The beauty in Intermittent Sadness, My Mentor’s divorce, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and Sushi!

What is the summer time for but nice weather and dress shopping for weddings? To finally have a break with more time than I know what to do with? Yeah, no, I don’t know what that’s like.

I haven’t really had much of a summer since graduating high school. Each year since has been packed with an array of commitments. That has to be your reality if you’re trying to make moves…if you’re trying to be someone. I quite like it if I’m being honest. If I ever binge on tv/movies you ought to be concerned about me, because that’s not my typical choice in the field of procrastination. If you see me on a bench somewhere talking to myself or sitting alone in my car for a suspicious period of time, then keep calm and carry on, for this is typical behavior for me. I rather procrastinate by doing nothing than being chained to superficial entertainment. I’m talking about those clickbait YouTube videos and poorly scripted TV shows. Blah. I’m good without it. I’m better off sitting in silence and doing nothing—fostering a boredom that inevitability makes room for my creativity. People don’t appreciate boredom like they ought to. Children in particular need to be bored from time to time. It is vital to their imagination and creative development. The eyes and ears are inroads to the heart and spirit, so I consciously seek to be more selective about what I allow inward, for inevitability, exposures will leave an imprint on who I am.

As introspective as I can be, sometimes it can be overbearing. One would argue that you could never be exceedingly introspective, and while that hastily seems sound, It’s not so simple. Everyone’s introspection looks entirely different. If I’m not careful, the deep stages of my introspection drain me—leaving me empty and suddenly disinterested in the people/events around me. I love to think deep, but I really ought to keep busy in order to pace my introspection. I’m aware of myself and my needs. I’ve recognized that I have a higher disposition in feeling sad. This is not inherently negative! No, don’t pity me. In fact, it serves me well in moderation as it is the emotion that has enabled me true access to my deepest self. Unfortunately, some people are elevated in their tempers, and some in their skepticism—fueling their inability to trust. Therefore, I have no problem with my nature of being sad. It’s in my opinion, the most powerful emotion to dance with, so long as it doesn’t spin one for too long in the tango. The immediate sadness we feel when someone shares their tribulations welcomes forth our empathy. It is feeling sadness that brings us to write in our journals about the atrocities of this world, of children being separated from their parents at the Mexican border. Sadness is the precursor to other emotions as well, to passion, to anger and so forth. This sadness is often at the root of our advocacy, whether for our own affairs or our communities. I could go on and on.

But as I was saying, sadness is beautiful, we need it, but we mustn’t let it, or any emotion for that matter, fully consume us. I don’t function well when I don’t have structure or consistency, so I try to keep busy. My main summer commitment has been bench research. I’m working in the pulmonary department every day, 9-5. But of course, my weekends are free. They better be, I’m trying to turn up for all these summer weddings, best believe! Anyhow, I literally have THE best research mentor ever. This women deadass has a heart of gold. Last week was Eid but I couldn’t take off work, there was too much to do. Despite having a load on her own plate, my mentor put her work aside in order to help me finish my tasks so that I could get home early to my family. It’s people like her that make this world go around. ❤

Just today, she really opened up to me about finding love again after her divorce. Not gonna lie, when I first met her, I immediately imagined that she had a perfect life with a perfect handsome husband and perfect children. This assumption wasn’t based on her appearance, (She’s surely a cutie) but rather on her energy. She exudes such positivity, so I only imagined her reality to be a manifestation of her inner beauty. But woooow she told me some real shit today. We talked about deception and how her entire reality was turned over. She and her ex-husband and had met right out of college. He was a ton of fun, but not much more. But they were young and in love, and at the time, that seemed like the only prerequisite for marriage. Years later, with emotional pots spilling over in resentment, she realized she needed better, a real partner. Love is rather simple, and for that same reason, it can be so unpredictable. We can fall out of it just as quick as we fell into it. Beyond love, a compatible partner requires oh so much more! She told me she never imagined getting a divorce, it devastated her and everything she’d come to imagine love to be. She said she never saw herself remarrying and became frustrated once dating soon after—dealing with men who were emotionally unavailable and grossly egotistical.

She said,
“You attract what you are, and I was so emotionally damaged that I was attracting emotionally damaged men. I had to call the quits on dating for some time to really get to know myself and the peace in solitude. Once I did that, everything change. We as women tend to lower our standards thinking that we can change a person or that a person’s traits that aren’t compatible with our preferences can be overlooked. They cannot! You let that stuff slide now, and in 5 years from now, you won’t even be able to face that person in bed. The resentment will eat you alive and take away from the person you are. When you’ve had to relearn your values through hardship and age, you realize that you have no time to waste. I have children and if someone can’t meet my standards, I will do just fine raising my kids alone as I have been doing. Oh gosh Karima, I have so many books that you should read, they’re not just about relationships with one person, but really helpful for navigating relationships in all areas of your life, family, friends everyone! Are you familiar with the love languages?”

– Yes! I am, acts of service and giving/receiving gifts I’d say are my top two.

“Acts of service was mine.” she laughed as she centrifuged her cells.

– Was? Why is that?

“I’ve come to realize that your love language changes with different people. So, with my ex-husband, I really needed acts of service from him. When I’d come home, if laundry needed to be done, I’d do it. If dinner needed to be made, I’d do it. We were both working professionals but I’m telling you if I had a dime for every time I pulled up into the garage betting with myself that he was probably sitting on the couch watching TV! So, because he was lazy, I obviously appreciated the few times he would go out of his way to do something without being asked, I was settling. My husband now is totally different. In his previous marriage, he was the responsible one. He’s financially responsible, he loves to cook for me, he’s French so he’s a good cook too, he’s also incredibly tidy! So, with a person who excels in that regard, I started to evolve in my love language, because something better was within my reach. For me now, physical touch is the love language. When I come home after work, we can just sit together and be like literally stuck to each other, it feels like home”

– That’s honestly so beautiful that you’ve found that. It’s unfair and draining to have to seek out the basics in a partner. They’re not even a partner if they aren’t fulfilling those primary grounds. People can’t really feel elevated in their love if they’re stuck in financial incompatibility and strict roles of who ought to do what. Things shouldn’t be a chore in love. Wow. I love that you have this now. Where did you two meet?

“Haha you’ll laugh if I tell you, but Match. Com! I don’t have time to interrogate a person over occasional dinners over the span of two weeks when I can just look through their profile in 5 minutes and make a decision on if they’re worth my time”

– HAHA wow, I love how sure of it you are, I feel that. The internet really is how people nowadays connect. For better or worse.

“Exactly! My mom and older family members think it’s absolutely bizarre but look, I’m able to lay out exactly what qualities I want in a person, figure out if we’re compatible, and from there on, just focus on establishing a friendship through the activities we have in common. It’s just more practical for me. One of my girlfriends found her husband on there and another one found her partner on there too, it’s really good stuff!

– Haha oh wow, that honestly great, I’m happy for you guys!

“You just have to always keep your list intact, don’t alter your standards for anyone and you will attract what you deserve”

– I totally agree. When I was 13 I was so sure of who I was. I matured really young. I remained so sure of myself up until about 19. Then all of a sudden, I really went through some changes. It’s crazy, they say you change the most in your 20’s and I refused to believe it. But damn it’s true, when I hit 20 I literally woke up a different woman. I want different things now, and there’s nothing wrong with it, because in my case “different” just meant better. I’m really coming to understand my worth and the value of my time. But ahh dating is a no go for me right now, it’s just draining and I’ve been really happy ever since I decided to rededicate my time to myself.

“You know it’s interesting you say that. When we’re younger, our realities are so shaped by the influence of our parents. I read once that every truth you’ve been told is a lie. Because we can’t see the truth. And the minute we try to define it, we take away from its fullness. Truth can only be felt. So, when you get older and spend more time away from your parents, you inevitably begin to live in your own truth, that’s why we really change. It happens when you leave your parents and it’ll happen once again when you have children. That’s why so many marriages fail after people have kids, because when people say, ‘oh you’re not the person I married’, it’s true, children really change people, and if the other partner doesn’t change along with the one that has changed… well, that’s just a wider gap in their incompatibility. It sucks but it happens a lot, and it happened with me”

*** this blog is getting a little long. I’m gonna end this here. Our conversation went on and on. Talking with my mentor is like talking to my older self! She’s very into holistic, and meditative practices. She’s calm and an absolute blessing to be around.
Funny fact though! As we were having this chat, we were doing a cell isolation with a diseased lung we had donated to the laboratory. Is that not symbolic dude!?!? People often say ‘love is like fresh air’, or ‘I can’t breathe without you’, or other really corny stuff that I would never ever say, too cringe mate! But anyhow, I’m a sucker for parallels. We were talking about divorce while working with a lung that failed in breathing efficiently. We were doing science so that down the road, lung treatments can hopefully be enhanced…then too, speaking of ways to love ourselves and love others better… ways to breath better.
We’re getting sushi with her old college roommate today. Geez, I see this woman staying in my life for quite some time. She’s a gem.

Peace and Blessings,
Karima

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