Thursday, August 28, 2008

NOT Going to Saudi

I have felt like a storm has been brewing for weeks. Really. You know all my troubles. I thought going to Saudi could be the answer to escaping them. I pinned my hopes on going. I tried to fix my mind on packing up my belongings and getting ready to veil my eyes.

Subhanallah! I can't do it! Or rather, I could do it IF I was another person. I have to admit who I am.

The kids were over here on Monday. I had no car. So how to get them the haircuts they needed so badly? We walked. We walked 2.3 miles. They got picked up by their dad at the salon. I walked back the same route. That means I walked 4.6 miles. I love to walk. I love this weather we've been having. I love my jeans. I love my face feeling the breeze and being able to take breath in freely.

I'm a very free person.

Where is my freedom in Saudi?

My mom kept telling me that I might end up in jail there--no joke! She knows that I don't deal well with arbitrary rules. See, I'm all for the laws of Allah. I love those. I obey those. However, I don't like a bunch of men condemning me (as you can tell from this blog's comments section) and a group of women shaming me. I can't hang with that. Saudi has a whole lot of rules that are from people---not from Allah.
I didn't do this for my newest dude. He didn't ask me to stay. He wanted what's best for me. He leaves for Saudi later today. Can you believe the irony?

I'm not doing this for AbuBoo. He actually wanted me to go; begged me to reconsider. Whatever. He might feel Saudi would be a great experience, but that's from a MAN'S point of view.

Being a woman in Saudi is far different than being a man. When I listened to the head teacher's spiel about living in Saudi.---YA! Sign me up! Because his experience sounded great! But listening to women friends talk lately is just disheartening.
Would I travel to Saudi? Of course. Inshahallah, I'll still make umrah and Hajj some day. BUT, I would NOT travel as a single woman. I am just laying myself wide open to disrespect and ridicule, to loneliness, sexual advances, and dangerous situations.

Though I didn't want to focus on it too much, this has already happened with the head teacher making advances towards me. That's awkward! He is my only Western contact there and he really broke some boundaries with all his text messages of interest. When we did finally talk about his intentions, he got mad at me for stating what I did. He called me, "controlling and demanding," and stopped all talk of marriage...only to start it up again later by saying he missed talking to me.

The whole thing sounded so lonely. I've heard through another blogger how hard it is as a single woman living in the Arab world. Now, she loves it and doesn't want to come back BUT it is hard on her too. It's difficult, she says, to really make friendships with women who stay home for husband and the kids. I can see that.

There were to be two other female teachers coming from the States with me. One decided not to come. The other can't until January at the earliest. How lonely for me! And how demanding on me too!
I already got work from the school sent to me through emails. The head of the school didn't tell me it was time-sensitive. Five days later, he was chastising me. Mind you, he sent it on last Friday, which one of the busiest days of my life. I really don't like poor communication and being blamed for someone else's lack of details. He said the teachers over there could not teach the children without me sending those worksheets. What? Huh? 'Scuse me?

Would I really want this man being in charge of my right? I would not ever want to sign a power of attorney over to my employer EVER. That was a real breaking point with me. Once I have given over my rights, I could be demanded anything with no legal recourse for two years.
Two years. Two years is a long time. It's Mr. Boo from age three to age five. For my older kids it's from ages 14 to 16 for my son and ages 11 to 13 for my daughter. Subhanallah! He learns to drive! She becomes a young woman! TOTALLY without me.

For my little guy, not only would he be without his brother and sister, he would be without a father figure. When my newest dude was here, he said about my son, "He needs to grow up between two people."
I agree. He needs some good man to role model being a dad. Maybe that can't be his own dad. Allahu alim. But he needs somebody! In Saudi, there would be nobody. Not really.

I didn't want to marry in Saudi. I didn't. I do, however, like to go out in public with a man; whether it's AbuBoo or a potential husband. I do like to be open to the possibility of meeting and marrying. There is no chance for that in Saudi---not from my point of view. I would be fine with that for months until...I don't know what BUT there would be a point when I would be fed up with no men in my life.
The storm happened tonight. As it raged outside with thunder and lightning and pouring rain, I sent my email to Saudi. I'm not coming. After praying istakkarah, consulting friends, family and the sheik, I can't go with a happy heart. I don't know where I go or what I do next. I only know that it isn't to Saudi under these conditions.

May Allah be pleased with my decision.


egyptchick said...

I knew Saudi was wrong for you, for me. Although we are "Muslims first" we are also hate to say it, western women who can't stand being in such an anti-female environment. With that being said statements like "I don't know what BUT there would be a point when I would be fed up with no men in my life." are dissappointing.

As I said earlier I resisted commenting bc I don;t agree with your pursuit of ANOTHER man. Especially after a week you said there wasn't going to be one for a while. I guess you will never want to understand my or others' commenters reasoning for why we really want you to take a breather, but whatever. Hmpph...

But I am happy that you made a decision that I can agree with. No Saudi. You should look back at your post when you said all doors point to Saudi when I and another commenter gave you other viable choices...You said "no, saudi is the way". I am glad you reconsidered.

I do know what it is like to grow up without a father. As a duaghter we are seacrhing constantly for a father-like image in our husbands. We are forveer searching for fatherly love. As sons, they can either go two ways. Be the biggest mama's boy on the face of the planet OR go to jail and steal from mommy from her purse and wreck havoc onto her life. So I do understand a constant fatherly figure is good. But not four. Four would be confusing to the boy.

Sometimes I feel you need a man bc you want out of this economic funk. All of us women like stability and support. But in your journey to be stabile, it has been the opposite. Once again, I am happy about your choice to Saudi. Please don't take my reflections too seriously. Remember this is coming from a 24 yr old new yorka to a 40 yr old with life-long experience. But as I say, I tell it like I see it. Much love ( even tho you think its fake or whatever)

Living said...

I think it takes a special kind of person to live in Saudi and be happy. I think it takes a VERY unique woman to live there without a husband.
Living in the Gulf as a single woman can be quite hard but it also can be quite rewarding. Like you said I love it. I do have my moments and many times get sick of the craziness but I know there is craziness at home it just comes in a different package.
I do not think Saudi would be right for you. Not living without a man.
Find your place in the world. I know it is hard I am searching for mine in many ways. You will find yours inshaallah one day.

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom EgyptChick,

Whatchu talkin' 'bout? I know your love is real! Silly Sis, you wouldn't read me, comment on what I write, AND write with such fervent belief if you didn't care. I feel the love AND it comes right back at ya. I will always wish you the very best.

You knew Saudi wasn't for me, eh? Well, a lot of people are saying that. Haven't heard yet from the actual people IN Saudi...don't know what their take will be on it. For me, there were too many reasons.

And YES one of those reasons was having NO CONTACT with men. Maybe we are different people (oh, wait...of course we are) and you might not feel that two years with absolutely no contact with a man is fine. I DON'T. It doesn't mean I have to sleep with a man--astragferallah, I'm not that shallow. What it means is that I love the way a man's mind works. LOVE IT! I've always loved hearing their take. The newest dude wins me over with his mind for sure. I need that input of a male's thoughts. I need that attention. Is it because of my dad? I'm being to believe that it's partly due to my mom's lackidasical parenting as well. Whatever the case, I know who I am and know what I need. Two years is too long for me AND Mr. Boo.

Mama's boy or purse-stealing thief? I hope he's neither :)inshahallah.

Thanks for all your thoughts, words, and kindness, EgyptChick.


Asalamalaykom Living,

You know, I searched your blog last night looking for the exact entry that made me stop and go WHOA! I couldn't find it! But, the flavor of your life overseas is throughout your blog entries. Yes, you love where you are HOWEVER you are an extraordinary woman and that it takes a special kind of woman to handle the daily oddities of Arab life. That seems doubly so with Saudi.

This is a great bit of advice, "Find your place in the world." Ya, I hear ya. You see how my blogrolll is listed under "Searchers". I feel that all of us who question are indeed searching for the best place to be.

I appreciate your words very much :) May Qatar be appreciative as well.

Anonymous said...

Asalam Alikum,
I did not know you were without a father figure growing up that is discouraging. Sounds like you had a rough life growing up. I am sorry to hear that. And from your previous post it sounds as though your mother is somewhat difficult.

Sounds like you made the right decisions about Saudi Inshallah! I believe no women NEEDS a man in her life if she is truly happy and financially set with herself. Of course we WANT a man in our lives for many reasons. It sounds like your on your way to a fourth marriage and taking a step back and a break would do some healing that you would find most helpful in many ways. If I remember in your last posts recently you were just getting a divorce and you had just came back to live here from MR. Florida. Are you over him yet? And now your moving on to the next already so soon.

Try becoming financially stable before you get involved again there is so much power in it to be all set with yourself before having to depend on another to help you out. Take some time alone maybe seek out some counseling for your childhood issues with your father. I am sure those issues are unresolved and oppressed. These are only my suggestions take them or leave them as you like.

JuJu Bee

Anonymous said...

about the whole man thing, and not marrying legally - are u sure it's not because you want to be able to still be seen as a "single mom" under USA law, and therefore can apply for welfare? I know a lot of somali people do that - they only marry Islamically, not legally. That way, they can apply for aid and say they are a single mom with 4 kids or whatever. Yeah right.
I'm not saying you are doing this. just wondering.
the sad thing about the somali doing that though, is that they are lying. and lying isn't good - morally, and islamically.
just my thoughts

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom JuJu Bee,

Just to explain about my dad: my mom divorced him when I was four. I did see him often until I was five. After that, he moved out of state and I would see him on vacations or when he would breeze through town.

He is someone in my life, but he has not been there often. I love him. He loves me.

As for the newest dude, it really remains to be seen what transpires. Really too early to tell. Anyone can be wonderful in a sprint, but it takes someone special to last in a marathon. I really only want a marathon runner now.

Mr. Florida and I stopped living together in February. I would talk with him and see him...and unfortunately take him back. I say "unfortunately" not because the taking back wasn't great---it was. It just sucked that three days later (somehow he only lasted three days) he would flip and be disgruntled.

Am I over him? I'm not sure if I'm over the first boy who ever kissed me----gosh, that was a great kiss :)

James, if you're out there...LOL!

Oh, it too soon? To talk and go out? No, I don't think so. Is it too soon to marry? Yes, give it a couple of months before I can even contemplate the extreme reality of it. Let's see.

As far as counseling goes, I already saw a counselor in Florida-- Muslim :) And I know my deal. I have a lot of issues (as does everyone...yes, everyone) and I know what they are. I'm OK with who I am---I'm not dealing with unresolved or oppressed feelings. I know them and I deal with them.

As for being financially stable--OH MAN! I'm not sure WHO is right now! I don't have ANY debt alhumdulillah and that's more than a lot of people. I have employable skills and I'm willing to relocate. I'll figure it out inshahallah. I do think that I will need to get on the other side of Ramadan before I really start to feel ready for standing on my two feet.

I love that you cared so much to write so much. Thank you for your requests that I soul-search. Even if I don't agree with some of your advice, it all helps me frame who I am right now. Feel free to write again :)

Asalamalaykom Just My Thoughts,

Me? Rip off the government?

Naw....I'm not going to scam any government entity by any Islamic marriage. I'm pretty honest, if you haven't picked that up in my blog yet. I really do tell you what I'm doing; don't hide it.

The last time I lied was with the hair stylist who was asking all these questions about the two white kids and the one brown kid; my children. I just lied and said that I was married to an Egyptian. Her English wasn't that good and my life confuses even those who have good English! Point being that I hated lying. Doesn't make me feel like me.

As for the Somali population here, God bless them. They are people first and demographics second. I love the sisters for helping the hejab come out of the closet. They have been kind to me as their teacher, co-worker, and friend. I would certainly be careful making blanket statements about any group of people as that is called a stereotype. Remember: do onto others...

idil said...

Good choice on Saudi.
But it's not just bad for women only. Just to let you know, being a man I wouldn't live there either. They mix too much culture into the deen, and call it the deen. If you ask me, it's not good for women or men, just for visiting like you said (to make hajj or umrah).

Anonymous said...

I do, however, like to go out in public with a man; whether its AbuBoo or a potential husband. I do like to be open to the possibility of meeting and marrying. I would be fine with that for months until...I dont know what BUT there would be a point when I would be fed up with no men in my life.

Are you serious? Why can\'t you deal without a man? Just wondering?


Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Idil,

Thanks for your comment. It was a really interesting take. Honestly, I never thought that it was hard for a man as well.

Asalamalaykom Curious George,

I am sooooo freakin' serious, dude. You doubt me? See, in Islam we are told to either marry or fast. We are not told to stay single and make dreamy wishes for a member of the opposite sex for some far away future.

We are told that our nafs are a burden on us if we try to ignore them. Fasting? Sure, I can do that. Forever? Naw, dude, I can't fast forever. I am a woman who needs a man--but not right away. I can handle another iddah.

You think that it's better to act like I don't have needs and then make stupid rash decisions when all of a sudden I can't handle it any more? This is how Muslims leave Islam! Or at least leave the path of Islam!

Me? I plan ahead. I know that at the end of three months, I will need a man around. He doesn't have to be my husband yet, but he has to be interested in being mine.

UmmAbdurRahman said...

Salamu Alaikum, while I understand your need to have a man in your life I don't REALLY understand it. Is it the physical or the emotional that you want? Both? I'm leaning more towards thinking you're needing the phsyical stuff. I think it would be a great mistake(in my opinion) to get married again because you have some physical urges...urges that can be overcome. You should choose wisely who will be in your life because they will be in your son's life as well. I don't want him to grow up to be a teenager/man who cannot count on anyone because everyone in his life(men) has left. It would be such a shame and may Allah protect him and you from that.

I am a physical person...needing love, attention, and affection. I have lived without this in my life(minuse a few short weeks earlier this year) for almost 17 months and you know what mashaAllah we are still alive. Is it struggle? YES Is it worth it in the long run? Most definitely YES!

I agree that you need to know yourself and know what you can handle. Just choose wisely because if you are willing you could probably handle a lot more.

lufarah said...

Salams. Can't believe i am reading your blog again. Have lots of catching up to do and Ramadan is just around the corner...

Good call on not taking the job in Saudi. I've been there a few times and at most towns it is just way too intimidating and unfair for women. ( BTW, I don't consider Makka as Saudi)

Jeddah is not so bad as the rest, but still, being single there must be so difficult. I do have one friend who loves living there, but as her sister said once : "of course she loves Saudi, living in that castle with her super hot husband and 6 beautiful kids, and going to London/Paris/Milan any time she feels like" .

I was reading older posts and was very amused with the comments...people get so judgemental at times...

happy to see you're blogging again, hope to still be able to read after ramadan..

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom UmmAbdurRahman,

We all should be wiser and choose better, I agree.

That is the best thing you wrote.

There's a lot of what you wrote that is about your situation. It is very hard for you, I know. May Allah make it easy on you.

You wonder why I would want/need a man in my life? You don't understand? OK.

Should I used this space to detail all that I miss and crave? I started to, and then stopped. I'm in touch with my needs. I know every single one of my needs for a man. To detail it all is too much. If you are a woman, then you know all the real moments that a man brings to you.

Let me just tell one---

You know when you're upset and nothing makes sense and you tell your girlfriends and they get upset with you? And you rant and rave and life is too hard? Then you talk to your man and he nails it with one sentence that stops you in your tracks. All of a sudden his male mind connects with yours and the fog lifts; calm reappears.

OK, here's another--

You know when your son is acting up and you try your best in all the ways to figure out how to reach him. You can't! He's not going to hear you. Then, your man scoop him up and all's right with the world.

You ask me if it's all physical. Basically, you're asking me if I'm so desperately horny that I can't keep from falling into bed with the next guy who offers. Honey, you know that ain't right! I'm not doing that. I don't even look men in the eye!

But, with a man who is interested in marriage, I'm allowed to look deep into his eyes. That is physical, yes. And that eye contact is something I miss, yes.

I am seeking the other half of my deen. What's the problem?

You say that my son's life will be cheapened somehow by the men who have been in my life. I disagree. Sure, it is different than other's lives but not really that much different than a woman with lots of brothers. I have no brothers. So, these "uncles" really function like that for him.

Sister, I think it's great that you have a supporting family. You don't write that but I know that. We all need to find our support somehow. I will not try to diminish your attempts to make it through and it's best that you not try to diminsh mine.

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom Lufarah,

Nice to "see" you too :)

Thank you for voicing your love. :)

Keep sending it, sweetheart, and it will stream through the window slats like sunshine brightening my life.

Good to hear your comments about Saudi. I wouldn't mind spending time with a super-hot hub in Saudi either. Would I have to take the six kids with that deal?!

Anonymous said...

Asalamu Walaikum Sis,
It is so nice to "catch up" with you--sorry it is always so one-sided!
The misinterpretating, attacking and judging started back up super quick. We know human nature doesn't change, which is why we relish in this truth some folks brand an "archaic" practice.
Love and Peace,
~Brooke AKA Ummbadier

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom UmmBadier,

Any way we can stay connected is OK with me :)

I'm stronger so the attacks are stronger. I frighten those who need everything and everyone is neat, tidy boxes---or burqas. They say they worry about my iman but truly a lot of them are worried sick about themselves and project it onto me. I refuse to be anyone's darkside. I am filled with light and love, peace AND honesty. YA, BABY!

Keep reading and writing :)

Anonymous said...

Yosra you judge others just as much as we judge you so please stop putting yourself up on a pedastal, ok! Allah knows the real you, ok, so stop acting so high and mighty like you never judge others because you DOOOOOO!
Get over yourself. You're just as guilty as everyone else.

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Anonymous,

You talking about me judging is again judgine me. I actually don't know who you are. I put myself out there. Do you? I'm not ashamed of my conduct. Are you?

I would NEVER put myself on a pedestal--For one thing, I don't want to be worshipped and for another, I don't want anybody to look up my dress.

Allah for sure knows me. I'm comfortable with the relationship I've got going with Allah.

I do not act high. Currently I'm not taking any illegal drugs.

Mighty? That sounds a bit too much like The Almighty for my tastes, which would be shirk. Best if you don't even joke around with that.

Do I judge others? Sure, it's a human failing. You're not exactly broadcasting any news.

Is that my reason for this blog? No. If that's all you're getting from this blog, then you should stop reading me and start reading some self-help books.

"Get over yourself," you say. Why? Because I like myself? Should I be into self-loathing? How fun is that? I absolutely love myself. I'm pretty cool. You don't have to think so, but I do and that's what counts because I have to sleep with myself. I have to wake up with myself. I...ok, you get the deal.

When I leave this world, I will have done huge things.

How about you?

What are you doing? You loving yourself? You feeling cool? How does it feel to try to put down someone else instead of trying to raise yourself up?

Lastly, I'm not as guilty as everyone else. We are all on differing levels. There are some people doing better than me and some who are doing worse. Since I can't figure out the sum of their deeds, I'll just leave that to the angels.

Oh, and when you address someone, you place a comma after their name. So, really it should be:

Yosra, you are so cool.

Oh, I guess I edited what you wrote.

Let me try addressing you:

Anonymous, have a nice night.

There! That was fun! Let's get together again and work on grammar another time :)

egyptchick7 said...

You may say men give you moments that don't compare with that of girlfriends or whatever. But those last few men gave you PAIN and PSYCHOLOGICAL TORMENT...I don;t know what Mr. Florida did but it sounded like there was "love" and he would crack 3 days later like AbuBoo would. Remember when you thought AbuBoo was bi-polar? And I replied " All Arab men are Bi-polar" sounded like Mr. Florida was too! And now you think your new man is gonna be different? If those past BAD experiences haven't woken you up from the dream of finding the other half of your deen, I don't know what will. There is a reason why Allah gives us Jihad.

Time to switch the topic and focus on Ramadan. Pleae post Ramadan wisdoms bc I really liked it last year. The Shaytan is whispering in my ear too " it is gonna be so hard this year" and I am doing this all alone and it sucks.

Love and Truth.

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom EgyptChick,

Ya, there was some serious bad with that good. I hear ya.

Mr. Florida had his issues, but he was not bi-polar. With counseling he could be a great guy. I'll ammed that. He is a great guy now--he's just too hard to live with. If he is reading this now, then he's agreeing.

AbuBoo really has some issues and I do believe he can get into bi-polar states, yes.

Both of these Arab husbands of mine gave me wonderful times. I can't discount the good.

You're right that the bad has been horrible.

Do I think my new man is going to be different? Well, there are some differences. Hopefully, I get to experience the differences more upon his return from umrah.

Really, though, I think that you readers are making more out of this man than I am. He came here to see me and we like each other. That's it! He and I hardly know each other really. Give it some time. Give it some space. We'll see.

Oh, and YES give us all RAMADAN. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the month on my blog. We shall see about that as well.

Our Rewards Await Us said... so much can change in just a few short weeks since we last talked....I'm scrambling trying to find out about this new dude...abut AbuBoo cheating with customer....and all the while I should be in bed now getting some rest since I have to go to work tomorrow!!

Yosra said...

Asalamlaykom ORAU,

Oh, girl! You had me searching all over for this comment! LOL! I posted it and then couldn't find it!

OK, ya, AGREED that too much has happened. I feel like I'm on fast-forward.

New dude is someone who came into my life recently. I only know him a little bit, really. He's 37, got his Phd and a good career, been married before with two kids,and is NOT interested in polygamy (or remarrying the ex. This man has a brilliant mind, a true communicator with a great command of English (been here since he was 16), and a quick wit. He is looking for a wife and seems serious about it, since he traveled up here to meet us. He is now on umrah and to Egypt. We'll see.

AbuBoo...well, look up the post, "He Cheated on His Wife" for that info. Doesn't seem to have changed his current marriage. He's told me that he's an Egyptian man, so he can get away with it--but that's really just in THIS life. Somehow or other, he will pay for what he's done. Allahu alim. If his first/current wife hasn't divorced him over this, she at least has a better knowledge that Yosra wasn't the cause for this man falling--not this time. He only lasted here two months without skirt chasing, so we'll see on that as well.

Deep breath! Alhumdulillah! :)