29 August 2013

Humbled by love.

I practiced the bridesmaid speech I drafted for my dear best friend's wedding one time and one time only. And I use the word practice very loosely, as it was 4 in the morning, and my tired eyes were in no condition to do anything beyond skimming. I should also point out that I absolutely detest practicing before I do any form of public speaking, professionally or personally. I'll stand up in front of a hundred people and talk my little head off before I willingly stand up in front of an empty room to practice. Although, while we're on the subject, I could easily talk to a wall if presented with the occasion, and probably enjoy it (read: cheaply entertained). But that's different. Talking to a wall is totally different than practicing to a wall. 

As I skimmed over my words, I actually wondered if I would cry when it came time to share my speech with Saadia and Mohsin. Now, mind you, hindsight is 20/20, and I could have won millions had I placed a bet that I would cry. It's what I do. As much as I fight it, I'm a natural born cry baby. And in my 29th year of life, I've fully accepted and embrace what I refer to as my beautiful ability to express my emotions in the form of an essential natural element (read: I've accepted the fact that water will flow out of my eyeballs at anything provoking any type of emotion without a moment's notice). The more I fight it, the more I cry. Le sigh. However, in my delusional state of mind at 4 in the morning, I practically laughed at myself when I pondered if I was going to cry, even going as far as rolling my eyes in typical Courtney fashion. Of course I wasn't going to cry. What was there to cry about?


Back to that hindsight. After introducing myself to Saadia and Mohsin's family and friends, I dove straight into my speech. I should have worn my swimmies. Within thirty seconds, the tears were streaming down my face so quickly that I was at risk of drowning right there in the middle of the ballroom if I didn't pause and resurface for a breath of air. Insert super quick pep talk that went down like this: Get your shit together Courtney! You have 180 people staring at you, already wondering who in God's name is this white chick rocking a sari and now you're blubbering away. This isn't a funeral for the love of God, this is the happiest day of your best friend's life! Fortunately, this enthusiastic self talk scared the hell out of my tears and they temporarily subsided. For the rest of my speech, I was able to keep most of the tears at bay, with only one or two escaping the thick mascara adorning my eyelashes. 

So, why, my dear reader (readers?) am I sharing this moment with you? My answer is simple. I want to look back in ten, twenty, thirty years and remember the way I felt during the five minutes I stood in front of my absolutely stunning best friend and her equally gorgeous husband (side note: they will make the most beautiful babies ever known to mankind to the point that it's really not fair...I'm serious), with tears running down my face. I want to remember the gratitude I felt for being part of a wedding so humble, so true, so perfect. I want to remember looking into the eyes of two souls becoming one and praying that one day I will find a love as deep, as rich, as genuine as theirs. 

And, so, without further ado, I'd like to share with you what I shared with Saadia and Mohsin on their Wedding Day...

It was quickly approaching the early hours of dawn, and I was still staring at an untitled document on my Macbook, the cursor impatiently blinking at me, completely underwhelmed by my lack of words. I had been sitting there for hours, praying to the powers that be that I draft a speech that captures the very essence of my relationship with my beautiful best friend, Saadia, who I met 8 years ago, almost to the day. I had pondered what to write for days, ever since Saadia said, "you know, Court, I want you to speak at my wedding," to which my immediate response was a giddy "Oh my gosh, really?!" while secretly thinking, "Oh my gosh, I had no idea there were speeches at Pakistani weddings!" And yet another obvious lesson learned in our multicultural friendship. 

Eight years ago when I walked up the two flights of stairs to our Townhouse on TCNJ's campus, I never would have thought that I'd be standing here today, taking part in one of the most important days in Saadia's life.  Saadia and I were randomly assigned to the same townhouse, when I was a senior at TCNJ and she a junior. It was practically impossible to not become friends with Saadia, even if one of our initial interactions was when she chided me for waxing my eyebrows (clearly my white girl ways were simply not cutting it) and insisted that I try out threading (I'm sorry...what??). Mind you, it took my anxious mind almost an entire year before I let her place her hands within a ten inch radius of my upper eyelids. And, to this day, as Saadia can certainly attest, everytime I lay down to have my eyebrows threaded, I not only break out into a cold sweat, I turn into a bossypant wearing demanding diva that only Saadia would have the heart to deal with. But, alas, enough about my eyebrows.

Fast forward 8 years later, and a quote from one of our favorite books comes to mind...“a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”

As I stand up here today, my heart is overflowing with love and gratitude for the person I truly believe is my soulmate in this crazy, but beautiful world we live in. Over the past 8 years, Saadia has become so much more than a best friend to me. Her presence is akin to the very relationship I share with my own sister, which has solidified my belief that everything happens for a reason. You see, I believe that Saadia and I were placed in each others lives not by chance, but by the grace of God, so that we can learn from each other, laugh and cry with each other, share our innermost secrets and deepest thoughts, even the unspoken ones, lean on each other during times of hardship and sadness, and grow together. Saadia has been there for me in my darkest hours, lifting my spirit up, and reminding me that everything will be okay. With Saadia, almost more than anyone else, I can fully be myself, which means she gets the best...and...worst of me, both of which she fully accepts with open arms. 

Saadia’s family has also welcomed me into their home with open arms, to the point where I feel like maybe I have a little bit of Pakistani running through my own blood. I mean, my Punjabi vocabulary grows by the day. I know that dudh is milk, ande is eggs, doi is a large wooden spoon of Ami’s that I covet, and aja can make Ambreen come to me. Need I go on?

Saadia, just as our friendship was meant to be, I fully believe that your marriage to Mohsin is meant to be. Love and cherish your husband with your entire being, with the knowledge that your relationship will be more beautiful than you could ever imagine.  Open your heart to Mohsin the way you have opened your heart to me. Live in the moment with each other. Uplift, support and encourage Mohsin the way you have done for me on so many occasions. Be humble. Be gracious. Be honest. Be you. 

Mohsin, I will have you know that I am very possessive of my friendship with Saadia. Two nights ago before my last sleepover with Saadia, my own mother warned my sister to not impede on our time together, stating that “Courtney will want to spend time with just Saadia before her big day, so make sure you don't hang out with them for too long.” But, from this day forward, I am willing to share my dear friend with you, under one condition. Love Saadia with your entire heart.  Even on the worst of the worst days, know that there is no one else in the entire world you’d rather have by your side. Trust me. And when you get in that first argument with each other, know that Saadia is humble, but stubborn and however stubborn you may be, know that it is no match for her, but more importantly, no argument is worth sacrificing one second of the love you two will grow to have. Trust me on this one, as well. 

Saadia and Mohsin, may you remember today as the first day of the rest of your life together as one. Never stop seeking joy within each other and the love you two will share. Be patient, be forgiving, be compassionate. Have faith in each other, in love, and in life. Let your passion and love for each other light up the lives of your family, friends, and loved ones. I promise that the life you two will discover together will exceed all of your expectations. 

16 April 2013

thoughts on a plane.

It is with very sleepy fingers, no, scratch that, very sleepy everything, that I write tonight. I'm currently 38,000 feet in the air somewhere across the great divide of the east and west coasts with the hopes of sleep somewhere in the near future. I find myself mindlessly twirling my hair, hair that desperately needs a good shampoo after spending the early hours of today in the pediatric emergency department followed by a day of intense traveling - three trains and two planes. Not that I should be complaining, after all I am en route to my second favorite domestic destination (first obviously being hawaii). It's a nice change of pace being up here, completely unconnected from society, if only for a few hours. Yet I find myself being frustrated…with myself…for I have the perfect opportunity to throw myself at my keyboard and write freely, but I'm having such a difficult time. I haven't written in what feels like months, well, actually, it has been months, but I can't stay focused for more than a second, which makes me wonder what the heck is actually going on inside my itty bitty brain. For starters, I feel like I'm being watched. Actually, that statement sounds a bit presumptuous, if not completely paranoid. It's just that I'm trying to get my zen on (something I've been actively working on!) and I can't help but feel like the darling passenger next to me is eyeballing my screen, which makes a usually unaffected me very self-conscious (Is she enjoying my rambling or is she wondering who this crazy girl is or is she now self-conscious as I just called her out?). Of course, I'm now only flattering myself thinking that she has any interest in my meager writing. I'm simply saying that if my fellow american airlines companion was punching away at her computer as I am currently doing, my interest may be piqued and I may or may not sneak a glance or two in the utmost subtle of manners. Which, knowing me, wouldn't be subtle at all. I'm also supremely distracted by the mini cadbury eggs that are practically begging me to eat them. I literally write a sentence, glance down at my overflowing purse, its contents toppling over, think about whether I should indulge, decide that indulging is a must, pluck a chocolate out of the makeshift easter basket my awesome mom packed for me (complete with fake orange easter basket grass), and practically swallow it whole as if I've been chocolate deprived my entire existence. This sequence will naturally repeat itself over and over again until the eggs are gone or my tummy hates me. Actually, who am I kidding, my tummy will definitely be hurting in two sentences time, but my indulging shall continue. Clearly my tummy thinks in the now, unlike my brain. Speaking of the now, the flight attendant is literally an inch from me getting ready to serve up a delish cocktail to 9E that I wouldn't mind indulging in myself if it weren't for its New York City pricetag. Two seats over in 9F I spy my new friend hating his life as he watches his CPA Exam Review brought to you by the one and only Becker (Actually, we're not friends, but in my mind our two minute connection over the dreaded CPA exam instantly made us best friends for life. I also really don't know if he's hating his life, but I would imagine he'd rather be doing anything else besides studying). But, alas, back to my own personal woes of my worrisome mind and why I can't write. This frustration is such an absurdity to me, as I've always relished in the simple joy of losing myself to my computer. It's not as though I have nothing to write about, I think perhaps I have *too* much to write about and simply don't know where to begin. Which is silly, as I am only writing for me (and, now, of course, the passenger next to me…maybe?), so who really cares where I start, what I leave out, what I choose to include. I find myself thinking back to the only time I've ever been self-conscious of my so-called "blogging." I briefly dated a guy last spring who "wrote" professionally. I use that term loosely, as he was more of a social media "writer," who seemed to skip right over the word "humble" in the dictionary and actually made me feel silly about my writing. Feeling this way was, of course, my own fault as my mom raised me to be a much stronger woman than to succumb to the weakness of worrying what others think of me. But, for whatever reason, I fell prey to his pompous regard toward my "hobby" of writing - the equivalent of child's play, which ironically is supremely imaginative and creative - and put my writing aside. Of course it didn't help that I had just began my nursing program at Rutgers, found..and lost..love in someone else (he's an entirely separate post), and cultivated a brand new life for myself. To say the least, I've been exceptionally busy, perhaps the busiest I've ever been, so I've let writing fall to the wayside. I find this to be bittersweet; bitter as there's so much about the past year I want to share with my future self and be able to remember not simply through memories which fade in time, but through my own words and reflections; and sweet because perhaps this is a reminder that my writing is my own passion for me to turn to whenever my little heart desires. Because, truth be told, my mind never stops writing…whether it makes it to big screen of my MacBook Pro really doesn't matter..when the time is right, I will write…

...Something to think about, I suppose...