Ok, so here’s the thing – I was at my cousin’s wedding and all I could think about was how everyone was staring and talking about me…
The stigma behind the word “divorced” is one with a negative connotation. I remember wearing the shame of the word and all that goes with it, including living with the fact that I failed at marriage – because I don’t like failing at anything! As a fresh divorcee, I had a hard time going out to public and community functions, and did my best to blend into the wall, especially at wedding festivities lest the Aunties notice that I was there and gossip about me being divorced.
“Here she is to tarnish the family reputation.”
“She is so pretty, it must have been her fault.”
“Her poor father, where will he marry her off to now?”
These are some of the things that went through the gossip mill but y’know what? Divorce is a fact of life – get over it, or get out of my way. At least now, I can think and say this directly to the mean Aunties. They didn’t live my life, they didn’t feel the shame and guilt that was thrown on me, they didn’t deal with my mother-in-law who claimed her son could do no wrong, they didn’t deal with lawsuits and the pain of them, they weren’t there to wipe away my own mother’s tears as she struggled sleeplessly night after night, they didn’t lose all of their friends in the process of him-versus-me, they didn’t have their personal reputations hung on a stake or damning stories being told about them, and they certainly did not know how sad and lonely it felt.
Through all of it, divorcees seem to persevere. A question that still haunts me today is why should women carry the burden of shame with them while men carry on no matter their role in the relationship (or lack of it)? Are failed marriages not the fault of both parties and their lack of understanding and communication, perhaps even skewed perception of the truth? When did women become the punching bag for society? And how do I change this perception?
After years of struggle and self-isolation, the realization was that change starts from within, and I can only change what I can control. How many Aunties can I tell my story to? How much longer will I continue to let my story run my life so that I could wallow in my own self-pity? Wouldn’t it be so much better to just buck up, pick myself up, and actually enjoy my cousin’s wedding?
Today, I still have the same career opportunities, a strong family unit that has my back no matter what, a bond of sisterhood with a tight group of super cool chicks that are authentic and real. And most of all, I stand in my own confidence ready to take on any challenge that gets thrown my way and loving every moment of it. I learned to fill the holes in my heart with self-love and compassion. To boot, none of my clients or social media followers cares that I’m divorced. So, I’m not letting a few Aunties stand in the way of my goals and dreams. Why should you?
by Junita Thakorlal