Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Importance Of Not Being Different.....

Last evening,I saw a young woman break down because the pressure of being 'nice & stable' wrecked her nerves! "People just push me" she wailed disconsolately "Sometimes it is such an effort to be nice.The nicer I try to be, the more they push. And when I crack, they crib about me being temperamental and weak or a b****, if not both? "
"Why not draw lines and tell them a firm no when the impossible lands on your plate?" I asked curiously.
I was rewarded with a blank stare. "That would still make me a temperamental b****, wouldn't it?" she retorted exasperatedly.

A dear friend worries about her son's refusal to fulfil his filial obligations by marrying a suitable girl. She is tired of answering to family and friends about her eldest-born's singledom, which more often than not triggers off a guilt induced bride hunt. At particularly bad moments, she even worries if he is gay.
The merry bachelor,who is a romantic at heart, has denied the charge many times over and in a moment of weakness, had even offered himself up as a sacrifice on the altar of parental expectations...Just so that his mother's mind would be at rest. But, that only brought on fresh waves of maternal guilt.
"It's a catch 22 situation" she mourned " I understand his need to find the right partner and he does make perfect sense, but when people approach me with that look in their eyes and ask me why he is still single, I feel miserable...All the more so because his friends, peers and cousins are married and most even have a couple of kids...As much as I love him, I just wish he would fit into the mould!!!"
My mother had a near meltdown when I blithely announced that I just might adopt at the ripe old age of 60."Why adopt? " She inquired with shock and disapproval." One never knows about an orphan's genes" she intoned like Cassandra, probably visualising the infant Jack the Ripper or maybe the chain saw murderer toddling after her on all fours.
"What will people say? Why can't you just get pregnant and have a baby the way normal people do?" She wailed in dismay.
I tried explaining that it is because I just like the idea of adopting..And that it is something I think a lot more people should be doing..Not as the last alternative but as the first.
But she doesn't get it.... As probably a large section of our combined social circles wouldn't either.
An old friend from home was divorced recently. Much to her sorrow, she also lost custody of her beloved child. Well, not exactly lost.....Surrendered would be the more appropriate word. For when the battle got vicious and nasty, her gentle soul had no choice but to surrender.
One lazy Sunday afternoon, we met for coffee and some old fashioned girl-talk. But as we worked our way through endless cups of coffee, the conversation became deeper, stronger and more honest.

As she bared her soul that afternoon, it became painfully apparent that the divorce had not only robbed her off the comforts of domesticity and motherhood, but had also unravelled the various strands of life, as she knew it, into a tangled mess.
Friends and family had melted away, shying away from being saddled with the physical and emotional responsibility of a young single woman....Not that she asked for it. People had no compunctions about mindlessly judging and labelling her as " selfish", "headstrong" and even "wanton". All at once, she had become a social pariah....A loose end her society did not know what to do with.
Indeed she had followed the dictates of her heart, but she had also paid too high a price for her choices. Aloneness.
" I never realised that life could be so difficult for a divorcee. Sorry, a divorced woman" She corrected herself with a wry smile. " People think I am un-motherly to have given up my child. They will never understand why I did so. Even my immediate family does not hesitate to brand me as immoral and as a monster....And imagine, if I had been unhappily married, I would have been highly acceptable..." She ended bitterly.

As I held her hand in mute sympathy, promising her that the shadows would, one day, dispel and that she would find happiness again..I could not help but wonder just why it was so darn important that we all conform?
Why is it deemed a luxury to follow one's heart, if it makes us different?
I know, I know..This is a radical post...
But seriously, how wrong can the voice of our soul be?


Prasanna said...

hi, remember 'if everyone is happy with you, that means you have made lot of compromises in your life' isn't it?

Roopa said...

You know what Rekz, I think each one of us can be different, can follow our own paths, but we should be as indifferent to society as it is to us -- even our immediate family if they don't understand us. In the end, people who really care about you - if there are any - will stick by you. If there aren't, then you are actually better off on your own.

I know it is easier said that done though.

Miaow!!! said...

Roopa, that's the philosophy I have adhered to for most part of my adult life....But as you said, it is a lot easier said than done!!!

Miaow!!! said...

Pras, here's another one...this time from Richard Bach...
"Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a fake messiah"

Prasanna said...

Richard Bach... Jonathan Livingston Seagull......simply amazing philosophy. I was Sulivan in our college drama which was based on JLS! This is just for info..nothing else. No narcissism ! :-) :-)

shail said...

I don't think this post is radical, on the contrary in fact!
I wonder why the girl didn't realize THAT either way she was going to be a 'temperamental b****' So why not on her own terms?? This is something I ask most people.
The next one about the son who did not want to get married. I wish people learnt to ignore others. As for me my son says he would marry quite late when he finds the one that he would like to settle down with. I am with him and mind you not anything anyone says is going to change my mind or even shake me. But look what I had to hear today. When a 'friend' asked about my son, and heard what I had to say, he tells me, 'You mothers don't want to marry off your sons.( I was sharpening my claws for a retort thinking he was going to say I was interested in the monetary benefits, but no he came up with something else!!) That would make you older. You want to remain young!' and I was like left with my mouth agape. So you see, any which way you are not allowed to live in peace!! Aaaargh.
Your friend is right you know. Unhappily married women are more acceptable (even to parents!!) than divorced ones. And how sad that is!!
I hate the sentence 'What will people think??' with a passion. If someone dares say that to me (Oh I do get a bit of it especially when I laugh out or do one of my jigs or make funny face) I ask, "Oh yeah??" Who cares anyway?? The day I cheat, lie, murder, betray etc etc, that day I will worry about what people think!! As long as I listen to my heart nothing anyone says is going to matter to me. And let me add I am glad I am living in times when I can not only say this, but also live it too. Imagine if I were in some country where I would have had to watch what I said??!!

Miaow!!! said...

Shail, Pertinent point that about being a tempermental b***** in a man's world...but then, I guess, at times, it might be difficult for someone embroiled in a situation to step back for a moment for a different perspective...
The only point where I would differ is about worrying about people if I were to cheat, betray, etc etc etc. I guess its just because I do listen to the voices within and even if I did something which the world perceives as 'wrong', my soul would have darn good reasons for allowing me to do so...
:) :)

shail said...

I rather agree with you there too Rekz, the 'even if I did something which the world perceives as 'wrong', my soul would have darn good reasons for allowing me to do so...'
What I meant was that there are people out there who do worse things and yet we go on about 'what people think' for things we shouldn't even bother about.
The 'pertinent point' didn't come out of the blue... I found it out just like your friend, through experience. It IS tough when you are in the situation, but situations also teach you a lot, if you are willing to learn.
I really loved Roopa's comment.

Miaow!!! said...

Yes, Roopa did sum it up very well for us, didnt she?
:) :)

Ganga Dhanesh said...

Hey Rekz....nice post!
Three cheers to our own instincts anyday!!! Having said that, it's good to listen to those who have trodden our contemplated path before...that often gives us perspectives we are yet to acquire...perspectives that only time and experience will help us acquire. Once we decide, then we tread our path, alone or with friends. But what is important is that we take informed decisions-that is finally all our own. My view at mid thirty...might change as I age :)