As salaam alaikum,
I haven't been writing on here as much in the last month or so. This relationship business has gotten me preoccupied...mentally, emotionally and spiritually preoccupied. Put in this situation, I know this was the decision I would make. I've made my bed, now I have to lie in it.
This new year was more anticlimactic than new years in the past. When 2009 came, that year felt different. It would be the year that I'd be a third year medical student, the year that I'd take the boards. I don't think 2010 felt that triumphant, but I was probably tired. This year felt more like business as usual because starting the relationship with B was like the beginning of a new year for me.
Shit I never thought of before has come up, things that I want for myself, the dream I have for myself...everything is in flux right now with the thought of the possibility that we'll actually work things out and actually get married one day. It makes me realize how delicate this dance is, this "let's see if I want to marry you" dance that we're engaged in right now (not to be confused with engagement to marriage...no no no, not there right now). I think I need to move out of the, "Oh my gosh, someone actually likes me" phase to the, "Now seriously, is this what I want" phase, tonight, while he's apparently not answering my texts.
When I had given up on ever finding anyone, I'd resolved to devote my life to my brother. That meant that I would find the best family medicine residency, do my fellowship, and ultimately move back to Michigan and be a family medicine physician, have my own place and visit my folks on the weekends, and help pay for my brother to get the education and opportunities he needed to live a healthy and happy life.
Then, along came B, a God-fearing, non-Christian Igbo Nigerian (which I didn't know existed). He told me he didn't know that someone like me could exist. I'm dying to know what he means by that, but alas, I haven't seen him in two weeks and I really need to talk to him in person about this...
And by deciding to go forward with him, in this relationship, which is for me like a really intense friendship plus reciprocated attraction plus the possibility of marriage in the future, my life trajectory has changed...and become complicated.
First of all, where will I do residency? I've decided that I'm operating as if I'm single (which, legally, I am, muahahaha!) for the next year and one month (that is how long I have until I submit my match list for residency). If I am not engaged to him by then, or with that at all looming in the next 3 months, I am probably moving away from Boston, regardless of how much he has left of his research (he's due to finish his PhD in 2012, iA) and regardless of where he's doing his post-doc (he's planning to do it here). That would effectively mean that we'd be broken up. I don't have time for someone who just wants to be in limbo for years, nor do I want to end up making my residency decision based on a noncommittal relationship that may end while I'm a resident, anyway.
Then, whether or not I do my fellowship, if we were married by then, would then be complicated by when we'd want to have kids, where he'd move after his post-doc (probably to MD, where his father lives now) and whether they had a obstetrics/women's health fellowship in the area. I wouldn't have the entire country at my fingertips anymore.
I know I'm oversimplifying here and if we were to be engaged to be married and then married when I needed to make all of these decisions, I feel like a good deal of compromise would take place, it wouldn't just be, well, he'd be here, so I'd be here...but yeah.
Then, in terms of my brother...I'm still, insha'Allah, to care for my brother when my parents age. I wanted to be there for my parents, too, but no way B would be happy in Michigan. He hates Boston, so I know he'd feel like hell in Michgan, for sure. No, Michigan's not my favorite place, either, but it's my family being there that redeems it. I guess I'll cross this road when I get there with whoever is my husband, but I wonder how I'm going to swing caring for my brother and being there for my aging parents. After seeing my grandmother in a nursing home for four years, I don't want to do that with my parents. If I have to hire help in the house and build an additional wing onto my house for them, or see them in senior housing nearby my own home, then that's what I will do.
But at least in thinking about being with B...if we're in MD, and property values are outrageous there, with both of our salaries, we will not be living in extravagance. Considering a townhouse there is $500,000, and I'm not going to be swimming in it as a family medicine doctor, and I have no idea what physics professors make...there's going to be no house with an addition in MD.
What was so simple yet haphazard while being single is so much more complicated now that I have an intended.
We've talked about religion a little bit, and it's so interesting that he doesn't have one. I guess I once believed in God without following any religion in particular, like, from 18 and before. I chose Islam because it was the closest, it was what I was raised in, but then I felt like if I claimed a religion, I should practice it. Following Islam gave me the structure in my life that I hungered, and there is no other way I can live right now. Talking to him, I can see where he is in want of spiritual structure...
But I understand. I would be where he is if I hadn't had the very specific events in my life that left me in want of a religion. Islam helps me to understand why my brother has autism, why the world is like it is. Islam gives me a balance, from wanting more out of my fellow human being but not despairing too much because I know that God is Judge.
And as much as I like the prospect of getting married, and he's not Christian so he's not going to be trying to convert me, and his best friend is Muslim and he has great respect for Muslims, and me, and he follows my lead in this peculiar dance we're doing, although I haven't been the best of leaders...
...I cannot forget this is nothing to be flippant about. This is nothing to shit on. This is half of my religion. And as much as I love not being lonely, as much as I love knowing that a relationship can happen for me...I am Muslim. I cannot but regard marriage with the utmost importance, not only religiously but personally. I became more practicing as a Muslimah for myself and with the hopes of increasing my chances of finding a like-minded individual with whom to eventually marry.
Flat out, I don't want to end up with someone who cannot teach, with me, our children about God, how to approach Him, how to live this life in remembrance of Him, submitting to Him.
But do I want this over forgoing marriage and child-rearing altogether, and instead devote my life to my brother?
So I'm either stepping closer to marriage this year or suffering my first break up.
This is not to mention my completing my public health degree, going back to medical school, applying to residency, starting my interviews...
Hello, 2011. This could either be the most important year in my life so far...or a slightly less important, though definitive year in my life.