I always watched the corniest and sappiest romantic movies as a kid, but only when no one else was looking. It was an adventure in its own right. Watching the climax scene where the hero is running back to confess his love and then you hear footsteps which weren't really coming from the television and your panicky heart will rapidly grasp at the remote to change the channel. I used to read as well. All romantic novels. Their world was my escape, my imagination and my fuel to keep going on in life. I knew all the symptoms of love, you see. Your heart was supposed to race when you saw him, your stomach ought to feel like it has butterflies flying in it and as a 10-year-old, I was definitely positive that the wind will start blowing my hair when I see "the one". There were other symptoms too, it was an addiction. You would smile a lot, and stay up all night because you kept thinking about him.
I was prepared. I knew all the I was supposed to do when I fall in love, I had trained myself long enough or so I told myself and I waited to meet 'the one'. And I did meet him. I was a small town girl who grew up in a conservative family. For someone who believed so much in the power of love, my friends were often surprised that I never had a boyfriend. So, when the time came around for my marriage, my family started looking for men. But no one felt that right. My mom said I was being childish and that all the good 'rishtas' will be gone by the time I grow out of immaturity. But as luck would have it, I met him and I knew I was in love.
It was just a little gesture, we were meeting for the first time and just having a walk around the area when a dog suddenly moved against my leg and I instinctively screamed. He burst out laughing at me and on realizing who I was suddenly trying to sober himself up while mumbling apologies. I couldn't help it, I laughed back and he joined me. At that moment, I was sure I was in love.
One thing about addictions that they don't put forth much is how much you romanticize it. I don't know if all that happened or if it didn't, but all I remember is I couldn't understand what had changed so drastically one month into our marriage that we hated each other enough to kill. I don't know about him, but for me, it was the day he forced himself on me. It was the first night of our honeymoon, we both were a bit drunk and I was tired after a whole day of exploring and wanted to rest. He had other ideas. I told him that I have never had a sexual experience and would not want to do anything today because I don't feel so good, but he wouldn't have any of it. It happened four times before I knew that I could not live like this.
Two weeks in the marriage and I was raped. One month into the marriage and I was standing in the court demanding for a divorce and justice. I had cried that whole dreadful night as I was not sure what I could do. I was wondering what my parents and others would think. I was afraid if I will ever be loved again, but most of all I questioned if it was even love between us or was it just my wishful thinking based on my childhood fantasies?
But I stood up. I told myself that I deserved better than this. It's funny how a moment of honest courage can change your life. I told him off and went back to my family. I braved myself up and told them of everything that I had gone through. It was not easy for any of us. My mother had started crying and kept on doing so for long enough to break my heart. My father could not believe his ears, he was in denial and later came the anger. His anger and my mother's pain was the thing that gave me further courage to take the matter to the court and seek justice. A week before our hearing in the court, my father had tears in his eyes and he apologized. He blamed himself for what happened to me. I told him it was no one's fault, but my ex-husband's. I realized that I did nothing wrong. I realized that there was nothing I could have done to change the breaking of our marriage.
That one moment of courage when I thought I had enough and took a step to change it, it changed my whole life. I would like to go out and say the same to others who have suffered as I did. I know it's not easy, but I promise it will be worth it. Please love yourself and stand up for yourself.
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