Saturday, May 7, 2011

My Worth as a Woman

As salaam alaikum,

One of my best friends at medical school got married last weekend, and while I'm very happy for her, I'm can't help but feel a little bit empty.

I've been trying and failing to find a different way to look at myself and my aspirations, to aspire to something that is not marriage and motherhood, and while I place my career now in such a place that no man I meet in the next few months will convince me to stay on this coast for the sake of the residency programs that I ultimately want in California...I cannot deny that my major goal in life is to be a family woman...a good wife and mother.

It's what I've always wanted, it's the thing I've prayed about the most, and I was made for it, I know. My brief stint with my ex shows me that I am a nurturer by nature. I thrive when I'm in that role. It is what is meant to be for me, and I can't convince myself otherwise. I don't know what else to do.

Pray for me, because I've run out of ways to pray about this.

I feel like screaming, too, because I get conflicting messages about my worth as a woman. I can't lie...I derive a lot of my own self-worth from who I am potentially more than who I am now. And I can't lie if I don't say that I feel like only half of a woman if I am not in a loving, nurturing relationship with a husband or a to-be husband with the promise insha'Allah of childbearing or childrearing. Admittedly, if someone were to tell me right now that I had a choice of either being a physician or happily married with a family of my own, I would chose the later right now.

But at the same time, I recognize the potential of ending up with someone who is beneath me, not worth what I have to offer, not a worthy father of my children. If I knew that I would end up with someone unworthy of being my husband and the father of my children or remain single the rest of my life, I would choose the latter, clearly.

But I wish I could know that, so I could go on, building my life as a single woman instead of constantly wondering...but that's not the way life is, I guess.

I look at my friend who got married. They were so right for each other, and I pray that they continue to find happiness in their marriage. Everyone tells me that someone is out there like that for me, and they're so sure of it. I don't know how they can be so sure...but so many of my friends are getting married this month, it just depresses me, reminds me of how incapable I seem of attracting a suitable mate, someone who can see in me something beyond potential sex or an abstract sense of duty...someone who can see in me the wife that I know I can be...

It makes me doubt a lot of who I am...because I struggle with the question...what is my worth if I cannot even get a worthy man to want to marry me? What is my worth as a woman if I'm only attractive for sex and nothing else? What is my worth as a person if I never succeed at attaining that which I most want in life? It doesn't matter how many people say I'm pretty or I'm intelligent, nor does my wit matter, my singing voice or anything.

This woman in my office asked why there isn't a ring on my finger, and my thought was, why would there be? No one has ever loved me for who I was without wanting to change me or thinking I was something else, and I'm starting to believe that no one ever will...


  1. This post reminds me of one of my friends who attended the wedding I went to last week (sorry I missed you ;-(

    She was tearing up during the ceremony, partially because it was all so beautiful, and partially because she wished it was her getting married!

    But I guess that is to be expected for unmarried women in the mid-to late twenties and beyond range...

    Alas, I have no tropes or quick and witty, comforting remarks... but this will pass at some point... the anxiousness can get the best of us sometimes, but what can we do?

    Maybe it helps to think of it this way, if your sense of happiness, self-worth is somehow connected to whether or not you are in a relationship at the time, then maybe you need to focus on really being happy with you and your wonderfulness, regardless of finding a man or not. Think about it this way, would you marry the male version of yourself right now? I mean Chinyere in every way except masculine? Same age, living situation, academic situation etc?

    At any rate, you are in a semi-controlled environment right now. While school may be the ideal place to meet your future Mr. Right, its also a bit stifling and can keep you from circumstances that would help you locate him.

    Wow, this was long. Keep your head up... it will happen, you are only twenty-something... you still have plenty of time.

  2. Hey!

    Yeah, sorry I missed you, too. Last weekend was kind of busy for me and I wouldn't have been the greatest of companies in that I started freaking out!

    I hear what you're saying. The interesting thing with me is...I wasn't worried about all of these people getting married when I was in my own relationship. Even if that didn't end in marriage and we broke up in a few months, I was fine. The fact that relationship ended over some BS and we didn't even get to get into the meat of the relationship bothered me...and the fact that my ex was at the wedding was like an open comparison...your friend succeeded at getting married to a great guy, and you've only succeeded in being in a relationship with this fool.

    I don't have to be married right now...if it were as simple as I was talking to a guy about the marriage path that I really liked, I would be more into the weddings. I realize that we all have our own paths...I just don't like when nothing is going on in that department. That's why I'm fine with everyone else graduating from med school and me having taken that extra year for public health...I'm super excited for them being doctors soon, but I took my own path and I'm really happy about it.

    It would feel different if they were graduating and I was on a medical leave of absence indefinitely and I watched all of my classmates graduate.

    That's how I feel about relationships. That's why I'm online now (as crazy as that is!). I have to feel like I'm doing something or else it feels like everyone else is leaving me behind...

    I'll get more serious about it when I move wherever I'm moving for residency...I'm not playing! I'm tired of sitting around, waiting for a man to drop out of the sky, when the ones that have so far dropped out of the sky have been coocoo heads!

  3. Salaams Sis,

    I don’t know how I found your blog but I come visit from time to time. I love your raw honesty, this post being a prime example. I like to know someone before I say anything about why they are feeling that way, because otherwise it’s just personal assumptions. But since the feelings you outlined here resonate for many people, I think this is just human nature to feel this way, it’s just most of us are not honest about it! I would caution anyone to never get carried away by these feelings (Not saying you do). This is calaf (naseeb) as we Somalis say, or destiny, we don’t have control over it and it certainly doesn’t define our worth and it should never DEFINE our worth. I have seen amazing people single and unable to find love some their entire life, and the opposite, who make you scratch your head, but who have been “lucky” in that department. So it’s certainly not about personalities, beauty, and the individual. I try never to compare myself to others. I think when we do that we become depressed and that drains our energy, and even damps our shine in how we convey who we are to the outside world. It also sets a dangerous trap for us, when it comes to the first guy that shows major interest, because we can fall in love with the idea of someone finally wanting to love us. Those are just my thoughts on the matter.

    Congrats on everything,…and how is your novel coming with the publishing?

  4. Salaam!

    Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. You are absolutely right...I really shouldn't measure my worth according to my interaction with others, I've been realizing this as each day passes... Insha'Allah, it'll all come to pass, though. I've prayed about it enough throughout my should.

  5. Oh yeah, and the novel publication? Standstill. It appears as if all the family members that I had to read it have not been able to get past the first couple of chapters...this is important to know, haha! I kind of really need them to get to at least the middle before I can really edit, but alas...we'll see.