Archive for Opinions

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.

The Dreaded ‘F’ Word

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by tivaniam

Fear.

Not the kind that is inspired by the likes of Freddie Kruger. It is the type that is debilitating, paralysing and stunting growth and development. We are raised in a society that propagates an almost nefarious message throughout our formative years of why we should not do certain things, why it is dangerous to take a risk. Fear in the context of self-preservation, has its place. Fear that prevents you from acting in order to live your best life is one where your freedom is forfeited.

Two weeks ago I made a decision to resign from a stable job that provided me with a decent salary. I have no back-up plan. Whether this is stupid or brave is a debatable thing based on an individual perception, however my decision was based exclusively on the fact that I have a higher calling and a purpose that needs to be fulfilled. My purpose is to be happy and nothing is going to derail me from that ultimate goal.

A wise person told me today that people tend to die at the age of 21 and get buried at 70. Do I want to live an existential life with regrets later on? No. Do you?

Fear has become a safety net for people to stay in bad relationships, jobs, cities or even from BEING. To live a life without risk means that you become nothing. You avoid pain perhaps but neither can you grow or evolve. For years I climbed the imaginary walls in my mind, trying to escape. I can say with conviction that, now, I am finally free. I am versed in a new lingo. I pride myself on my F words but FEAR has no place in there.

 

What’s In A Name?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 9, 2014 by tivaniam

These are the names I have been called:

Black bitch

Idiot

Worthless piece of shit

Ugly

Giraffe

Pink Panther

Doll

Baby

Love

Beauty

Angel

MILF

Gorgeous

Lady

Boss

Fraud

Insensitive

Aggressive

Mean

Nasty

Selfish

Inconsistent

Unappreciative

Kind

Mum

Loving

Friend

Slut

Attention seeker

Inspiration

Maverick

Intelligent

Stupid

Damaged

Crazy

Irresponsible

Funny

Cool

Trendy

Talented

Question is, what do I answer to?

When you are stripped bare, metaphorically speaking, every hideous angle exposed, you can do one of two things: die or change.

I am a kaleidoscopic mess, as incongruent as night and day.

But, I am now defining myself.

Resolutions

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on January 8, 2013 by tivaniam
A family christmas tree.

A family christmas tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My father was the kind of man who never needed a reason to have a party. He loved entertaining people and our home was always filled with family and friends. Christmas especially, was such a joyous occasion. Although we weren’t Christians, the feeling of love and a sense of family harmony gave us a reason to celebrate as enthusiastically. As a child, I remember waking up early on Christmas morning rushing to the Christmas tree, dizzy with excitement and anticipation of what I would find underneath. My father would always be seated in a specific chair in our dining room, watching my mother laboriously prepare the big lunch we were accustomed to having. All the while, Boney M could be heard bellowing from the radio, singing the Christmas carols I have come to hate since my father’s death. Those happy memories have been relegated to the background of my mind, where only sadness now resides.Since my father’s death, Christmas has taken on a new meaning. Although the ebb and flow of life made it easier to deal with the grief, the silence in our home became too deafening. Visits from family and friends fizzled and pretty soon it was apparent that life as we knew it would never be the same. This past Christmas was celebrated quietly, with even fewer family members and far less presents or excitement of any kind. It became clear to me then, as I sat with my small family having a quiet lunch, that this was the time to create new memories and not hold onto the memories left in the wake of my father’s death. It is time for a new dawn.

So, as I ushered in the New Year, I made a promise to myself that my resolution would be life changing and sustainable. Far from the resolutions of years gone by, this year would be different and not superficial. I resolved that this would be a year of selfishness, where my focus and attention got spent on me and those that deserve my love and loyalty. Through the years of trying to please everyone whilst holding onto the legacy left by my father, I have found that I have lost myself along the way and am constantly disappointed when people treat me differently despite the love and loyalty I bestow onto them. 2012 was a year of many revelations and some of them weren’t pleasant but throughout it all, I discovered my own strength and the endurance I possess to deal with sadness and loss. 2013 will undoubtedly be a year of self-discovery as I always strive to do better and be better. This time however, I will be much kinder to myself, lose all expectations from friends or family who profess to be there and just aren’t, and depend solely on myself for my own happiness. Memories will be made from scratch with only those who truly love and value me and mine in their lives.

Here’s to a glorious year filled with new happy memories and a lifetime of inner peace.

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