I am a 38 year old desi woman going through a divorce. I was born in Pakistan and my family moved to Saudi Arabia when I was five. I have lived in Saudi Arabia, UK and USA over the years and have been labeled an ABCD by desis, a desi aunty by the ABCD’s, British by the Americans and American by the British! Over 14 years of marriage, we had 4 kids and many ups and downs. Granted, there were more downs than ups, but who was counting?
I am on a journey of self-discovery, so I can’t say where I stand as far as my own cultural and religious beliefs are concerned. I welcome you to take a peek into my world as I discover who I am and what I stand for. Be prepared for a bumpy ride.
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|Character vs. Reputation|
|Blogs - Diary Of A Desi Single Mom|
|By Desi Single Mom|
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Ever since I remember I was always concerned about my reputation. I didn't have a bad character, so why was I so worried about my reputation? I believe it may have been due to the fact that my character may have been good, but it was weak. I always looked for outside approval because I didn't think my own approval mattered. Too many women believe that. Especially women from our culture. Some women figure out that this belief is wrong on their own, others (such as I) need to go through turmoil before they realize it, and unfortunately, many never do.
The first month after I filed for divorce was horrible. I was a shattered woman. I had no self-esteem and had lived with emotional and verbal abuse for 14 years. I would have continued living the same way, had it not been for the fact that my daughter was starting to get the same treatment from her father. He had started taunting her because she was like me.
Why is it that my reputation has been negatively impacted by my decision to divorce my husband? Why is it that his accusations about my character have put my credibility into question?
Part of me says I don't care. I know my own character and I don't care what everybody else thinks about me. Another part of me is disappointed in our society. I guess it was my naiveté and my false hope that made me believe that people would understand my decision to divorce my husband and support me. I thought they would believe me because I was telling the truth, and he was not.
Then there were those people who constantly tried to convince me to change my mind. They thought that I was acting rashly and should wait for my anger to abate. There were others who believed that I should continue living with whatever my circumstances were, for the sake of the children. They all questioned how I was going to raise the children when I was no longer going married to a physician. The one reaction that completely blew me away was from a lady (pediatric psychiatrist) who told me that by filing for divorce I had written off my children's future!
During the first month I answered every phone call, gave explanations even though the advice I got was frustrating. I asked them all the same question. Did they really believe it was a rash decision? After 14 years and 4 children, was I just leaving my husband because we had had one fight too many on his leaving the toothpaste tube open? Did they really believe that I would throw away a marriage that long, and mess up my children's lives, when I could be comfortably married to a rich man? If my decision was messing up the children's lives, what was growing up in that atmosphere doing to them?
It was very frustrating. I cried, yelled, explained, gave reasons that I really didn't need to give. And then, I became a recluse. I stopped picking up the phone. I didn't attend parties or meet people. I hated people and so I became a hermit. That phase went on for a year. In retrospect, I think it did me some good. My family was staying with me at that time because they were afraid my husband might hurt me. I appreciate that, and wouldn't trade my family's support for anything in the world, but I think it slowed my emotional healing process. I know their reasons for being there, and maybe I'll write about them at a later date, but it made me emotionally dependent on them.
It was after my family left and I started to spend time alone when the children were visiting their father that started the healing process and helped me grow as a person. I started going for yoga and spending hours in bookstores reading self-help books. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction. And then my husband financially choked me. This left me scared and in panic. A trusted friend asked me to watch a movie called "The Secret" and apply it to my life. That movie opened up the world of metaphysics and Law of Attraction to me. I grabbed every book I could find on the subject. I must admit, I have inattentive ADD, so I can't claim to have finished any of those books… but I have a basket with about 30 books that I keep moving to my bedroom and family room with me all day long. I will pick up any one book and read a little bit from it several times a day. It's not the normal way of reading, but it's the best way an ADD bookworm with children can read.
I am no longer that depressed woman who had no self-esteem in 2010. Nor am I the bitter, angry woman who hated everyone in 2011.
I am now slowly learning to be happier. I know I gave my marriage 14 years of patience and effort. I have no regrets about not trying, or about giving up. I am at peace with my decision and I have stopped caring that others aren't. They can believe what my husband says, or they can form their own beliefs. My reputation is based on their beliefs but it does not define who I am. My character is based on my beliefs, and that is who I truly am.