As salaam alaikum,
Apparently, when I finished residency and took a 2 month vacay before returning to work, so did my brain take a vacation.
But really, life has gotten busy, I had a lot of things to do in preparation for my new job as an attending and a non-resident PCP, and I've been knee-deep in my own spiritual journey, which has taken a much more personal spin such that I haven't been writing very much about it on the blog.
But I just had an epiphany that I thought would bring me back into the world of blogging.
I know what I want in a mate now.
Let's rephrase. I know what I want in a Muslim mate now.
No, I am not again single and my SO is the same. Born Muslim in a communist culture and I wouldn't even call him nominal at this point.
He grew up to think that all a Muslim had to do was fast the Night of Power and that would satisfy the entire month's fast. That is who my SO is.
But he came to be my SO because--I was afraid that I couldn't be Muslim married and he was the closest thing I thought I could get to it.
But this is not going to be about my SO. This is more about me and my epiphany.
There was something that seemed impossible, intimidating, and admittedly undesirable about getting Muslim married. Namely, I never obtained a wali, so the process was sketchy and I felt unprotected, making up an online dating profile and searching for eligible Muslim men in a list of unknowns. Or, I could obtain a wali who may or may not have my best interests at heart and certainly would not be my Christian father. Neither option sounded secure.
And besides, I was unsure if that was what I really wanted. Like, of course I'd love a husband I could pray with, who was at a similar level of practice as me, but that didn't feel like what I really wanted.
And then, as I was going through the motions of a personal exercise of fleshing out what my ideal self would look like (religiously, spiritually and physically were the realms that I wanted to idealize), I wrote out a sentence that described exactly what I was looking for:
"I'd love to have a partner whose Islam inspires me and doesn't shame me."
After which I wrote, I think this is it. I think that is what I want.
...before realizing, oh my gosh, this is exactly what I want and have always wanted!
I added to it later, adding that I did not want to be patronized, either.
I liken it to training and running a race. Of course, one can do both of these alone, or they could have a buddy. If the buddy's pace is faster or the buddy's form is better, I'd be the one to prefer to jog behind my buddy and be inspired by his pace and form. Maybe my buddy would give me a few tips if I asked or if he saw me doing something to hurt myself.
My buddy wouldn't taunt me for my pace, push me to go faster than I was ready to go, or give me unsolicited advice as if presuming incompetence. He wouldn't ask me how have I been alive this long and never run X distance.
Similarly, my partner in Islam may be ahead of me in some aspects, but I would pray for the type of partner that wouldn't shame me for ways in which he felt my Islam "deficient" and wouldn't be patronizing in our discourse.
And that, I think, is everything. That describes my fears and my hopes.
Because really, my ideal partner doesn't have a body type or hair color. This is who he is, written in that one line above. That is what I want.
Let's worship free of shaming, patronizing and judgment. Let's inspire each other instead as we join together in the mutual teaching of truth, as it were.