The 2023 Evolution

I’ve always been the black sheep – in my community, and certainly my family. I was the first to move out of the family home not so that I might move in with a husband, but rather for independence.

Though plenty of offers, I’m also the one who has not yet married because I’m not interested in marriage per se, but rather in the man who will enrich my already extraordinary life. I don’t date and seek out a partner because I don’t wish to waste my time, and I trust that the Universe will align me naturally with the right man. I’ve never been in need of a relationship; rather, I desire and deserve someone who will bring as much charge, imagination, intelligence, and humour as I do. Also, please come with a nice @ss, thank you.

I’ve been told to marry ‘just to have children, and then to leave him.’ Imagine. Imagine the insanity of this. But that I have not taken this route is itself another reason in my black sheepness. One for which I am eternally grateful.

Over dinner this weekend, he asked me if it was difficult to constantly be in this position. Not in the least. Because why would I concern myself with the opinions of those who are living lies, so that they might be miserable but conforming to f*cked up and certainly made-up societal obligations? Near all of those I know are keeping up with the Jones’ to the detriment of themselves and everyone around them. Why would their opinion matter when they need to first stop lying to themselves before they turn and point at my choices?

My self-worth has nothing to do with the opinions of others. Neither does my internal moral compass, nor does my path forward. If I am aligned with Allah, I am very comfortable in my choices and sleep quite soundly. I don’t cause harm, but I certainly don’t swallow my needs in the service of others incapable of looking internal, identifying their own needs and desires and then pursuing them. This can make me an asshole in a society as puritan as this, built on the lie that sacrificing yourself at the alter(s) of other(s) is what makes you a good person worthy of their…what? Their respect? Their approval? Their silence?

The only approval I need is God’s.

Listen. Most people will always find a reason to talk about you. Always. And so from them, you steer as f*cking clear as possible. You seek your tribe – those who are willing to live as unapologetically free as you. Ones who hold in the highest regard the need to live authentically, no matter what. Those willing to be vulnerable in their desires and sharing them not just for their own sake, but so that those around them are honoured by this very honesty. These are the women and men in my life, and I have been so very careful to ensure that the real estate afforded others is only extended to like. Everyone else can take a seat in their make-believe little worlds, not mine.

None of the above is new; it is a conscious effort I have made daily since my 20s. Here’s the evolution, however. I used to have really strict principles around this, which have been transformed this 2023 – if living honestly hinted at hoping for a thing owned by another, I wouldn’t even look at it. I was blind to it, wilfully.

Not anymore.

Because the mere act of having a thing does not amount to taking care of the thing, cherishing the thing, being grateful for the thing, or still deserving the thing.

In fact, at the age of 49, I can tell you that most people have things they don’t tend to – children, friendships, relationships, jobs, you name it. You, name, it.

2023 taught me that when I see a thing which is neither being tended to nor cherished as it deserves, I may give myself the permission to have hope that it will align itself to my life. I don’t lie about it; I don’t pretend I don’t want it, and I certainly don’t shove down my desire for it suffocating myself and waking up in a panic nightly because I’m denying that for which my heart is asking. Because to do so is not to live authentically.

Sidebar: Having hope for a thing is not to be confused with the action of taking it; l let the Universe decide, and trust in its decision.

Equally important is the recognition that in this pivot is the absolute mercy rooted in hope that we might love and take care of more appropriately things not being loved to their full capacity elsewhere. It is to nourish what others no longer wish to water.

I must admit that I’m surprised by this (natural?) evolution which has hit my life, though evolution is always a mindful intention in my world, because what boredom it is to stop evolving.

Into 2024, my hope is to continue having the courage to live as authentically as possible. It is to continue aligning myself with my truest needs and desires drained of the inauthentic opinions of others. It is to trust that Allah will bring forward only those equally courageous in their life choices, should it be written that my tribe is to grow. And finally into 2024, my hope is to not fall short of these demands and ambitions for my life.

Happy new year, beloveds. Thank you for reading, thank you for all of the messages and reflections which you continue to share. Thank you for your secrets. I am honoured, and grateful. May 2024 see you rise. Free P@lestine.

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