Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Still Will Choose You First

As salaam alaikum,

And Eid Mubarak to my Muslim lovelies.

I got into a fairly sentimental mood here, putting this paper together about adolescent condom use in the context of relationship characteristics and dynamics. Yes, it's my sexuality class again. I've pretty much ODed on adolescent sex, teen pregnancy, and everything else.

My reading also convinced me that a lot of serious teen relationships are actually just like children playing house, but sex is involved. Teen girls also have the tendency to think that the relationships will last forever. As one who was convinced that I was in love at 12, I can attest that this is actually what goes through a young girl's head.

Me and my boo (unrequited, which would be the only type of love that I'd know for the next 13 years, little did I know) were going to get married after high school, maybe when I was 20, move to Detroit, where I'd have my first child at 21, and yes, it would be awesome.


But anyway, the title of this entry is uncreatively inspired by my listening to Musiq Soulchild - Love, for which this is a lyric in which the author professes to love (not professes love, but professes to Love itself, as if personified). It's a great, pretty classic neo-soul ballad.

I haven't really listened to Musiq after his sophomore album, so I have no idea what he's up to these days.

But I just am using it to describe this situation, this happening, this thing that reminded me...that life is crazy.

I was sitting in the cafe at school today with my roommate (who is also my classmate), and I was working on my paper. People stopped by our table to chat for a short while, seeing that we were both busy at work. It was getting closer to lunchtime, and people had already started purchasing food. I looked toward the lunch line to gauge how much time I had before the lines became crazy and I saw this guy looking in my direction. He was looking at me.

Usually, whenever I accidentally catch someone's eye, I look away, so I did. I knew who it was in retrospect. It was this Muslim guy, also a classmate, who I'd met during Ramadan because of HLM's iftars. He's a two-year master student in health policy and management, I think. The thing I remember about him was that his roommate was a Muslim woman from Turkey. I thought that was fairly progressive of him and gutsy of him to mention that at a table of Muslims. At a time when I had four roommates, and the fourth roommate's boyfriend pretty much lived here, I tried to ignore the situation as much as possible and certainly wouldn't have brought it up among Muslims. But I remembered that about him.

He was in my epidemiology class together...we reintroduced each other, I added him on facebook, the rest is history.

Except, after looking away, I looked back towards him. He was still staring at me. I looked away, and looked back again, and he was still staring at me!

At this point, I looked down. That felt really awkward and I didn't know what to do about it. I mean, it is entirely possible that he was actually looking past me, especially since he was far away and I didn't have my glasses on to actually make good eye contact, but...it made me think about things.

I went down the what if road. What if someone like him, this Muslim man, were to express interest in me, like, now? I've messed around and I'm in a relationship now. This guy was just staring at me...that doesn't mean anything. But what if someone actually had strong feelings for me and wanted to go forward with me...in the road towards marriage? And I kind of liked him at baseline? What would happen to B?

B's coming over our apartment tomorrow to meet the roommates. That, and I felt uncomfortable discussing "us" in public venues, so we might soon officially be in a relationship, even though we are already, really...essentially. If we were to become official official, though...I feel like I would have to get all Erykah Badu on said Muslim man and say, "I guess I'll see you next lifetime."

I don't know.

I don't like the idea of relationship for relationship sake. If I must be in a relationship as my only means of leading to marriage, then so be it. So it's hard to judge which one I'd choose, even though that sounds horrible, and it is horrible...an entire human being with feelings is at stake.

But at the same time, what, am I going to avoid this man and hold my breath for assorted Muslim men to decide I'm worth the risk? Because I feel like, as a black Muslimah, I am considered a risk for many Muslim men.

There is a Nigerian Muslim man in my class who I think would be interested in me if I let him be, but I keep my distance because I'm with B right now. This guy who was staring at me, he's a couple of months younger than me, but I still keep him on the radar because he's Muslim.

It's like college admissions that work on a point system. Certain characteristics get more points. I think with 100 points being the threshold for being involved with someone, one being Muslim automatically gets 70 points. Certain ethnicities get more points than others, but that's more an arbitrary whim. Say, being black gets one 20 points, being Brazilian of any race gets one 40 points. That's about right. So a Muslim Brazilian, were I to meet one, regardless of other traits, would beat the threshold.

Wow, this is terrible, but it's true!

So even though B obviously is over 100 points on so many levels, a Muslim who I barely know may just beat him out in terms of points over the threshold simply for the fact that he's Muslim, and that automatically gets him 70 points.

Why is this? I just need to recognize...I don't want to practice Islam alone. I don't want to be Muslim alone for the rest of my life.

So what would happen if I was official with B and all of a sudden a boisterous and initiating Muslim man of certain quality came into my life and said, you must be my wife (yes, fat chance in that happening, but go with me). Would it be bye bye, B?

At this point, I returned to my computer, held my head in my hands, and said to my roommate, "This life is crazy!" She still has no idea why I said that.



  1. Eid Mubarak Chinyere! I had a great Eid though I spent most of it at work. It was quality not quantity. We had a delicious breakfast at IHOP (I got the pumpkin pancakes) with the family and it was good quality time for an hour before I went into work. At the end of the day the point system can't beat fate. Allahu A3lam what is to happen tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that. I don't want to depress you but I'm 33 and through all my determination I've never even remotely found the one. This is my naseeb and now I accept it comfortably.

  2. Eid Mubarak! :)

    I'm glad you got to spend some quality time with the fam. *sigh* You see, quality time with the fam during Eid! I've never had that...I want that, with my own fam!

    And you're right...the tough thing about fate is that it's always fate in the greater realm of life, the realm we have no access to, but it's not fate to us because we can't know what's going to happen. But I recognize at the same time that everything is happening is the culmination of my prayers during Ramadan, in an interesting way...so I'm just sitting back and watching it all unfold.

  3. Salaams Sis hope you had a good Eid too!

    Very interesting post. In reading your post and some others, I see a sister that loves her deen and is conscience of her deen. It is only natural then to want someone who shares the same love and appreciation when concerning marriage. After all marriage is a partnership and one wants someone that will help them grow, have the same values, and that compliments them not contradicts them because religion is a large part of who someone is. Here is where I disagree just from reading this post and please correct me if I am wrong. I think you are putting too much emphasis on labels, ie Muslim, Brazilian, there is nothing wrong with this in having a preference, we all do, I am only saying such labels should not override other traits, such as love, compassion, kindness, intelligence, righteousness, stability, character, etc etc. Because it is these latter traits which will make you happy, secure, honored, and feel loved, not the label of Muslim, Brazilian. Those labels are his alone, what matters to me is how his other traits are demonstrated in the way he lives and treats others. He is a Muslim, okay, then he could be no different than any other guy. The title alone is inadequate; it is the actions from other traits which matter.

    As for B, I don’t believe in dating or talking to a non-Muslim guy as a romantic interest. Without that said, I do know that love and attraction can happen between any two people regardless of their faiths, whether to marry them is a different question. My advice dear sis is not to think too much and just live. Live in the moment, don’t live in what if’s. And always ask Allah for guidance and help, everything will work out. I pray that Allah give grant you your wishes and dreams. You seem like an awesome sister. Peace and love.

  4. @Fatima: Salaam, sis!

    Thanks for stopping by my site. And yeah, this entry was more word-vomitty than others in the past, so I'll clarify things.

    I guess the whole point-system thing was meant to be more tongue-in-cheek than anything, a play off of my undergraduate institution's former admissions policy that assigned points to such things as legacy, athletics and race...a system that was eliminated after it was ruled unconstitutional by the courts. And thereafter, Affirmative Action was eliminated...

    Hehe, anyway, I guess I wrote this because I realized that I was putting unfair weight to men just because they are Muslim, and that's painted my gender interactions since I became more practicing in 2003.

    And in terms of talking to non-Muslim guys as romantic interests...neither did I believe it. I'm going to go prayerfully forward...

    @Eccentric: I hope your Eid was awesome, sis!