Well, today was weird.
Maybe I should start by sharing a positive story first. I was on campus buying lunch, and the girl behind me tells the cashier “I’m going to pay for hers.” Like an idiot, instead of saying thank you, I ask why lol. The girl (Jasmine) says she just wants to. To be nice. To be kind to a complete stranger.
I felt like I was on What Would You Do. I was very happy, not because she paid for me, but because a young person in the generation after me showed promise of a not-so-dismal future. Thank you, Jasmine, for your efforts and honest generosity. The world needs more people like you!
Now, onto my main story. I was at work and this woman comes in. She has a big order, so I decide to make small talk as I make her sandwiches. Bad idea. She tells me how she’s married to a Palestinian man and has six kids with one on the way. (Btw, her youngest is 7 months right now.) She’s 39 and has resigned herself to being a baby factory. But she’s relatively happy, so I just smile.
She asks me what I think of a big family and I tell her my mom stopped at 4 kids and that was enough. She was appalled and possible disgusted at the thought of such a “small” family. Then she asked if I had kids and I said no. I told her I wasn’t married yet. She asked how old I was, and I told her 31. Well, I might as well have slapped her or taken her unborn child from her womb. She looked devastated!
She asked me why I wasn’t married yet. Actually, she first said “you need to hurry!” Like it was Black Friday and I had to race to grab the last Tickle Me Elmo. I told her I was engaged twice before but they didn’t work out. I told her I wasn’t a typical Arab girl; that I liked independence and didn’t look at marriage as a reason to have kids. I told her I would even be happy remaining childless my whole life. She then asked if the exes had left me, because of my views. It wasn’t her business so I didn’t answer.
I think she thought I was deranged.
The way she looked at me….well, it was concerning. This white woman, married to a Palestinian, born and raised in the US, and raised non-Arab for most of her life….PITIED me. She looked at me like I was a washed-up, shriveled, expired female who no guy would ever want. Which she proceeded to actually tell me. She proclaimed men want younger women so they can procreate, and with every passing year I am jeapordizing the chance to be….well….her.
She didn’t make me feel inferior. I’ve come to terms that I’m not typical, and I’m happy. I have people who love me for me. What I felt from this interaction was contempt. How is it that a woman whom I don’t even know, can judge me and look down on me for MY choices? I could have easily done the same, but my outlook is that I am happy if you are happy. If marriage and kids are your passion, more power to you.
I know that woman is insignificant in the timeline of my life. However, seeing her just reaffirmed my choices I have made lately. I’m happy being in school and working closer to home. And if I turn 32 with no ring on my finger, then so be it. I’m on this new adventure and I finally feel like my life is coming together.