A Year in Review, Rafia-Style.

The thing about getting married on Christmas is:

a) As a Muslim from North America, I finally have something to celebrate. No, my family never had a tree – and I am glad my parents held firmly to their faith. Although I ain’t gonna lie, I was jealous of all those kiddies who got gifts year after year. But then again, all those Barbies I got throughout the year kinda made up for it.

b) Reflecting on my marriage goes hand in hand with reflecting over the past year in general.

So, let’s talk resolutions. Do I make any? Like I’ve told anyone who has ever asked, weight resolutions are the only ones I ever really “make.” And even though I publicly wrote last year around this time, I wasn’t going to do that anymore…. well, old habits die hard.

Technically, I’m not making any specific resolutions for the new year, as my previous post is still in effect (I opted for sushi over a burger and fries last night, and I even said No to Mr. Rafia’s offering of dessert. Well, it’s not hard to say No to frozen yogurt, but still).

Honestly, I’m more of a “look back” than a “look ahead” type of person. That’s problematic for practical living; but thanks to being married to a self-described pragmatist, it’s something I am working on (or have to :). I realize that explains my love for all things nostalgic and history (Did you know? I started off as a History major. Part me of wishes I had stuck with it. Maybe I might have had my PhD in History by now. But then again, I also know that switching to Economics was the right move. Not because I’m now working in the field of finance or even want to, but because of my advisor who helped me regain my confidence, at least in my studies)

I could go through a month-by-month look at the year, but that would be boring to the one person who is reading this and honestly, my memory sucks. So here’s a highlight:

1. I turned 30!

2. The Muslim-Jewish Women’s Alliance that I started officially launched in February… and also officially concluded in November. I could write an entire post on this, really. To put it briefly: this group, on the whole, is one of the things in my life I am most proud of. Oh and yeah, we talked politics during our Hanukkah gathering. To be able to even broach a topic that has been an elephant in the room for many is an accomplishment, in my opinion. Did we get to explore the depth of the complexities of both sides? No. But I am hopeful that the trust we have built will allow us to continue these conversations.

3. I got a job at a university and I am officially a pseudo-academic!

Happy things aside, I’ve had not-so-great things happen this year as well. Alhamdulillah though, things are on the mend and moreover, I have taken the steps to start the process of not letting my circumstances or history define me. It is, of course, a work in progress. But isn’t that what life is about? You truly learn and grow when you can see the good that comes with a “failure.”

But perhaps even more significant are things that can’t be easily measured or documented. If I had to summarize 2017 in a few words, it would be that it was a year of new friendships.

And sure, we all make new friends each year. But this year was profoundly different for me. For the first time in years, perhaps even my life, most of my friends (and I mean friends, not just acquaintances or classmates that I have no interaction with outside of school-related activities) are not South Asian-Muslims. I love my people, don’t get me wrong. With whom else can I laugh about and commiserate over ’90s Bollywood?

But it’s kinda cool to be able to say that many of my friends don’t look a thing like me. I’m friends with a pastor. I’m friends with conservative Christians. I’m friends with bonafide arts folk. I’m friends with social activists. I think that’s cool anyway. Knowing these individuals has allowed me to break down some of my own ignorances that no text can ever do (as much I love text, being a shy and introverted writer who loves to read).

I think this is the blessing of living in Indianapolis. It’s small enough that you kinda have to get out of your bubble if you want to continue enjoying the comforts of “city life.” And as someone who’s interested in things that, let’s face it, many if not most South Asian Muslims are not (classic rock, for example, or live contemporary theatre), it’s inevitable.

Oh and yeah, another year with Mr. Rafia. Forgot about that :)

No, I’m just kidding. Mr. Rafia and I have mutually decided that we aren’t going to share our “aww moments” with the public anymore. He made the first move, I’ll be honest. And yeah, sometimes I want to share, like everyone else, how cute we are or whatever. But you know what? It doesn’t tell the entire story. I never want to make people feel bad or perpetuate the fairy tale myth about marriage. That Tempest article was just one moment in time. Marriage comes with its rewards, yes, but let’s be real, it’s also really hard and sometimes there are no easy answers. But, as Mr. Rafia “monitors” all my posts, I will mention that he was a big part of this year and of my personal development. He is the reason I am in Indianapolis after all (well, ultimately, God is, but you know what I mean).

So yeah, 2017.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I think we can ALL appreciate this gem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKj92352UAE

See ya in 2018 or before.

2 thoughts on “A Year in Review, Rafia-Style.

  1. Happy anniversary! I think its very compassionate of you to consciously make the decision to not give airtime to only the good parts about your marriage, even if you’d want to. I hope you’ll are always happy iA! :D On another note, I hate both sushi and frozen yoghurt. And I’m actually quite surprised that living in America you’ve always had close friends who are South Asian Muslims! I’m actually in this part of my life rn where I’m understanding the importance of having friends that ARE a part of your culture. Lulz.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Naureen. Ameen. You know, I didn’t like sushi until last year. Actually, I had refused to try it until last year. But with limited halal options, I eventually gave in and I have to say, it’s really good, once I can let go of the idea that I’m eating raw fish. But I totally get not liking it. I completely understand the importance of having South Asian/Muslim friends and I am grateful for mine who are… but having ghora friends has been a new experience for me. It’s a part of living in a new smaller city far from family.


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