I’m sorry to anyone who’s been following this. I don’t have a very good excuse for not updating, other than feeling very antisocial, at least when it comes to sharing anything meaningful with anyone. Oh, I’ve been doing fine with maintaining rapport and small talk and discussions about school, but beyond all that, I feel rather drained.
I guess it’s coming to that point in the year when I feel too distant from most of my undergrad friends to consider myself close with them, but I haven’t formed any particularly strong bonds with anyone in my class. For the first few months I had no problem dismissing the idea of forming friendships with my classmates, insisting to my undergrad friends that nothing will change, you guys will always understand me better, you guys will always be top priority. And I didn’t really feel a difference until around now… bonding with everyone over winter break made it seem like nothing had really changed. And yet… as undergrads and other professional programs are knee-deep in midterms and I, with a completely different exam schedule than my friends, never seem to be available when they are. And whenever we do talk, I somehow manage to offend everyone every single time, whether by making myself sound too busy or hitting a nerve with someone because of some big event I might have missed out on while I was immersed in cardio or whatever block it was at the time.
The idea of letting go of most of my undergrad friends as my primary go-to people is upsetting, because they are my comfort zone. And the idea of having people in my class become my go-to people is unsettling, only because of the huge cultural gap I feel. For me, everything always comes down to religion, and for others, it doesn’t. For a lot of others, religion and spirituality simply don’t play a role in their lives and I have to accept that. I do not live in some Muslim Desi/Arab bubble where everyone will understand that I’m not supposed to be in physical contact with men or why I pray five times a day or understand the limits of my comfort zone. It’s unsettling and uncomfortable to step away from people who do understand all that, but I have to come to terms with that and I have to be okay with it. It’s just the reality that for the rest of my life, whether with my patients, my coworkers, my administrators, and my society at large (in North America, at least), I will really need to get used to the idea that I will constantly be explaining things about me to people that are foreign to them, I will sometimes receive funny looks for them, I will often not get them to fully understand, and that it will always, always be a struggle.
The cool thing about my religion is, in Islam, the reward is commensurate with the struggle. So, bring on the struggle, I guess.