The end of April seems to be fortuitous

It’s not very often that Facebook inspires me in a positive way, but it did this morning when I decided to click on that “On This Day” link in the sidebar just ’cause.

For today, I was reminded that on this day one year ago, my first ever article was published (Well, technically it was published on the 27th – but by the time people saw it, the 27 had turned into a 28).

366 days ago, I wasn’t sure if I could be a writer.

Today, I feel as if all my life experiences (and indecisive planning) were leading me up to this revelation: I am a writer and always have been one.

That’s a cause for celebration, right? I’ll take some chocolate cake, please and thank you.

There’s more though. I can’t help but think there’s something auspicious about this day in particular. Because this morning, I received another notification that had me jumping for joy.

About a week ago, I learned that a blog I’ve been following was holding a guest post contest.¬†Of course, Mr. Rafia, who discovered the vlogger behind this blog during one of his late-night Let’s-Bother-My-Wife-While-She’s-Reading YouTube sessions, told me to enter. I was like, “Yeah, yeah, what is the likelihood of me getting selected?” But Mr. Rafia, if you know him, is quite the persistent fellow. So I entered just to get him to shut up.

Well, guest what? I was selected! My blog entry will be posted on May 12th. I’m excited, but also a bit nervous. This could potentially draw in more readers… or not. It might have absolutely no effect at all. But I see my entry (and having it selected) as a mini-milestone and affirmation that I must continue to write.

Perhaps that idea that suddenly came to me while sitting on the loo this past week has promise to turn into a book after all!

I know I read too much into signs, but I can’t help but think: “Where will I find myself next year around this time?”

Hopefully, I’ll still be writing.

P.S. If you’re a writer, I’d recommend you follow Ava Jae’s blog Writability. She has a charmingly quirky personality and her vlogs are succinct, engaging, and informative for newbies like myself wanting to break into the world of fiction writing.

Football and the potential unraveling of self-identity

Yesterday, I attended my first ever football game. It most likely won’t be the last one I watch.

My husband’s birthday is on Tuesday. To celebrate, I thought I would surprise him with tickets to see his favourite football team, the Indianapolis Colts. This is Mr. Rafia’s first birthday as a married man, so I wanted to make it extra special.

Unfortunately, being the (hitherto) impassioned anti-sports person that I am, I had no idea that what I was shelling out my hard-earned money on was only a preseason game – in other words, a practice game! They weren’t even good seats, either!

That the NFL preys on innocent folk such as myself (I am partially joking here) by selling tickets to a practice game at such exorbitant prices only adds to the already numerous complaints about the league. But that is not what this post is about. Another time, perhaps.

My husband assured me that it was the thought that counts. Whenever anyone says that though, I’m always slightly suspicious that the opposite might also be true. I want to believe that people are honest, so I tried to take it at face value. Still, until the moment we arrived at Lucas Oil Stadium, I was nervous. For one, I was desperately hoping that, despite the entire situation, we would both have a good time. Secondly and perhaps more importantly was the nagging thought: Was I willingly allowing myself to enter into the world of sports? These are contradictory thoughts, I know. But I reassured myself, “In marriage, one must make sacrifices.” Watching sports would be one of mine.

Though I still don’t understand the rules of the game, despite my husband’s earnest attempts yesterday to explain what a punt is and that getting a first down is a good thing, I suppose I am less anti-sports than I was before (?).

Oh yeah, the music they played during the commercial breaks had me dancing in my seat. That helped!

Most significant though is the fact that I am being forced to confront my past and a self-constructed identity of who I ought to be. None of these exercises are very pretty. The very mention of sports brings to my mind the torture that was gym class, though no one but myself would be able to recount these memories. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken great pride in fashioning myself as being above sports. “Sports are for the common folk. You are way too cultured to be interested in a game where men run and rave over a ball!” my subconscious might say. It’s petty, arrogant, and unfair of me to give that notion any credence though. I know a lot of wonderful and frankly way more intelligent people than I who love sports.

I think the hardest thing really is letting go of the Rafia I like to think I am. If I allow myself to enjoy sports, in this case football – the most American of them all – I am deconstructing an identity of myself that goes against my inner narrative (proud Canadian, academic-ish, a loner, a geek, a writer, etc). It actually opens me up to many different possibilities – and that’s frightening for someone who is comforted by routine.

I am not saying I have been converted. I may or I may not be. But because my husband loves the sport (and sports in general), it won’t hurt for me to take an interest for his sake, at least initially. It might actually bring us closer together. Earlier today, as we rehashed the previous night, he mentioned something about sports engendering a sense of camaraderie and community among fans, things that I have personally struggled with and yearned for as a child and adolescent. He certainly made a compelling case.

Who knows whether I will end up liking the sport or not. That’s not the point. The point is, I really like the new jersey/shirt Mr. Rafia bought for me from the Colts shop right before the game. He was so excited to get it for me and even posted two photos from yesterday on Instagram. This is huge coming from a dude who mostly posts pictures of cats. I need another excuse to wear the shirt again, to be honest. I like it that much! If that means I must sit through another game – on television the next time, I learned my lesson – well, at least I can wear my new shirt!

I feel like the “Nice Coat” hobo from Batman Begins. It’s a nice shirt.

The sting of rejection

The thing about receiving upsetting news is that after wiping away a day full of tears, my little grey cells begin to start working again. In my case, I have inspiration to write!

So if anything, rejection can fuel creativity (well, my version of it anyway).

As you can surmise, I got my third rejection yesterday. The thing that hurt me especially is that I was denied even a review. I thought I had a pretty good chance, especially since I was encouraged by a bigwig. But as my husband consoled me yesterday (along with chocolate cake! He’s a keeper, folks): it doesn’t matter if Bill Gates wants you, if God doesn’t want something for you, it ain’t going to happen.

It wasn’t a good fit for me. I know. But I had convinced myself this would be good for me. Oh, and the title!

I have this problem of getting attached to things, even things that I originally didn’t care for.

This incident reminds me of my first real marriage “proposal” over four (five?) years ago. Let’s just call him Hendra (my sister’s nickname for the dude). When I saw Hendra’s photo for the first time, I was like, “Ew, no! I ain’t that desperate!” But my dad “convinced” me to give him a chance because he had all the trappings – a good education, good family (whatever that means – how can you tell a family is good? I still don’t know), he was Hyderabadi. We talked on the phone and he seemed cool. I later found out that he had a patent and ran marathons. I was impressed. By the time he and has family came over to visit us (all the way from Texas), I was convinced this was the man I was going to marry. A guy who was once “ugh” had become “cute” and I was sure that I would even find him handsome one day.

But when we talked during that visit, we didn’t gel. He knew it immediately. I should have taken the hint with his comment of The Lord of the Rings being boring that this dude SUCKS BALLS (I am a married woman, I can say that now, okay?). But I was so impressed by all the cool things he’d done that I was willing to shortchange myself. He, on the other hand, was not impressed by me at all apparently, still working as a secretary at an Islamic School at the time.

Three days later, we got the call. No. We are not going to proceed.

I was heart-broken.

I am not upset things didn’t work out with Hendra. When I met my husband eventually, I was my crazy Rafia self and he wanted to marry me because of it. Also, he buys me chocolate cake! I am so glad however that Hendra knew himself well enough to know that we wouldn’t be happy together. We wouldn’t have been. Still, thinking of how I broke down in the parking lot the next day, as I was getting ready for work, gives me a little throb in my throat to this day.

And that happened again yesterday. I’m not sad about not getting either of these things. But I am sad about how easily attached I become to things. It’s kinda pathetic, really.

But I am going to keep on telling myself that I will get an opportunity that allows me to do what I love and be myself. I just gotta be patient and not give up. God created me and He wants the best for me. I know He will take care of me, as He has done time and time again. And maybe I’m already living that opportunity. But am I too blinded by the trappings of society to not see it?

 

He changed his mind! Why does he always change his mind?

I’m the indecisive planner! Not he!

I had written a lengthy and serious post last evening. But then, Mr. Rafia comes and tells me after its been published, that he’s changed his mind about the very thing which inspired that post! The first thought I have is, “That’s great! I love you and all, but now the conclusion of my post, which I just got done with after working on it for two hours, is untrue. Thanks a lot.”

I couldn’t just edit or remove the conclusion without a major rewrite – the rest of the post was leading up to the very bold and decisive conclusive decision of mine.

Well, very bold and decisive for me, the indecisive planner.

Also, it was after sunset by then, food – not writing – was on my mind. So I just deleted the whole post.

Don’t worry, I’m not back to my purging days. But for my followers who happened to have come across yesterday’s post and wondered where it went: that’s why. Since my mind is like a washing machine, I’m certain I’ll have an occasion to revisit those sentiments some time again in the future. And if not, yay for self-growth !

I could be talking to myself right now for all I know. It wouldn’t be the first time. But if you’re reading this, you’re probably used to the confusion anyway and I love you forever for enabling me!

So for most of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s the Cliff Notes version: It’s all Mr. Rafia’s fault. It’s always Mr. Rafia’s fault! >:(

That’s pretty much the moral of this blog story, yeah.

Celebrating every step of the way

Today is my and Mr. Rafia’s halfiversary – or heiferversary, as I’m calling it.

 

I know it’s practically nothing compared to couples who have been married for decades – and believe me, I can’t wait to be one of those cute old couples that take walks every day, holding hands, clearly still so in love – but in order to get to 60 years, we first have to reach 6 months (great logic, I know). We’ve reached that point as of today. Only 59 1/2 more years to go!

We’re not really celebrating because a) who the heck celebrates 6 months? b) it’s Ramadan and I wouldn’t even be able to eat cake (the only thing I care about really) until after 9 PM anyway. And I’m generally of the opinion that anniversaries (or heiferversaries) should be for the couple and the couple alone. But you know what? It’s my first 6 months of being married and this is my blog. So if I want to celebrate by writing this post, I’m going to do just that!

Besides, it’ll take my mind off of the cake I’m not eating.

When I reflect on what these past 6 months mean, I have to say: I’m grateful for even getting to this point. It wasn’t an easy road getting here, as I’ve alluded to before. And I guess that’s why I’m making such a big deal about something others might think is juvenile or frivolous. It still seems a little unreal to me. Not just the fact that I am married, but that I’m married to the man I fell in love with.

Mr. Rafia is the first man I’ve been in a relationship with. All of my couple-y firsts have been with him. Thinking back to our first kiss 6 months ago after our nikkah, our honeymoon to San Francisco, moving into our first apartment together in January, having my first real date night on my 29th birthday in February, my first Ramadan as a married woman, and everything in between… all those moments are special to me. I don’t want to ever take any of it for granted.

A year and a half ago, I could not have guessed I would be here where I am. Not gonna lie, marriage isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. You can’t just run to your room and close the door when you want to be alone, because that room isn’t just yours anymore. You’ll find yourself giving up that last slice of pizza when in the past you’d make a grab at it well before others even had a chance to eye it (notice that I did not mention dessert – I am human). Marriage takes patience, effort, and making peace with the fact that your spouse will irritate you at times. I’ve learned to be less rigid. I wasn’t fully prepared for all that I’ve experienced, but at the end of the day, Mr. Rafia loves and believes in me even when I don’t always love and believe in myself. Although I don’t believe in luck because I believe everything happens for a Divine-ordained reason, I sure do feel like a lucky gal.

I could, you know, tell him all this instead of blogging about it, but Mr. Rafia doesn’t need any more strokes to his ego. He’s had enough during our courtship and first few months of marriage. We’ve been married 6 months, I’m past that stage ;)