Archive for Marriage

Effecting Change: Rebelling Against ‘Indian Woman Syndrome’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by tivaniam

“Smile quietly” was in the contract I signed when I agreed to be born an Indian and specifically a woman. We are raised to smile quietly because of “what the people would say”, and we are raised to smile quietly “for the sake of the children”. Two principles that I ferociously rebel against, and which I refuse to subscribe to, something that has become such a pandemic that I refer to it as the “Indian Woman Syndrome” although it extends deeply to Indian men alike.  Even in progressive times, this seems to be the mind-set that Indian people STILL adopt.  And sadly, as a result, we stay as sick as our secrets – that which we refuse to acknowledge, face or speak about.

As an Indian, specifically a woman, I was supposed to stay in my marriage for the sake of the kids. Because, what would people say if I chose the alternative? So I stayed. For a while, until death became an option. And I realised that my choice to live my life in sacrifice, wasn’t serving anyone, least of all my children – MOST of all myself.

So I left. Twice. Two marriages, several relationships and jobs and people – everything that didn’t serve me or make me happy. I went against the grain of what I was SUPPOSED to be, and chose to be real. And yes, people judged. Harshly. I lost friends and family. The words I was called and the judgment thrown at me stung me terribly. Enough to make me want to shrink back.

But I didn’t. Because there was something inside me that screamed louder than any of the names I was called.

Saying “fuck-it” to the ideals society prescribed for me meant choosing to turn my insides out, and with that meant not only making different choices, but also doing it vocally. I began writing my truth, living my truth and BEING my truth. And as I shared my life through my words, my truth started setting others free to share THEIR truths. Because there are people, Indians specifically, who knew EXACTLY what I was feeling, who shared the same hopelessness and helplessness and despair but stay in bad marriages or relationships for the children and because of what people would say if they chose to be selfish and do what makes them happy.

This limiting belief system perpetuates the cycle that I see continuously with Indian people. The antiquated, indoctrinated beliefs predominantly stemming from religion that promotes patriarchy and teaches us to live in sacrifice. The need to put on facades in an effort to save face has caused so many Indian people to lose themselves and live existentially, miserable and hateful of the world. This in turn gets repeated with their children who emulate what they learn – the boys become misogynists, the girls, doormats – and without any concept of what authenticity, aliveness, freedom and love truly means. Ingrained prejudices are carried forward and we do not progress as a culture or the collective human species.

So why choose to live in that limiting way?

To try and be liked by everyone? What a waste of a life. Because no matter how hard you work or how self-righteous you think you are, you will never EVER make everyone like you. But, if you make yourself heard, if you live a life that’s true, you will find the RIGHT people to love and be loved by. You would encourage your children to be real and teach them, through example, about self-love and true freedom of expression. Can you imagine the possibility of what the world could hold for them or you if you expanded your belief system instead of following old ideologies that had no place back then, certainly not now, that only serve to make people conform?

Be a rebel. Live your truth out loud. And see the ripple effects of what that authenticity, peace and aliveness does for you, your children and then the world at large. When you choose YOU, you give others permission to do the same for themselves. I am a living testament of that, and so are my children who are happy, well-adjusted, emotionally stable, kind and loving kids NOTWITHSTANDING the fact that I left their dads. Or perhaps…because of it.

Ray Rice and the ‘Shock’ Video

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by tivaniam

Video footage of NFL star, Ray Rice, pounding his fiancée in an elevator has gone viral in recent weeks and caused an outcry within NFL and the American public in general. The incident which happened in February and was dismissed then as a ‘mild physical altercation’ has since proven to be severe as footage revealed Rice dragging the limp body of his unconscious fiancée (whom he has since married) out of an elevator. Viewers described this as ‘shocking’.

What is shocking to me is the uproar this has created simply because the victim in question happened to be engaged to and then married a professional footballer. What about the countless number of women who are beaten to a pulp daily by their less than famous partners? Everyday women with everyday monsters parading as men? A few months ago, a random South African woman made headlines for being stabbed 50 times by her estranged husband and left for dead in an office park. The story, encapsulated in less than ten paragraphs was visible for a day and then faded into obscurity. This was someone’s mother, daughter, sister and friend. A few weeks later, a woman was set alight by her drunken husband in a domestic dispute. She encountered 90 degree burns to her entire body and is now left in a vegetative state. This newspaper article made the third page of a publication and again, lasted for just a day.

The prevalence of abuse against women, despite the activism that we as a society promote, is still on the increase. One punch to one woman is too many. The question I find myself asking is what sort of men are we raising? The paradox of being successful in a career but wanting to be dominant within a relationship is something I don’t understand. It is reported that about 70% of women will experience violence in their lifetime, yet this incident with Rice proved to be ‘shocking’ to audiences – simply because people witnessed it personally, having seen the leaked video. Does this make violence more real? Do we need to physically see a woman being beaten to appreciate the full horror of it?

 

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As a mother to a little boy, I have a role to play in ensuring that he is raised to respect women in every way and form. The way a child lives will ultimately determine their moral compass – children learn what they live. Stop the cycle of abuse by ensuring that we raise men that are secure within themselves to not feel emasculated by strong women or who feel the need to resort to violence to intimidate women. More than that, women who are trapped within these abusive relationships need to know that there are ways to get out. You are worth more and deserve more than being dragged like a piece of luggage on a dirty elevator floor, followed by a half-arsed apology.

For every Woman Who Had her Spirit Broken by a Man

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 23, 2014 by tivaniam

I used to cry myself to sleep, wanting to find my soul a home, feeling like a caged bird singing for things unknown. This feeling of disconsolation was essentially me for years – breathing just a little and calling it a life. I was a victim of circumstance and bad decisions which I felt was my penance for the choices I consciously made. Similarly, countless women I know have become victims – silent victims of love gone wrong who suffer endlessly at the hands of the men they choose to be with. Never contemplating a life other than what they live, because of fear that debilitates them or obligation because of children or simply because of what they perceive as love. Worse than staying is the choice of remaining silent for fear of the aspersions that would face them should they choose to leave.

I have chosen to live on the other side of Victim. There has been solace in breaking my silence. I have developed a strength of spirit when I shared my truth. A truth which resonated so deeply within so many women whose affirmations became empowering to me, making me continue to tell my story authentically – as ugly and real as life tends to be – irrespective of whatever criticism or judgment I may encounter. It is a tragedy that even in spite of affirming me, the very same women could not speak their own truth, while commending me for verbalising mine. It is a paradox that I don’t understand.

As women of this generation, we have the freedom and choice to empower ourselves. We are solely responsible for the protection of our hearts and emotional wellbeing. In all our multifaceted layers of beauty and strength, both internal and external, we need to know that we are worthy of love in its purest form. Having experienced the hurt and the pain associated with “love”, I now know for sure what love is not. Love is not pain. Love does not break you down. Love does not criticise. Love is not fear. Love is not silence. Love does not lie, cheat or resort to emotional or physical violence. Love is not self-serving. Love is not unsure.

To the women who doubt your worth, know this. Most of us are born with an inherent strength that far surpasses even our own expectation or assumptions. We are instinctively nurturing and sacrifice ourselves for the good of everyone we love, all the while forgetting that we need to have in order to give. We need to be fulfilled and content and happy and at peace in order to give off the love we often give so generously and get nothing in return. Become selfish. Make yourselves a priority and know that you are phenomenal.

To every woman living with a broken heart, and to my friend in particular, KNOW YOUR WORTH. You are deserving of the kind of love that involves no pain. Make the changes necessary to live authentically and allow yourself the life you dreamt of having. Do not settle for second best, you are all worth more than that.

To quote from my favourite poet, Maya Angelou:

“…Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

…You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise“.

To My Armchair Psychologists

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 12, 2013 by tivaniam
Divorce Ring

Divorce Ring (Photo credit: Jewellery Monthly)

Since the revelation of my impending divorce, this being the second failed marriage, I have had countless unwarranted words of derision about the unfortunate situation I find myself in. Firstly, thank you for the time taken to impart such wisdom to me. I wasn’t aware of the vast knowledge each of you possessed and the level of perfection in which you live your lives which far surpasses the lives of ordinary beings. In my ignorance that level of unprecedented perfection belonged to something of a higher, omniscient power. But hey, what do I know. I should have remembered to take notes. 

Secondly, and this may come as a surprise, my life is not a democracy. I don’t aspire to live it for anyone other than me. Far from being ostentatious and worrying about putting up appearances to the detriment of my own happiness, I need only stay true to my own convictions and not what society deems correct for me. I am unapologetic and unashamed for wanting more for my life. My pursuit of happiness means that, sadly, I may end up making the wrong decisions but those are my lessons to learn.

Thirdly, and most importantly, please be advised that going forward, advice/concern/wisdom or any aspersions alluding to my choices and decisions should be given if solicited. Until then, keep your opinions to yourselves. I can assure you that while I voluntarily air my dirty linen, I do so for reasons that none of you will comprehend, primarily because its cathartic and secondarily because one person in this world may benefit from my prescience over my own life and grasp the idea of being true to exactly what and who they are and aspire to live a life of purpose and meaning.

Finally, please heed MY friendly advice to you. All of the energy that gets invested in judging me would be better utilised in an endeavour to educate yourself and perhaps that evolution and insight would offer you greater perspective into the shit that is happening in your own lives. Said shit gets swept under the carpet in a suffering attempt to paint the image of perfection you insanely believe is the reality of your life.

I don’t know what affects me more – people who see fit to judge others who are living their personal truth or the people living their truth who end up being ashamed of their choices because of armchair psychologists parading as experts on life. It’s sad.

Thanking you in advance for your discernment in minding your own fucking business.

Sincerely,

Twice divorced and happy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Divorce Diary – Part One

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 18, 2013 by tivaniam

I started cleaning out cupboards this weekend. I hadn’t realised how much of stuff I had accumulated over the years – despite having moved house five times and cleaned out stuff each time! However this stuff was a different accumulation. It was seven years of memories stored in boxes. A treasure chest of everything I held close to my heart. Pictures of us over the years, cards, trinkets and papers of sentimental value – the first movie we watched together, your name tag from work that I got so excited to possess when we started dating…..my heart broke.

In that pile was our wedding album. I didn’t realise just how sad I looked despite the smile I wore. The sadness behind my eyes was so obvious! Yet I continued to live in hope and dreamt of a time when the love I yearned for would envelope me.

I remember when we found out that we were having a son – after three miscarriages, our baby was safe and developing well. That was one of the few moments of complete and utter joy that we experienced – aside from his birth. I remember the dreams we had for our precious baby who – in my mind – would be the glue that bound us together firmly.

Yet here we are now.

It’s very sad how the ebb and flow of life can throw you completely off balance. You have no choice but to ride the waves. “Do what we have to do” – a woman’s mantra it seems.

I didn’t complete the packing, the grief overwhelmed me. I will try another day.

This morning when I drove to work, Adele’s “Turning Tables” blasted from my radio:

Under haunted skies I see
Where love is lost, your ghost is found
I’ve braved a hundred storms to leave you
As hard as you try, no, I will never be knocked down……….

Next time I’ll be braver, I’ll be my own savior
Standing on my own two feet

 

Loneliness Unspoken

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on May 1, 2013 by tivaniam

Loneliness (song)

Loneliness (song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My life reads like an epic, harrowing tale filled with twists and turns and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I have experienced things that most people never face in their lifetime but I have survived it all! I feel like a warrior who won the greatest battle. The only problem with being a protagonist in the story of my own life is the fact that there can’t be two heroes, which makes for a very lonely life.

 

Loneliness has become a constant white noise that I have grown so used to hearing, I live by its rhythm. Ironic considering I am married with kids and have no reason to feel lonely, but I do.  

Sadly, like most women, I am a paradox. I am a force to be reckoned with at work. I am strong, resilient and capable. Yet silently I am a hopeless romantic, the damsel in distress waiting for some grand gesture that demonstrates my prince’s love and affection. And I wait. And I wait. The tragedy here is the fact that no matter what I do or say, the love language I speak is completely different from my husband’s and so we are both left meandering through this marriage like two lost ships at sea. For someone so strong and capable, I am weak when it comes to love. I wear my heart on my sleeve and love fully. My weakness comes with the fact that I have left my emotional wellbeing firmly at the feet of the man I chose to marry, hoping and praying that one day, I would finally get what I long for. But humans are fallible creatures by their very nature. To expect someone else to be exclusively invested in my own happiness is unrealistic and unattainable. It’s a rarity to find someone who checks every box that you have in your head of your perfect relationship. I have very little to complain about by way of morals and values in the man I chose to marry. I just married someone who opts for emotional detachment and survives on mundane domesticity. I married someone who is indifferent when I am grandiose, who is complacent when I am restless and who never “sees” me when I desperately need to be seen.

Marriage is more than being parents to children, for me it’s about the relationship between a man and a woman. The very foundation of that marriage should be the passion and love and intimacy shared.  It should be a silent flame that doesn’t often have to burn brightly but should never dim.

 

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