Chapter 5: Till Death Do Us Part

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In the 1990’s, my parents had an arranged marriage in Pakistan and later moved to the United States. My three siblings are the definition of Irish triplets; they were each born a year apart in the state of Texas. Dallas, Houston, Austin, and HoustatLantaVegas, I just like naming words sometimes. Haha While my Dad was traveling the world, my mother decided to move back to Pakistan. She did not feel comfortable raising three children alone in a country where she did not know anyone. R, my sister was practically adopted by my mother’s family, while my father’s side raised S. My brother was incredibly smart at two years old, it is a shame; he had the greatest potential stolen from him.

He was the most charming, intellectual, and wonderful baby boy. Many members of our family claim that we are “cursed,” because of the diseases that generate through our lineage. Diseases are disorders of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms. They lie within every race, ethnicity, and group of people. The most common diseases may differ. We are far from cursed in my eyes.

Most of the men and women in my family are incredibly intelligent, beautiful, and hard-working people. When we reunite, we do everything together. We love going out to coffee shops, TopGolf, and have movie nights. My cousins and I are incredibly close; I get along with almost every one of them. Many of them think I have a lot of “Masti,” in me. The English translation would be something like “I am mischievous,” I suppose I am. Who isn’t? I feel like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone when I say that statement. It was and still is one of my favorite childhood movies.

The issues that lie within any family usually reference to unresolved problems from the past; the time that has gone by and no longer exists. What is in the past shall remain there. There is nothing wrong with looking back in time, however problems further develop when you cannot move forward. You should always try to move on, progress, and learn from every experience. Learn to let go, even if you are not ready. I try not to attach myself to possessions or people. I have learned to respect the poor, wealthy, minorities, and the majorities.

Personally, I do not understand why others continue to talk about events that took place in 1972. Why does it matter whose child is the best most brilliant and commendable of them all. To be the best you must be the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality. The truth is there are about a million ways to classify someone as the best. There is nothing wrong with striving to be better. I would never walk around saying “I am the best.” I am not. What am I the best at? Not much. I want to go to law school to learn more before I am a barred attorney. I do not know everything, this was just a fun idea I fashioned in my mind.

There are some individuals in every family who may hold a grudge, a persistent feeling of ill will or resentment resulting from a past insult or injury. I am not one to hold grudges; I just have a good memory. For instance, someone tells me a story, my mind archives that story, and I reopen that case when further evidence is presented to me. Jealousy is the cousin of greed and lies within almost every human being. I find it interesting when certain parents do not want anyone doing better than their children. What is wrong with a little competition? What would the world be like without it? Would we have one of everything? Would we have one male, female, grocery store, and so on? I do not want to live in that kind of world.

My Dad is the rock in our family; he is well-loved by everyone. He is a modern-day Aziz Ansari, Trevor Noah, and John Stewart. He is a class-clown in his spare time; I get my sense of humor from him. We are two peas in a pod. During his childhood, he threw his younger sister’s dolls in a canal. He was such a childhood bully. When he had a heart attack last summer many people offered to drop everything and come visit us in Massachusetts. He refused to have any visitors thought unless they actually wanted to come to have a good time. He is something else.

He pretends he is a native Texan; the guy was not even born in this country. “He doesn’t even go here.” Apparently, he is a hardcore Dallas Cowboys fan. One of my Pakistani-American best friends is a Cowboys fan too. Unfortunately, Tony Romo is leaving the National Football League due to various injuries last season. It’s okay, it happens to the best of us. We all have to retire sometime, right?  Tony, can you let Chace Crawford know that I would love to meet him and the cast of Gossip Girl? Blakely Lively and Ryan Reynolds, you two are the cutest couple in the world. I’m a big fan. I love Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher too!

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In the Desi culture it is a common practice to get an arranged marriage. It is similar to the modern-day concepts of Tinder, Bumble, or Coffee Meets Bagel. If you were to find me on one of those sites, then I would have chosen the bagel one. I love complex carbs and I live to eat everything. I do not need “dating apps,” to meet anyone in particular. If you use dating apps, then there is nothing wrong with that either. I have friends who have met great people on them. I personally would rather meet someone in real life. I talk to just about everyone. I am a friendly person. If I want to get to know anyone, then I would just go up to you and start a conversation. That does not mean I like you or want you per se. I am more curious than anything else.

In the traditional Pakistani, Indian, and Bengali cultures people typically have arranged marriages. Statistically, these last longer than love marriages because when the going gets tough, you do not leave someone. You learn to love them for who they are and what they are not. My parents have been through a world of twists and turns, I never understood what love was until I realized how much they truly care for one another. My father would never ever leave her, even in times of anger, upset, and a bad temper.

I am always the first one to defend her. You need to speak calmly, rationally, and gently to someone who isolates herself from the world. To isolate is to set apart from others. I would never let anyone disrespect her. She does not need to hide from the world anymore. Kindly say, “Mashallah.” She is a real life angel on earth and lost herself over thirty years ago. I cannot even imagine what that feels like. She is harmless and rarely wants to leave the house. I force her to go outside with me, whether she wants to or not. I do not want her to lose herself to her wild imagination. She is starting to feel happy; feeling pleasure or contentment about her life again.

I digress; the truth is every single human being has the same emotions, unless you were wired differently than others. Personally, I do not know of anyone that is a real life version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I would be a bit frightened to be honest. Emotions are a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. Human beings are naturally emotional creatures; some of us do not know how to control them though.

Anger is a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. A temper is the expression of anger. To be upset is to make someone unhappy, disappointed, or worried. Now, when I talk to him, he is a more rational and calm person. I always tell him he needs to relax. It is a much better approach to taking care of his health. I do not blame him though; he has had the hardest life. My siblings have learned to do the same. We learn, develop, and grow even when we are apart.

If I told you what happened to them years ago, then I am certain everyone would shed a tear for them. I still do anytime I tell my friends the story. I am baffled by their marriage. Although I am amazed by my parent’s relationship, I refuse to have an arranged marriage. I am an independent person and like to make my own decisions. I am a stubborn American born Pakistani girl. My mother and I shook on it; she said, “I could wait until after I finished law school.” Yay! We finally came to a compromise we could both agree on. I am sure she will change her mind tomorrow.

The truth is, I just want to live for myself for once and have nothing holding me back. I just want to start over, maybe somewhere new. Somewhere where no one knows me. I have always lived in the state of Massachusetts. I went to college with some of my best friends. I just want to see if I can rebuild my life again without anything or anyone holding me back. It’s not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I just want to be free from carrying the world on my shoulders every morning and night.

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Pretending to fly off the coast of Formentera

Set me free. Give me my wings, so I can fly away. I do not blame my siblings for leaving me to deal with all of this. They are not bad people. My sisters are two of the most incredible women you would ever meet. I am not mad at them. We all want to have our own lives. They got a chance to get away and now I want mine hopefully before law school. I just want one less problem before I face my educational endeavor.

It astonishing to know how deeply my parents care for each other. Throughout my life, they have told my siblings and I that the most important institutions are “marriage” and “family.” I do not beg to differ. Education is highly important to me too. I am just not ready for that stage yet. Why does it bother others? Everyone else is ready for me to do it, even though I am not. I do not tell anyone else he or she should jump into a commitment with anyone.

When I am ready for it, I will know. I know myself better than anyone else. People always say “You never know when you are ready.” Some people do not. I always know when I am ready for the next step in my life. You will all know too. To be honest, it will most likely be an open invitation to every barber, butcher, and person that rides a camel. I would be satisfied with going to the state house and having five of my friends there to see it. However, my parents would never allow such a thing.

It is every parents dream to see their children get married. My father has not been holding out this long for my siblings and I not to have lavish weddings. We will. Say, “Inshallah.” It will be the greatest day of every human beings life. If you think I have extravagant birthday celebrations, then you cannot even imagine what I would pull off for my wedding. When the time is right, I will let you know or maybe I won’t. You will have to stay tuned. Let’s see if I find a guy crazy enough to want to marry me.

In regards to the typical Pakistani wedding, I want to clarify a few things for people. Many individuals make assumptions about “wealth,” based on some nice Facebook or Instagram photos. An assumption is a thing that is accepted as true or as certain, without proof. Typically, Pakistani brides look like glamorous wealthy Barbie dolls, however the “wealthy,” part is not necessarily true. You do not need to be wealthy to have a nice wedding.

I want everyone to know that, like every bride, not every Pakistani bride is necessarily rich; you should not believe everything you see on the Internet. I can buy something in Pakistan that was $1,000 and sell it in the United States for $10,000. I can purchase things at a cheaper cost and get better quality goods there. There is a huge cultural and societal pressure on families to spend an abundant amount of money on the Mehndi, Rukhsati, and Valima. Weddings are usually a weeklong event; I do not care to waste that kind of money. Maybe, I will though. Who knows, we will see with time.

Time; is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future. I am a person that highly values punctuality. In terms of Desi standard time, the fact or quality of being on time does not exist. Let us say my wedding starts at 8:00pm on a Saturday in whatever season. If you are Desi and show up at 8:05pm, then I am shutting the door on you, and you cannot come inside. That is not meant to sound mean; many Desi people make their own rules. You should be respectful and come on time. Everyone else can show up at any time you wish, just let me know.

Also, if I get married, then I probably will not be accepting boxed gifts. I have my own personal taste, and it is hard to match. If you bring boxed gifts, I will be donating them to those in need, and you should not be upset about it. You have every right to be, however you should not be. You should just listen to what I ask of you and accept it. I am such a straightforward person, if I want anything I will always tell you.

I like individuals who know how to follow instructions well. I am not asking you bring me a stack of hundreds. If you knew me well enough, you would know that, I am actually pretty simple. I love post cards and card more than an actual present. You would actually have to take a moment out of your day and think of me. I find that more meaningful and sincere.

In all honesty, I am truly happy for anyone I know that is already married with children. Many women in my family had arranged marriages, however I will not be one of those girls. If you are married with children already it is because you chose that life for yourself. S, one of my best friends since middle school had one about two years ago. I could not be happier for her. I was disappointed because I wanted to sneak into the bridal room to get photos with her and I missed my chance.

I am proud to say that her husband and in-laws treat her like a queen. Say “Ameen,” and “Mashallah.” I am happy to know that both of her admirable parents were able to share that special day with her. I have always been treated like a daughter in their family. My family and I try to do the same. A, her little sister might as well be mine too. S is more traditional than I am, however she never judges me for being my own person. Although, our lives are busy, we always make time to see each other. She is one of the most beautiful girls you will ever lay your eyes on. Her heart and soul are just as pure.

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I am sure my Dad secretly wishes, I were more like her. Frequently, he asks me if I know of a boy or whether or not I found the “one.” I always tell him, I cannot think of anyone even if I have prospects in mind. No one is worthy of meeting him just yet. He knows it too. I have no doubt he knows. If any boy approaches me to say, “Hello,” he assumes I am “dating,” that boy. I must be a polygamous creature that is dating ten guys at once. Not at all. I barely have time to eat, sleep, or work. If I had someone important in my life, then you would never know. You would have to ask me and most people are too scared to do so. I am not one to post about it on social media. There is nothing wrong with doing that either. I am just a more private person.

The Pakistani culture tells women they should aspire for marriage and not much else. I feel like Beyoncé and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, when I say men should aspire to marry me. I am not some “self-entitled queen,” or “flawless girl,” I do not aspire to be either of those things. I have been treated well by most of the men in my life, so I would never accept someone who does not do the same. I know what I bring to the table; I work incredibly hard for a girl in her mid-twenties. The person I end up with has to be highly ambitious too. You know what they say, “Once you go Paki, you are always a little wacky.” No one says that, I just made it up. Hah.

My desire to be successful should not bother anyone in the world. Unfortunately, many other human beings will be envious though. It is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck. You should not feel that way though, anyone can do what I am doing right now. I am not stopping anyone from pursuing big dreams. You can easily do this too! What’s stopping you? I have everything I want in life because I work more diligently than most people. While many women chase men seeking a commitment, I chase my dreams. I have bigger fish to fry. We just have our eyes on different prizes is all.

The only boy in my life that will be introduced as a “romantic love interest,” will be the one I marry. He would most likely have to be a Muslim, willing to convert to be with me, or maybe we will meet in the middle. My religion is the one thing; I do not want to change about myself for anyone. I love being Muslim. I make everyone in my life run through Olympic games to catch me, so I make men do the same. I am no one’s property.

There are some random guys that “think,” they like me, however they do not truly know me.I am not saying this as a means of bragging, I am just making it known to those particular boys. I am 99.9% most guys do not want the girl with one of the most real life problems. Most guys do not know what they want in life. There is a higher chance you like the idea of who I am. On the outside, I look like a pretty little princess, but my world is far from normal. I feel like I have a better understanding of how men think because I have many close friendships with men from elementary school to adulthood.

Sometimes, I feel like I have sixth sense. “It’s like I have ESPN or something.” You would think I was a mind reader. I do not have that kind of talent. My mind operates like a Snapchat filter. First, I pick out a filter on every person I meet. If someone resembles another person, then I put a filter on it. If it truly is a new perspective, then I just add a new filter in my head. My male friends are incredibly loyal to me. Loyalty is giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. I am blessed to have many people in my life who support me. I love you all! What did I do to deserve people in my life who would do anything for me? What a life!

In all honesty, I believe Allah (swt) would be quite proud of me. I am not sure why women settle to go out for “late night drinks,” when they want to eat a meal with someone. If a guy does not have the decency to take you out in the daylight, then he is not worth your time. Drop that boy in a second. If anyone makes you feel unsure of yourself, then they are 100% unsure of you. You should not have to “convince,” a guy to like you. Always go with your gut reaction. You are probably already an amazing girl that does not need to convince anyone anyways.

If any guy liked you, then you would know it. You would not question yourself and wonder what he was thinking. He would tell you. Men naturally love to pursue women.  If you are talking to a boy who likes two or three different girls at once, then you should leave him alone. Let him decide for himself. You cannot “force,” someone to commit to you. Force is coercion or compulsion, especially with the use or threat of violence. You should not have to force anyone to do anything for you. People commit to you when he or she is ready for that commitment.

I have many respectable, loyal, and genuinely good male friends. If I wear a dress, a one piece, or shorts in front of them they do not disrespect me. The Prophet Muhammad (swt) was married to thirteen women at once to take care of them. It was not something dirty, nasty, or disgusting. Please get your head out of the gutter. Honestly, you should educate yourself. The way I dress does not determine my character. Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

If the Final Prophet (swt) can marry thirteen women, then I could quite possibly marry thirteen men. Clearly, I do not have time to do something that audacious or a desire to do so. I am a classy girl and do not “need,” to dress in sleazy clothing to attract anyone. This is a reference point to judgmental Muslims. I wear what I like when I see it. In general, every girl should be able to wear whatever she likes without the fear of judgment. A woman should have to dress modestly to get respect from anyone.

My parents have wanted me to get married since I was twenty-one years old. Pakistanis are similar to Russians they get married while they are in their prime. I have many Russian, Ukrainian, and Eastern European friends. I have the uttermost respect for the Eastern Europeans that I grew up with in my hometown. I love how integrated the culture is between men and women. I love seeing them express their love for Christianity, traveling to other countries, and genuinely doing good work. From the outside looking in, it seems like a nice lifestyle.

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At times, I feel like, my parents think, I am a pineapple. I am ripe and ready to have children. I am not ready. I am not ripe. I am a human being. I am not a walking resume for men to pick and choose what they like about me. I live in the United States because I love that my voice matters here. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar are beautiful countries, however women cannot easily express themselves. I am not judging how they govern their territories. The law of the land is Sharia; under that legal system women have fewer rights than men. Women have been the underdogs in every civilization since the beginning of time. I personally cannot think of a single culture, religion, or society that hasn’t marginalized women in some shape or form? Can you?

I understand that, every single parent dreams of seeing their child get married and have their own family. My siblings have refused proposals for good reason; they do not want to complicate their lives more than they need to. They will get married though, say “Inshallah,” it means “God Willing.” When I decide to have my own children, I want to have everything set up and ready to go. I would already want to have my own furnished house, with a big backyard, so the dog I rescue can roam freely.

In Islam, Muslims are not allowed to have dogs in their homes. They are considered impure and the punishment is that I would lose one or two “qiraats,” from my “hasanaat.” That means good deeds in Arabic. Well, I do about one hundred good deeds a day, so I am fine with losing a little blessing to bring joy into my own life. If you think, I am a bad person and that, “I am going to hell,” then that is perfectly fine. Honestly, I cannot change your mind. I do not need everyone in the world to like me. I will be in Hell.

In Islam, there are seven levels of Hell; it is like seven layer dip minus the chips and happiness. You can probably catch me on the fifth layer, however I have been repenting my sins. Slowly, I have been apologizing to people in my past and everyone I have ever hurt. I do not want to wait until my last breath to say, “I am sorry.” If I ever acted weird, angry, or obnoxious towards anyone here is my public apology to you. I truly never mean to offend anyone.

My parents raised me to speak to every human being with kindness. That maybe why men think I am “flirting,” with them. Kindly do not flatter yourself. I mean that in all sincerity. I am not leading you on. I was raised to speak to men and women, the young and the old, and children the exact same way. The degree of kindness may vary depending on your personality and attractiveness. I am not as shallow as others may think I am. I am a highly selective person. I do not waste my time on most guys. If I wanted to make myself known to any boy in this world, then he would know me. He would know me in five seconds because I would walk up and introduce myself.

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In the end, I want every boy to know that if you see me on one of those dating applications, then I promise I was not on one looking for love or anything. I have friends who have met their significant others on them, so I am sure they work for many people. Surprisingly, I have spoken to many kind gentlemen on them too. Honestly, I do not even look at faces. I just swipe left? Sometimes, my guy friends are bored and want to say random things to strangers. I have not been on one of those in years. It just isn’t my thing.

Last time, I went on one I was seeking validation from the Internet. I wanted someone to tell me I was pretty. Is that a crime? I do not think so various other women do it. I was more shallow in a past life. Sue me. I suppose that makes me “desperate.” I am a wishful thinker, dreamer, and a realist rolled into one person.

When I looked at those applications, it’s a nice gesture to try to make a connection with someone. Personally though, from my experience there are too many egotistical jerks on there. The ones that act like women should worship them. I am not sure why any women should “worship,” you? I do not know about you, but I can create life with my body. What does yours do? My female body seems to be a real threat to the world. Why do you think everyone wants to control my reproductive rights? If any man tried to “force,” himself on me, then I would kick you wear it hurts. I promise you. You would not be able to procreate again. If you find me attractive that does not necessarily mean there is a correlation. I do not want you. I am not leading you on. You are leading yourself on.

At this point in time, if I wanted to have a child, then I wouldn’t necessarily need a man to be in the room to help me. A need is a requirement because it is an essential or very important. Modern science has changed the way we live life. The concept of “artificial insemination,” is almost unbelievable. I probably would not do that though. Personally, I do not think I would ever need an abortion either.

In Islam, Christianity, and Judaism it is strictly forbidden to have one. In all honesty, who am I to tell someone what she can do with her body? It is not my body. I am not here to promote or support Planned Parenthood. It is an institution that was created far before my time. Margaret Sanger, Fania Mindell, and Ethel Bryne created a sanctuary to help other women. If President Trump wants to defund it, then I cannot do anything about it. It is not my place to say what he “must,” do for our country. I can only hope he will take care of us.

While I am in law school, I just want to spend the next three years of my life being a little selfish for once. I want to devote or care only for myself. I primarily want to be concerned with my own interests, benefits, and welfare. When I say selfish, I mean more self involved in school. I just do not want to repeat my college career again in the same way. Obviously, I will still spend time with my family. I am hoping that, I can solve at least one of their problems before I venture off to law school. Say, “Inshallah.” Throughout their lives, our doctors have told them to euthanasia my brother. Euthanasia is the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

This practice is illegal in most countries. It would be considered a “mercy-killing,” or “assisted suicide.” Although others are willing to do that to save their own well being, my parents would never contemplate doing that to their own son. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make your own life easier. I am not saying you are a bad person for resorting to assisted suicide. You are not a bad person. There is a higher chance my family members and I would take our own lives before ever doing that to him. He’s an angel on Earth. He deserves ever cloud, star, moon, and twinkle of sunshine.

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S was not feeling the photo opportunity.

 

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