So there’s a myth about South Asian Community that South Asian girls are very secretive about their lifestyle. They like hiding things from their families. They pretend to be this perfect daughter. A lot of people, especially outside the brown community, simply don’t understand this and therefore, demote us for being so “secretive.” So here are the things I’d tell my mom if I wasn’t being secretive.
My dear mom, one day we will sit across from each other and just talk. I will tell you about every parts of my life especially the ones that are hidden. I’ll put aside any traditional, conforming nature of our thinking and share every bits and pieces with you. I will speak to you like I speak to my best friend without fear of being judged or punished.
I will tell you about my first crush in high school, who gave me the butterflies every time I saw him. Even though he was usually occupied in his world, but I never felt happier when he sat next to me in Language Arts class. I’ll tell you about how I laughed hard at all his jokes even though some of them were bad.
I’ll tell you the true reason why I stopped talking to Barisa not because she was changing schools, but because I’ve seen her flirting with my crush. I’ll tell you about the times I felt like a disappointment because I was too skinny and whenever our relatives came over, they’d always point out flaws in me. I’ll tell you about the long hours that I spent looking at the mirror, trying to finds ways to change myself so I can fit in with my peers. I wish I didn’t have to hide my emotions from you.
I’ll tell you about my first heartbreak, the times when I had to hide my tears before entering the house, when I had lost my appetite to eat anything, the times when you thought I was sick but in reality, I was hurting. Then again, how can I expect you to understand these things when the first “man” in your life was my father. And you met him a day before your wedding that was arranged by your family. You were so naive and I’m really sorry that the world was so cruel to you. It was unfair that before you even understood love, you were pressurized into an arranged marriage for the sole purpose of financial security.
I will tell you about the time when one of my friend’s friend tried to peer pressure me into smoking a cigarette. I inhaled one smoke and hated the feeling in my lungs and that was the first and last time I tried. I think you would’ve been proud of me then. But back then, I knew better than to tell you the truth. And I hope you know that too. One day when the time is right, you will get to know me.
Mom, I wanna let you know how much I’ve suffered because of the expectations that have been internalized throughout my childhood. I have lived under a rock for too long. I wish I could talk to you about the feeling of isolation that was slowly engulfing me. Until this day, I’m trying to break down those walls. I will tell you about all the emotions I have been fighting alone throughout my adolescent years and some times during my adulthood. You will listen to all of it even if you can’t relate or understand.
Someday I just feel the urge to blurt out things that come to my mind like “Mom I am in love” or “I’m not sure what I want in life.” But things like these will make you nervous because we’re not taught to be so frank with our parents so I have to carefully watch what I say. I wish I could have told you all these things so I didn’t have to come up with excuses and maybe you could have even added your own advice.
My dear mom, I always wanted to tell you this but wasn’t sure how you will take it. As I grow older and wiser, the more I realize and came to the conclusion that my life had been compromised through the child marriage I wasn’t prepared for. Often times, I wish I can go back in time and disappear my younger self from that wedding venue which feels like a curse to me. But, mom I’m not resentful towards you because your parents had done the same thing to secure your future and you didn’t know any better. You were so naive that you didn’t see it as a bad thing.
It’s so unfair that you weren’t given the chance to explore and make your own decisions in life. I’m sorry for the sacrifices you had to make but it doesn’t make sense to restrict me from attaining the life I dream of. I will not accept my fate, I believe in creating my own future. When the time is right, I will tell you about all the things that cross my mind every day. You have the right to know all parts of me. After all, I am a big part of you. I will tell you one day, even if you may never understand.
Facts about girls in Brown community: Majority of South Asian girls leads a double life. The one their family sees, and the one their friends and the rest of the world see simply because we aren’t comfortable sharing intimate details with our parents because of their mindset and the way we are raised. Therefore, it doesn’t make us bad children for trying to live our life and chase our dreams regardless of the religious or cultural restrictions that are placed on us.