Where I Take The Power Back
I’m reclaiming my right to write.
There’s much I’ve felt and been and heard and wanted to say but didn’t. A relationship, an engagement, a bitter breakup…aren’t all of these fodder for a feeling writer? And yet I’ve been quiet.
I’ve been under a self-imposed gag order that no one speaks of. That’s beautiful and ironic and perfect and ugly all at once.
A friend told me that I get lost in words, the beauty of my own words, that I hide behind them and now I can’t find my way back. Yes, maybe true. But I’m refusing to see my words as my jailers. They’ve been after all, firm and steady friends in a life of already wonderful friendships (even if love hasn’t been quite as, shall we say, gracious?). So I’m bringing them back.
Ever notice how everyone agrees and Facebook Likes generic statements on dowry? How half the nation sits glued to the screen, silently identifying with evil in-law stories? But not a single one of them ever comes out and says, “This is happening to me and dammit I don’t like it!”. Nobody ever admits to hating their partner’s families. No progressive woman ever goes beyond declaiming the horrid turdiness of Indian men in general. Not one of them ever says that the man she’s married to or in love with is one of those shitheels in question too. Why should I be the first to break that omerta?
Why do even the smartest, most accomplished and confident of us willingly put our personal power into the hands of men? Because falling in love at some level, is giving the person power over you. Trust, that foundation of a relationship, is about letting a person see that they can hurt you. And no matter how shackled our pasts have been, how cruel our social captors were, the only real living and the progress there is to be had is by going back and hoping. Hoping this boy will grow up to be a man, hoping ‘responsibility’ and ‘commitment’ aren’t banned words in this one’s dictionary and hoping that a relationship can be more than a stone around the neck, could be as much fun and comfort for a woman as it is for a man. Hope is hard but hard experiences are what brought me to a place of being able to stay I’m hurting but I’m standing. And I am.
But these are missions for a different time. For now, I’m just taking back my power to say what I will and what I feel in this space that’s truly mine. I’m reclaiming my voice and by God, it’s got a lot to say. I’m not even sure how to end this post since I’m only just beginning and the end is nowhere in sight.
Welcome back, old friends and beloved strangers. It’s unimaginably wonderful to meet me again.
I have been following your blog ever since the 30’s diary entry.I can so relate to this entry.While my inlaws did not ask for dowry,there were a lot of other demands and one of their unreasonable demand was also that we take up the entire wedding and reception expenses.My then bf and now husband while theoretically agreeing to “equality” did not fight his parents too hard until i pushed him.And that was very heartbreaking and disappointing since I thought we shared the same ideals and not just in “theory”…..But yeah,atleast to give him credit,he finally did stand up for us and fought….
@R: I had the same situation. Dowry isn’t just a list of items demanded to be paid over before the wedding. It’s also that sense of superiority in being ‘ladkewaale’ and assuming that any kind of behaviour is okay. It’s also such statements like “The girl’s side is supposed to take care of this, you know.” (which prefaced every discussion in my case). No one wanted to touch the dirty D word but all of these were clear & present. And the engagement ended a couple of weeks later. That’s a big, fat bloody ugly elephant called DOWRY that kicked this relationship into the garbage, as far as I’m concerned.
I am sorry, R. Maybe one day this will all make sense? Good to have you back. I was so missing the writing.
@Lakshmi: Thank you, love. I missed writing, of course but I didn’t realize how much I missed connections, even ones like this that happen over distances.
The ones that happen over distances are interesting. So surprisingly intimate at times that it defies an explanation…
Just wanted to drop in and say hello when I read through all the older entries. All I can say is that kudoes to you for standing up for your principles. Even against love. It takes a lot of self belief to do that.
Hope you are doing fine now.
Love and hugs
More power to you.