I was there every step of the way: through the tears, the move back home, the nights of loneliness and self-doubt. Seeing this friend in so much pain caused me pain, because we were so close it was like we were one person. I gave a lot of my personal time and even time dedicated to others for this friend so that I could help them through this hard time. Nothing meant more to me than their happiness.

Why am I such an easy target for betrayal? I am always open and giving and I don’t expect anything in return. I feel that being a good friend is worth more than anything else in this world, and if I am able to accomplish that, than I have done well for myself. Yet time and time again I am shown that I am not worthy of these friendships, and after I have given all I can I am cast aside. I am used by these friends to get through a rough patch and once they can stand on their own I am forgotten, like last year’s spring wardrobe.

I was visibly upset by this betrayal, and someone told me that the reason this particular friend dropped me is because I have unrealistic expectations for my friends. I make everyone around me feel that the way they think is wrong and I am right. I scare people away because they feel like they cannot live up to my expectations and I try to control every situation like it is my own. I don’t feel this is true. For example, if my friend escaped a situation because they were unhappy and sought out my support, I would give it to them. My #1 priority is their happiness, no matter what the cost. So what if that friend decides to go back into that situation? Am I supposed to sit idly by and allow them to enter into an unhappy life? If I am, then I am wrong then, because I could never allow that.

I know I lost this friend because I told them if they ever went back I’d never speak to them again. I only said that because I saw how horribly it hurt them the first time, and as a good friend I could not allow it again. This friend seemed to take my words literally however, because they cut off communication with me and deigned to tell me, so I had to find out from a third party. Now I wonder how happy they will be in this life they once abhorred, and if they will ever admit fault when they realize it’s not what they want.

Why do I care so much? Maybe I expect more of my friends. I like to think that I surround myself with intelligent, rational people. No one with an ounce of intelligence would ever go back into a situation that once made them unhappy. You might argue that people change, but the way I see it is that if you are born with a bad trait you cannot magically remove it overnight. My friend fell under the pressure of their family; I am sure of it. I find it sad that one would sacrifice their happiness to please others, or out of fear of nothing better coming along.

I guess the only thing I can do is learn from this and move on. Never let anyone close enough to my heart, so that when they finally brandish the knife of betrayal the wall I have built will have saved me from the excruciating pain I suffer from now.

Advertisements

On Display

I was off work today, so I was out and about on this gorgeous but windy day running errands. I stopped by Walgreens (sorry, Jeebah, no CVS here) and two old ladies were walking out. The one was walking fine, but the other one was using a cane and had trouble walking especially with the wind blowing so hard so I hurried over to help her get to her car. She smiled at me and joked that we would both get blown away by the wind and after she was safely inside her car she thanked me for helping her out. I walked into the store and the girl who works there commented on the wind and how nice it was of me to walk the old lady to her car. I smiled and went to go grab what I came in for, and then proceeded to check out.

The woman who checked me out made small talk as she rang up my items and then she said “Can I ask you a personal question?” Now, anytime someone says that I expect a question about where I come from or why I wear the hijab. But she said “You seem to be a modern Muslim woman from the way you dress and you are very approachable, but why aren’t all Muslim women as friendly as you are?”

It’s a simple enough question. This employee saw my random act of kindness and automatically associated it with my religion because I wear hijab. Truth is, we are all human, and so our natures differ. Just like there are ignorant and uncaring white, black, Hispanic, and Asian people, Arabs and Muslims fall into the same category. The difference is that after 9-11, we have had to be extra cautious of what we do and where we go because our looks have defined the type of person we are supposed to be.

Some days I want my road rage to get the best of me, but as a hijabi, I am aware that I am always on display so I try to be on my best behavior. It is definitely not fun to have to watch everything I do every day for fear of being categorized as one of the aggressive terrorists that people think we are, but in a way it also helps me realize what an honor and privilege it is to wear the hijab. Every day when I step into this world, people are looking at me as a real, live example of an American Muslim. From the way I dress, to how I speak, to what I do- my whole being is watched and scrutinized. Anything I do out of my free will that would normally be natural to me may be construed as a bad “Muslim” trait, and so I watch myself and try to give the best example possible. I smile at people walking by, I answer questions without frustration (even though some people can be very ignorant), and I try as much as I can to balance the perception and reality.

I know it’s not easy being  Muslim after 9-11, especially for the hijabis. We are out there, and in one glance people can automatically stereotype us and we have to spend the rest of the time after that trying to dispel that stereotype. It isn’t fair that we are judged by how we look, especially since the hijab is meant to represent the opposite. We want people to look at us for who we are, not what we look like while respecting our bodies and showing modesty and humility. I give us props! That is a lot to carry on our backs, especially for you young ones out there. Trying to balance who we want to be while maintaining the image that we were molded into is tough, but as hijabis we knew the minute we wore the hijab it was not going to be easy. It is a huge responsibility, and I don’t think that any girl should wear it without realizing how much weight it carries.

Every day I wake up and put on my hijab and prepare myself for the day ahead. I know there will be moments where I wish I didn’t wear it, moments when I want to do something but won’t for fear of being judged, and moments where I will have taught someone something about hijab simply by just wearing it and being myself. And it is those moments, though few, that give me the strength to step out onto the stage in what we call life, not caring who sees me on display.

Retaining My Youth

So lately, with my 30th birthday looming, I have reveled in the fact that most people (if not all) do not think I look my age. I usually get anywhere from 21-24, which for me is exactly how I feel so it’s a perfect match. I’ve said this before, but I think that if I looked older I would be forced to grow up and do the adult, responsible things. You know what I mean; marriage, kids, the “normal” thing to do. Ha!

The fact of the matter is, I do not look almost 30, and I in no way feel close to that age. I also do not feel like I need to settle down and become responsible for a home and husband. Call me immature, but I am being completely honest. I feel like I am 22 years old again, and I feel like I want to live this life again. I’m in the prime of my youth, and many of you may scoff at that but it’s how I feel and I can’t deny it.

I love my married friends, but since they are married, I have started hanging out with those who have a little more free time, and they all happen to be younger than me. Specifically 21-24 years old. Now, you might tell me that I need to hang out with people my age, but unfortunately I am not content with sitting around and waiting for months for a night out, or to have planned a night out over a month ago only to have it cancelled for some last-minute family obligation. DO NOT GET ME WRONG; I am not saying family is not important, and that my friends should ditch their family and go out with me when the situation does not permit them to do so. I am just saying I would rather not have to deal with that, and so I avoid it completely.

I am happy. Many of you may disagree, because I hear it time and time again; how can I be happy if I am not married? My sister even asked me how could I not want kids and a home and the answer is simple: that’s just not me. That is not a lifestyle I want. My married friends say that the reward of a family is greater than the burdens it presents, but forgive me for saying this, I still wouldn’t want to shoulder the burden. I adore my little cousin Tala, and I will babysit her, change her, play with her, and put her to bed, but at the end of the day she goes home to her mom. That is as much as I can take. I think that being able to admit that shows some maturity on my part, correct?

I am not a bad person because I want to be single. I am not a bad person for wanting to remain young. I know that I am the minority, and that there are very few girls out there who think like me. Or maybe there are plenty but they are afraid to voice their opinion and tell their parents no. I like to enjoy my time and have the freedom to choose what I want to do and when. I like to believe that it takes a very strong person to admit this out loud, and face the scrutiny of the community around me. Even if you don’t directly tell me, I know many will have their own opinions behind my back. And that’s fine. I appreciate your feedback.

But please, keep something in mind:

Forget that I am not conventional. Forget that I am one of a million.

You have made YOUR life choices. You are happy. So why is it okay for you, but not for me?

Wired Wrong

There must be something wrong with me.

I have to be wired differently, or maybe the one time I was electrocuted it rearranged the signals in my head so that it made me resistant to relationships and marriage. Not resistant exactly…but hesitant. I don’t know what it is but it doesn’t matter who I meet, I always have that little nagging thought in the back of my mind that something better could come along. No matter how hard I try to accept that what I have in front of me is great, I still wish for something more.

It’s like nothing can please me.

Lately I have started to feel more and more sure of myself as a single woman, and I am truly happy. I had gone through a period of time where everyone around me was pressuring me to meet people and they tried to convince me that the only way I would ever be happy was if I got married. They would say things like “How do you not want to get married? That’s not normal!”

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that everyone else’s definition of normal trumps mine.

Could it be based on the fact that I was disappointed every time I opened my heart? Or is it a much simpler explanation, like maybe I am just not meant to be married? I know everyone will say that when the right guy comes along he will change my mind, but remember, I was engaged and so I did think that the right guy had come along. And yes, you will say maybe then he wasn’t the right guy, but at what point do we stop waiting for the “right” guy? Is there even such a thing anymore? Because I have friends who were married then divorced, and they had thought they had found the right guy.

It seems that in life, as Muslim women, our time revolves around finding the “right” guy. And if this guy doesn’t even exist, why settle? When people ask me why I am not married (which comes up as soon as they know I am almost 30, can’t deny that), I tell them the truth. And when I tell them, they start their lectures on why it is important to get married and how I must be picky and that I never should have waited so long to start my search. Seriously? I was not on the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans…finding a life partner is not that simple!

The best is when  people will say “Oh but you are so beautiful, and it’s such a shame you are not married.” Um, what? What do looks have to do with marriage? Just because I am blessed with good looks doesn’t automatically make me a candidate for marriage. Gone are the days of trophy wives. You don’t automatically get the right guy just because you’re pretty.

I also love when people will gossip that something must be wrong with me, like I have a terminal disease or my body is disfigured. Or psychologically I am unstable. I laugh out loud at these assumptions. I mean since when did a single girl translate into hideous creature? I am perfectly healthy alhamdullilah and there is nothing wrong with me except for the fact that people treat me like a leper. If you don’t want to know my opinions then do not ask me why I am still single. It is that simple!

I have just started to figure out what I want in my life. I am happy with my free time, I love my job, and I am passionate about writing and have started a book that I hope will be published this year. I want to travel, and I want to be there to support my friends in all of their life successes. I could never do that if I was married. I know marriage is about compromise and I will admit, I don’t want that right now. I like how things are and I want to continue to do what I have started.

Maybe I will regret the decision down the road.

But remember, I am not wired like you, so maybe I won’t even notice.

 

Breaking Will

I don’t get it.

For as long as I can remember, girls and guys have always had a “he-said, she-said” relationship. The guy claims he wants a strong-willed girl, but when he gets one he tries to break her. A girl swears she wants a nice guy and is done with jerks, but leave the nice guy for a guy who treats them like dirt.

Why?

I have so many smart, beautiful, educated friends who for some reason attract the jerks who like to use them and break down their will by making them feel inadequate and planting seeds of doubt in their mind. I can’t exclude myself from that category however, because I was once told that my most attractive quality was my strong personality and independence, yet for eight months that same person tried to take that away from me. I don’t understand it; if your ultimate goal is to break down the girl anyways, why not find a weak one to begin with? Is it the challenge of seeing if it can be done that thrills you? Or are you really attracted to that type but then realize she is too good for you, so in order to make yourself feel better you break her down?

Nothing is more unattractive than a guy with no self-respect or self-esteem, and the only way he feels he is a man is to use and abuse a girl. If you are lucky enough to have one of my smart, beautiful, and educated friends and you choose to use her then settle for something less, then you didn’t deserve her anyways and she is much better off without you. Just because you find a girl with a kind heart who would do anything for you because she cares for you DOES NOT make her weak. You taking advantage of her heart makes you weak.

I am sure I will receive a lot of comments from guys who say that girls are not innocent and have their own issues that they contribute to relationships, but this post is not about that. I know there are two sides to every story, and this post is focusing on the one side because I see it daily and I need help understanding why it happens.

Relationships are tricky; we never know who will be right for us and so we take a leap of faith and trust ourselves to make the right choices. We erase all doubt and try and convince ourselves that they care about us and they don’t mean to do the hurtful things they do. But, bit by bit, our excuses for their behavior outshine the praises.

To all my girls out there struggling with this, I leave you with this thought:

Remember that you work hard to build your character. It is a combination of your life events, family traits, and education. You are worth every moment of those circumstances, and if a guy cannot appreciate you for who you have become, then he doesn’t deserve to receive that part of you that will become his.

An Education

All my life, I have been categorized as smart by my parents, family, and friends. I used to always have a comeback for everything said to me and I always argued (a lot of time just for the sake of arguing) and my parents told me in 5th grade that I needed to become a lawyer. From that day, the dream stuck. Anytime anyone ever asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would proudly boast “lawyer.”

Then came high school, and I excelled there as well. I was in honors English, Spanish, and Biology; I was Student of the Year. I was Section Leader in choir and my girls absolutely loved me. I did well in my classes, and in my Honors English class my senior year my teacher did something for me that I will eternally be grateful for: he submitted one of my poems to a contest and I was chosen as one of the Best Poets of 2000 and my poem was published in a book.

I was hooked; I wanted to become a writer.

I had written a lot during my high school years; my papers always received an “A.” My teachers loved reading my work because they never had to use much red pen to correct me. I wrote with passion, especially on subjects that were dear to my heart, such as Palestine. When it came time to apply for scholarships, I wrote an amazing essay on how I overcame and identity crisis in high school, where my suburban classmates knew nothing about my religion and culture and I had to hide who I truly was for fear of being shunned. I was admitted to the Honors Program at the university, and I received a scholarship that paid for half of my tuition for four years. My parents were so proud of me; I was so proud of me.

I never knew what college would hold for me. It was so overwhelming, and nothing could have prepared me for it. Not my honors classes, not my college prep courses, not the college visits. It was a whole other world and I was lost in it. I did exceptionally well in my English courses, but math and science held no interest for me. I got involved in Student Government which opened the door to other organizations. Before I knew it, I was a tour guide, writing for the school paper, on the student senate, an Ambassador for the honors program, and an officer for the Arab Student Union. Combine that with event planning, work, and public speaking engagements after 9-11 and schoolwork ended up taking a back seat.

Looking back, I know I should have made better decisions. I should have focused on what was important and made my schoolwork a priority, but I was so caught up in all of the fun that it didn’t matter to me. I regret the irresponsible decisions I made, but I don’t regret the course it took me on. I know that my life would be very different now if I had finished school. I could be in another city, working on my master’s, or have a job overseas as a lawyer.

But alas, I am not. I am in my room, typing this blog on my laptop. It’s funny how some people think that an education can only come from a teacher, in school. Isn’t life our own teacher though? We go through things and meet people along the way who shape our emotions and perceptions and eventually, it shapes who we become. The lessons never stop coming and we never stop learning and so in theory, we could always be evolving into a new person.

I know that everything I have gone through has made me the bitter, cynical and argumentative girl that everyone sees. I won’t deny those qualities about myself because really, who wouldn’t have that outlook after surviving certain life events? But I also feel that it has made me hopeful, compassionate, and determined. I want great things for my life; I want to be someone that will have made an impact. At my lowest points, I had given up all hope that would every happen. After all, I am a college dropout. With no degree, I am no one, right?

However, something came along and changed that perception.

That is the beauty of life; we never have to settle for what is, because come tomorrow, it will be what was.

The Demise of Singledom

The other night I attended a party for two friends. Actually, to be quite honest, they were not so much my friends as they were my 20 year-old sister’s friends. I was hands down the oldest one there. Now, usually age doesn’t bother me as much. I know I am older than most my friends; my best friend is 7 years younger than me but we get along amazingly. I think at some point in my 20’s I started hanging out with those younger than me because everyone my age grew up too fast. I think back to my early 20’s and can recall how many of my friends got married. They started their lives as wives and mothers, and at some point we drifted apart. Or more accurately, I drifted away. I just didn’t find anything in common with them anymore. It’s like they had their new lives to live, and a single girl has no place in that world.

Now, I love all my married friends. I am happy that they are happy. At some point, though, our lives became very different. They have obligations and responsibilities. Not to say that I don’t, but my life differs greatly. I can plan a night out with the only factor to consider is my work schedule, while they have to check with their spouses and line up babysitters. And even if they do end up going out, they are ready to leave before the night has begun.

Marriage changes people. Some people may think it is for the best, that their life can now truly begin. But the only thing I have ever seen is that it beats and wears down a person. All of a sudden, your life is second to your husband and kids. You think of their needs before your own. And while this selflessness can seem honorable, too often it causes resentment. You get no time to yourself. And at some point along the way, you forget who you once were.

I guess on some level, I have always resented the institution of marriage because it changes a person. A man can be perfectly wonderful, but as soon as he is a husband, he changes. When he becomes a father, he changes. A woman can be fun and outgoing, but as a wife and mother she is subdued. It could be because your single years are reserved for your fun side, while getting married is the milestone that requires you to settle down. It just amazes me how dramatically different people can become.

So, back to the party. I sat there, looking at all these young girls and wondering at what stage in life they were. Most of them were in school still, and I could tell a lot of them were still trying to figure their life out. I miss those days of trial and error, of trying to decide who I was. I wish I could have imparted some wisdom on them, but who would listen to an almost 30 year-old unmarried girl who was at a party for a 22 year-old anyways?

If I could give them advice, it would be this: Live your life. Enjoy every moment of your singledom. No matter how much we don’t want it to, marriage will change us. If I would have known that this was inevitable back when I started my search for a partner, I would have accepted those terms by now. But I lived my life thinking I could always stay the same even after marriage, and so my few attempts at a union failed partly due to the fact that I never wanted to change.

I love my freedom. A little too much. I am afraid that this is what will hold me back from ever having a husband and a family. Some may say I am not mature enough to handle the responsibility of marriage because I think this way. I like to think that I am mature enough because I realize that I think this way, and I will not subject anyone to live with it.

My Nightmares Are Also My Reality

About a month ago, I was at my aunt’s house. She has three boys, ranging from age 13 to age 7, and a baby girl who is the love of my life who is just 8 months old. We were sitting around the kitchen table just talking when the youngest boy asked me how old I was. The oldest boy answered him and said “29.” The youngest one responds with, “You’re 29 and not married?!”

I was in shock.

How is it that a 7 year old CHILD sees my being single at 29 an oddity? It is so upsetting and needless to say depressing that in the eyes of my little cousin, who doesn’t even know what marriage is, I am a pariah. So, either his parents have groomed him to think that everyone needs to be married at a certain age (which I doubt), or he has his own preconceived notion of what an acceptable age is for marriage.

You may think that I have exhausted this topic, but I will only write about it as often as it is a topic of conversation in my daily life. So basically, get used to reading about it.

I think it’s so funny how everyone claims that getting married doesn’t matter. The front they put on is so comical. Whether it is my family, friends, or people I know, they have no problem telling me that I don’t need to be married to define myself, but as soon as I walk out the door they talk about how sorry they feel for me and they wonder what is wrong with me. Sometimes I just want to shout YES I’M ALMOST 30 AND SINGLE AND NO, NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ME!

That maybe a bit overkill, but you have to understand my frustrations. Everyone tells me that getting married is not important, but isn’t that how we are judged in society? A woman can be a professional, have a great job, and live a perfectly happy life, but the moment we find out she is single the sympathy pours. Why? Single women should not have to apologize for not being married, and they should not have all their hard work in life go unnoticed. I find it more honorable for a woman to be single and successful in her career than married for compliance and out fear of ostracism.

I give myself pep talks everyday, about how I am smart, and funny, and beautiful. And not beautiful in the physical sense, but as a person. I am compassionate, and giving, and kind. I love to volunteer to help those less fortunate. I like to think I am a good friend, someone you can rely on if needed. I treat people with respect.

Yet as soon as I step out the door, no one sees any of that in me. I am a woman, without a man, and that is the role I play. That is what defines me in my society. Since when did we decide as a society that we were born as halves and that we must spend our whole lives looking for our “other half?” Why can’t a woman be seen for her qualities and attributes, rather than whether or not she can snag a man and marry him? ANYONE can get married, but it takes a strong woman to know when that marriage is no longer an aspiration but an occupation.

The roles we fill as women should always depend on who we are, not who we are with. Society is at fault for creating these roles and making us feel inferior if we don’t concede. The problem is, we can’t always control our fate. Maybe some of us aren’t meant to be married. That may seem like an extreme idea, but it is the truth.

Last night I awoke in a panic because I had a dream- nightmare, really- where I was trapped inside a home with my parents and grandmother as they brought in suitor after suitor and they were AWFUL. Scraping the bottom of the barrel awful. It was like everyone had given up on me and all that was left were the unmarried old men or the divorced creeps.

I was crying when I woke up from that dream.

And not because the dream was horrible.

I cried, because my reality could truly end up that very same way.

A four letter word

Love.

It is so easy to use this small four letter word. You love your parents. You love your friends. You love your favorite pair of jeans. All our lives, we have been taught to use this word and throw it around effortlessly. So why are we surprised when we hear it thrown around the same way with our significant other?

I remember the first time a guy told me he loved me. I was not young; 19 years old. I never had a childhood romance, which is not surprising since my culture and religion frown upon that. I was in college and fell in love with my best friend. I had known him for a long time and never thought anything of our friendship until it became more. One of my favorite quotes is “Love is friendship set on fire,” and for me at that time that quote could not have been more true.

I had never experienced heartbreak either, and so when that love was brutally ripped away from me I experienced pangs of regret and isolation like I had never imagined. I felt like my whole being was mutilated, and it was at that time that I realized what true, unrequited love was. To this day, I have never felt the same type of love. I have come close, but they say there is nothing like your first love and that couldn’t be more true.

I was engaged and planned a wedding, and for most people this means that they were in love. Not in my case however. I admit that I gave in at some point to the pressures of my parents and society. I was 27; seven years after my heartbreak I had finally decided to get married. I don’t remember what I was thinking other than that I had made my friends and family so happy. Finally I was “figured out.” I was no longer an outcast. I was just like any other girl and wanted a husband and home.

That wasn’t entirely true.

I settled. I am not proud to admit it, but I did. I remember the few months before the wedding when I would lie awake at night and force myself to believe I was doing the right thing. I didn’t want to disappoint my family and friends who were so happy for me. I convinced myself that every girl has doubts and that I was being selfish for believing I deserved more. In reality, I did deserve more. I was too busy throwing myself into the motions of becoming a bride that I didn’t realize that he was being unfaithful. That he lied more than he told the truth. In truth, I looked the other way so that all could go as planned.

Had we not have had that last argument and broke the engagement I would be married to an adulterer. I would be unhappy and going through the motions; just playing a part. Did I love him? On some level I did. Was I IN LOVE with him? Definitely not. But I was realistic; you cannot always marry for love, although it does help when things get rough. Was he in love with me? I thought so, because you don’t want to imagine that your future husband doesn’t have feelings of love for you. I now realize that he was marrying for convenience, just as I was. Can I be mad at him for that? No. Can I forgive him for deceiving me? No. Even though I was going through the motions, I never would have hurt him or gave anything less than 100% in our marriage. The difference with him is that he didn’t care either way.

I am looking for love. I refuse to get married for convenience. Yes, I am almost 30, but all is not lost. I know that I am worth loving, but there is only one guy who can do that and he has yet to show up. I know he is worth waiting for though, and so until then, I will not settle for anything less.

Because LOVE is a four letter word that holds the weight of my heart. And I refuse to allow an imposter to carry that weight.

Visit from an Old Friend

Last night I was whisked away to an old topic of conversation with my parents: marriage. Of course, this was not the first time we have discussed it. Nor, I assume, will it be the last.

My dad told me of a Friday lecture at the mosque yesterday where the Imam told a story that was from the Prophet’s (PBUH) time. A man wanted to get married, but he was so unattractive that every girl he asked for said no. This man came to the Prophet (PBUH) and told him his dilemma. The Prophet (PBUH) then told this man to go see a man and ask for his daughter. The man was hesitant but did it; after all, he was listening to the Prophet (PBUH). The unattractive man went and asked this man for his daughter’s hand. The father was hesitant, but as he was thinking his daughter came around the back and said yes, she would marry the man, because she knew that the Prophet (PBUH) would never allow her to marry someone who was not good for her. She knew that she would be happy because she trusted the guidance of the Prophet (PBUH).

The moral of this story is that nowadays, our generation is so focused on looks and possessions that we are quick to judge a person before we know whether or not they will give us a good life. The Imam said that if our generation was closer to the Quran, we would not have trouble finding our partners in life. I believe this is true on some level. My dad went on even further to say that if we were closer to our religion we would trust our parents’ judgement and allow them to choose our spouse.

That’s when I had to pull back.

I understand that parents’ want the best for their children. I know that they have the best intentions. My parents know that I hate setups and that I do not like it when a guy comes to the house in the traditional way. However, they are convinced that this is the only way I will meet a good guy, because the last two I brought home ended up not being good guys. So because my judgement failed me, my parents feel that they can better set me up. They can have the guy checked out before he comes to the house. The problem with that is, they so little know about me and what I want that the guys end up being plain, boring, and not what I want at all.

I want to trust my parents, but on the other hand I am tired of constant disappointment. You might ask if there is anything better out there for me to find on my own, and I can truly say I don’t know. The only thing I am sure of is that at my age, my choices are becoming less and less attractive.

And I don’t mean just in the physical sense.