I was abandoned at birth. Not the physical abandonment but an emotional abandonment. What in the world am I talking about? I am an Indian girl born to very traditional Indian parents. In an Indian family the boy baby is favoured over the girl baby, yes it still happens even though we don’t want to admit it. I was born a girl, fuck! Growing up and into adulthood, in every way possible I am continually reminded I am a girl not a boy.
This is very complex for me to explain, but I’m going to try. When I was born, from what I hear, my parents were overjoyed when I entered the world. They sent home money for sweets to be distributed in our village. They were happy to have “one of each” but would have preferred to have 2 sons, girls are quite the burden. Growing up was great but very difficult for me. To sum it up they did the best they could with the knowledge and education they on how to raise a daughter.
I surpassed my older brother in everything we did. I had better grades, great with the parents, had a network of “good” friends, was very athletic and fit in any social gathering. On top of that I was a domestic creature by nature. My brother was the exact opposite of what I just listed. He had a terrible relationship with my dad; friends were trouble, not into sports, hated household chores and usually didn’t fit in during social gatherings unless he was the one making the noise.
Every time I brought my straight A’s home, or add another trophy to my collection or someone complimented my parents on me, my dad would say, to bad you’re just a girl. He wouldn’t say this in a mean way but more in defeat. In their hearts they felt, all the qualities I had, should’ve been in my brother as he was the boy, the golden child. In reality, I was (and still am) the golden child. Everything they wanted him to achieve, I achieved without hesitation or trouble. Every compliment I received they wanted to have that proud moment with him.
I grew up feeling like I was adopted. Even though I excelled at everything I did, I was never good enough for my family. It felt like they were always just waiting for my brother to catch up to me. It was like they would pat my head and say that’s nice and then look over my shoulder as if my brother was about to walk in with a gold star. For the most part I had a good childhood except the constant battle of boys vs girls in our house.
Fast forward now to the day I got married. My parents always said when you get married you are free to do whatever you want, we will not interfere in your choices for life. Some of my wants were furthering my education (my parents didn’t let me go to university even though I had a scholarship), buying particular clothes, wearing my hair a certain way, experimenting with makeup, travel etc. Needless to say, as a naïve young girl I thought my marriage was going to open up all sorts of doors for opportunity. Boy was I wrong!!!
After I got married, my in laws did not support me furthering my education. They wanted me to stay home to cook and clean and look after the family. Against their wishes, I did attend post secondary but gave up because juggling my life became unbearable. Travel was a waste of money, according to them. My in laws were even more traditional than my own parents and completely closed minded! WTF??? When I wore a dress or shorts I was asked to change, apparently in their family girls didn’t show their legs! Thank god my husband became my spokesperson for my clothing.
There were many, still are, ongoing issues as a daughter and as a daughter in law. My in laws have never accepted me as a part of their family and my parents never accepted me as a daughter. My parents would often refer to me as a long term house guest. My in laws would remind me way too often that I was not really a part of the family or refer to me as a son stealer. I would tell my parents how I felt and I am not wanted in my in laws family and they would look at me in a pitiful way and say, “what can we do, this is the way it was written for you”. Of course this pathetic line would either make me cry because I felt sorry for myself or would make me angry at my parent’s lack of support in this unfair arranged marriage. All I wanted them to say was, “Come home, you don’t have to stay there.” Those words never came out of their mouths.
I will explain exactly how I feel to this day. I feel like I’m in the middle of the ocean (haven’t picked which ocean is the best!) just treading water until someone gives me the okay to come onto their land. I feel like I’ve been abandoned by my parents because I was just a “guest” in their home. My in laws have never and will never accept me because I’m not what they want or wanted. **Disclaimer**My in laws begged my dad for my hand in marriage, just thought I should mention that AND they called every day to ensure my dad wouldn’t change his mind. I feel like I have no home, or a place to call my own. I feel like I’m being used by both households whenever necessary. My parents still brag about me to anyone who will listen but won’t support me when I need them to. My in laws are the most detrimental thing in my life. I am surrounded by people who are, in theory my family, but I am completely alone. I’m useful to them but worthless.
Some day’s I’m not sure how long I will continue to tread water. Do I give up and just let myself drown in this life or do I keep at it and hopefully someone will come along and rescue me? Just because I am a girl, I have been treated badly and unfairly. I carry all the great qualities a parent or in laws want but it’s still not good enough because I don’t have a penis. Maybe I should try dangling something between my legs and see what happens! Whenever I am going through troubles, I call my mom. Her usual words are, ‘what can I do? Your kismet is bad, you have everything good but if you’re married life was good too, then you would be perfect, right?’ But when it comes to her son, she has a hundred solutions and says how the poor boy must be stressed and how does he cope etc. Umm, hello have you seriously wondered how I cope or how stressed I am???? Nope, I’m just a girl; I’m just to deal with it.
My in laws credit me with everything that goes wrong in their household. When their son isn’t as they would like him to be, it’s my fault, when the house isn’t up to par, it’s my fault. When dinner is late, it’s my fault; everything that isn’t right is my fault??? Yes it is, according to them. Anything good he does, it was his upbringing by them. The food I cook is never good enough, the laundry I do is never clean and the guests I serve are always unhappy. If only, IF ONLY my parents hadn’t abandoned me at birth, I could have walked away from this family where I’m not wanted or of any value.
There are millions of girls who feel exactly like me, ABANDONED and treading water in deep oceans. Whose story may be similar but slightly different. My goal is to never EVER make my daughter (or any girl) feel like she has been abandoned. I want her to know and feel like home is safe and secure for her forever. I hope when she does have in laws, they understand her value and hold her close. I tell her every day I love her, I stroke her hair and let her know I love her the way she is and is not replaceable. In fact, I call her my diamond in the rough. By diamond in the rough I mean, at the moment I’m shading her brilliance so no one knows that the Kohinoor diamond is actually in my house. My daughter in law will be treated as she is one of us, no matter where she comes from. I will love her and cherish her leaving no doubt in her mind if she belongs or not.
We have to change the mindset of everyone. Girls are a valuable asset! Without girls the world can not reproduce, human race could be abolished if women chose not to have kids. If you have a daughter, she is yours for life, a built in best friend, the glue that holds everyone together! You are supposed to be the safe place, not the one who turns their back on her. You are the one that she should be able to turn to too carry on the battles for her. You are her entire foundation, whatever you do, don’t neglect her. I will slowly build and encourage all the girls around me to build and encourage other girls! Girls who are daughters and sisters today will turn into mothers and aunties, then becoming a mother in laws and then grandmothers. These women should love one another and empower one another to be better and celebrate each other no matter what!
Abandonment has taught me how to stand up on my on two feet when no one is willing to let me lean on them. It was a hard way to learned but I did. Abandonment also taught me how to surround myself with people who are good for my soul.
I am doing my part to abolish emotional abandonment; you should do your part starting today 🙂 Let me know if your a strong swimmer like I am!!!