Lately, it seems every conversation goes round in circles and finally it lands on marriage. I’m of age, at 24 actually i’m more than old enough to have been married and some conversations even derail as i’m told girls within my community younger than me have children already. 24 might as well be 40.
Even now after so many of these conversations I don’t know how to respond. I don’t know whether I should fight back, shy away and feel embarrassed or ignore things. I don’t know if I should feel enraged or grateful at well-meaning Aunties who have no personal boundaries. Not knowing how to react in these conversations is only one element. Most of the these conversations are like verbal drive-bys. Afterwards you feel humiliated, ashamed, self-conscious, hurt and many other emotions that can’t be correlated with positivity. It’s a strange situation and one, I am still questioning. I can’t decide if these Aunties feel like they are helping or if they know they are not but disregard the person they have decided to attack… or advise – depending on your interpretation of their interference.
Marriage has never been on the top of my list. However that has stopped nobody from discussing it with me. Now ask me how many times they’ve discussed my educational achievements, my career goals or anything else in my life outside of being married. Nearly every conversation I’ve had around marriage has felt like an ambush. It has been in an inappropriate place or at an inappropriate time and this is what has encouraged my defiance. More recently i’ve been able to identify that it’s not that I don’t want to get married, I do. At some point. Though, I don’t want to be told by a random Aunty in a room filled with other Aunties about how I should be married already or how recently I was told by an Aunty, “you should be ashamed of yourself, look at your age and you are not even married.”
These are the same women who throughout my life, have sat in front of me and moaned and groaned about physical, emotional and verbal abuse from their husbands. The same women who gossip about what is going on in other people’s home. Throughout my life I have constantly wondered what exactly a man has to do before he is seen to be wrong. In every conversation I speak up, eyebrows are raised, someone jokes about feeling sorry for the person I marry and how i’ll treat my future mother-in-law. Even now, when I am not married the concern isn’t for me. Apparently having an opinion inhibits my ability to be in a healthy relationship with my husband or my future mother-in-law. Even before marriage i’m anticipating their being three people in my marriage: me, my husband and my mother-in-law – that is another post in itself.
If it’s not one thing Aunties want it’s another. Though I pray to Allah for sabr (patience) for these moments, I think we need to openly and honestly discuss the damage and good that Aunties can do. Stay with me, I have 24 years of frustration to vent with the #noauntyyouarewrong series.