For All The Single Ladies – By Sumayya Ismail
Living my best life? Maybe, but it doesn’t always feel that way.
Being single is tough. The pressure of getting married usually starts out externally, but can quickly come from your own thoughts and feelings as well. No matter what age you’re at, you feel too old. If you’re in your mid-to-late 20’s then you are suddenly “old” before you’ve even thought about marriage. In the minds of many people, if you’re past 30 then you’re completely a lost cause. “Your biological clock is ticking!” Yes, tick tock and all that – but what if we aren’t planning to have kids? Or even get married in the first place? I know some think this akin to blasphemy, but it’s not inherently wrong.
That said, I do want to get married and have kids soon. It’s something I’m constantly thinking about, stressed, and worried about. Reminding me that I don’t have much time left does not make me feel better about my situation – surprise surprise! Scrolling through my instagram feed I’ll frequently come across beautiful, intimate wedding photos – even in quarantine. I wouldn’t say I feel jealous, but I do feel like I’m missing out on something in my life. Ok maybe I’m a little jealous. I can’t help it though! I want to twirl in a bedazzled wedding dress, I want to hold hands with my husband, and most importantly I want to feel that sense of companionship.
What’s worse, if you have been looking to get married for a few years, people start blaming you. You’re too picky, too fat, too skinny, too simple, too flashy – and the list goes on. Excuse me? Instead of blaming the person, maybe console them? Maybe help them find someone? Or better yet get your nose out of their business? How did we forget that these things are ultimately in Allah’s hands? I’d love it if the next person who wanted to throw one of these labels my way would instead make dua for me that I find what I’m looking for and be happy with what God has given me in life. It hits different when someone tells you that they’re making dua for you. I think that’s actually genuine. How about we start by making dua that these guys step up their game and become men, yes?
For starters, it can sometimes be difficult to trust your parents instincts especially with the generation gap widening. I’ve sat through enough awkward gatherings with a guy my parents have recommended, only to find out later that this “innocent”, “religious” boy was actually openly doing drugs and hanging out in questionable places. If he’s not completely off the rails, he might just be a bit dull and often a little too eager to get married in exactly 3 weeks, for example. I’m lucky enough that I can trust my parents have my best interest at heart and that I know they’re looking out for me. For that reason I like to keep them in the loop to some extent, but I have ventured to finding my spouse for myself, specifically in the online world.
From stalkers, to overtly sexual messages, to being ghosted – if you’ve been looking online, I’m willing to bet you have your fair share of stories. What gets me is that a lot of the time these men don’t even try to hide their crazy. They wave it proudly right from the get go. Case in point: I was talking to a guy via one of these “halal” Muslim Marriage Apps. By the way, I personally know people that have had success finding their significant other on these apps, so don’t judge me. In any case, this guy, we’ll call him “Isa”, seemed great from his profile. Isa was good looking, had a nice smile, a reader, etc. So we matched and got to texting. After texting for a couple weeks it was clear that we seemed to click. One day he asked if we could FaceTime. I agreed, just taking a few minutes to put on my hijab and look presentable. When he called me though, his screen was completely black. Weird, to say the least. I asked him what’s going on. He said he just woke up from a nap. Um, rude. Keep in mind, I didn’t call him, he called me. Not to mention that this was our first FaceTime call. He finally turned the lights on and sat in the sunlight but he was yawning wide in my face the entire time. When I asked him, only half jokingly, to stop yawning in my face, he just stuck the camera down his throat and yawned even wider. Beyond rude and disrespectful. We only talked for a few more minutes before I made some excuse to end the call. The sad part is it took me some time to register my own anger and disgust at his behaviour. I was almost too eager for connection to notice his callousness toward me.
There are so many fears that go into living as a single woman. All of your deepest insecurities come bubbling to the surface. Why am I not married yet – is there something wrong with me? Will a guy truly like me for me? Will I ever find my “forever love”? Even if I find someone, what if we get married and it doesn’t work out? Doesn’t that make me a failure? And it goes on. I know how a lot of people would respond to this though. “Don’t be so desperate.” I absolutely hate hearing people say that. I fervently believe that everyone deserves to dream and everyone deserves happiness. No one is called “desperate” to want to get into a certain ivy league university or a prestigious job – that’s seen as ambition. Nobody will tell you “not to be so desperate” if you want to have a baby. Marriage is just like any other new chapter in your life and no one should feel ashamed to want it. There’s a balance though: one that I struggle with but that I think is important. As with any new chapter of my life, I have to work for it and constantly ask Allah for what I want. But at the same time I need to remember to be grateful for what it’s in front me right now. My family, my friends, my independence, and so on. Gratitude always makes the journey more bearable. And ultimately, when I’m happy with myself and my surroundings, I think that will make for a more fulfilling life moving forward as well.