cor ad cor loquitur

where heart speaks to heart

On marriage: part God knows what — November 20, 2017

On marriage: part God knows what

Two posts so close together, you guys must be lucky! (Jk I’m like super duper stressed out right now and need to distract myself today. I have to work on my CV/resume and my final presentation for rotation, but LOL). Today’s topic will be (NEW FLASH, nothing new there) marriage. This is kind of an update, or at least I hope, from my last post(s) on marriage and love and all that fun stuff. The last time I tried to write this post I was full of sass, but I’m feeling very down and in another low point of my depression today so it’ll probably be less sassy and more serious.

So I’ve mentioned many times on here before, but as a Desi girl, 23 is apparently the magical age where you need to get married and settle down. It doesn’t matter that I want to focus on my career and become a successful pharmacist. In society’s eyes, I’m not successful if I’m not married yet. That is a pressure that is very heavily felt by my father and to a lesser extent, my mother.

So to begin with, let’s go over my father and mother’s ideas of marriage. My dad sees marriage as a union, not between two people, but rather between two families. Weddings are not supposed to be simple affairs, but rather extravagant affairs where the entire world can see how happy he is that his daughter is getting married. The guy his daughter is getting married to must like her, but love may not necessarily be a requirement for the marriage itself. Said guy must never hurt his daughter and must treat her with respect, but he also must be from a good family because after all, this marriage is uniting two families. He wants me to desire the idea of marriage– his idea of marriage– and we often get into arguments about this.

My mother, on the contrary, just desires happiness for her children. She does also see marriage as a union between two families, but to a much lesser extent. She doesn’t care if the guy’s family is rich or poor, they just need to be decent people with caring, loving hearts. She doesn’t care what the guy does; he must be a good Muslim, pure at heart, and must treat her daughter with love and respect. Respect for women is very important to my mother, and if a guy is not able to treat women with respect and disregards women’s rights, then the guy is nothing to my mother. She doesn’t care how the wedding is–the simpler, the better. She wants me to wait until I’m ready for marriage, but not too long. In fact, just a few days ago she told me that I’ll be married in 2 years, so she’s slightly more liberal, but still very conservative.

A few weeks ago we attended the wedding festivities of a close family friend of ours. His son was getting married. It was your typical arranged marriage and typical huge Desi wedding with dollars upon dollars just being spent on things that people would later talk shit about anyway. Marriage is a very large part of Desi culture. Essentially, everything you do in life must lead to one final goal– marriage. That weekend, Bob and Molly* had fulfilled their goal. Their life had now begun.

As Muslims, marriage is an important part of life. The Prophet (SAW) has said that the best amongst Muslims are those who are married. Marriage helps fulfill the internal desires essentially preventing Muslims from committing sin. But Islam also says that marriage should never be forced upon someone. Additionally, if a guy or a girl likes someone, then they can bring that forward to their parents. Interestingly, even during the actual signing of the marriage contract, the woman must agree prior to signing her name– even if she has already consented to the marriage. (This was something interesting I learned during the wedding)

So since Bob and Molly got married, and Bob is only a year older than I am, everyone has now been saying that it’s time for me to get married. The one good thing that came out of the wedding was no rishtas, so score one for Komal against Desi aunties. And so comes the real reason for writing this post? Do I feel pressurized to get married? In all honesty, a little bit, but…

I have this idea of marriage and love and all that cutesy stuff that is probably so delusional and not reality. When you’re in a romantic relationship, you’re able to fully be yourself with that one person. They know you inside and out, and you know them inside and out. You get intimate, obviously physically, but I’m talking about the emotional intimacy. They’ll know your deepest, darkest fears. They’ll know your deepest, darkest thoughts. They’ll sense your anger, your sorrow, and your happiness. Every emotion will be laid out in the open, and if you both truly care for each other, you’ll try your hardest to keep the good emotions afloat and drown the bad emotions. You’ll both be each other’s shoulder to cry on. To me, that is what a relationship is between two people.

It was the craving for this that drove me to say yes to a total of two rishtas that came forward. Looking back, I probably agreed to them for all the wrong reasons, and I was naive at the time. The first one was this guy who I actually really liked. Med student, super attractive, beard on point, Pakistani, well-dressed, seemed well-mannered upon first impression. Basically, he was the perfect guy, or at least he fit the idea of ideal man, but it didn’t work out and I was devastated for silly reasons.

Then more recently, I said yes to a rishta that was bought forward around January of this year. There was nothing about the guy I liked (and this based on the superficial looking at his pictures and based on his career), but I still said yes. You know why? Because I was tired– tired of being alone, tired of everyone asking me if I had someone in my life, tired of getting these rishtas, just tired. This one was also a no because apparently they had found someone else. That’s cool.

So do you know what that did to me? I kept thinking, and still do sometimes, that there is something wrong with me. Something is wrong with me that prevents people from ever being able to consider me a romantic counterpart. I mean all this would have been so much easier if someone had just liked me and wanted to go out with me. If I think logically, there’s nothing wrong with me. I care for those around me, I go out of my way to do things for people who mean a lot to me. But you know, it’s those dark whispers that tell me there’s something wrong with me.

I want this post to be all encompassing, so apologies for how long it is and how unorganized it seems. I don’t mean for things to take on a dark turn, but it’s something that haunts me from time to time. One of my biggest fears is not finding love and being alone in the world. I know 23 is a young age to be worried about this. But after 23 comes 24 after comes 25 and so on.

I feel like there’s so much more I have to say regarding this topic. But it’s just gonna be even more unorganized if I continue writing. So far, at 23, these are my thoughts.

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Suffocation — November 11, 2017

Suffocation

I feel suffocated today by my depression. I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can’t do anything. Depression is like a dark cloud that hangs over you, and when it’s time to strike, it comes down to strangle you. You’re still breathing and seemingly alive, but in reality you’re just a walking corpse. And you know that suffocation, it prevents you from screaming for help. It stops you from crying out loud.

Depression is the dark, black monster that your parents warned you about. You thought it didn’t exist. You thought it wasn’t real. But it’s real, and it haunts you every day of your life. 

Exactly 1 year ago today, I was in college learning how to treat different mental health disorders. The dean of the pharmacy school was going to teach us these mental health disorders which made the idea of learning this topic all the more intimidating. But the first lecture happened, and I left the lecture feeling that it was the best lecture I’ve received in pharmacy school. She had a way of teaching such a difficult topic with ease and entertainment.

A few days later came the depression lecture. “SIG-E-CAPS” was the acronym she told us to remember what the signs and symptoms of depression are. SIG E CAPS stands for:

  • Sleep
  • Interest (lack of)
  • Guilt
  • Energy
  • Concentration
  • Appetite
  • Psychomotor activity
  • Suicidal ideation

Depression isn’t an easy topic to talk about. It’s not an easy illness to acknowledge and come to terms with. Quite often we throw around the phrase, “I’m depressed”, without truly meaning that we are depressed. Because if you’ve ever been depressed then you know just how difficult depression is to deal with. You don’t just stay in bed all day because you want to, but because something internally is stopping you from getting up and going about your day. You don’t feel this overwhelming sadness all of a sudden because something devastating has happened, but simply because your brain has decided that now’s the time for you to feel like shit. It’s so hard to describe why I feel a certain way or why I’m depressed to someone because in all honesty, there is no reason, it’s just the way my brain was wired.

How exactly does depression manifest itself for me? SIG E CAPS. I feel more sleepy, less interested and motivated to do things, an overwhelming feeling of guilt and insecurity, lack of energy, decreased concentration, increased appetite, slower movements, and yes, I have had my moments of suicidal ideation. So often people have said to suck it up and deal with it because this is what life is. How naive of them to say so.

I’ve been asked many times, why are you depressed? I can’t answer that question. I ask myself that question all the time. Why are you depressed, Komal? What exactly in life are you not content about? I’m content with each and every thing Allah has given me. Life has been, alhamdulillah, relatively easy for me. So then why are you depressed? Isn’t your depression just a sign of ungratefulness? I have been told those exact words before. I’m depressed because I’m not grateful and because I don’t believe, but those statements are false in every which way.

These things just happen, and while I can have months of me being relatively normal and content with life. There’s always that darkness at the end of the tunnel, just waiting to engulf me. That darkness is indefinitely long while I’m a part of it, but then slowly the tunnel moves toward light. I return to my usual self yet again, but if I’m being honest, that darkness will always be a looming cloud over my head. And so while it may seem like it’s gone, it’s omnipresent and suffocating, leaving me to wonder how exactly do I get rid of this darkness.