Two months ago, sitting in a Turkish restaurant packed to capacity on a Saturday night, one of my oldest friends told me he had found someone.
We’ve known each other longer than either of us can remember, and were partners in crime long before we ever fully realized it. In recent years, as we’ve both been searching for that elusive part of our future, the partner-in-crime thing had been thrown into even starker contrast: we’d meet for dinner or coffee and grouse about the people we’d been meeting, the “almosts” and the “snowball’s chance in hell”, and about the Jane Austen-level lamentations of our parents, who seemed to have all but given up on us while insistently wringing their hands.
Conversation moved forward: from mutual celebration of his good fortune, to my latest backfire (a wonderful man who had lasted two months), to a spirited discussion about partnerships vs. solitude as a life choice.
I am not always strong.
There are times that I experience steep slopes of sadness. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, the sorrow arrives as crude, impolite explosions.
I don’t have everything together, no matter what type of confidence seeps out of my writing. I spend most of my time struggling from paycheck-to-paycheck, too poor to actually date should anyone ever ask me out. I’m always in a suspended state of fear that this is all my life is going to be: a lonely existence with a salary that is barely livable. I feel like I’m stuck, and inertia is a type of sin in my world.
Sometimes, I feel like I should just give up and claim my rural White heritage. I will move to some small Southern town and live in a trailer park. Forget my complicated identity. Screw my vast life experience. I am nothing special.
There are days I feel like low hanging fruit.
I write this not because I want sympathy, but because I know everyone else feels powerless and hopeless at times. I need you to know that you are not alone.
“Do you have any children?” a nice woman making small talk asks me.
I reply pleasantly, “No, I don’t,” but my inner monologue is racing.
“Children? I don’t have children because I don’t have a husband. I don’t have a husband because I never had a romantic relationship with a guy. I never had a boyfriend, I’ve never even been kissed and I’m way older than Drew Barrymore was when she was in that movie with Michael Vartan! I’m older than Jesus ( AS) when he was on this earth! Oh God, what if it’s too late for me to have children?“
My inner monologue hysterically wonders about how hot hot flashes actually are, as I smile at the nice lady who’d innocently assumed that a Muslim woman my age is almost certainly married and almost certainly a mother.
I am an unmarried Muslim woman of a certain age. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised that I’m in this demographic.
We are thrilled that Love, Inshallah anthology contributor and Literary Momma columnist, Aisha Saeed, has announced her new book deal for the Young Adult novel, Written in the Stars. Read her celebratory thoughts on the matter here (and follow her on Twitter). Go, Aisha! This is the beginning of many wonderful things for you and we couldn’t be prouder!
One of the most common nightmares in the world – alongside falling or drowning, performing poorly on a test, and being chased – is the one where you’re naked in front of a room full of strangers.
This fear always seemed odd to me. Being naked in front of a roomful of strangers I can handle. Being naked in front of friends and peers is a different story.
I’m speaking metaphorically, of course.
So when I decided to read my fiction last week at my first open mic, it felt akin to baring my soul, standing exposed in front of a roomful of other writers and friends. But I had decided to take a radical step towards bravery and I would not be dissuaded from shaking up my life in this way. In my experience, shaking things up to the point of discomfort has always been the only way forward.