Friday, February 08, 2013

It all depends on me.

"There are admirable potentialities in every human being. Believe in your strength and your youth. Learn to repeat endlessly to yourself, 'It all depends on me." 
Andre Gide 

I do not know if I am in my strength, and I am certainly not in my youth, but I am learning to repeat to myself that it all depends on me, there is no mistake about that.There was a time in my life when I was less aware of that and relied much more on other people to make my wishes come true. When I did not know that my happy endings depended on me. 

I was not raised to be that self reliant. As a matter of fact, the opposite was true. I was not at all an emancipated and autonomous girl, although I did give the appearance of. It was all a big facade and I led people by the nose because my biggest wish was to act like a grown up and be taken seriously. I do not know if anyone fell for it, but I do know that men older than I was were always very much interested in me and that is how I ended up marrying one who was 11 years my senior when I was not yet 18 and still needed permission from my parents. 

It very quickly turned out not to have been a very good idea at all, because he turned out to be an alcoholic which I knew nothing about having led a somewhat sheltered life and never having heard this discussed before. I was also living in another country, away from my family and friends, among a family in law that had not really taken to me and in which all the men turned out to have a problem with alcohol. 

The simplest thing would have been to pack my suitcase and to go home, but I was still under the mistaken illusion that I was in love and I also had my pride to think of, because I had left my country to get married with much fanfare, although not with my dying grandfather's blessings. I had many dreams about him coming to me and shaking his finger at me and talking to me in a stern voice about how he had warned me and that I should have listened to him. 

In the end, I was married to that husband for 19 years. I tried to escape a few times, but with two kids and no education and no reliable income, I found it impossible until the kids were teenagers. Just like my childhood, that marriage shaped my life and it took me a long time to get over it. It defined who I was: a white, middle class, suburban woman living in America. It can not get much worse than that. 

1 comment:

Gail said...

I do believe there may be many worse things than being "a white, middle class, suburban woman living in America."