Second Class Citizen

Yesterday, while I was on the treadmill at the gym, some older white guy got on the treadmill next to me. When he turned on his tv, it was on Fox News. As long as I was there (for another 5-10 minutes), he hadn’t changed it. I don’t know if it happened to just be on and he wasn’t paying attention or if this is the channel he meant to watch. He had also socialized with a few other people around us. One of the men he spoke to was watching CNN. The other man that said hi to him then proceeded to go hug an older African American woman. So I’m really not sure what the guy next to me believed.

I’ll tell you what I do know though. I felt awkward. I felt like if this guy actually watches Fox News (while it was talking about the Muslim Travel Ban), he had no reason to actually want me around. It made me feel severely conscious of my skin color.

I was born here and have lived here my whole life. I’ve barely even moved out of the city I’ve lived in, let alone the state. I’ve always been proud of my dual heritage of being South Asian Indian and American. I’ve always thought it was so much cooler to live in American with its progression while also having a cool background where I get to wear gorgeous clothes, have a huge movie and music industry, and still participate in my cultural traditions.

Right now, with the way this America is, I don’t feel that. I feel like I’ve been downgraded. I feel like I have to second guess who I am. I feel like I am going to have to protect my family from all the problems that have still yet to come. I have thought of where we would go if it got that bad where we couldn’t live the life we were used to living. Would we go back to India? Another westernized country? Do you know how hard it is to even think of leaving our home?

I’ve always been more on the optimistic side of how these things resolve. Right now, it is extremely difficult to be optimistic. I can’t imagine how people can’t care for other people. I can’t imagine what it feels like to be threatened by people of another skin color or religion. Maybe it’s because being Indian means a whole variety of skin colors and religions already. To me, growing up in American already meant a blend. I don’t know it any other way. I’ve never understood it any other way.

Now, based on the fact that I’m more tan than that guy next to me on the treadmill, I get to feel like less of a person.

I really hate that.

“Stuff”

Yesterday, we talked about the way Indian women can be treated by men. Actually, this probably ranges past just Indian women to all women in general. The question that was brought up in the discussion after that post was what about the women that stay in a relationship even though they are strong and independent and have a good support system through their friends and family. Why do these women stay in these relationships where they have to deal with their significant other not treating them in the best way possible? Is it just love?

I think I need to explain my definition of love before I talk about if it’s love or not. I think love is a mutual respect for each other. It’s a friendship. It’s putting someone before yourself and understanding when they need to put themselves before you. It’s being there in the good times and bad. It’s really understanding them.

So, I think that a woman putting up with “stuff” from her significant other is not love. I think there’s something else wrong with that statement too. I think if you are in a really loving mature relationship, you are not “putting up” with your significant other. You are there because you want to be there. You have fun with that person and the relationship affects you in a positive way.

My primary concern would be the dealbreakers. If there are certain things that you cannot accept in a relationship, then that is a dealbreaker. You should not be in a relationship with that person. There are universal dealbreakers such as physical and emotional abuse. Then, there are personal ones that have more to do with your experiences and what you want. Everyone’s personal dealbreakers are different. And we can’t judge someone else based on that. What bothers me might not bother you.

So part of the question was if the man isn’t making an effort to be with the woman in the way she wants, why does she still hang around him? Why hasn’t she moved on? They aren’t together, they aren’t apart.

It’s complicated. We all have our weaknesses. And a lot of times, someone we have loved at one point or another is a weakness. It’s hard to get over them. It’s hard to just move on. We know the relationship is not good for us but we really want that person in our life.

It takes strength. It takes a lot of willpower. It really is about recognizing what is good for you as the woman personally and trying to make it a reality. You can’t look backwards and forwards at the same time. And only by closing that door can we open the opportunity for someone who is a positive influence for us and truly can make us happy.

Culture and Women

I had to deal with someone a few days ago that ended up sending me a very demeaning email. I’m not sure what this person’s perspective was for writing it other than his ego was hurt. After talking to a few people about it, the general consensus was that he had a hard time with women who were in a position of authority over him. Now, this person wasn’t the same culture as I am but he was from another culture with a similar background. 

I wanted to touch on this for a second because I still see this. I can see where the women are treated as an accessory and not as a partner. 

I went to an engagement party quite a few months ago. It was interesting because all the men that I saw left their wives by themselves and hung out with their friends and you didn’t really see them talk more than the required amount of social interaction. I remember specifically that one of the wives was talking to me and said “I lose my husband to his boys at these events”. And then she watched my husband come over and check on me and be with me whenever he wasn’t required somewhere else. I felt bad for her. It must suck to feel like you’re not important enough for your husband to pay attention to you at all when you’re at a public event. I understand that some couples have their understanding and that’s how they are but I saw the look on this girl’s face (a really nice girl, by the way, since she really did make me feel welcome as an outsider) when my husband didn’t abandon me. 

One time, my sisters and I had an Indian astrologer tell us if we had been men, we would have ruled the world. I don’t know what he was thinking but I wasn’t planning on my gender dictate what I did with my life. 

So what is this about? Why aren’t women considered equals? The guy from my first example called me stupid in the email. On one hand, he said that I was trying to control everything and, on the other hand, I wasn’t smart enough. 

I’m not going to lie. It’s nice to be taken care of. But it’s also nice to know that you don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do something, to spend something. The women I am lucky to be friends with are strong and independent and really know how to handle the world. They haven’t taken their gender into consideration for anything they have wanted to do. 

My personal opinion is that the weakest guys are the ones who need to keep women weaker than them. If a man is strong, he isn’t intimidated by a strong woman. Instead, he finds that this person matches him in everything and really knows how to use this to progress in life. 

To all my strong, independent women out there. Don’t ever let someone else tell you who you are.