To be let to be themselves, precisely! There is a lot that has changed since two generations, but still, there is the burden of many expectations.
My recent conversation with a childhood friend brought back these emotions and more. There is a certain anger, bitterness, disappointment, and dejection that is kept under wraps. Perhaps our earlier generation and above took it in their stride and it was all just the normal. `This friend talked about her recent health scare and how badly she had neglected her own health for years and how it finally hit back.
If she pushes a pause button on her life and pulls out some time to sit alone and take stock of things, who is she, today? A something to someone around, a means to their ends?! Everybody in the house was so busy in their own lives that they never thought of asking her if that is all that is to her or she wanted more from life! I have known this friend of mine to be brilliant in academics all through her career. It is another thing if all she wanted was domestic bliss; nothing wrong with women who choose to stay home and take care of families. But what about those who are not even given the choice? This girl was barely past 20 years of age, a topper in her class all the way when her parents decided it was time for her to be married off to the most 'suitable' boy who came by. Now if the man can provide well and has no visible 'bad habits', comes from a good family, of course from the same community, it was considered a good catch.. sorry, match! Even before she had an opinion about marriage, there she was, managing a household.
Now this man, being brought up in another family with similar thought processes, does what was expected of him. Children follow in a few years. The young lady, now a mother, has no time or chance to think about anything else apart from them. Time rolls by and she continues to run with the clock putting everything together so that everyone's life at home runs smoothly. She thinks pro-actively and works extra time so that they don't feel the dearth of anything. The man gets so used to seeing her doing the mundane, routine jobs at home, he starts thinking she is a part of the furniture at home, keeps exclaiming what she does to fill the18 hours of her day and comes to take her totally for granted. As much as she is indispensable at home, she is invisible too! The man did not notice her deteriorating health, why, she herself didn't, or this time, she did exercise her choice to ignore? Why waste time for herself!
This is not a new or untold story. Many articles and stories surface with illustrations, especially when 'women's day' is around the corner. So does it make it all a 'normal' thing? I strongly believe, it is not the strain of her everyday running around that causes her dis-ease, but it is her stress of constantly having to push her own self down and down and down, putting everything and everyone above herself. Long since she stopped existing as an 'individual', someone with her own likes and desires and aspirations. She did not even have a choice of expressing her frustrations, how can she be so selfish, thinking about herself?!! After all this, who is happy with her? Who is giving her awards for the life spent in others' service? Well, it was all her duty, what accolades are you expecting?
It will take pages to fill if I attempt to spread her life story out. I am sure so many of us can identify with it. The best part is, not many even admit to it, I bet they'd say, 'I am happy'. Well, what about that prick which lives along? That incompleteness, the unfulfilled dreams, her self-worth unrecognized, her pride put down!
P.S: I acknowledge and admire those men and families who do support their women and see them blossom.