Stigmas in South Asian Communities

Yes, stigmas. I'm sure you know many, and I'm sure you know who it falls on. You got it right, the girl.

This post is not about debating whether it is true. It is not going to bullet point each and every stigma that exists. It will not stereotype a culture (well I hope it does not) but it will cover my experience for two reasons. One, because I am a writer, and two, I want to increase awareness of a mental illness.

So where do I start?

Simple, marriage. A girl reaches a certain age, and the parents turn around and state the same rhetorical question 'Is it not time for you to get married?' I will put my hands up and say it does not happen to all families of course! I guess it's my experience more so than anything.

First and foremost, I will say that my parents are amazing and extremely understanding. If I say no, then it's a no. It hurts to know that you read reports of it not being the same case for other girls.

But let us focus on the men's side of it all and the matrimony sites. Oh and add my experience.

My mother had to do a lot to push me to sign up to one of these sites. Being from a particular culture, it was the 'time' to get married, but the problem was, we weren't exposed to people from my culture when growing up. I grew up in an area where we were a minority, so knowing someone and finding someone was one big problem. Everyone has requirements, so naturally I'd have some.

Naive is probably the word I'd use to describe myself at the time, until I received a rejection based on something that I could not control. Forget that I'm highly educated or into my religion, it was ALL about my condition. At the time, I suffered from on Epilepsy and for some lady to state that I would need looking after and I would pose a problem for her son and family, was a shock. Shock slowly turned to hurt, and then it dawned upon me that not everyone thinks like I and everyone I knew think. Does a medical condition identify you? Does a medical condition dictate how to live your life? For sure, I had to make adjustments, but I had accomplished more than those without the condition.

Now I move to the matrimony sites. People talk about how it has brought people together, and certainly it has! I've seen it and attended the weddings. However, I place myself in their position and start thinking of the probability of finding someone. This where I want to raise awareness:

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Has it affected how I live? Yes of course. If anything, I've been pushed to become more healthy, but do I sit at home all day? No. I go to work. Do I expect to be treated as an invalid? No. I can walk and talk, jump, laugh and write write write! So what is the big problem? I get tired suddenly, pain in body, but like everyone else, I suck it up and carry on with life. Accepting that you have an autoimmune disease is huge if you're in your 20s. If anything, accepting aid from someone when once upon a time you could do it yourself is a huge thing. Furthermore, knowing that you have to now pace yourself, be aware of the level of energy you have is a huge thing considering you're a person who does everything (although gets away with not cooking!). Then it's one thing to receive support from people you know, you love, but then it's a completely different feeling when a stranger makes you feel like you're a burden.

I hope I haven't lost you yet.

In simple terms, I've been suffering from Epilepsy since childhood, and recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and due to this, one guy after another have said that they don't want to take it further. Forget the convos stating that they want to pursue it and that they love your personality, IF you have a condition, then its a direct no. What makes me laugh is that they want to be friends. But what boils my blood is when they state that you cannot have a criteria because no one will marry you. That if you want a companion, regardless your credentials, you have to say yes to everything the guy demands. So my question to you is, 'Is that right? Should the community get away with such perception? Yes, certainly the guy has a choice, but why not state on their own profile that they aren't looking for someone with a condition, but can directly tell the girl that she has to write it out so guys are aware of it?

Moving onto being a writer, I published my first book and that is because I found out that I had Multiple Sclerosis! Why should I allow my condition dictate how to live my life? Why should I allow my condition determine whether I should be happy? But here's the thing, recently a guy told me that he 'worries' how my writing will affect my outlook in life. Writing about love will affect my expectation of what I want in a husband. Oh, this same fellow stated that I don't have a right to any expectation due to my condition.

I'm almost done...

All I want to state that ladies from South Asian communities having the same experience, do not give up, you're better than these narrow minded individuals.
Those suffering from mental illness, especially Multiple Sclerosis, only you control your actions, so be positive and do what you love because...

I'm a South Asian writer who published her book (which can be found in numerous schools and libraries) due to refusing to give in to the horrid side of this autoimmune disease.

More info can be found on My Writing here! My books are available on Amazon, but do take a trip to my site to check out the stories that I am currently typing and the articles. I promise you, you'll enjoy it!

Guardian Angel: Me, Us, Them


Guardian Angel: Me, Us, Them

Guardian Angel: Before and Now
 Typed but not checked!

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, thank you Fatima, particulary for me who doesn't have any asian friends (due to my locality in a suburbian, middle class, white dominated area). I think you need to rethink :'Those suffering from mental illness, especially Multiple Sclerosis'. Not sure you meant it the way it is read, I am sure you know, MS is not a Metal illness.