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To All The Mistakes I’ve Made; A Love Story

To All The Mistakes I’ve Made; A Love Story

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Disclaimer: The following article has been shared anonymously.

Like anyone else, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life. And thats okay, whats not okay is that instead of owning up to how much they taught me, I hid from them and let them become a source of shame.

Illustration by Jean Jullian from The New Yorker, May 2016

The first mistake I made was when I decided to stay back at a class fellows place when I was only sixteen years old.

For a very long time I blamed myself for being raped that day. And for every wrong that happened in my life from that point onwards, I believed I deserved it because of the choice I made. I was so ashamed that I didn’t confide in anyone; it took me years to learn to accept what happened wasn’t my fault. After ten years of constantly blaming myself for someone else’s mistake, I received a message from my rapist, confessing and apologising for that they did.

And after 10 years, I finally slept peacefully.

My second mistake was waiting for someone who was just using me.

My partner and I did not fight once in three years, but all hell broke lose when the time came for him to step up and get his parents on board. Its understandable to want stability in life before making such a big decision, but he left no margin for us to make it work. It took me a while to understand he had no intention of making the commitment in the first place. Getting to that realisation was difficult, but it taught me to not wait for someone at the cost of my own emotional and mental health.

My third mistake was marrying a complete stranger

I got emotionally blackmailed into accepting a rishta due to my mother’s ill health. And after being heartbroken by someone I trusted, I thought a stranger couldn’t hurt me worse than that. In time I would find out how wrong I was.

My potential future spouse and I sat in a separate room to make a decision. We talked for three hours about hobbies and other things you usually discuss with a stranger you might end up marrying. In that very first meeting, he warned me about his anger. But I brushed it aside. 

In two months we were engaged, and in another two we had our nikkah.

The first month after our nikkah was pleasant enough, with a few minor issues that I learned to ignore. But into the second month, I got a glimpse of his real personality. He asked me to lose weight, forced me to go on walks and wouldn’t allow me to drink water after. When I couldn’t keep up with him, he’d lash out at me later. 

When I visited his place with my parents, he would force me to stay in the kitchen, telling me that this would be my place once the rukhsati took place.

His mother was increasingly cruel to me as well. She started by mocking the way I walked and went to the extent of stating that I wouldn’t be able to have children because I have Polycystic ovary syndrome. My weight was a constant topic of debate whenever I visited his place. 

I wasn’t allowed to disobey him, because he was my mijazi khuda and I was expected to please him at every point.

When I was in university, my parents were called and told that the marriage had to be ended. Why? Because I forgot to say salaam to one of his relatives. In my desperation to have this last, I apologised, but it didn’t matter. I was told the marriage wouldn’t last even if we had a child.

My parents were shattered and asked me for forgiveness for the decision they had made, but who was I to blame anyone if this was the path laid out for me?

It has taken me years to come to terms with what happened and what I faced.

 

It there is one thing I regret, it is not reaching out to loved ones for help when I needed it most. Through the support of friends and family, I was able to get back up on my feet whenever life kicked me down. 

And after everything that has happened, our family has grown closer. Instead of hiding behind our mistakes, we have learned to share and talk about them.

Today I am happily married to a man who goes out of his way to make me smile. 

We all make our share of mistakes. But it’s what you do with them that shapes you and your future. Instead of letting my mistakes become a source of weakness, I found the strength to get back up stronger than before.

 

 

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