“Whaaattt!! You’re a divorcee? You sure don’t look like one” was the reaction I got from someone I met a few days ago and to whom I had to share my story.
How are people who have been through a divorce supposed to look? Do they need to carry a placard for the whole world to see saying ‘My marriage failed’? Or are we supposed to shun coloured clothes and walk around in white garb? Are we no longer allowed to laugh or to indulge in what makes us happy? Society today treats divorcees like they used to treat widows – like they are some cancer or have some contagious disease.
Our society still looks down upon divorcees, we are treated as second grade citizens who do not have it in them to make a relationship work. The prejudice is more so if you are a woman. No matter what the reason, there would always be people who would go ‘He left her because she could not give him a child.’ or ‘She is too independent’ as if either of those is a crime. Then there are others who would always find fault with the character or the sanskaar of the woman – she uses modern dresses, she talks back to her elders, she has a facebook account and soon we will start hearing that she used to breathe before she got married to Rajesh or Ramesh or Suresh.
We all have friends with whom we were inseparable but who are strangers to us now. We no longer talk to them or are related to them. We have all been in relationships that have not worked out for some reason and our ex-boyfriends are strangers now while some of us may still be friends with our exes. Just like every other relationship, a marriage too can fail. A divorce is so much like breakup the additional angle to it is that it involves the law.
A divorce is sometimes a decision based on convenience, but many times it is also based on a need to survive. We might have moved away because we could not cope up with a person or we might have escaped for fear of our life. Whatever the reason, you have no right to judge us. You might have observed our life, but you have not lived one minute as us.
The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one. We struggle every minute to justify our decision to ourselves; it is a time when our self-esteem is at its lowest point. We struggle to just get out of the bed and get our day going. A side effect to losing a spouse to divorce is the utter loneliness that sets in; the fact that we lose most of our friends comes as no solace. Most of the times we are toeing the line of depression and we fight hard to keep going and not take the easy way of giving into temptations of self-harm and suicide. Nobody understands the pain we go through and they are helpless as to how to behave with us.
Some of us will go into hibernation – not always because we need to be alone, sometimes it is also necessary to reduce the awkwardness you feel when we are around. All we are saying is, please relax. Let us also relax and take a breath. Be with us and please be normal. Do not poke at us to check our reactions as if we are touch-me-nots. We are humans too and all we are asking is to be treated like humans, like normal human beings. Please let us try, try to start loving ourselves again, try to start living again and try to be us again.
This post is long overdue. It is through this very blog that I have found my best friends, some of them closer to me in heart than most of my blood relations. I have been hiding this post in the drafts folder for some time, but I guess it is time to get this out of the drafts and out of my heart.