Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamt of my wedding, of finding my prince and having the perfect married life. Growing up in the Asian community teaches you that marriage is your sole goal in life, and it's something we should all aspire to, as though it's the only measure of success that matters.
Yet this illusion in no way prepares you for the reality that lies ahead. Never did I think I would be 27 and divorced, trying to rebuild my life under the judgmental eyes of the community.
I knew that being divorced was not accepted in the South Asian community, but I was completely naive to the negativity I was about to receive. Since getting divorced, I've been labelled things such as 'second hand' and 'damaged goods' and told that no one will want to marry me again due to the divorced label I now have attached to me.
At no point did the same community commend me on the bravery it takes to walk away from a marriage. No one gets married thinking they'll get divorced; it's a promise you wholeheartedly make to stay together through thick and thin. Divorce is the last resort when you no longer have any fight left in you.
While you're already dealing with the complicated emotions that divorce brings, you're also battling with the judgement bestowed upon you by people who have no awareness of what you're going through. Divorce in the South Asian community is automatically viewed as a negative, but why should that be the case?
My divorce showed me that when everything around me is falling apart, I have the strength to not only get through it but to rebuild an even better life afterwards. I've lived through my darkest days, and that's a feat no amount of judgement can take away from me.
Getting a divorce is a conversation that needs to be normalised in the South Asian community so that people aren't isolated into staying in unhappy marriages and potentially life-threatening situations. Society teaches you to live your life based on 'what people will say', but actually what matters the most is your happiness and your mental health.
Since my divorce four years ago, I've experienced life in a way that I never thought possible. I've travelled the world, I've faced my fears, I've spent a whole day in my pyjama's watching Netflix, but most importantly I've invested in me and my mental health, which are both things that I'd neglected for the past 32 years. Being a divorcee isn't a weakness like the Asian community would have you believe, it's your superpower.
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