I had a weird dream, and when I woke up I realised how typical it was of the women, who raised me.
In the dream, I got married to a Middle Eastern man. We weren’t living together though, and oddly enough I didn’t hear from him after the wedding proceedings anymore. The females in my family wanted to get involved and I told them not to, to just leave it there. Their reaction to it can be described as a matter of course kind of resignation. Finding themselves in it in a cheerful way, as “all of us” go “through this or something similar”.
And when I woke up, it hit me, well, this is how I know women from my culture. I don’t know if it is an Iraqi thing. The number of women that accept shit from their men, because women just have to suffer! There’s not necessarily a lack of understanding what their rights are, because Iraqi women are generally well educated. But the fear of how people might judge you or the fear of losing your reputation, that’s the main driver when it comes to taking major life decisions. The worst thing that could happen to a woman, is that people might assume she’s not qualified to become a respectable bride and wife.
Now obviously, my dream was weird. But the point for me was, that no matter what you do, even when you try to please them, it’s never good enough. Trying to please them here, means marrying a Middle Eastern man. This way of life is doomed to failure, because giving that much power to one gender, makes the other genders unhappy. And this is mildly put.
The other thing about the special kind of relationship I had with this man – that’s ok as long as you follow their societal rules. It can be a fucked up, meaningless or even a hostile relationship, it’s preferable to living outside of their social norms’ box.
Am I being unfair here? No, I don’t think so. I love my mother, my aunties and my extended family. But it pains my heart seeing them restricting themselves (and their daughters) so much. So much potential gets wasted, and they don’t even realise. Also, this unhappiness helps religion to keep a strong hold. As, if you are not getting any credit in this life, then the promise of an after-life is where you put your hope in. And obviously, religion is another means of keeping patriarchy alive.
Now – I obviously decided to go astray. I don’t regret it, because from very early on I knew that my freedom is the most important possession I could ever gain control of.