Why Don’t We Talk About It?

I met someone who was telling me about her journey to have her children. She was open about it which she mentioned was unusual for an Indian person.

She wasn’t wrong.

Why don’t we talk about it? I’m not just talking about things like miscarriages and infertility but also other things that we think are embarrassing or that we will be judged for in the Indian society.

Why should we be embarrassed? So many people go through things such as depression, therapy, divorce, miscarriages, in vitro fertilization, difficult births, and having a hard time adjusting to being a parent. The list goes on and on.

Why shouldn’t we talk about it? I’ve personally been through quite a few of these things and I try to be open about it because if my experiences can help one other person see that it’s normal to feel like this or go through this and it helps them figure out how to make themselves feel better, then it’s worth it.

We keep worrying about being judged by our community or society but seriously, what the hell? Who cares if some aunty talks about the fact that you had trouble getting pregnant? I promise you a fair number of the generation before us also had the same problems. So why do they believe that not looking like the “perfect” person is a bad thing?

As I said in Emotional Awareness- Yes, It’s A Real Thing, mental health is important. And as a South Asian Indian, we hide from our feelings. We try to play off that everything is always okay. Everything is not always okay. And most of us probably understand that even though we don’t share it. It’s a good thing to be able to recognize when you aren’t okay because recognizing that is a step to helping yourself.

It’s okay to not be happy 100% of the time. It’s okay to go through things. It’s okay to have physical and emotional health problems. And talking about it gives you a chance to finding a solution. It also gives you a chance to find a support system to lean on. None of these things makes you a worse person. None of them make you a weak person. Acknowledge and own what you are going through. Once you do, no one else’s judgment matters.

So let’s talk about it.

Who wants to play the victim?

I want you to be really honest with yourself. How many times have you played the victim on something just to get attention or empathy? 

I think most of us do from time to time, especially when we don’t feel like we get the acknowledgment for our efforts. We shout out the things we do. We play up how bad we feel about something. On any given day, these are things that we might not say or do but today, something made us feel like no one was paying attention to the effort we put into life, our jobs, our relationships. 

Playing the victim isn’t something that has to be extreme. It could be as simple as saying “I had so much to do today”. Translation: “My life is busier than yours so please appreciate that I made the time to see/talk/listen to you.” I know that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, saying that you had a lot to do today is really just that. You had a lot to do today. But sometimes, maybe it’s not the case. Maybe it’s really a way to seek some acknowledgement for your effort in whatever it is you’re doing. 

Think about it this way as well. There is one day where you get to go do something you’ve always wanted to do and you’re really excited. There is another day where you have to fulfill some obligation that isn’t the top of your priority list. What are the chances the same exact cold will make you feel worse the day you have to do something you don’t want to do whereas you’ll survive fine the day you get to do something fun?

Another way I’ve watched people play the victim (or done it myself) is where they silently martyr through something they don’t want to do so they can resent someone for having to do it and then later, throw it back at them. That sounds healthy, doesn’t it? Especially when you add in years of being friends or living together. I see this a lot in marriages in our Indian culture. Why be unhappy when we can find a way to make ourselves happy? Maybe we should one day explore that idea of it’s easier to be unhappy than to be happy. But we’ll save that for another day.  

And then comes the day where playing the victim doesn’t sound like much fun. There are 2 ways to get attention: play the victim or just be interesting while living your own life. That’s when I decide that I’d rather find a way to be happy in my own life and not worry about attention at all. There have been a few months recently where playing the victim was all I could do. Then, recently, I decided that this way wasn’t going to work for me. I am now working on ways to enjoy myself regardless of everyone else. 

This doesn’t mean I don’t fall back into a pattern that I’ve seen so much throughout my life. I do. But awareness is the first step to solving a problem. And one of the goals of life is to be happy throughout the journey as well as at the destination. So I will take that first step.