Tuesday, March 29, 2011

[uncensored]: What Makes a Good Man

As salaam alaikum,

I wanted Sunday's entry to be the last one about B, but I have a little bit more to say. I was going to sleep happy after watching several YouTube videos about talking birds (I want one in my life! Maybe after residency...) and I sat up suddenly and thought to email my friend's fiance, who is friends with B. I just suddenly thought about B and my time together, and the way he used to look at me, and touch me, and I realized...this weight claim was not always true. He didn't always care about it. Something happened in February and he became the monster that he is now. And, he's given up on his aspirations to teach and take his work down to underprivileged kids in the US. For his birthday, I bought him 501 Spanish Words because he indicated to me that he was trying to learn Spanish.

And while I don't think he's making up his aversion to me because of my weight that occurred in our last month together, this abrupt change that no one can make sense of is just that, an abrupt change. I think he's having a personal crisis and he found a way to push me, the closest person he's ever been to, completely away. He no longer has feelings for me, and he's become an unfeeling bastard.

It's no longer my place, though. I'm not sticking around to try to save him or waiting up for him. He has issues and God is the only remedy, but with the way he humiliated me, I'm not going to be the one. If he wanted space away from me, this is what he got.

So anyway, I emailed my friend's fiance, who is friends with him, and let him know that I think his situation is dire, and though I don't want to be within a one mile radius of him, I think that he needs a friend. Dude is getting married in the month so probably does not have time to really look out for his friend, but hopefully he reaches out to him.

Depression is a bitch, I know it first hand. But I also know that Major Depression as we know it was invented in 1980 in DSM-III. Depression is an artifact of physical diseases, of life circumstances and spiritual voids most of the time. My mother brings up a good point. She's like, "How did black people survive slavery?"

Think about all of the stressful events people have endured before modern psychopharrmacology. Sure, some people were depressed and had suicidal ideation, but I mean, if you were a slave, don't you think the likelihood that you have suicidal ideation increases? How many suicides are actually prevented by SSRIs and the like?

Anyway, I digress. Depression, suicide and this world are issues for a whole other post.

B tore his ass with me, and I would be a fool to go back to talking to him ever again. Anyone who throws away what we had and disregards the sacrifices I made and spiritual revolution I endured to be with him over something like weight is not my friend.

And of course, the only reason I even still emailed his friend is because yes, though everyone I know would slap me in the face for this (so I'm not telling them), I still care about him. He was a beautiful man, but he has issues like whoa. He needs to check himself before he wrecks himself, essentially.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about today, although it took up so much time.

This whole situation has made me rethink several things. For one, it's made me reanalyze my reasons for wanting to lose weight. I lost 20 pounds last year and wanted to continue to lose weight. I stopped for several reasons...one, that I hurt my ankle on a date with B once and that threw off my momentum. Also, my public health school schedule inhibited me from doing my morning workouts for a while. And, I thought that B liked the way I looked...

And I realize...while part of my desire to lose weight is my own, a large part of it is irremediably interwoven with my idea of what a man would want in my body. I assume that a man would want what he sees on the television or in the movies. Part of my desire to lose weight was to fit into a body shape that more men would want...increase the pool, so to speak.

But then I look at all of my sisters who call themselves thick who those in the medical profession would call morbidly obese (no joke)...and there are men who like that, too.

So why should I have to change myself for men? Shouldn't there be men out there who like my body just the way it is?

And didn't I say, anyway, that I didn't want a man who was just fixated on my physical appearance?

But that apparently is an oxymoron. Men are attracted to women physically first, and then they (may) get to know them. Men, men, all men...I've never heard a man deny this being true. So while I was not wrong to bat away the men I did (because I had a feeling that they were just interested in sex, and umm yeah, not happening with this Muslimah)...I can't fault a man for being a man.

Can I?

But before, I couldn't separate any part of my being from wanting to be wanted by a man...from the way that I dress (even in the days of hijab) to the way that I behave around men. To my weight. My weight.

I have to think, if there were no men...I think I'd still want to lose weight. But not for myself. So doctors would get off my damn back about my weight, honestly. I like being a larger woman. It's been a part of me so long, and while I would like to see what I'd look like slimmer, I think I'd always prefer my larger body. I want to lose weight so I no longer have to prove to my doctors that, in spite of my weight, I am still healthy...because I am healthy. I want to lose weight so that when my time comes insha'Allah to bear children, I won't become obese in the process.

And I think that last reason is the main reason that I'm going to go ahead and continue to lose weight. It's going to be for the sake of my future pregnancies. Not for men and not for my doctors, I'm going to do it for me...not even for my future babies. They would be quite comfortable nursing and resting on the fat of Mama's belly. It is for me, what I want in my life, and how I want to be.

I have reached weights that were uncomfortable for me. I basically do not ever want to be bigger than I am right now in my life.

So, forward I go.

But still, I haven't answered my main question...what makes a good man? I really don't know. I think I gave men in the past a lot more credit than they deserved.

Men are attracted to women for physical reasons primarily, who they actually are secondarily. I do not find that admirable, but I guess that's a moot point, because that's how they were made. A good man, then, is not determined by who he finds attractive or what physical traits he "tolerates" in a woman. I guess a good man may legitimately not be attracted to women who are overweight. But a good man is woman who, after that physical attraction aspect, really gets to know the woman for who she is, all who she is, and from there is able to build a foundation of love, commitment, compromise and mutual life.

A good man is one who can hold onto that even as a woman goes through the physical changes of life.

I think about my father. He's been with my mother from the time she was 99 pounds to a time when she was 218. He actually preferred her when she was 150 in her middle age, but that didn't stop him from marrying her at 99, and it didn't get him to leave her when she dropped to 135. He was with her through long, straight hair to short, kinky hair and everything in between. He was with her in her youth and he's with her in older age. He was with her through several stages of her life cycle, through a change in her religious fervor, through changes in her own sexual physiology after her hysterectomy. And my father doesn't say things like I love you but I know he does from the way he talks about my mother, from their little routines...they both take marriage seriously, and they fit together.

I know men who want their women to be a certain weight, to have a certain hair length, to dress a certain way. That's not my father.

So there are good men out there, I guess.

I'm just so disillusioned that most of them are assholes, even more than I thought were before.


  1. Your dad is my inspiration...lol...

    love that goes which ever the wind blows can't really last... If B's situation is indeed that dire then hopefully he will find his center, as you wrote depression is hard to deal with.

    At the end of the day, boys are just weird :-)

  2. I didn't realize how awesome my father was until this dude did what he did to me...my father is a man like few others.

    Yes, boys are weird. That's why I'm not giving anyone the time of day who isn't at least 30. I may break my rule and go over the 10 year mark...they'd appreciate.

  3. I have a friend who used to say the same, she wanted a husband who was at least 5 years older than she is for security and maturity reasons... I am inclined to agree, although I would expect a man in his mid to late twenties (and in fact many are) to have it together.

    Besides I think an older man sees a younger woman as prize whereas with our age group you're just the girl next door/in class. Kudos to you for getting in there and having a relationship. Living and learning is never a bad thing.

  4. @gazelle: Yeah, I got out there alright...dude went crazy for the last month of the relationship, but I can't lie, the good parts were good. It would have been nice to get it done in the first try, but there were too many things off. It's all for the better.

  5. Completely off topic. But I thought of you....future HMS graduate

  6. @thegarden: Hahaha, that's hilarious! I just saw him walking down the street in front of MGH the other day. I know him...he's the class above me. He's a nice guy. And the lead author is one of my society masters. They already put the MD behind his name...pretty sweet. My name is going to look awesome decorated with an MD, MPH in one year, iA!

  7. Insha'allah. Very excited for you. :) What is a society master?

  8. The fact that you knew the people who wrote and I also forwarded this same article to one of my really good friends who just got a job doing educational development for a medical school here in Illinois, is like that six degrees of separation thing....but in a more virtual way :)