Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stability

That was supposed to be my husband's thing. I never thought of myself as someone who valued stability very much. The conventional wisdom is that I am too restless, too hyper, too neurotic for that.

But as I look back at the last 3 or 4 years, I can't help but feel a contrast. My life WAS stable for a very long time. Fast-paced maybe but still stable.

I mean, I lived with my family in the same city for 29 years. I went to the same school from KG until I graduated high school. And I had the same inner core of friends. Yes, there was limited interaction with all sorts of people but they were all really just on the fringes. Real friends, real connections didn't really change much after grade school. I mean, my best guy friends are my brothers and my uncle.

True, I went abroad for university but even then, my brother and quite a few of the same old friends and classmates were there with me. And they formed my inner circle there too. And I did more or less the same thing there I had been doing here. I brushed against a lot of people but didn't feel the need for most of them to really register. Too many of them were nothing more than an interesting conversation or argument, a pleasant shared activity, a night spent cramming for a test, a dance etc...Too many people who meant only one thing each.

And so I lived 5 years abroad - also in the same city - and I came back with the same friends I had before I left. Why did I do that? I don't know. Maybe because the whole time I was there I knew I wasn't there for good so I didn't want to get attached or get anyone attached to me?

Or maybe it is just my nature to be shallow?

Even love and relationships. Different though the circumstances of each crush/love affair, I only ever got involved or wanted to get involved with people in that same tigh-knit circle. A cousin and two childhood friends. All the men I ran into and was accused of flirting with. All the strangers I felt instant violent attractions to and drooled over with my girlfriends. And yet I would only ever consider getting involved or have real feelings for men I've known more or less since birth.

Then there's my career. A little uncertainty at first. Two or 3 very short tenures at this company or that bank. And then I found a place to get attached to and I stuck like a leech. No amount of hassle or abuse could dislodge me. My entire career is tied to one company.

I think my relationship with K was the one big aberration. For me of all people to fall so hard so fast for a stranger out of nowhere? Who would have believed it?

And it seems like it was some sort of turning point. He was such a fundamental change and he came at a time when everything else was changing too. My family moved away for one thing. My old, tight-knit circle isn't as tight-knit as it used to be as various members moved away or got married, started families and became wrapped up in their own lives.

The miscarriage was my next earthquake. I'd had such a sheltered life, alhamdulillah, such little experience of real loss. And then all the fallout. The way my greatest fear - motherhood - suddenly became my greatest wish.

The way I went from never having lived on my own, to being married and then to living alone, to the single life I guess I missed out on by going from my father's house to my husband's in the time-honored, Arab traditional way. Only I became Bridget Jones AFTER I got married.

And now, getting pregnant. And moving away from all the things that provided the stability I've had all my life.

The last few years of my life have had more action, more pain, more joy, more passion packed into them than my entire life.

Sometimes I have moments - like tonight - I'll be looking at my husband sleeping and I'll want to shake him awake and say to him - who are you? Where did you come from? Did I really sign my life over to you? Am I really going to have your child? And am I really going to let you uproot me from everything that ever gave me the least bit of stability or familiarity in my life and take me away somewhere where YOU will be all I know, my only anchor? You know what? I am not as anti-stability as I thought. Me, the commitment-phobic, the claustrophobic. I am not independent. I depend very much on my family and my friends and my company and my city. I am not wild and adventurous. There's no sense of adventure, of looking forward to what is going to happen to me as a new experience. None of this is me. It's not me to fall for a stranger and follow him to the ends of the earth. I don't want the new experience. I want the things I know. And I'm scared.

Sometimes I really can't believe the last 3.5 years.

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