jdeena

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

Month: September, 2013

Over the Hill

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.

Wow.

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.

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Letting Go

No, this isn’t a post about forgetting a lost love, holding a grudge against a friend, or even jumping out of a plane on your first skydiving trip. Recently, I’ve noticed this e-card circulating around Facebook, and every time I see it, it pisses me off. You might think that’s a pretty strong reaction to an e-card, but the people who post it are really just using it as an excuse.

 

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Now, after reading it, what are your thoughts? To me it’s an excuse to be sloppy and wear yoga pants and stained tshirts 24/7 because you don’t want to do laundry. I know, I’m mean. Women have a hard time raising kids; it takes a lot of time and energy. I find it funny though that my mom, aunts, and cousins have all had kids and yet still manage to find time to look presentable. They exercise, eat right, and wear ironed clothes. SHOCKER!

Look, I know having kids is tough, especially if your spouse works a lot and leaves the child rearing to you alone. And if you have more than 2 kids, then you really need a medal because that’s a full-time job and then some. But to use your kids as an excuse for letting yourself go is a cop-out. Take responsibility for your actions, and just admit that you are lazy, or don’t even care about your appearance. That’s fine! Even admirable, because at least it’d be the truth. To blame your kids for your lack of motivation however is pretty pathetic. I’m sure I probably will piss off a lot of my married friends, but I’m not targeting you so don’t worry. It’s the ones who judge mothers who take care of themselves that I aim this blog at. Don’t say a woman has no priorities just because she goes to the salon and gets regular manicures, or takes time out of the day to hit the gym. There is nothing wrong with that, and actually going to the gym will in turn give you more energy and probably keep your husband happy since you won’t expand by 50 pounds.

I don’t have kids, but I have watched my 2 year old cousin often enough to realize that yes, it is VERY hard to clean, do laundry, run errands, take a shower, and get dressed when a child demands all your attention. BUT….it can be done!

The struggle is real, ladies, but it’s only impossible if you let it be. Don’t give in.

Evolution

It’s funny. I look through pictures on Facebook all the time, and it’s like I’m looking at pictures from 50 years ago. Not the fashion, not the scenery, not the vocabulary. What I’ve noticed is that we, as Arab Americans, have not evolved in our gender roles.

All my life I have been known as the rebellious one. I never wanted to settle down and get married young. I never wanted to be the typical housewife and mother. Which is probably why I’m still single at 31; Arab men want that stereotype on some level.

What infuriates me is that as women’s roles have changed, they are still treated as they always have been: domesticated servants. Any gathering I go to (with some VERY small exceptions) women do all the work while men sit around and demand things. I know men are the “providers” but last time I checked women spend as much time caring for the kids, running errands, and maintaining a home. Many women work as well so it’s even more exhausting.

So why is it that men still sit on their thrones barking out orders? I hate to say it, but it’s because you women LET them. I have yet to see a man put his own food or iron his own clothes or get his own drink. And again, there are very few exceptions, but sorry to say not enough to convince me that I will find an Arab guy who will treat me as an equal. Oh, I know I’ll turn some heads with this post, but what else is new?

I’m convinced that what I want doesn’t exist in a man. And so I will continue to float along solo and enjoy my single status as long as I can hold on to it. I just hope the next generation can evolve into a more gender-equal status.

It’s time.