5 Words to describe me:
STRONG - FIERCE - INDEPENDENT - WARRIOR – DETERMINED
My earliest memory as a child is being approximately 5 years old or so, it is ironically a memory which is embedded with the concept of honour and shame. I remember wearing a strapless summer dress and not sitting correctly, my legs were in a un lady like position, so I was told off “sit properly, place your legs like this, girls don’t sit like that.” As a child at that age you don’t actually care how you are sitting or if it is inappropriate all you want to do is have fun. I found it odd as I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong, however the embarrassment I felt at being publicly told off remained with me forever.
As I grew older there were more expectations of how I should behave and more unwritten rules to be followed. I came to realise that it was not permissible to argue or to discuss what was expected of me as a girl. The conversation would be shut down with “once you are married you can do what you like.” As a naive teenager, it seemed that it would be a pass to independence, holidays abroad without any parents, the opportunity to stay out late and the authority to make my own decisions. Again, time would reveal to my morbid surprise that again I was totally wrong.
When it came to marriage, I didn’t question their choice, dutiful loving daughters don’t do that because it brings shame and dishonour to the family name. By this time, I had experienced 20 years of strict programming of the honour/shame control code, it had been drilled into me, instilled into my core. I did not agree with everything that was imposed upon me yet I couldn’t argue it or live in a different manner.
Being the only girl, I had been extremely loved by everyone. But at the same time as a girl, I was not able to make important decisions for myself. My views, my decisions were not given the same value, nor did I have the same freedom as my brothers and other male counterparts.
My marriage of 18 years was the biggest challenge, the pain and torment which I have undergone is difficult to transcribe into words
To the outside world, it would appear I had everything, beautiful children, a lovely home and a marriage to a successful businessman who was so polite and caring. But that for me was all a façade, privately he would constantly torment me, laugh at me when I put makeup on or wearing a nice outfit, I wasn’t allowed to wear anything he deemed to be too westernised. He was financially abusive and did not allow me to have any money or a job. He was emotionally abusive and would make me feel like I was a bad mother who was abandoning my children to see friends if I wanted to go out. He would tell me that shameless women go out for meals without their families. He would constantly threaten me if I didn’t obey him, then he would take my children to Pakistan and I would never see them again. My children were my world and I was so afraid that I would lose them for good, so I had to choose wisely.
When I did tell my parents and they intervened he would twist the whole version of events and make me out to be the bad one. They would reassure me and say he will get better with time, that he loved me and the kids and didn’t mean any harm.
His control got so bad that I began to suffer from severe depression and panic attacks. I was always scared to leave the house because he would question my every single move and I would be afraid if I got something wrong he would then make a huge deal out of it all and punish me with more restrictions.
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