by BG Staff
This piece was submitted by an anonymous writer.
One would think fasting for almost 14 hours every day for a month at the beginning of summer would be a dreadful task. I, along with many of my Muslim friends and family members, complain about the dreaded hours without food and water, and the long night of prayers, but deep down though, we’re all glad that Ramadan is here again.
Ramadan is a period of introspection and gratitude. One of the reasons that Muslims fast is to gain an appreciation for the sustenance that we may take for granted.
But I use this month to exercise gratitude and self-reflection in all parts of my life, which brings me to the real reason for this piece. This Ramadan, in particular, has changed my perspective on who I am and my life in general.
Girls tend to go through several phases of insecurity throughout life, and I am not exempt from this rule. I have withstood this stage of diffidence for a few months and for a couple of reasons.
I have always strived to be a woman of substance. Of course, I love to get dolled up on special occasions and I care about my appearance, but I never want my looks to solely define me.
I want to be valued for my personality, talents, and for my dynamic inner self. I am a writer, a professionally trained dancer, a singer (mostly in the shower), and a dedicated student. I enjoy photography and have a zest for traveling.
Somehow, most boys my age seem to overlook these details. Perhaps that is why I refer to them as boys, instead of men. All they seem to be wholly interested in is taking me to bed. When they express their wish to get to know me better, the majority of their desires lie in the area of physical intimacy.
“Hot” and “sexy” are the adjectives they use to describe me. But, as stated earlier, there is so much more to me, yet the way most boys treat me makes me feel like all I am good for is arousing or satisfying their physical needs.
A couple of months ago, my mother dropped a pretty big bomb on me: She thinks it is time for me to start looking for someone to marry.
We had never had this conversation before; I never saw it coming. I had always thought marriage would happen when I fell in love with someone and he proposed. I never thought there would be a timeline for when I should get married. She thinks I should get married when I graduate from college, but I do not feel old enough to even think about marriage.
On the other hand, everyone around me is in a relationship. My best friends, my cousins, family friends, and pretty much everyone I know in my age group. My mom was already dating my dad at my age. My aunts were already dating their husbands at my age. And as I said earlier, when it comes to me, all guys are interested in is sleeping with me.
Why hasn’t a serious relationship happened for me yet? Am I not pretty enough? Am I not interesting enough? Am I not…enough? These are a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind.
Also, two people who I consider my best friends have been slowly slipping away from me. Our friendship is no longer the same as it had been in the initial few months. We were the ultimate gang of three; inseparable at school and always texting or calling each other when we were apart.
Now, we have not had a real conversation in over a month. I had put so much effort into our friendship and once again, I felt like I was not enough. I could not even keep two of my supposed best friends interested in me.
Then, Ramadan started and it provided me with a different perspective.
In short, this is what I have realized:
- Immature boys do not define who I am. Only I have the power to do that.
- I may not be ready to look for a potential husband, but this is something I have to communicate to my mother. I cannot expect her to know that on her own.
- There are people who see me for all that I have to offer. They are my friends, my family, my mentors, and many of the people who read my writing. For every person that I have grown apart from or who has lost interest in our relationship, there are five more people who have stuck around and who genuinely love me for who I am.
Lastly, I am 19-years-old, I have years and years, God willing, to be in a relationship, to fall in love, and have the filmy happily ever after that I have always dreamt of.
However, in the process of figuring this out, I hurt someone who I really care about. I let my insecurities affect our friendship and may have lost a dear friend because of it.
I call him “Smiles.”
Smiles, if you’re reading this, I am really sorry. You are one of the only guys that have ever taken the chance to get to know the real me, beyond my looks. You have always been there when I have needed a friend to talk to. I can come to you for boy advice or to vent about my crazy family. You were the first person I told when a close family member of mine got sick. You were the person I called when I was scared about leaving the comfort of high school. You let me go on for hours about my favorite Bollywood movies and go out of your way to make time for us to hang out.
I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. I’m a little crazy and super sensitive sometimes. But, I care about you and I do not want to lose you. From the bottom of my heart, I am really sorry. Can we start over? Mujhse dosti karoge? Will you be my friend… again?
For my fellow Brown Girls: Ramadan is a month of repentance and forgiveness. Even if you are not Muslim, apologize to someone you have wronged or reach out to someone who has asked for your forgiveness.
Letting go of the negativity in your life is one of the most rewarding feelings. I can tell you from experience.