of little lies and big truths

I was a gawky, socially awkward girl who found it difficult to make eye contact with other children – who seemed better off in every way imaginable. They were smarter, happier, better looking, more accomplished in every sense of the word possible. I ate lunch alone. I would choke on my words if someone ever asked me a question. I was completely inept at holding conversations. The only exception was perhaps the one time I spoke to Mister when I was eight.

At home, I was the eldest of three children. My mom traveled a lot, so I ended up taking on roles too big for me – I became the cook, the agony aunt, the mother, the judge – all too soon; I still remember chuckling as I thought about how she was the actor, but I got all her roles. My sister and I fought a lot, sometimes there were badminton rackets and bruises involved, but we were okay. My brother was nine years younger to me, and I practically raised him like my mom should’ve.

Sometimes it meant missing homework; sometimes it meant I could use it as an excuse to miss homework.

I lied.

Growing up, I craved an older brother, and found one in S., my cousin. He was technically six months younger to me, but he loved me and was very protective about me. I liked that. He was very affectionate and would often hug me and hold my hand. Sometimes he was really mean to me, but he once beat up a guy because he was looking at me inappropriately and that more than made up for the heartbreak.

Once, S accompanied me to the school fete. People just assumed that he was my boyfriend. The next Monday, the school was abuzz with gossip of me seeing a really good looking guy. The popular girls suddenly wanted to hang out with me. It make me even more awkward, but I did enjoy their attention.

People asked me where I met him.

I lied.

When I was 23, I finally fell in love with a great guy. I could see that he loved me back; he even looked up to me in a boyish sort of way. He made life so easy. I no longer had to really be responsible for anything. He placed no demands on me, and told me he felt that a woman only really belonged to herself.

It feels really naïve now, but I thought that I had found the perfect man – one who would shield me from the world. I thought that I wouldn’t have to deal with issues on my own – he would do the dealing from there on. I felt like marriage was the only way I was ever going to be safe again; I expected him to protect me from the world; he was going to be the rock I could hide behind.

Once we were married, the practicalities of life took over. He worked nights, and I worked during the day. So there was a whole lot I had to take care of on my own. I realized that I couldn’t really depend on him to give me a comforting shoulder when I’d had a bad day at work or a squabble with his mother. He wasn’t there.

His was a demanding job, so I tried to make his life as comfortable as I could. I took on household responsibilities in addition to my full-time job. I kept quiet when his mom called me a whore for wearing a skirt to office. I acquiesced when he said he wanted to drive to work because his cab took too long. I happily accommodated and took a rickshaw to work. I stopped asking him to visit my parents when he told me he was uncomfortable around them.

I missed him, but I valued the two days a week I got with him, and I taught myself to be content with that.

The first five years were basically peaceful co-existence. It didn’t bother me that he didn’t know the name of my doctor. It didn’t bother him that I forgot about his daily injections. He needed his space, and I happily gave it to him. He gave me my space too, but the alone-ness scared me, so I filled it up with crowded malls and shopping.

I realized that space had turned into distance; in my marriage I was isolated, quiet, and unnaturally passive. I was ‘okay’ with everything that happened to me; I didn’t have clear choices any more. My intellect was gathering dust and I kept brushing that dust under the carpet, where I thought it belonged. I had twisted myself to fit the mold that I thought would fit the alliance, and it was finally beginning to hurt.

But I desperately wanted my marriage to work.

I lied.

Then, one day, I was at a mall, alone, after work. I didn’t want to go home. That day it suddenly hit me – we weren’t really a couple; only two really different people desperately wanting to be one half of a couple. I was more desperate than him, and that was clear to me from the start.

My life was slipping out of my grasp and I needed to do something about it. So I quit. I walked out of his house with two big bags and a heart full of dread.

Suddenly, I was outside in the world, alone. I didn’t know how I was going to deal with it.

When I moved into my parents’ house, I was living out of my luggage. I didn’t have a room of my own; I didn’t belong there anymore. At some level I never really had.

I moved out and got a place of my own. The 1 BHK house seemed huge – I didn’t know what I was going to do with so many rooms. But when I finally settled down, I was surprised that I could occupy so much space. That is when I realized how cramped my existence had been – I had been living like a cooped-up bird in a cage; uncomfortable and with not nearly enough room to breathe and with no courage whatsoever to tell the truth.

And that is when I decided – no more lies.

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anawnimiss

Blogger. Crazy bitch. Stalkee. Weirdo magnet. Wannabe housewife. Corporate Slave. Find me at anawnimiss.wordpress.com!

32 thoughts on “of little lies and big truths”

  1. It touched my heart.We all keep lying to ourselves and try saying “It’s OK” when it isn’t. I think it’s a beautiful feeling when you realise your worth and start living your life fully. An inspiring read Anawn.

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  2. Wow. I know this feeling! Wandering through life, not ever feeling like you belong in your own home – in my case because I was a girl child – finally meeting that special someone who you finally ‘belong to’ but in the end you’re the only one picking up after the mess, dealing with all the rough stuff, and becoming a domesticated cow (as one friend pointed out) in the process. And for what – a relationship with an invisible partner? I’m glad you’ve moved on, as I have I, though in my case I wonder if I’ll ever be in a relationship again, or a fulfilling one at that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course you will be in a loving relationship some day! You’re not going to be hung out to dry for the rest of your life 🙂
      You just need to accept who you are and do what you like to do. You’ll find someone who sees you for who you are and wants you. This is how life works. Anyone else telling you anything else is lying!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you’re being a bit hard on yourself Ana. I am sure you made each of those choices as best you could with the information you had at the time. It is easy to look back, with the knowledge, experience and wisdom you have acquired and judge yourself as wrong or as lying. The truth is that is not fair to yourself – you did not have your current knowledge or wisdom when you made the decisions. I once had a fuel tanker driver who worked for me – Rej – and he was the smartest, most productive, wisest, efficient driver I had ever met (and I had met thousands as well as being one myself). And he was laid back, self-deprecating, pleasant and funny. One day he returned from his shift and had just accomplished 1 1/2 times as much as any other driver and had done it without even hurrying. I couldn’t help my self and had to ask: “Rej how do you manage to do everything so right and so efficient?” I will never forget his response: “Well, it is easy. First you do it every possible wrong way and then whatever is left is the right way to do it.” Ha! So true Ana. To me (as to Rej) the key isn’t to not make mistakes, the key is to learn from them. So cut yourself some slack and go forward a wiser woman.

    I once had an employer who was a billionaire (I was well down the foodchain but he ran a hands on operation and would often drop in and want to know what was on everyone’s mind). He started from nothing 50 years ago and built every dime of his own wealth and privately owned a major retail organization. His motto was “If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.” Always followed by “Just don’t make the same mistake twice.”

    So, Ana it seems to me as if you are doing it perfect: trying, making mistakes, learning and trying again.

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    1. You spoil me Paul! You’re really kind and considerate. But you’re right about making mistakes – unless I go wrong I’ll never know I was wrong. And I definitely learned a lot from what I went through.
      Thank you so much, my friend, for being one of the few people in my life who make the most sense! 🙂

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  4. The bird cage analogy works perfectly. It was a difficult choice to make, but you have made a choice that will give you an opportunity to find happiness. Staying behind in your cage would likely have led to a sad one.

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    1. Leaving my ex-husband was probably the most difficult thing I’ve even done, you know, because he is a really good man and he did nothing wrong that I could point at and say – this is why I can’t be with him. My family didn’t understand and wouldn’t support me.
      So tough decision? YES. And I’m so glad I didn’t give in to pressure. I have a much better life now. I’m actually happy on a daily basis, which is more than I ever asked for. I’m thankful for that!

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      1. Thanks Robyn. Breathing space is worth fighting for!
        And you know what? I found you through OM and read your blog off and on, and kept wondering why I don’t ever see your posts on my reader. I just realized I never clicked the follow button. 😐
        I went and clicked it now. *feeling stupid*
        I have got to get to know you better!

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  5. Amazing story. It’s interesting that the prompt of ‘lying’ lead you to write this… I see courage, strength, wisdom and humanity in your story. It’s very beautiful and undoubtedly inspiring. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  6. Wow! Touching story! I lived a similar story, and am comforted by the reminders that I did the best that I could at the time. I am writing a novel based on my experiences, which is wonderfully therapeutic. Congratulations on all that you accomplish 🙂

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  7. I love the way you wrote this. Very powerful piece. I also related to some of your story. It is amazing how much we see once our eyes open and we look back on past times.

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  8. So beautifully written.
    And that stage… you were in…. Is my worst nightmare… I hope it never happens to anyone.
    I feel so sad when marriages dont work and more so when people dont even realise it. Or a few even know but choose to do nothing.
    Hats off you had the strength to walk away.
    May you have a beautiful life ahead where you grow not just in age but intellectually as well..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kalyani. Sometimes you have to go through rough patches in life, and like they say, there can be no light without darkness. But I do hope you don’t have to go through darkness. I hope that your life is full of light! 🙂

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