This article contains information some readers might fight distressing. Trigger warning: rape, emotional abuse
Like anyone else, I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life. And thats okay, what isn’t 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 make 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 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.
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.