Love Who We Want

Yesterday, I wrote about a teacher who was fired from my Catholic high school for marrying his partner of 10 years. 

Today, I want to hit a little bit closer to home with my culture regarding a similar issue. How free are we, as Indians, to love who we want? Is it possible to be with or even marry the person we want if they don’t fit into what our culture dictates is right for us? How much pressure do we even put on ourselves to fit into what we think is right? 

I’ve learned the hard way that what is right on paper isn’t what is right for me. But I had to go through a pretty big self-inflicted struggle to understand this. 

Even if we never hear anything from our parents or family about who we should end up marrying, there is this idea that we should end up with someone who is the same ethnicity and religion as we are. They should be equally matched in every way: looks, education, financially. And even if the pressure isn’t directly put onto us by someone else, we put that same pressure on ourselves. We want the approval of our community. And to get that approval, we have to fit into the mold that was shaped out for us and has been shaped out for us for decades or maybe even centuries. 

So what happens when we fall in love with someone outside of this mold? What happens when we realize that a relationship goes past the education and the looks and the families getting along? What happens when we realize that there is so many other aspects to consider that have nothing to do with what we have been taught? 

I have seen it go both ways. I have seen couples split up because one or the other isn’t approved by their family. Instead of fighting for their love, they choose their family and sacrifice their relationship. I have seen couples stay together and try to make their families understand their relationship.

So it’s a choice. It’s always a choice. Unfortunately, we can’t control the idea of what the perfect relationship looks like. But we can control how we react to the opinions of our relationship. There are still going to be times when the world won’t agree with a relationship. Is it worth it to fight for it? Or is it something that should be given up because it’s not “right”?

Should we love who we want? Or should we love who the world says we should? 

Barely An Accountant

So I’m pretty sure that most Indian parents out there dreamed that their child was going to grow up and be a doctor or if not that,  at least an engineer.  I didn’t realize that my profession as an accountant didn’t really count in the eyes of the community.  Not until I had heard someone say that I was barely an accountant. 

The funny thing is that I’m the one with a standard degree in my family.  My siblings and even my cousins did much more interesting things that just accounting.  I’m a little jealous that my degree is so boring.  

So let’s talk about the standards and expectations that the Indian community has.  If you’re a doctor,  you’ve made it. If you marry a doctor, you have also made it. Now if you are both doctors,  you both are pretty much royalty.  

I’m assuming that this mentality that the generations above us have of becoming a doctor has to do with two things : financial stability and status in the community. I have even heard people in our generation talk about the fact that if someone is a doctor (or if you marry one),  that person has it made. 

 It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you might actually love what you do. The people I know that are doctors have this passion for their respective specialties. They work pretty damn hard at it too.  

Now let’s talk about the rest of us.  The accountants, the lawyers, the business people, the journalists, the artists, etc. Are we now considered unsuccessful? When people meet us, do they look down on us because we didn’t want to become doctors? What is so wrong about following a different passion?  

In past posts, I’ve talked about making something you love into a financially stable career.  What if you did that already?  I honestly think that as long as a person has ambition for something and can support themselves,  they can do anything they want in the world. And I think people have stopped caring what the community thinks regarding this. Otherwise,  we wouldn’t have had such a range of professions out there now.  

The question really is whether or not we will get respect for what we have chosen to do with our lives.