Archive for Marriage

Why The “You Complete Me” Mentality Is A Load Of Shit

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2017 by tivaniam

LOVE is a disease, in and of itself, of which, I am the greatest sufferer. I hold it in reverence; and watch as it turns me from a rational woman, into a manic, fevered-face, high-pitched and deranged shadow of my former self. I am an over-the-top romantic and adore grand displays of affection and attention. A man saying “you complete me” would be met with a theatrical ‘slow-fainting’ display, complete with requisite ugly cry (yes, I’ve watched Jerry Maguire more times than I can count).

But, let’s be real. The stuff movies are made of, aren’t real life and the messages are often very dangerous. The inference that we need another to feel complete is the reason so many of us, women especially, keep yearning and searching for that big love and often times, never find it. Not with that mentality anyway. The universe taught me this lesson early on, but I chose to give it the “up yours” sign and instead became a chameleon in order to make the man happy:

Him: “What’s your favourite food?”

Me: “I don’t know…what’s YOUR favourite food?”

Him: “Probably sushi”

Me: “Oh My God! ME too!”

PS. I HATE sushi.

Enough said. I hang my head in shame.

The universe in Her infinite wisdom, made the lessons harder and harder, until finally, I was sick of my own shit and said, “fuck this, I need to be my own hero and complete myself”, which is the journey I’ve been on for the last 14 months.

So this is the problem with movies like Jerry Maguire; it’s all fun and games and dancing in the dark until we try and apply it to real life and the men run away. Fast. It sets the narrative for a love that isn’t real and cannot be sustained and leads to much disappointment.

I am indefatigable when it comes to love. I peel myself back, layer by layer, for the whole world to see. And I love being that way – gloriously lavish in the face of love.

But, the difference is, notwithstanding my expansive heart, I will never again be a man’s sinner, saint or scapegoat in the quest to make him complete me or vice versa. That is way too much of pressure on him and me. The completeness is an internal job. And it’s a deeply personal job, untainted by the pressures of what society thinks I should be. I will be doing the world an injustice if I choose to fade away and live in the shadows of what any man needs me to be, in order to love me. I will be negating my truth if I stay quiet about who I am. I will die a slow death if I succumb to any labels others place on me, as a result of their personal fight with their own significance. I cannot own any of that anymore. I speak loudly, I cannot be unseen. I leave a lasting impression.  I am unapologetic about it.

Being complete all by myself means that I can love without expectation, demand or fear. So when love came knocking at my door, magic was created because I am me, fully, and he is him, fully.

I am versed in a new lingo. It’s no longer, “you complete me” but rather “I see me, in you”. The point being, I see ME first. And that for me is the REAL love story here. It will never ever end.

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An Open Letter to Indian Men

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2017 by tivaniam

Disclaimer:

This post is guaranteed to offend someone and in that event, I invite you to take a long, hard look at yourself and consider why you find this offensive – perhaps there is some truth to what I’ve said, and if so, that’s the first step in changing patterns of behaviour that are harmful. Secondly, while this is directed to Indian men, solely from the standpoint of being an Indian woman, this does not preclude men from other races who adopt the same attributes.

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As a published writer, opening myself up to public commentary and judgment is par for the course. It’s something I signed up for when I committed my life to my craft: to live my purpose as a conscious writer.  I know I am not here to win points. I am here to create awareness through my writing by sharing candid and authentic stories of hope and redemption, based on what I have experienced in my life. This is the only reason I reference my past – not to focus on negativity, but to provide relatable stories that anyone can resonate with and be inspired enough to believe that life can change and get better.

Recently, a newspaper contacted me wanting me to highlight my story and journey with depression. I shared my story openly, and received some amazing feedback from so many wonderful men and women, who felt inspired and hopeful to overcome their own experiences. I’ve had a few people – men and women alike – tell me that I saved them from suicide, which for me was the biggest affirmation that I am living my essence and my soul’s calling.

That opened itself up to lots of interaction with a lot of different people. I received messages from broken Indian women, who are held captive by depression because they’re in abusive relationships with Indian men. The stories shared with me filled me with horror – stories of violence, degradation, humiliation and emotional abuse of the worst kind. It left me emotionally and physically depleted because I am totally ill-equipped to deal with this and all I could do was lend a comforting ear.

Over and above that, the brevity within which Indian men slid into DM’s on every social media platform that they could find me, to strike up random non-related conversations, ranging from complimenting my looks and my legs; to asking for my number; or pretending to need writing work done then asking for my number – culminated in this post. I realised that I may not be able to do anything for these women who are beaten down, but I can use my voice through the written word.

Indian men: many of you were raised in homes that predefined the role of a man. You were led to believe that being a man means negating your feelings and emotions and ruling with an iron-fist. You were raised in a society that promoted ‘manliness’ over sensitivity, relegating the latter to a solely female trait. You were taught to believe that you had to have a partner who was submissive and you had to be respected because you were born a male. Many of you were told that men don’t cry. And as a result, your emotions got suppressed and you became hardened, and suppressed sorrow can only turn into rage. Rage that gets taken out on those you love.

Indian men: many of you were raised as misogynists, considering women as second-class citizens, sex-objects there for your glorification and people of lesser intellect and strength.  This is why you continue to objectify women instead of seeing us in God-form and equal. This is why some of you can confront a woman through social media, commenting on what she looks like, rather than what she is looking AT or trying to achieve. Many of you violate women based on your internal deficiencies and illnesses. The way a woman looks, dresses or carries herself is not an invitation for you to proceed – violently or otherwise. And, ‘single’ does not mean ‘available’.

Indian men: many of you perpetuated the cycle of dysfunction that you were raised with, modelling the role of your own father who was absent or conditioned from his personal experiences and childhood.

Indian men: this is the cycle you will continue with your children – sons who become hardened and angry, and girls who learn how to become doormats.

But, Indian men: cycles can be broken. A new reference point can begin. It starts with you. It starts with talking openly and honestly about stuff that men are told never to speak about – feelings and emotions. I’ve witnessed first-hand the amazing transformations of so many Indian men, who were once plagued by cyclical dysfunction, but who were brave enough to transcend it and pave a new way for himself and his children and the generations to follow. We need to shift into a new way of thinking and Being in this world. We simply cannot operate as the generations that came before us. It is self-evident that they fucked it up. We have to begin afresh and create a shift in consciousness by returning to innocence and purity.

Indian men: my invitation to you is this. Change how you view the world and yourself in it. Let go of preconceived ideas and ways of conditioned thinking and indoctrination. Stop regarding men and women as being separate. Instead, consider all of us to be the same thread stemming from the same tapestry. Teach your sons and daughters that gender specific roles are an illusion – anyone can do anything at any time. Indian men, start believing that a house is made a home by both parties and that domesticity is not confined to a woman, neither is raising kids nor cooking. Understand that women can be the fiercest opponents in business and are capable of running our own finances and getting shit done.

Indian men: understand that violence of any kind is an explosion of the pain that is internal. Deal with the pain and not the trigger of what set you off.

Indian men, the time for restoration is now. The world needs more comforters, nurturers, peace-makers, truth-tellers and game-changers. Indian men, it begins and ends with you. What you do today can alter the course of generations that follow, which collectively is the change we need to see in the world. It’s time to step up and be about something.

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

 

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