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.

Couples and Communication

So I’m going to tell you the truth about my new year’s eve. My husband and I had a fight. It sucked. We were both tired and we had been dealing with illnesses traveling around our family for a few weeks. There came a point where stuff we had been thinking about and not saying just all came out. It wasn’t the greatest way to start off a new year but we figured it out.

We try to both be understanding of each other but sometimes, that leads to resentment. Holding stuff in doesn’t really help resolve anything and then, one of us ends up really angry at the other.

The problem with this situation is that constructive communication is something we both had to learn. Putting our ego aside for the benefit of our relationship is something we both had to learn. Talking to each other with the common end goal of moving forward is something we had to learn.

Unfortunately, these aren’t lessons that are readily available in the Indian culture. We don’t know that we need to continuously evolve in ourselves and in our relationships. The end goal is usually to get married. No one explains that you have to keep working on your relationship after the wedding. It’s just assumed that you will stay together regardless of anything else. We are taught that we just need do what we need to do and that’s it.

But that isn’t it. Awareness and improvement are a relatively new concept in the Indian community. Happiness and emotional needs are also new concepts as well. So we have to realize ourselves that we need to be able to look at our lives and analyze it so we can make it better. As a couple, we need to be able to talk to each other and figure out a way to move forward that is beneficial to both people.

Marriage is something that should be fun. Sometimes, there are occasions where it isn’t so much. But as long as we talk and try to understand each other, it should be a short-lived situation. Then, we go back to having fun.

My husband and I sure did.

Facing The Way You Feel

Analyzing yourself is hard. Really looking inward and trying to understand why you are the way you are and feel the way you feel is hard.

I’ve looked head on into my feelings a few times before but it usually happened during a breakdown after years of suppressing them. I would get to this point where I would just explode because I had tried to be so strong while ignoring the way I felt. It’d be a lot to clean up after because after my real feelings came through, all that was left of myself was a broken down mess.

I realized after I had done this a few times about a few major parts of my life that I needed to find a better way to deal with everything. It’s so easy to fall into complacency and build this strong shield around yourself to function on a daily basis.

Recently, I have started feeling like if I don’t maintain that shield, I will break down again. This time is different because I’m mostly just struggling with parenting my kids. I love them and I know that this is what I need to be doing right now but sometimes, it’s just so hard. I also know that this part of my life will just take some time to even out.

I also know that if I really try to look inwards, it’s going to be somewhat of a mess in there. So for now, I try to find ways to cope and survive. I find the small joys in my days and take those for what they are.

I know that I’ll have to address my feelings head on at some point but I don’t think that the time is now for me. It’s partially true that I’m doing this for my kids but it’s also partially true that I’m a little scared to see what’s in there.

I hope your journey into addressing your feelings is more successful and that you are able to find what you really need.

The Good Eggs

Lately, I have been questioning myself and the people that I have had to be around. I feel as though not only am I not sure of who I am but I have had to deal with a few people who seem to only be concerned with themselves. It has been making me doubt the type of world we live in.

And then a few things happened.

Someone who I am not that close to did something really sweet for someone I love very much. It was completely a surprise and unnecessary. This action helped renew my faith that there are good people out there that do give themselves selflessly.

I also want to point out the fact that my husband who works all day to support my daughter and also helps me in taking care of my family and giving me breaks whenever I need it. He doesn’t complain about anything and just does what needs to be done. He also shows his appreciation towards me even though I am definitely not the perfect wife and mother.

Lately, we have also been going through an early onset of the terrible 2s. I told some of my friends who have babies as well and I just received an outpouring of support and advice. It was so great to know that there are people out there who can understand what you are going through.

I think that while sometimes we have to deal with crap, that sometimes, we get so lucky and get to have beautiful people grace our lives. It’s hard to remember that when you are frustrated and exhausted. It’s hard to remember that when you are working hard and no one seems to see it. It’s hard to remember that you do make a difference in the lives of others and that there are people who love you regardless of everything else.

So today’s post goes out as a thank you to those who have made my life amazing, who are there when I need them, who are there when others need them. I am grateful to those people who really know how to love and put themselves out there without second thought.

Thank you. =)

The Guilt Trip

Do you know that woman that finds a way to passively aggressively guilt trip you when something doesn’t go her way? She can turn anything around so that even if the whole thing wasn’t about her, it becomes about her. Instead of just addressing an issue at face value, she keeps pushing and twisting so that she can become the victim.

I know her. I used to be her.

In my last few relationships before my marriage, if my significant other didn’t do something the way I wanted, I found a way to fight and make it about me. I used to be act like things were okay but then freeze him out. I used to guilt trip and guilt trip and guilt trip. I did it to my friends too. But I finally realized though that a good relationship is based on direct communication rather than trying to force someone to understand you without talking to them.

Recently, I’ve made some mistakes. Honest mistakes that I didn’t mean to make but since I’m human, they happened. I also owned up to them and apologized for them. Now the people on the receiving end decided that instead of just accepting my apology and understanding that it happens, that they needed to make subtle comments on the fact that I screwed up.

I know when I’m being guilt tripped because I start having these arguments with the people guilt tripping me in my head. I think about what I want to say to them, explain to them so they understand why my mistakes happened. I want to yell and scream at them until they understand why it’s not my fault and that obviously there is something wrong with them if they had to guilt trip me. And this conversation goes around in circles in my head.

I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want to have these conversations in my head and I really don’t want to have them in real life. Is it really worth arguing with someone who guilt trips? They obviously think they are the victims of whatever happened.

I like what The Four Agreements says. “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.” It’s true. My mistakes weren’t meant to cause anyone harm. They were true mistakes on my part. So I will go ahead and believe that these people need to guilt trip me because of something that they are going through. Maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s something in their past, or maybe it’s just the way they think.

All I know for sure is that I don’t want to go through life feeling like I have to guilt trip people to make myself feel better. I don’t want to be passive aggressive in my communication methods. I would rather resolve a problem directly and move on. As my husband once told me, “You can be lame or you can have fun.” I choose to have fun every time.

When Our Past Returns

A few days ago, I heard from someone who I hadn’t talked to in 5 years. The last conversation we had wasn’t a good one and I never expected to hear from her again. Then, all of a sudden, I received a message, wishing me a happy birthday and congratulating me on my new kid. I was in shock and I couldn’t respond for a couple of days because I needed to process. It’s interesting when that does happen. It was a really nice message and I was glad to hear from that person. 

When a relationship of any type ends, there is usually a reason for it. I know, in this case, I had hurt the person pretty badly and I didn’t know if she would ever understand the reason behind it. It took a lot for her to message me just to say as much as she did and I really respect her for it. It makes me think that maybe she finally understood why the relationship ended. 

I’ve been through this before. Just like most people, I have had falling outs with different people throughout my life, whether it was a friend or a relationship. And, in my experience, one of the two people involved, if not both, will eventually come back and show that they have put the past behind them. There have been times when we walk away from something that is not good for us personally and hope that one day, the person involved will understand the reasons we move on. 

But, when we do finally hear from whomever we have had the problems with, it still comes as a shock. We don’t expect to hear an apology, let alone good wishes from someone who we have ended on bad terms with. 

I hope that, one day, every relationship of mine that had ended badly does eventually resolve itself. I hope that we can find a way to move past our past and maybe that will lead us to making sure our current and future relationships are good. It takes a big person to be able to walk forward and I still see people who hold onto the bad even though they have a chance to move towards the good. There are people that refuse to accept an apology or find ways to see the other side’s point of view, regardless of who was right or wrong. I don’t want to be one of those people. 

I’m not saying that everyone deserves a second chance but usually, in these types of situations, it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

Sometimes, we just need our past to return to show us where we used to be and where we are now. 

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?