A project created by Ester Frieder (mielgal): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FLeVxMENSui38L2DwCdDjy0gWKm98VJF/view
1- Write about your ideal romantic relationship:
Sunshine, passion, laughter, depth, and the feeling of coming home. He’d make me feel deeply understood and cherished to my core, and I’d help him become the man he’s always wanted to be; our love would be a bridge that leads us both deeper into the love of God.
(Or simply put, a halal Shi’a version of what Ben & Sidra have :P: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzxBlcZgdt0&list=PLo7UKMJBgef0hBATDp7Vx3dMfLEAASaks)
2- What does friendship provide to your life? What parts of you does it satisfy?
Joy, companionship, laughter, hope, and the blissful feeling of being unconditionally loved and appreciated… it satisfies the part of me that revels in lightness, adventure, playfulness, & nurture 🙂
3- Does one have to be unloved to be lonely? Where does loneliness stem from?
No… At the deepest level, I think loneliness stems from the nature of this world and the way it clashes with the nature of the soul. This world, for all its material wonders, can never satisfy the soul’s intrinsic yearning for God, and the soul that becomes aware of this carries a permanent loneliness in the form of a quiet, nameless estrangement from the world that no material happiness or pleasure can fully erase. And yet, there’s profound ecstasy to be found in moments of reunion with God, and that reunion can be experienced in something as simple as a sunrise, a conversation with a loved one, or the pure laughter of a child. So existence in this material plane inheres loneliness, but God is always near to answer it if the heart is awake.
4- Describe your heart in three adjectives:
Warm, resilient, soft
5- Do you view certain kinds of love as higher than others?
My love of God, the Ahlulbayt (as), & my mom eclipses everything else, always
6- What differentiates love and lust? Have you ever confused the two?
Lust is like walking through a forest, stepping on a branch, and being momentarily startled when it snaps under your feet. It’s an electric shock of a feeling; sudden, thrilling, explosive, more an instinctive bodily response than a full-fledged sentiment.
Love is like walking through the same forest, tenderly observing the details, and taking in the full depth and richness of everything you behold. It’s studying and admiring the veins of each leaf, becoming aware of the fragility of each sapling, understanding the totality of the forest’s decay as well as its potential for growth. So love is seeing the entirety of a person, intimately knowing their strengths and weaknesses, their virtues and faults, and unconditionally embracing all of it. By comparison, lust is a mere snapshot.
I don’t think I’ve ever confused the two… Surfaces might be intriguing, but they don’t hold my attention; I’m always more interested in what lies beneath.
7- What qualities do you find attractive or endearing?
Authenticity, spiritual depth, open-mindedness, consistency, intellectual curiosity, passion, humility, wit, directness, persistence, honesty, empathy, tenderness, courage
8- Dissect your relationship with self love, and what impediments you’ve had with practicing it.
Paradoxically, I think my self-love runs deepest when I forget myself… when I’m deeply immersed in my relationship with God and my love for Him, I feel a depth of inner certainty, tranquility, beauty, and confidence that nothing can shake. So my self-love is directly correlated with my love of God, and my main impediment is my own fear of unworthiness and negligence of Him.
9- Do soulmates exist? Is there someone who is, romantically, your perfect fit?
Maybe… in the sense that some people, platonically or romantically, just seem to exist on a frequency that naturally strikes a chord with us, or as Imam Ali (as) beautifully put it, “souls are attracted to souls they resemble.” Coming across such a person can be thrilling because it’s like finding a spark of Divine light in a sea of darkness; like crossing paths with someone who’s somehow fluent in the dialect of your soul. Add chemistry into the mix, and the reality of such a person can be intoxicating.
10- Do you keep a diary or record of your thoughts, particularly of your love for others?
All the time… I have countless notebooks full of random stream-of-consciousness musings, someone please burn them when I die :}
11- What color is love to you?
Sometimes a pale iridescent blue, like the soft powdery blue of the sky on a clear, cloudless day, or a veil of gossamer with a silver hue. So light you could float in it, so peaceful you could shut your eyes and become blissfully lost. Or maybe it’s a multi-faceted sunset; a rich symphony of soft pink, red, orange, gold, and lilac; tender and dreamy like a lullaby. Or maybe it’s the intoxicatingly deep, dominant blue of the ocean. Maybe it varies with each person and each form of love.
12- How has your childhood affected your ability to love? What parental behaviors can you see reflected in yourself?
I spent a lot of my childhood feeling alone because of how differently I saw the world, so I’ve never really cared about the standard trappings of a relationship or what someone can offer me materially or superficially; what my heart craves most is the feeling of being deeply understood and loved at a soul level.
& I have my mom’s softness… like her, I find it hard to find fault with people once I love them, so I have to remind myself to keep my boundaries high initially to avoid letting the wrong people in.
13- What is your love language?
Tie between physical touch and words of affirmation- warm hugs and kind words are my kryptonite.
14- What is the most meaningful thing someone could ever say to you?
Anything heartfelt that makes me feel truly seen and understood.
15- What is your favorite quote on love?
I’ve been obsessed with these since my teens:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“I would rather spend one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.” -JRR Tolkien
16- If you’re in a relationship, are you completely satisfied with it?
17- Fictional loves (whether platonic or romantic) you admire?
Elizabeth Bennett & Mr. Darcy. I love that their love entails profound personal growth for both of them. I love that falling in love humbles Darcy in making him realize how unjust and arrogant his prejudices are, and how humbling it is for Lizzie to realize that her assumptions aren’t always correct and that people and their motives can be far more complex than meets the eye. They have such incredible chemistry and compatibility on every level, it’s the most satisfying romance ever.
18- Does a dedicated passion for an object, concept, or activity have the same legitimacy as love between humans?
I hope so? I’ve spent most of my life being madly in love with the pursuit of knowledge… it’s no substitute or equal for human love, but it fulfills me on the deepest level to gain a better understanding of anything that intrigues or perplexes me.
19- How does your sexuality impact your relationships?
I’m straight but sort of demisexual, which makes things challenging because most people move pretty quickly in love; I tend to need a lot of time to figure out how I feel.
20- What is the stupidest thing you’ve done for dedication to someone dear?
21- What does family mean to you? Is family better given or chosen?
Family is anyone you have a soul bond with; anyone whose presence carries a feeling of home; the people I unconditionally trust, cherish, yearn for, and would sacrifice anything for without a second thought. My immediate family always comes first, but my chosen family is almost equally sacred; I couldn’t imagine life without either.