I had written this some time ago but refrained from posting it right then, maybe because I wanted to see if I felt the same way after some time. But now that I am posting it, I feel I shouldn’t change it much from my initial draft so… here goes
Dear Girl who is getting married
I am sure you are being handed out advice left and right about the ‘big-step’ and all that jazz. I will try to be as sensitive as I possibly can because this is a time for celebration. Having said that, I am sure you have at least subconsciously realized some facts that surround the murky socio-cultural waters especially pertaining to marriage.
Some might argue that I am an inadequate advisor because of my inexperience, which though partly true should have nothing to do with the fact that my aim is to instigate a thought process in your head and not intimidate you or change your opinion. I know very well that, that doesn’t happen and that most advise, even the following might ring true or sound completely idiotic but there are some things which I have had the chance to think of from different perspectives. Despite my so-called inexperience, I believe these are actually nuggets of wisdom that get hidden because of the way we are conditioned to react in society.
- I don’t know about you but I am very skeptical and wait a long time before I get excited about something because I fear the transient nature of things might mean something is snatched out of our hands just as we’ve learnt to open our arms and accept it. This in your case could be out of past experiences and in my case is my ability to live vicariously through others. Albeit a great thing to possess, a calm, collected personality often leads people to think of us as cold-hearted and unemotional. You and I know this is a front because we might fear being extremely fragile on the inside. So we have to deal with keeping a strong front while running the risk of not having too many people who know that we aren’t droids. Be sure to try and divulge intimate emotions with a few people. Since you’re getting hitched- might as well be him. Less costly.
- It is okay to be excited about sex, to want it and be open about it- admit it to yourself first without feeling guilty. I have as much as a right to say this as a “celibate” catholic priest some people go to for advice. We are brought up in a culture where sex is tabooed and women are just passive participants in something only one partner actively seeks. Girls especially try to hide their emotions about sex, refuse to divulge its possibility even to themselves for fear of being branded a “slut”. Slut-shaming and this ancient moral-policing is harmful and misogynistic. So it is cool to be excited-in front of people about your honeymoon. They’re getting you married-they know you’ll have sex. Might as well be enthusiastic. So what if people might perceive you differently. They would judge you anyway….it’s what we do.
- Gossiping is extremely important and we know how hypocritical those people are who say otherwise. Vindictive bitching though, has its repercussions. Everyone seems to eventually come to hate their in-laws especially the closer you live to them. It is a fact of life that we all have to live with. I know you might have already been given the rulebook of how to behave-what all people, especially women are apparently supposed to be….perfect ‘bahus’ (daughters in law). But Ekta Kapoor is unmarried despite her romanticized portrayals of incredibly sappy and mind-numbingly crappy family dynamics. As I understand, any relationship entails putting up a facade of some kind- to maintain diplomacy but it’s important to be true to yourself and be comfortable in your own skin. Irreconcilable differences are bound to crop up. There’s no perfect pieces in a jigsaw puzzle so being amoebas’ pseudopodia to absorb and adapt to a certain limit will be necessary but it’s important to know that others should be doing the same instead of being an altruistic door-mat.
- Misogyny is an inconvenient truth much like climate change. And much like climate change, we don’t know how to solve it, without killing many idiots. Its agents are unfortunately women, who are conditioned and bring up their children-both boys and girls with this idea of gender and society. It is crucial that you know and acknowledge this because most of our social traditions and social problems stem from the same roots. I have seen it in our own family and it deeply saddens me. You might choose to have and raise children and will have the chance to escape the vicious cycle but that requires partnership and understanding too. Make sure you encourage independent thought.
- Don’t worry too much about people. We are constantly surrounded and even seek out people owing to our animal instincts. Herd-mentality has its ups but mostly downs. We mould ourselves and opinions for instant recognition and praise but soon, seeking approval in circles who shouldn’t matter as much, becomes our only goal and that is stupid. Intellectual stimulation and varying views which can be logically discussed need to be encouraged and other generic forms of “kiss-assery” although fulfilling in the short-term are what leads most celebrities to kill themselves. We spend our productive years acting as we ought to and only do what we should have been doing when we are too old to remember what it is we wanted to do in the first place. Priorities change but passions rarely do so.
- Misery is happiness’ greatest companion and loyal enemy. The lotus in the mud, the diamond in the rough and so on. Sounds lame but I think it is necessary we look for a silver lining. It keeps us from losing our minds.
- Do not buy into the “this is the ultimate goal” bull-crap because this is where movies and books and people’s stories end. There’s trials and triumphs ahead. There’s tits for tats. There’s other things in life. Thinking and learning. Adapting, growing and progressing. Also know that sometimes it’s okay to prioritize and sometimes it’s important to do two or more things parallel-y. Knowing which to do when is undeniably subjective and will certainly be unbelievably difficult. I don’t know if companionship is over-rated but having someone to use as a sounding board might be advantageous.
I don’t know if this will help or only increase your anxiety. Some of this might not even make sense to you and some are probably things you’ve heard and/or thought of a thousand times without me harping the same damn tune. But it was essential for me to do my bit.
Wishing you all the best (and hoping the groom has well-wishers as wise as me, dropping wisdom at the drop of a hat)