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Jun 13 2013

Broken Hearted

I haven’t been posting over the past few days because I didn’t feel like writing.

Well I felt like writing, it was just that I had no idea as to what to write.

You see, I spend most of my time online fighting against people, movements and things I consider as stupid and harmful. But all that while I completely forgot something.

That the people who say the worst things are often your own family.

I introduced Tiga to my family. And it blew up in my face. They smiled and nodded to her.

And when she left, they called me  and told me to break up with her.

Because she was too fat, too dark, too short and “too ugly”.

I won’t lie here. Neither of us are skinny, but neither is most of the world. My mum is on a personal vendetta against “fat people” and I am one of them. Now, my parents speak like this about me “all the time”, so to hear it about someone else  is agony.

Too dark? Why does that even matter? Short? I am above average for Indian height, most people are short compared to me.

And ugly? She isn’t ugly.

Image

Image

 I think she looks pretty.

And I got threatened to be cut off. In my last year of medical school, 6 months from my registration. This means “I don’t get to be a doctor”. It’s unlikely they will do this, because the shame of a “ugly” girlfriend is probably less than the shame of “Fucking Up Your Kid’s Education”.

They think I can do better.

And they are right. I can do better. If you utilise the same logic as my parents you can always find someone taller, fairer and prettier than the person you are with. But that’s not how we decide whether a relationship is “good” or “bad”. How two people get along and how they feel about each other is important than “she’s dark”.

Both my parents are doctors. If they said this at work they would lose their jobs.

It’s a shock.I was so used to seeing prejudice that I forgot my parents may be prejudiced. I was shocked, disappointed and now angry.

I was told all my life that I was ugly and the only things going for me are my height. I know people have discriminated against me because of the colour of my skin. I know people have discriminated against me.

So to hear it from people who probably have been discriminated themselves is just heartbreaking.

Image

 Ugly right?

22 comments

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  1. 1
    Onamission5

    (((((hugs))))) If welcome.

    I, too, tend to miss the prejudices of my family when they are directed at me because that state of being has existed for so long, it’s been practically normalized.

    Fwiw, the last time you posted picts of the two of you together I thought you looked very happy and sweet. I hate the thought of anyone trying to make you feel bad about who you love, least of all your family.

  2. 2
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    Heartbreaking indeed, Avi. She’s lovely. But even if she weren’t – your parents aren’t the ones in love with her, you are, so why they hell should they think their opinion matters at all? THEY AREN’T PLANNING TO SLEEP WITH HER. If it won’t be their hands on her beautiful curves, it’s none of their business whose are. If their eyes aren’t the ones resting on the wry curve of her lips in her gorgeous-complexioned face, why do they care that yours are, or that you see her as the beauty she is? (Tiga, my apologies if I embarrass you, but really – you are truly pleasant to look upon, not that this means the tiniest bit about your doubtless awesome worth).

    My deepest empathy, Avi. I’m really sorry they can’t see how literally the only part of this that matters is that you love Tiga, and presumably she you.

    When I came out as trans to my mother and her husband, 20 years ago, she sent me a letter – the last communication I had with anyone in my family for 13 years, until she thought she was literally on her deathbed (she got better) – saying how much easier it would have been for her and her husband if I’d just died of some terrible disease instead. Her husband I’ve still never heard from, since that day, not a phoneme.

    Somehow, since then, I’ve come to be able to forgive her some, by simply not talking about it. She still claims she never told me to get lost, but she distinctly told me that I should wait for them to contact me, and not make any attempt to short-cut that.

    I hope your parents see reason, and remember that their duty is your happiness, and that your duty is their care late in life, and that screwing up one isn’t going to help the other happen.

  3. 3
    bruce

    Since you can see that the criticisms of your girlfriend are NOT based in fact, you don’t need to respect such criticisms. But you can still show respect to your parents by implying to them that you won’t have time to think seriously about girlfriends and such until you get your medical practice established in a few years. Then don’t discuss girlfriends with them until after you two are financially independent.
    Bigoted parents can still receive love, and some honor, but they don’t deserve a veto over everything, and they don’t deserve to hear everything about everything.

    I would assume that someone in your family will check this blog someday, so please don’t tell us what you decide to do. You don’t need to make your thoughts plain to them to see, especially when they refuse to see beauty that was plainly right in front of them. So take care of yourselves first, and continue being nice to everyone, but not necessarily too open just yet. Best wishes to you both.

  4. 4
    oolon

    That’s awful, hope you can keep it quiet until you are financially independent… Weirdest thing has got to be how little they know you as I’m just a sometime reader of your blog and I cannot imagine you being shallow enough to leave Tiga for those reasons.

  5. 5
    smrnda

    That has to hurt, particularly since, in terms of what matters in a relationship, height/skin tone/ weight don’t seem like anything important enough to be a deal-breaker.

    Too bad you also have to put up with fat talk about you and about her now. Tiga doesn’t even seem fat at all to me – I would probably register her as just normal size.

  6. 6
    S Mukherjee

    Ah, the ‘too dark’ objection! It still boggles my mind WHY people from the subcontinent have this absurd fixation when most of us are dark-skinned. It is like Swedish people looking down on blond hair!

    Really sorry about what you had to hear, Avi. It is extremely painful to be in such a situation. Wish you all the best with your graduation and registration, then you’ll be in a stronger position to ignore your folk’s silly objections.

  7. 7
    CT Chimako.27

    {{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

  8. 8
    Psychopomp Gecko

    Nobody else gets to tell you who you are attracted to and who you like.

    And I’m with smrnda on the weight thing. A little on the thick side (because some people’s thickness just seems scaled differently), but not fat and not bad whether she’s fat or thick.

    And yeah, familiies being prejudiced are a pretty terrible thing because you’re associated with them even if you don’t want to be. I never expected one of the things mentioned at a Thanksgiving dinner would be “I wish they’d never freed the slaves,” for instance. And if I say anything about it then I’m the one seen as being argumentative and hostile.

    Here’s hoping things turn out ok for you.

  9. 9
    sisu

    Oh Avi, I’m so sorry to read this.

  10. 10
    AngrySquid

    I am so sorry! It is so unfair of them… I hope it’ll all work out and they will eventually accept that you are the only one who has a say in whom you date. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and you have all my support. And keep up with the good blogging work!

  11. 11
    MadHatter

    Many hugs Avi. All I can do is echo the others that say it’s only what you and Tiga feel that matters. I like the photos of you two, you both look very happy and that really is the most important part.

  12. 12
    Rob

    Avi, this is truly heartbreaking. My thoughts are with you and Tiga. Hurtful comments are always worse when they come from people you love and who should have had your back. I really hope you can find a way through this.

  13. 13
    Susannah

    So sorry!
    Two of my sons faced the same problem. Not from me; from their girlfriends’ parents. My sons were the “wrong” colour, they spoke the wrong languages, they were the wrong religion or none. I told my sons to hang in there, that the parents would come around once the first grandkids showed up. And that’s the way it worked out. There are four grandkids for the grandparents to spoil, and they do. Relations are fine, now, all is forgiven, everyone is happy.

    So I say to you the same thing I told them; hang in there! Give your parents the time they need to change their minds; they are good people. (They raised you, that’s how I know.)

  14. 14
    Pen

    I’m so sorry.

  15. 15
    Geetha

    I could empathize with what you are going through, rather with what Tiga is going through; you see I was of the ‘wrong caste.’
    My husband just stood firm and they finally caved in. After a few years they had the same objection when we wanted to adopt our child. Of course we did not bother and informed that we were only announcing our decision and not asking anyone’s permission.
    So keep your cool and you will be soon together. All the best.
    PS: I feel you don’t have to insist that she is not ugly. Well she is not and even if she was it is not their problem.
    That said, I cannot think of a single person who looks ugly. I really don’t understand that word. I was looking at faces while commuting to office today – no one appeared ugly to me.

  16. 16
    TGAP Dad

    She’s beautiful. I’d be proud to have her marry my son. Let me know if you need contact information.

  17. 17
    Marcus Ranum

    I would simply lie to them. Do they deserve truth?

  18. 18
    otranreg

    The ‘I’ll cut you off’ threat is really self-defeating in this case. If they’re trying to elevate their own status by elevating yours, it’s not in their best interests to prevent you from completing your education. After all, ‘girls come and go, but the education and the profession you have will be with you for the rest of your life’. Pandering to this kind of thinking might work out, for the next few months at least.

  19. 19
    sheila

    Avi, I’m so sorry that your parents have swallowed this toxic bullshit. Were they ever in love, or was it an arranged marriage? They don’t seem to get love – this is cruel and probably counter-productive anyway.

    It doesn’t MATTER whether Tiga is ugly or not (although she’s not!), what matters is whether she makes you happy and whether she’s likely to continue to make you happy. End of.

    And I’d be proud to have either of you as my child, regardless of superficial stuff like weight, height or skin colour.

  20. 20
    laurie

    No matter what happens, this won’t end well for your parents. They’re forcing you to either lie to them, drop out of school, or resent them. I hope they realize that soon. It’s important to pick your battles, and this is one they can’t win. I hope you realize that, too. I’m wishing good things for you and Tiga, who is quite lovely.

    And on the importance of picking your battles, this has always made me laugh.

    http://thebloggess.com/2011/06/and-thats-why-you-should-learn-to-pick-your-battles/

  21. 21
    tyrion

    Ah, parents. My mother responded to my diagnosis of autism with ‘you’re not autistic – you’re just vile and appalling’. Since I have been financially independent for several decades, there was nothing to stop me telling her that I would have no further communication with her.

    It’s rough; you want your parents to be good people, who love those you love and cheer you on in everything you do. Sadly many of them can’t see past their own prejudices and/or need for point scoring to what they’re actually losing.

    I’ve never understood the need to plan out someone else’s life for them, including who they will marry, down to race and skin colour. Who wants to go through life without encountering the unexpected, and learning from it?

    Best wishes Avi. Keep your head down until you’ve passed finals, and then download the immigration application papers for Australia or New Zealand, and ‘accidentally’ drop them in front of your parents. That will give them far more to worry about!

  22. 22
    psocoptera

    I’m with the others who said lie to them. One of the many things I learned from my family is that it is not shameful, unethical, or wrong to lie to an irrational person who has undeserved control over your life, even a parent. I was going to say something about how that is usually something I hear about from people whose parents are still “back home” but then I remembered several discussions I have had to endure with my mother-in-law who has been here 30+ years. Confirmation bias strikes again! I guess some people never outgrow the endemic bigotry of the culture in which they were raised (and every culture has bigotry). It disappoints and saddens, but damned if I would let it get in the way of my life.

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