Tue Dec 01 2020 05:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)
The idealization of a happy marriage from a young age, predisposed by our mothers, often contradicts what is witnessed by many of us who grew up in traditional households. Our society, specifically Bengali culture, puts great emphasis on marriage and building a family. Especially for girls. My mom would often say, ‘When I was your age, I already had you and your sister, why aren’t you taking this seriously?’ Over quarantine, my dad discretely told me how a girl’s beauty starts to fade away in their 20’s, so they need to be married or it’s never going to happen. But what if it doesn’t happen? What if marriage isn’t the only way to track our success in life? Most importantly, why is unmarried life equated to loneliness?
I never really saw the prettier version of marriage while growing up. Between my parents and my many aunts and uncles, marriage was never portrayed through love and happiness. Instead, there were a lot of fights, tears, responsibilities, and making ends meet that wash away the sweetness of marriage. There were a lot of unfulfilled promises and empty plans. The same mothers who suffer in a marriage are telling their daughters that marriage is an important part of their life—the irony, amirite?
There was a time when I put a lot of pressure on myself to be that perfect person who could fulfill that idealized version of marriage. I eventually realized that we are all just children, with a lot of trauma, who aren’t ready at all. We have this preconceived commitment and trust issues from a young age. We are sensitive people. We have been taught we should fear loneliness. We can’t easily take no for an answer or respect space because space makes it seem that love is withering away and loneliness is taking over. But space is what allows us to grow and loneliness is an important part of respecting ourselves and reaching our full potential.
If we don’t heal from the marriages we witnessed and lived through, we will never know what a happy marriage should look like. Living on my own has taught me how much I truly enjoy my own company and finding happiness in the little things I do myself. I’ve been focusing a lot on upskilling my career path and higher education. I’ve been reflecting on the aspects of my life that can be improved and what I already love about me. I don’t believe my beauty is fading away with time. I am only becoming more beautiful with time while allowing myself to become the perfect version of me and for me through times of loneliness. This is when I am married to myself and this is the stage of my life I should have idealized all along. As Rabindranath Tagore once wrote, ‘Jodi tor dak shune keu na ase tobe ekla cholo re.’