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Why do women give themselves or parts of our lives up after a certain point? Here’s how they can reclaim our identities.
As women, we are often asked to give up many things, a married woman in an Indian society, even more so. Hanging out with friends, having your own social circle, indulging in your hobbies or something as simple as watching your favourite channels are some of the things we tend to give up to accommodate other responsibilities. Very often your job is also pushed away from you so that you can accommodate your married responsibilities. We are living in the 21st century but I am sure even the most educated and liberal woman of today has had to face this process of pruning herself to accommodate her new avatar of a married woman. But my question is, what remains if you give yourself up? Here’s how we reclaim our identities.
So you like to colour your hair crazy or sing out loud? Do it. A marriage need not change your individuality. You married in the first place because someone loved who you are and the way you are.
While at a social gathering I met a woman who was performing in the band for the occasion.Something about her demeanor, I absolutely loved. She was the drummer in the band. On impulse, I went up to talk to her. Conversationally I got to know that she is the mother of a school-going child and has been married for 10 years now. “How do you manage?” I asked her. “If you want to manage you can manage,” she replied. She revealed that her husband fell in love with this crazy drummer woman long back. Post marriage, as she got engaged to responsibilities, she gave up her passion. She fought depression and almost could feel herself drifting apart from her marriage. “Of course,” she said, “what are you without your passion in life?” As therapy, she got back to her band and jam sessions and gradually she saw her life falling into place. “Nothing,” she said,'”is more important than your own happiness. Never barter it for anything in the world.” As I left the party I thought to myself – your married life cannot be complete without you in it.
I personally believe that as long as you lead a respectful life, you need not adhere to unrealistic social norms or a particular dress code. Your moral character is not related to what you wear but it is related to how you behave.
I know an editor. She has been with me in college and throughout, she was famous for her sharp dressing sense. Post marriage, she was often seen trying to fit into a typical Indian daughter-in-law attire. The sharp dressed woman was lost behind clothes that did not enhance her looks and clothes that she did not know how to carry well. Her body type was different and she did not look good in traditional attires. Gradually, her confidence dimmed because of the silent frustration brewing inside, until she was diagnosed with fighting various pent-up stress issues. She resolved to stop pleasing others and started to address the question of her happiness. Gradually, as she made a comeback into her own life, she was a happier person and freer. Her health condition, with her happy mode, improved. She told me once, “It feels good to be like me.” Of course it does!
Many married women I know do not have the ‘time’ to meet up friends. Of course this statement never fails to leave me flabbergasted. Having a social circle and your own set of friends is healthy. I see no reason why being married cannot allow a woman to indulge on a lazy weekend brunch or a late night all girls party once a week.
As I left the party I thought to myself – your married life cannot be complete without you in it.
‘All work and no play make jack a dull boy.’ This proverb is not without a genuine reason. Interacting with friends helps you to destress. When you talk, you express, and thereby reduce stress. Secondly, you are happy when you interact with your friends because they connect with you not as a mother or as a wife but as yourself. It is important that you have your ‘you’ time. The fun factor too is important. You need to have fun and what more fun can there be than hanging out with your friends? On a personal level, married women who hang out with friends enjoy life more than those who confine themselves only to their home. The worst part is that those who don’t, they have nowhere to go when their children and husband decide to spend some time with their own friends.
Giving yourself up, just because you got married, is the silliest thing you can do to yourself. Without your individuality, source of income, friend circle or a way of life you are vulnerable enough to be taken for granted. Marriage is a beautiful concept where two mature adults agree on sharing their lives. Sharing your life does not mean give up on living yours. What will you share if you do not believe in living your own life?
Image via Shutterstock.
A Social Media Content Writer by profession. A writer by heart. A genuine foodie. Simple
Well said Priyanka. I am happy that many people have started thinking on these lines. But this kind of guiltless enjoying of me-time or whatever you may call it, can be possible only when there is greater awareness and ‘acknowledgement’ of such needs. After I got married and gave birth to a child, I still continued to keep in touch with a couple of friends, but they started shying away slowly assuming that I may be busy with added responsibilities, when there was no communication related to that from my end.
I understand their interest in me, but the flip side, is that none of my husband’s friends told him – “hey come on, now that you have a baby at home, you cannot afford to spend so much time with us”. I think it is more about how women have been continuously reinforcing the idea to men that ‘childbirth is her responsibility, child rearing is hers too and he just needs to earn and come back’. In such cases we cannot blame the men entirely. Let us start moving out even if guilt is induced in us and we are name called, but at the end of the day, the entire family would benefit, because, if all the family members are happy and SATISFIED, then the family well being will naturally climb up.
Thanks for writing this….
Thank you for reading. You are right, it all starts with you and with taking the first step.
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