00.35: Recap of the previous podcast
02:50: The actual topic
Normally, I have always seen myself as being an emotional person, I guess females are generally portrayed to be more emotional than their male counterparts, because apparently we, women think more on the right side of our brain than the left side, which is usually associated with logic. Or we might just be more expressive than men. We from birth are assigned a color to represent our gender-pink for girls and blue for boys. We are socialized from a very early age to be identified more as a gender than a human. So obviously, our actions are expected to be within certain parameters as per society’s expectations or norms.
Since I come from an Indo-Mauritian background I was inculcated from childhood how to respect our elders, but also how to act like a girl, for instance, learning how to do the household chores, learning to help in the kitchen, socializing more with the females during a traditional event, and eventually working hard to have the typical life, that is, study hard, get a job, get married to a suitable guy who is able to cater for me and my future children. And of course, get ready to join a family with values, and traditions of the same community that I come from.
In general, there is nothing wrong with this whole thing. But today, while making myself breakfast and watching a Netflix serial, I realized that women in the part of the world where I come from, have really endured so much for being women. For instance, if I take the example of the women I socialize with, they have taught me so much about their courage, strength, challenges, and yet, I have always felt that there is something wrong with that. Of course, each and every one of us, be it male or female, have to learn our lessons, but what’s common with females is the fact that we have to endure pressure, challenges, and disappointments just because of the way we have been socialized. These women are my friends and family. They are my inspiration, but underneath the image that they show me and to the public, there is a vulnerability that I can sense. Let’s get to the point, shall we?
It all begins when women start dating. Generally speaking, women from the place where I come from, are more receptive when it comes to emotions and feelings but I feel most of the women are. We seek attention, affection, and validation from our partners. But where do these emotions come from? Is it wrong to look for attention, affection, or validation?
At a certain point in my life, I wasn’t seeing anything wrong in having those emotions, but with time I noticed that most of the women that I socialize with have more or less the same feelings. We are female humans after all, right? From childhood, we have been given a ‘perfect picture’ of ‘doing the right things as per societal norms. So you are basically successful or happy if you are married, and have a child at least, and always supported by a male partner. So if you are married to a guy, then you’re supposed to have a baby after two or three years, otherwise, there is something wrong with you.
In another scenario, if you happened to be a woman and not married if you’re above 28 years old, then there is something wrong with you. And, let’s face the reality. Having a man with a house with a well-paid job, and a car is an asset. And from a parent’s perspective, there is nothing wrong to settle with a suitable man. But, here I see a huge problem. The fact that you expect daughters to settle in a comfy household is indeed a problem since the message that you are giving indirectly to your daughters is that ‘they can’t get a house on their own.’ And it also sends the message that you need a man, a child, and in-laws to be happy or feel successful, otherwise, there is something wrong.
Now, let’s get back to dating. Going for lunch, expecting a guy to pay for lunch, driving you somewhere, and holding you with their strong hands are the least things that probably most women expect. And developing emotions and attachments with time are absolutely fine since we are taught that men are usually those who cater to us women. But what’s wrong with that? Well, I feel this is where women start to feel vulnerable. We start to have expectations when we have a strong male presence in our life. They kind of bridge the gap of the ‘hollow feeling’ or ‘incompleteness feeling’ that probably most of the women experience. The final destination is in the arms of a lover. Well, there is nothing wrong with having a support system in the long run. Some couples are together because of their mutual interest-think old age for instance. But in turn, there is something precious that we are losing as being a woman, and that’s our freedom. The feeling of being alone, independent, strong, and a self-provider, perhaps is intimidating to some males in our society, which is why most of the presidents or prime ministers in our world are male than female.
Having expectations (since we were taught that we need a man to be happy or successful) and developing attachment is where we ladies become vulnerable. It’s actually the belief that ‘having a supportive man all the time in our life will make us complete’, and this brings us sadness and disappointments when we don’t have one in our life. While it is always nice to have a supportive partner alongside us, there is something we women have to understand that we are enough for ourselves, we are strong, and we can appreciate the love we have for ourselves. We have the right to cater to ourselves. We are as strong as anyone and as free as anyone. And mostly, we have the right to have our own way of looking at our own success and happiness, because guess what, we just got one life to be genuinely happy, and true to our own feelings.
Just as physician Gabor Maté explains, besides attachment there is authenticity, which is ‘the capacity to know what we feel, and to be able to express who we are, and be in touch with our gut feeling.’ Attachment is a lack of feeling secure, it’s basically an outcome of feeling ‘a lack of something in our life.’
So, ladies, it’s time to own your own feelings. Be strong enough to know what you feel, why you feel, and how you can transform your expectations, and disappointments to a feeling of liberation, and this will happen only when you decide to stop playing the victim. You are female I get that, but you’re a human first, and you have all the right to own your happiness.