It baffles me to this end why you can’t just let a woman be. The emphasis on her marital status is a constant fodder for discussion (and entertainment) to all the neighbourhood aunties and uncles. The case for divorced women is worse, where they are often treated as a pariah in society. Where they are often shamed for their decision to opt out of a marriage and pursue something of their own.
As a woman who was in a toxic relationship, divorce felt like liberation to me. A new lease of life where I felt alive enough to be a better version of myself and make up for all those years of difficulties and that constant feeling of being let down.
My wedding happened at a young age when I was fresh out of college. I had dreams of studying in the US, perhaps even doing a PhD, but all those came to a halt when I was talked into getting married. Mind you, it wasn’t one of those forced marriages where I was woken up one morning just to get married. I actually knew him pretty well, and, given that every one of my peers was getting married, I, too, agreed. I was young, naive, and felt that this would work out just as fine. I regret not giving my decision too much thought, but I certainly don’t regret calling it quits years later.
Post-divorce, life hasn’t been easy despite the metaphorical feeling of liberation. There have been times when my relatives have come out against me, blaming me for dissolving a “perfect” marriage. They shamed me for being too “ambitious”, for “thinking too much”, for “having a mind of my own”, and for “hurting a poor man” without even thinking twice of all the difficulties I went through. It hasn’t been easy for them to come to terms with it, I understand that. But what’s been more troubling is that they haven’t once supported me or been on my side.
However, as much as women endure pain and flak for having a “mind of their own”, it does appear that they emerge stronger out of this. As the adage goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. With the need for equality getting more intense, women are breaking out of their shackles to remove the stigma around whatever activity that often exempts men from shame. If 2017 was anything to go, women are done keeping quiet and silently suffering through whatever ordeal comes their way. With campaigns like #MeToo and #TimesUp gaining momentum, with women appearing on covers of magazines breastfeeding their baby, with female-centric films creating a box-office frenzy, with women opening up about sexuality and desires, with women becoming CEOs and CFOs and heading companies – I don’t see why we continue have to put up with flak when we are achieving it all.
Whether you’re married, divorced, having an affair, into women, in love with two men or more, or simply happy being single, there might never be a time when women are left alone. So put yourselves in our shoes, think of what you’d say if a man were in the same place, and speak then to see if there’s a change in your words, tone, and body language.
A happily divorced woman in the middle of rejoicing life!