Personal Angst - 2 (unedited)
Why do we always try to justify our parents actions? Why did I always search for my aunty's or uncle's point of view when they told me that I needed to study hard else I won't get a good groom? Why did I always attempt to rationalize when some elder in family said, "it's tough being a parent to a girl"? Why was I blaming myself for being a girl and not those who made me feel like one? Here, I am talking of my teenage which I must admit was not short of a troubled phase. At school, friends were living a life much different than I was supposed to. I was an Indian kid err girl and had to behave like one. Like Gurpreet mentioned in her write-up, it was easier for me to list the social activities that I could do than the ones I couldn't. Indian or should I say Indo-Canadian boys my age, however, could live just like our 'Canadian' counterparts. Of course, at that age, I felt life was horribly unfair when my male cousin, a year younger than me, was allowed to go to our mutual friend's birthday dinner and I wasn't because girls are not supposed to be out after dark.
With time, I was left with no confidence in myself. Anything I wanted to do didn't seem fit for a girl. I wanted to take professional dance lessons. Girls in our families don't do that. My brother, however, would be later insisted upon to join bhangra lessons. I wanted to study a course other than medicine or engineering. It wasn't acceptable because my marital value would drop. When I told my family of my decision to not pursue my degree in medicine, they wrote me off immediately. I would no longer be marrying well. I had ruined my life. I wanted to pursue writing as a career. Well, I was already written off by now, so whatever I did now professionally, it didn't matter. I'd still be marrying an average bloke who'd be earning as much as an immigrant taxi driver anyway. What was I to feel surrounded by such negativity every day? So, I tried to see their point of view to ease my frustration. I truly did. I blamed myself for always wanting things that are not right. I remember staring at myself in mirror and wondering if there was seriously something wrong with me. Why couldn't I just be like everyone else ... a normal Indian girl? Why did I walk out on my good grades and a career that would assure me good money and a GOOD HUSBAND and happy family and parents? That was my teenage and early twenties ... lost in a struggle to find me whilst trying to balance my parents' happiness. I wanted them to be happy with me, but everything I wanted to do only hurt them. I worked so hard on trying to understand them and their point. I tried my best to mold myself to live by their rules just so they could be happy, but I still failed. Life just seemed to go nowhere. I was suppressing my wants to see them happy and they had already lost all hope in me. That's when husband came into my life. Miracles do happen, I hear, and now I believe. Marriage was the best decision I ever took in my life.
A year later, I finally feel a bit stronger and have some faith in myself. I finally know today what it feels like to be living without having to look over my shoulder every living moment. In the beginning of our marriage, there were times when we were out at a restaurant or someplace, and if I spotted an Indian-looking-person, I'd instinctively turn around to avoid being seen by that Indian person. Why? Well, being seen with a man in Indian community just is not 'right' for a girl. It was well drilled in my head. From that mess, today, I sit here a tad stronger person ... all thanks to the man who deserves all the love and admiration I can conjure. I no longer try to see a justification or a point behind the things that were said to me and that hurt me. There is no justification behind being told that I was bringing dishonor upon family for wanting to go out with my friends for dinner. There is absolutely no point in being screamed at that girls need to behave themselves because it is upon a girl's shoulders that the family honor lies. There is no reason for anyone to curb my freedoms of living my life as I'd like to. There is absolutely no rationale behind being called a burden that couldn't be abandoned (for I was a girl) or afforded (for I was not a 'normal' Indian girl).
I still don't know whether they were right or wrong, but I do know that I wasn't wrong. It was not my fault that I wanted to breathe without having to account to anyone for every breath I took. Why did I always try to convince myself that I was wrong? I sure was not. I was not wrong in wanting to dance. I was not wrong in wanting to write. I was not wrong in wanting to paint. I was not wrong in wanting to live.
Related reading: Personal Angst - 1