Written by: Saleesha
In the past, marriage in the brown community was something imposed due to financial stability and security. Currently, most have the bounty to pursue an education and professional aspirations, thus becoming more self-sufficient. Yet, there is still pressure to get married in our twenties, procreate by our thirties and avoid divorce.
Patriarchy and misogyny are still prevalent today. While women are on the receiving end of marginalization in communities, most men are immune. An example of a sexist tradition is checking white bedsheets for marks of purity after one’s wedding night. Women are expected to be pure, subservient, patient and accepting. Men are excused because they generally take longer to mature, and to become emotionally stabilized. If a man is dominating, an alcoholic, abusive (physically or mentally), promiscuous, financially frivolous, it is more socially forgiven.
Brainwashed to think that marriage is the end result for a happier life, most force themselves to remain in situations that are destructive.
There is a cultural mentality imposed that things will get better if you get married or have children. Quietly enduring suffering supersedes speaking up and leaving a bad situation, in fear of being shamed. A society more concerned with the humiliation of what people say or think, holds more precedence.
The aunties (uncles too!) will speculate who was to blame in a divorce, or find faults to justify why you are single. (Her roti must not be round. She must be too picky or a nag.) Let them talk! Be empowered as you are in control of your happiness. You have the right to decide what is best for you without guilt and judgement.
You, and your offspring are worth so much more than being in damaging situations and conforming to cultural expectations that are unrealistic, and threaten your well-being. End this cycle of trauma, of entitled males and females with ‘daddy issues.’
Being divorced or single shows self-preservation and self-care that you won’t settle for subpar. It does not mean you are a failure, incomplete or defective. Finding a life partner is not a process to be rushed—there’s no timeline. Many have children at an older age without complications.
Don’t hide or feel ashamed. You choose what you want to disclose.
If you are not comfortable, there is no need to explain. People prefer the spicy story, over the truth anyway. The next time there is a social event don’t allow yourself to be recluse and withdrawn. Show the world that you are in control, happy (although there may be challenging moments) and won’t allow past beliefs and stigmas to be passed down to future generations. If someone makes an inappropriate remark or interrogates you with unreasonable questions, respectfully respond with “I am living my best life and I appreciate your concern for my happiness,” and walk away. You create your own peace and no one's expectations should interfere with your peace.