If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Year That Was

As 2007 is almost upon us, it's timely to reflect on 2006.

The year started with my marraige in crisis. I was ready to leave after almost 7 years marraige and close to 11 years together. He could not understand why and I could not tell him. It was difficult at the time to know the exact nature of my discontent, but as time passed it became much clearer and eventually I was able to accept it, embrace it and work through it.

I have never been a romantic. Fantastical notions of soul mates, star-crossed lovers, Prince Charmings and the like have never convinced me. I do not believe that there is such a thing as Mr or Ms Perfect. I am far too selfish to give wholly of myself to another human being and far too self absorbed to want the same from him. And so, any union would only ever be a coupling of our physical lives. But deep down lingers the little girl with dark skin, big eyes and dark curls, who was always the outsider and who each night dreamed of being Cinderella.

My husband and I cohabit, we fulfill eachother's physical needs very well, we provide companionship for eachother and share in the care of our respective children (we do not have children together) and our mutual assets. But I also have my own world in which he features minimally if at all and in which he has very little interest. Once I learnt to accept this, and to understand the limits of my relationship, I was able to appreciate my marraige for what it was instead of being unhappy at what it wasn't.

I went to Egypt for 5 weeks in July and used this time away to come to terms with the fact that while I love my husband deeply, I will never share with him an intellectual or soulful intimacy in the same way that we share a physical intimacy. And that's alright, that's OK, because I really don't think that I am capable of sharing more than that- I have always known this to be who I am.

In 2006, I gave 9 public lectures, 3 radio interviews and 2 television interviews. I completed 2 and a half chapters of my Doctoral Thesis (I started in 2005), started writing my book and wrote 2 major journal articles for publication. I started and almost finished my data collection amounting to over 300 pages of transcribed interviews and focus groups. Of the 9 public lectures, 5 were invatations from people or organisations who had heard about my work and the rest were conference presentations. I spoke at two anti-war rallies and a Union rally against the government's introduction of industrial reform legislation. I also continued my job with Government two days a week. I maintained my voluntary work with a community organisation. I became involved in campaigning against domestic violence, not of my own will, but by the burden of knowledge. And I started this blog!

Am I tired? Yes, yes, I am exhausted. And yet there persists this wretched yearning to do MORE, to be MORE, to achieve MORE. A sense of urgency that burns like a fire in my being and that I fear will never subside. Why am I cursed with this need to want change? Why am I burdened with an urgent and nagging desire to make things different?

2006 was a year of dreaming. Not day dreaming but sleep dreaming. I cannot recall a night when I did not have the same dream of climbing. Climbing infinite stairs, mountains, hills, rock piles, ladders, anything and everything. Each morning after these dreams I woke both physically and mentally exhausted. Why was I always climbing? When will I reach where it is I need to go?

And so, in a few short days, we will bid farewell to 2006. I think I grew 10 years in that one year (thank God for botox!). I learnt a lot about myself in 2006. And so, in light of that, I will always remember 2006 as a year of self enlightment!

Now... bring on 2007 because I can't wait to see what that has in store for me!


Anonymous said...

I think I'd call that a good year, Suspect :)

I think you and I have a lot in common. I'm even (usually) a driven person, like you are. I haven't been that way since my divorce, though. It really took a lot out of me, much more than I expected. I'm glad you and your husband weer able to work things out. I'm hoping 2007 will be the year I pull myself out of this apathetic rut I've been in. Being "driven" isn't half as bad as I used to think!

Anonymous said...

Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it!

The Usual Suspect said...

Divorce tends to do that to a person. After my divorce I went into my shell (nobody I know would believe that I actually have a shell-but I do) and life became mechanical. My boys were so young, 3 and 1, and I really regret that there are times in the years following my divorce that I simply cannot remember- it is all a blur- and yet they were the most precious times for my kids.

Life will come back and sweep you off your feet when you are ready to drift with the tide again. That's what I can tell you from my experience. Just be ready for it when it comes because it will be a wild ride!

The Usual Suspect said...

Thanks so much Mumbo Jumbo.
I will try.

Drima said...

Hi Usual Suspect, I read your comment on Sam's blog. You mentioned you were coming here late January. Email me before you do. I'll recommend a lot of things to you. I've been living here for 10 years now =)

Egypeter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Egypeter said...

Your little boys are lucky to have a mama like you, no doubt!

I really hope 2007 holds many many blessings for you and your family dear Suspect. Let's also hope that our mother country starts to get her ass in shape this year, insha'allah!

Lookin' forward to more insightful posts in 2007.

Salaam ya gameela.

The Usual Suspect said...

Hey Peter
Right back at ya! Sending you shiny shiny wishes that the new year brings love, happiness and prosperity to your life.

My,not so little boys, may disagree with you today- I have been an ogre! What happened to my cute little pumkins? They have become insolent 16 and 14 year olds overnight!

The Raccoon said...

A full year is a good year. But hey, don't work yourself to the bone, eh? R&R is vital, and you sure sound like you need some of that.

What are you lecturing about? And what kind of anti-war rallies are we talking about here? And the book - whassat about? Although I am pretty sure I'd want to read it anyway :)

Much respect and honor to you for volunteering and acting out against domestic violence! Saving a life is saving a world, as the Jewish proverb goes.

"Why am I burdened with an urgent and nagging desire to make things different?" - hey, this is a blessing, not a burden. An empty life is not a life. And the changes you make are your immortality...

May your new year be at least as eventful and succesful as this one - and ten times as restful! :)

The Usual Suspect said...

A couple of the lectures I gave were on terrorism and the security risk to Australia- they are always the fun ones because I'm usually the only woman in a room full of very serious men in dark suits who have come to hear what the Muslim female has to say about terrorists!
I also gave some talks on media- along the lines of my PhD work which is on the fear of terrorism.
And I do some stuff on multiculturalism and human rights. They are sometimes fun too- expecially the one I had to do with magistrates!
Anti war rallies on the war in Iraq to bring Aussie troops home and protest rallies against industrial reform which has basically left blue collar workers at the mercy of their employers.
The book started as kind of autobiographical- in a previous post I spoke about my three lives and secrets- so it was going to be kind of an expose but it's very difficult to write because there are some memories that are still quite sensitive. I've changed it a bit now and it's going to be a kind of personal commentary on being Muslim in Australia after 9/11.

Anonymous said...

the bit about ur husband...kind of sad.