Holy shit a whole year has passed by?!?!? Married to an abusive man with a girlfriend on the side, whose family is equally horribly, has gone by and I’m still alive. Reaching the 1 year mark was bittersweet.
I felt very much accomplished because I was still standing despite all the efforts from his and his family breaking me down. There were many times over the last year that I thought I wasn’t going to last, but I did. My failed attempt at suicide felt like it was a punishment. Despite being optimistic, I actually didn’t want to live anymore. I was being held hostage by him and his family and my parents had thrown out the get of jail card before I could hide it. Due to all the turmoil I couldn’t think straight anymore as myself, I was always thinking as an abused woman. Me, Venya had started living in fear, fear of almost everything. I knew this was not normal but I was adapting to my environment. I didn’t want to be married to his guy but was getting used to it. This past year was not what I had ever thought in my entire existence that I would endure, but I did. Life really is full of surprises; I’ve learned all surprises are not all good.
It was mixed feelings, I was proud that I had made it and I was stronger than I had thought, but was so ashamed that an abusive marriage was my reality.
Despite being beaten up physically, emotionally and humiliated over the last year by them I was still smiling. The bruises throughout the had healed but the trauma was etched in my core. Headaches over the year have subsided but the throbbing was always there. A full year of cruel words that had been hurled at me were still lingering all around me like a heavy cloud.
The invited guests to my 1st year wedding anniversary party were completed clueless as to what has taken place over the last year. In the very house they were standing in and having a great time was where all many secrets were buried.
My new pink sari looked classy and elegant on me as I was bombarded with compliments from family and friends. To me the hot pink signified the blood that at times had run out of my body because Raj had hit me too hard.
The new gold earrings that mother in law gifted to me were admired by the ladies in the room. To me the earrings were more weight on my ears that I was going to have to carry. My ears were already burdened by the name calling and emotional abuse I heard from my in laws.
My perfectly painted nails to match my sari, at the request of my mother in law, reminded me how I would beg him to stop abusing me with my hands in prayer position. He only stopped when he felt like it, never at my pleading.
The walls that had been decorated held the secrets of my body being thrown against while leaving behind my tears without a trace.
The bathroom was spotless, except for the memories it had of me hiding in there over the past year. Crying, curled up in the fetal position and asking ‘why me’. The mirror showing me the image of a broken young girl and to the guests it showed them nothing short of flawless
I looked like the perfect wife/daughter/ daughter in law. So put together, smiling and mingling with everyone. Laughing and eating with both sides of the families, kissing the young ones and engaging the older ones. In general I looked very happy.
He also looked like the perfect husband, grinning from ear to ear, accepting the teasing remarks from his family and friends about his beautiful wife, making small talk with me here and there.
Then there were the in laws who were putting on an amazing show for the guests. They were mostly accepting of the compliments others were giving them about their fantastic daughter in law. “She cooks so well, how respectful she is of her elders, she is beautiful, she has the perfect Indian nose (yes it’s a thing in our culture), she is polite to all age groups, her hair is amazing, we want a daughter in law just like her, does she have any sisters, your family is very lucky to have such a girl etc.” The compliments flowed all night like champagne does on New Year’s Eve. My father in law not once faltered on the image of happy family, but my mother in law did make a few snide comments. She couldn’t help but be jealous of all the positive attention I was getting. She made a couple of comments, one I will never forget and she has used too many times for me to forget.
“Sometimes people shine from the outside but inside they are nothing but coal. Don’t look at her from the outside, she is very different when you live with her, trust me I know, she is not anything special. A person doesn’t really know a person until you live together and I live with her, she’s not that good.”
When it was time to cut the cake, I once again, couldn’t help but be excited! I have a hard time being mad and angry and plus I loved cake! I let things slide and that is/was part of the problem, Raj took advantage of that to be with his girlfriend.
What people were seeing was a couple who were so happy to be together, they were both beaming! They saw a loving family gathered as one with their family and friends to celebrate the past and many more years to come. They saw a young woman who had fit perfectly into this family through an arranged marriage and was thriving. They saw proud parents who were the envy of others in the room. They saw a complete lie, because that’s what they wanted to see. Most of the people there did know about Raj’s girlfriend but not a single person let on they knew about her. It was easier to go along with the lie rather than tell the truth and stand up for injustice against women, not everyone has it in them to blow the whistle.
That evening nothing really went wrong, we put on a fantastic show for everyone. I hadn’t forgotten what hadn’t worked out over the last year, I had chosen to enjoy the evening and just be happy. I hadn’t been happy enough throughout the year and I deserved this night. The past year had been a shit show and I was looking forward to a much better year than the last. This next year I was going to get rid of his girlfriend, stop him and his family from abusing me and focus on working to gain my life back.
Year 1 complete, how many more to go before I’m free????