In a culture where marriage is considered sacred and even mandatory for a woman, and divorce is seen as a sign of failure, I’m beginning to love and celebrate this new found freedom of speech and expression.
Now as a young desi woman, if you have been through separation or divorce, you certainly become a hot topic for gossip and pitiful glares at family events. Anything that deviates from the norm (arranged marriage) is stigmatized and rather taboo.
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked “how do you feel about being alone with no husband?” with emphasis. I said, now let’s see if these reason are good enough.
I can peacefully sit and drink my coffee without feeling guilty about not making it for four other people (him, his parents or brother). I can watch tv in my free time without being labeled as “lazy” by his mom. I can finally have some privacy when getting out of the shower without having to come across his father or brother. I can talk to my friends over the phone without making anyone uncomfortable with my happy vibes. I can go to work without feeling the constant pressure of being a housewife, taking care of the entire family. I can finally drive my car that has been parked for months since I was forbidden to drive. I can go to school to complete my teaching degree without having to hide it from anyone. I can finally write my blog and express myself without the fear of offending him or his family.
Also, I can now express myself however I wish to. I can wear my choice of clothes without needing a second opinion. Frankly speaking, I thank God for these moments everyday because it is what I have prayed for during the times my marriage held me hostage for the sake of family honor.
So to clear any doubts, yes I am very much enjoying my hard earned freedom from patriarchal oppression and misogyny. I’m finding me all over again. Somehow that was everything I needed.
I went from being told that something is wrong with me to realizing my worth. I went from being told that I had too many needs and expectations to honoring my needs and exceeding my expectations. I have embraced the challenges life has thrown at me. Now, I bravely say, “what’s next?”
Divorces are riddled with stigma in desi communities. It’s like when you’re married, all your actions are validated but when you get divorced, people make you feel invalid again. Thankfully, more women are challenging this perspective and pushing for a change. That is why instead of hiding my marital status, I choose to speak about it and show the world that I take pride in the choices I made in life.
If it costs you your peace it’s too expensive.