Imagine

Guest post by wordssetmefreee

 

Imagine a world where you are judged

Not by your skin color or what you’re wearing

But by your human strengths

For your wit, compassion, and caring

 

Imagine living on a street

Where your opinions can be bared

Without fear of being silenced

By casual denial or malicious stares

 

Imagine having friends

Who listen, validate, make you strong

With whom there are no feelings

That are shameful, taboo, or wrong

 

Imagine living in a community

Where other’s stories shed light

and learning happens unintentionally

Transforming you, in plain sight

 

Imagine a world where sharing

Is welcomed with knowing, accepting hearts

Where expression lends clarity

Piecing together your jagged, hurting parts

 

Does this sound too Utopian?

But such a world isn’t far away

It’s the world of blogging

Where you and I meet everyday

 

Let them not sideline or suppress

Your inner battles, your outer skirmishes

Speak, question, think, and express

Your unruly thoughts, your untamed wishes

 

Let not your voice and mine

Be drowned out in doubt and fear

And lay buried in an obscure shrine

Forgotten in a tomb of despair

 

Let them not lock your thoughts

Take the key and set yourself free

Keep reading, writing, thinking, speaking

For you are the queen of your destiny

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“Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

Sharing an email from My Era. 

This post (“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”)  finally, helped me make up my mind to write all I wanted to tell you, in hope that perhaps, my experience might be helpful to someone, somewhere.

I have been blogging from over 8 years. My earlier blog was more of a professional one that no longer exists and my current blog is around 4 years old. During my journey as a blogger I came across your (IHM’s) blog around the time when difficulties in my married life were slowly creeping in (around 2009). Slowly but surely, the open-minded discussions on your blog, inspired me to question life and the people in it more often than before. I learnt the importance of paying heed to my heart and not giving up unless my questions met a satisfactory reply.

This phase was very important in my life because it was when, my ex-husband started complaining that I was a changed person altogether. These mild complains in no time turned frequent and on one occasion when I was adamant to know what exactly he meant by me changing, I received a startling reply.

“Blogging and reading provocative blogs by others has made the good girl in you go corrupt.”

I have to admit that it took me a long time to realize what he was truly hinting at. While my ex-husband was aware of the existence of my blog, he was never inclined to reading it, owing to the fact, he was least interested in any of the topics that interested me.

However, at the time when I had discovered your blog I was so excited that I used to discuss at length all the points of view I read here with him. His usual ‘hmmm’ held a deeper meaning that I learnt at a point when my life started to fall apart. Without my ever doubting so, he had gradually started checking my browsing history and actually spent time to read the blogs I had slowly begun frequenting when I was not at home.

Much later, when our marriage was on the rocks and our divorce case was in the court, in one of the hearings he told the Magistrate, that ‘I had lost my mind, forgotten the duties of being a ‘good’ wife because I was being brain-washed by the anti-social blogs that I read.’ These were his exact words, which not only left me flabbergasted, but made the Magistrate give me a ‘look’. After a brief pause, my ex-husband took the privilege to actually blame our divorce on my habit of blogging.

Needless to say, I never gave up blogging despite these insane allegations and ended up with a divorce.

Today, looking back at those events after reading the letter shared on your blog, I was tempted to tell the letter writer, that if someone is ‘disturbed’ after reading your blog, that holds account of the real you; it is definitely a red flag.

I say so, because the person is actually expressing his dislike for the person he has encountered in the pages of your blog. He seems to not only find your being openly expressive as objectionable but is also trying to re-frame your approach to life, attempting to remould you.

In my limited life experiences, I have learnt that though people may learn to adjust, seldom do they change from their core beliefs. Trying to mould our lives, thought process, and everything else just to suit someone’s liking ( whom you know for hardly 10 days, are not in love or in a relationship with, is a big ask or rather too much an ask to even consider obliging for) is not worth it.

What has started on the note of expressing ‘dislike’ towards your freedom of expression at this stage, is a sure sign that you are heading on a road where ‘freedom of expression’ or making choices you like, will not be considered acceptable.

Moreover, I feel your best friend is quite right in saying that this man will never be at peace with your past about which he has read at length on your blog. For someone, what his sister thinks about you holds such paramount importance at this stage, ‘Log kya kahenge’ will be a weapon that he’ll blatantly use against you at every point in life from here on.

If for a minute, we assume, that you make your blog private and are happy to accommodate his request to not write a public blog in future, what is the guarantee that this is not just the tip of the iceberg of requests asking you to change as per his perception of a ‘good wife’?

Mind you, we are yet to give due thought to your happiness, peace of mind and integrity staying alive and healthy now and in future (if we consider you marry him).

I have learnt in life that there can never be enough sacrifices a girl can make to please her husband and in-laws in an arranged marriage setup. No-matter what you’ll do (killing the real you) it will be seen as expected from you as a ‘sanskari’ DIL.

Before you take a plunge into the endless pit of ‘adjustments’ please reflect on where your happiness truly lies. The usual norm of believing ‘Shaadi ke baad sab theek ho jayega’ is a blindfold our families tie on our rational minds, to let them decide everything for us, that opens at a time when major damages have been done.

Wishing you the best in your life and hoping you’ll pay heed to your inner voice that has already set the alarm off.

Warm Regards,

My Era

( https://theerailivedin.wordpress.com/ )

Related Posts:

To an Anonymous DIL

An email: He says what am I expecting out of this marriage if I cant even make him happy.

I could not sing after my marriage and I am really sad about it, but women have to ‘adjust’ to see their family happy…

“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”

Changing Someone (or oneself)

“I think most problems in life are when we look for approval and validation outside of ourselves.”

“10 years ago, the girl would have been counselled on how to change her dress sense for the boy, how to do as he says.”

Who would you never ask for advice?

What are you criticised the most for?

Does loving someone mean we should improve them?

 

 

Navigating the Classic WordPress.COM interface

If you have a WordPress blog and are facing the same difficulty I am, using the new beep beep boop editor, this might help.

This morning I could not find the link to access the Classic Editor, after attempting (once again) to get used to the new beep beep boop editor, I searched and found this post. It shows how we can access the classic pages for creating posts, editing posts and viewing stats.

Best wishes.

Related Posts:

Moving from Blogger to WordPress?

This Blog is on WordPress Homepage 🙂

What is it that you would never blog about?

Trying to understand a blogger’s legal rights and responsibilities.

Updated to add: The Editor opens in Beep Beep Boop  and there seems to be no option in the new editor to change these links to normal size 😦 Now I need to navigate to the Classic Editor to fix this. 😦

Update 2 – So finally I had to use the HTML link – took time and effort. I am sure there are easier ways of doing this – suggestions welcome!

“Can I really marry and live with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive?”

Sharing an email.

I’m 27 years and a couple of months old and it suddenly seems that everything about my life is turning upside down. i’ve been blogging for over 10 years now… been a reader of your blog and have been in touch with so many of the people who read it..

However, one thing I have been and still am is a confused soul…  I’ve so far had a lot of freedom given to me by parents, some of which was after a lot of hard won arguments and simple rebellion which they then accepted. I have a huge family, full of well meaning aunts and uncles and cousins and grand some thing or the others that very obviously love me but would probably adore me a little more if I were less frank and a little more subtly manipulative about getting what I want…
It’s always been a strange phenomena to me that being publicly (and by that I mean before anyone who doesn’t actually live in the same house as you) sweet, quiet and submissive to some degree lets you get away with doing whatever the heck you want while putting yourself out in the open makes people restrict you even when you haven’t technically or overtly broken any rules that society and family had set for you… I’ve always been very “moonhphat”,  but at the same time I’ve tried to be a “good” daughter.
What is completely freaking me out now is the sudden shift in the rules now that I’ve agreed to see a boy my family’s picked as a “perfect” arranged match. my parents have changed their attitude completely… but that is not what I need advice about… its about the Boy…
He’s from a “good” family, well educated, has his family business that he took over a few years ago because he lost his father at a young age. I’ve spent a total of 9 hours talking alone with him over three separate days, and we managed to talk very openly and frankly about whatever things we wanted to… however, it seems that he is a very very different person from how I am.
The first serious conversation we had, was about  how he had found my blog and spent two whole days reading through the last 10 years of entries on it. How it had made him supremely uncomfortable that such a huge part of my life, my thoughts were online for the world to see, and comment. how i had written about my previous relationship, about my friends, about family, about my ideas and ideals.
He asked me whether I would continue that after marriage. His second serious question was, “What am I supposed to say if an aunt/cousin/assorted family member finds your blog and reads it and says this girl has been in a relationship, this girl is so combative…” Then he told me that his sister had read it and was equally disturbed by it.
I told him that it was nobody’s business but mine what I’d written and why on earth would anyone bother going through over 300 posts spread over 10 years???
Then he tells me that he is a very private person and doesn’t like it if “outsiders” are told about his family life… and he qualified it with a, “but my best friend is a girl and I tell her everything thats going on in my head… I just don’t feel comfortable with the fact that a million strangers can read your blog and know intimate details of your life.”
Anyway… since throwing my drink at his face and storming out wasn’t an option… I chose to simmer down and think about what he had said… my blog is now set to a private invitation only setting, not because he says he is uncomfortable but because of the idea that random strangers would judge me on the fact that i was a wreck after my college relationship failed.
The next time we met, he said that the girl in the blog was “disturbing” because all information that he had got from various family sources said that I would be a “good wife” because I was a “family oriented person” and the “life of every gathering”, whereas my blog has some of the darkest, most depressive and frankly combative things in my head…  I told him its my venting space… when I can’t let out how I feel any other way, I write… and about half of that ends up on my blog… so the blog has my rants about my ex, my ideas about feminism and independence and family, how disappointed I feel sometimes that my family is still following hidebound traditions even while they give my generation the leeway to make our own decisions.
It is not the blog of a “sweet bahu” who will “carry the family together”. Its the blog of a woman who thinks of more than just the menu for the next family get together…
What I am worried about here is the fact that both sets of families are extremely interested in seeing this match go through… but can I really marry and live my life with a guy who is so uncomfortable with the fact that I am open and expressive? That I am NOT exactly a “sunshine and rainbows” person…
The good point about this guy is that he seems to be sensible enough to ask me flat out what I feel.. he seems to accept that i am independent, i have a fairly combative head but at the same time i would do a lot for the sake of my family…
Thankfully both families are giving us time to think, even though every second day someone or the other asks if we are ready to say “yes” yet…
I’ve known of the existence of this boy for a little more than 10 days now.. and apparently that is more than the “arranged” people in my community usually get before they atleast have a roka… the formal engagement and marriage thankfully are months after the ‘roka’.. but i don’t want to agree to anything just yet because i am genuinely worried about how someone as free as me is supposed to deal with somone who is uncomfortable about a blog spread over 10 years…
My best friend pointed out that since the boy has never been in a relationship previously, the fact that I was “in love’ with my ex and am not a virgin is likely to remain an issue and an insecurity for him.. the fact that I have a circle of male friends, and a large circle of friends, may be a problem for someone whose life is not as open outside of his family.
So now I don’t know what to do.. when I discuss this with my parents all they say is that you anyway lose touch with friends after you get married, and that I should not tell the guy about my ex…. I didn’t have the heart to tell my parents that he’s already read my blog and knows most of it…
What do I do??
A confused soul

What is it that you would never blog about?

What is it that you would never blog about? Even though you think you should be able to. Something you feel strongly about and you feel should be discussed and something you are well within your legal rights to discuss, but you self censor and don’t write about it. What stops you? Do you think blogging about it would help you or somebody else? Does not-blogging about it benefit you or anybody else?

Some bloggers seemed to be censored by their immediate families – they may not write against religion, tradition, sexual orientation etc. Does your family read your blog? How much influence does their reading or not reading makes to the way you blog?

Some bloggers are ‘censored’ by the comments that disagree too strongly – this seems to happen mostly if your political ideology supports tolerance and secularism.

Bloggers who write about women’s issues also face criticism and troll attacks, (it is generally assumed they are women).

If you did not self censor what do you think would you like to blog about? What do you think should never be discussed on blogs or at least you would not discuss, even though that’s what you blog about.

Would you criticize something if you are not sure it would help the cause – just to convey your own views on the subject?

This is my second post for Make Blog Not War – A Freedom of Expression Training for Bloggers.

What would you have done?

I wanted to write a post against the forwards and messages we see being shared on  International Women’s Day, about what makes women proud of (or love or like) about being women. I Googled and found a few articles and one particular post that I strongly disagreed with, and decided to discuss the points the blogger had listed but without making it like a personal attack on the blogger. This was the post, http://pallavipoojary.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/20-reasons-why-i-love-being-a-girl/

Since the idea was to discuss the points, not to offend or confront, I explained that I was not linking and no offense was intended, and then I went ahead and blogged about why I disagreed with each point, here, Twenty five reasons women are given to like being women.

The blogger came to know about the post and objected to not being linked, so I linked it and again repeated that although I disagreed with her, no offense was intended.

With this comment,

Dear pallavispoojary, Linked your post. I had clearly mentioned – ‘Not linking and no offense is intended to anybody.’ because I did not want to offend, but it seems ended up doing that anyway. I understand that sometimes we have points of views that are not the same and I still hope you see the post as only a discussion, the idea was not to hurt or offend you. IHM

This is what this blogger has to say.

Seriously?? If that was not your intention you would have first given the link to the original content and then gone on to give your view. You wouldn’t have done it as an afterthought once the original author complained about it. Its a free country and I don’t have any issue with somebody criticising my view but you have clearly breached the plagiarism clause. And some of the points taken from my blog you say?? Really?? You plagiarised my post and even went as far as putting in a disclaimer on the lifted content while posting!!! Lifting the entire content from someone else’s blog and rehashing it is called Plagiarism if you dont know it. Do you even realise how it feels??!!!

Would you say the previous post was ‘lifting the entire post and rehashing’?

Last day today!!!

So if you have not yet submitted your entries for Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards, do so now!!

Here are the 39 categories you can submit links to.

Click on the category to nominate a post. 

1. Feminism is good for the society.

2. Female Foeticide.

3. Girl Child/Daughters

4. Child Abuse (and CSA)

5. Teenage Issues and Sex Education.

6. Street Sexual Harassment (Eve teasing?!)

7. ‘Aww’ -Inspiring parenting moments.

8. Sexual Violence.

9. How important is Getting Married and Staying Married for Indian women?

10. Joint Family and Indian Daughters in law

11. The Joru Ka Gulaam (The JKG)

12. Working Women

13. Homemakers/SAHM (Non-earning working women)

14. All women want to be mothers.

15. Parenting

16. Honor Killings

17. Divorce

18. Dowry

19. Domestic Violence

20. Books, Ads, TV Serials and Movies against gender stereotypes and bias.

21. Relationships Gyaan

22. Gender Stereotypes and SAGS

23. Senior Citizens

24. Animal Rights

25. Mythology, Traditions, Religion and how they interpret women’s place in society.

26. Social Crimes Against Women – Posts that cover social issues like widow burning, FGM, sex selection, Dowry, victim blaming, honor killing etc

27. Oppressive Customs

28. Inspiring Stories

29. Arranged Marriages.

30. Love Marriages (Choice Marriages)

31. Indian Family Values.

32. Sexist Language and Jokes, indicate a Sexist Mindset?

33. LGBT Issues. (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues)

34. The way a woman dresses…

35. A list of blogs that deal with Gender issues, women’s empowerment, girl child  etc.

36. Women and finances

37. What’s in a woman’s name?

38. Indian Culture and Moral Policing.

39. Contraception (The best thing to happen to women?)

Is this blog becoming an Agony Aunt Column?

Yesterday a blogging friend pointed out something that I had been wondering about too. I gave it a thought and finally felt it was okay if on some days this blog does become an agony aunt column.

Because,

1.  I believe the comments are helpful not just to the email writers (which is important)  but also to many others.

2. Most of the emails published are an indication that discussions on this blog do reach atleast some of those they are meant for – and often an anonymous email is a way of initiating a discussion anonymously.

Often the problems discussed in the emails are those  that are generally brushed aside as  normal or minor problems caused by women or younger men not adjusting, obeying, following traditions or sacrificing like they should.

3. The response in the comments is often heartwarmingly wise, I have learnt from the comments and I am sure so have many others. Sharing of experiences creates awareness and prevents isolation of victims.

The matured, objective discussions and the arguments that follow – are  exactly what Consciousness Raising/Creating Awareness is all about.

Human Rights include women’s rights. From Slut Walks and Pink Chaddi Campaigns to a daughter in law protesting against being expected to learn to add exactly half a spoon of turmeric in the sambhar just the way her husband’s great grand mother did – it’s all about human rights.

What do you think?

__________________________________________________________

Here are some of the issues discussed in posts that published Anonymous Emails.

1. Dowry and domestic abuse.

2. Domestic Violence: And why women must walk out. An email from a domestic violence victim’s daughter.

3. Life long Parental control over adult Indian male children,..

4. …leading to unhappy marriages and sometimes successful divorces.

5. Joint Families and how this system generally makes it difficult for Indian parents to want to have daughters.

6. Verbal abuse of daughters in law, and the expectations from women to see the problems they face as trivial.

7. Expectations of the parents of Indian sons, from the adult women they ‘let him’ marry,

8. …And how women today are able to refuse to accept fulfilling those expectations as their destiny. 

9. The Indian lack of respect for women and their ability to take decisions.

10.Parental dependence on male children , leading to control over the lives of adult Indian sons generally through their spouse.

And how all this leads to,

11. The Unwanted Indian Girl Child.

Can you imagine a Women Bloggers’ Meet in Leh?

The last few days were spent with a dear friend I had not met for years (just guess how many years!). We stayed up till late (how typical!) remembering old times and being amazed at how little ‘not meeting’ mattered.

I knew she rode in a motorcycle expedition to Leh last year, on her 150CC bike. And she had continued painting, and had raised her son to be an independent thinker.

(Click on the photograph to read more about her)

So meeting her after all these years (guess how many!) was actually a bit like meeting another blogger 🙂

Anyway I often discussed what I blogged about with her, and I had always wished she would write what she said in those discussions.

And so we decided she must have a blog 🙂

And she suggested I join her when she goes for ‘KULLU/MANALI – KHARDUNG LA MOUNTAIN BIKING EXPEDITION’ on August 16th.

This is an all women expedition. A hundred women will be cycling from Kullu to Leh on Mountain Bikes. Beautiful photo opportunities and blog-worthy moments guaranteed. Selection will be based on physical fitness.

Can you imagine a hundred women including some from rural areas bicycling to Leh?

Do you think you might like to attempt this, if nothing else then as a serious motivation to be fit? For more information click here, for registration and joining, click here.

For me, I am hoping this becomes a much needed motivation to be physically fit again.

Join us? We could make it a Bloggers’ Meet in Leh! 😆

That makes me a Feminist.

“Feminist blogging is basically the 21st century version of consciousness raising…”  –  says Courtney Martin.

And what is ‘consciousness raising’ ?

I googled to find out.

Consciousness raising is a ‘form of political activism, pioneered by United States feminists in the late 1960s’. Early feminists felt that many problems in women’s lives were misunderstood as “personal”, or as a result of personality conflicts.

Consciousness raising groups aimed to get a better understanding by bringing women together to discuss and analyze their lives.

Meetings would usually be held about once a week, often in the living room of one of the members.

Meetings usually involved going around the room for each woman to “rap” about a predetermined subject — for example, “When you think about having a child, would you rather have a boy or a girl?

…what had seemed like isolated, individual problems (such as needing an abortion, surviving rape, conflicts between husbands and wives over housework, etc.) actually reflected common conditions faced by all women.’  [Click to read more.]

Sounds like discussions on our blogs today!?

That makes me a feminist.

I guess Feminism is a natural step in a democracy when we attempt to create a more civilized society for ourselves. Do you agree?

My niece sent me this amazing video – thank You Gauri 🙂

Here are some of the parts I particularly liked,

1. Do you agree with Courtney Martin here? I do.

“My feminism is very indebted to my mom’s, but it looks very different.

My mom says, “Patriarchy” I say, “intersectionality“.

So race, class, gender, ability, all of these things go into our experiences of what it means to be a woman.

Pay equity? Yes. Absolutely a feminist issue.

But for me, so is immigration.”

That makes me a feminist too.

2. Courtney Martin’s mother wasn’t the only feminist in their house.

“My dad actually resigned from the male-only business club in my hometown because he said he would never be part of an organization that would one day welcome his son, but not his daughter.”

3. Their biggest success, she feels, are the emails they receive from teenage girls who stumble on their site and realize that feminism is not about man-hating.

That’s a huge success, seeing how many of us have been lead to believe that Feminism is somehow Men versus Women.

So do you think you are a Feminist?