Kay's blog: What Have You Chosen: Attachment or Authenticity?
My dad would be walking me down the aisle. It wasn’t planned that way but the registrar suggested it and we went with it. I was prepped by the registrar whilst the guests waited on the other side of those big towering white doors.
It was time. My dad grabbed my arm, I looked down. My right foot wouldn’t move forward. It was glued to the floor and it wouldn’t budge. What was wrong with my foot?
In that moment, the last few years flashed before my eyes….
I walk through the door after work not knowing what kind of greeting I would receive. I was always so afraid. I did everything for him. I was his cleaner, his cook, his gardener and his personal assistant. He never spent a penny on me. I paid every single mortgage payment, bill, meal, holiday and shopping trip we went to. I was a slave to this man. I was told who I could speak to, who could come over to the house, what I could spend my money on, where I could go, what I could wear and when I could see my family. He never introduced me to anyone as his partner, we were never a “we”. Any sane person would have walked away. Not me. I convinced him to marry me. Despite him constantly telling me he wasn’t attracted to me and that I was nowhere close to his dream woman, I stayed. And I continued to stay even though he would tell me that being with me was worse that the death of his parents or that he did not trust me to be the mother of his children. The relationship, if you can call it that, was messed up on so many levels.
My dad nudged me to move. So sorry Dad, my mind wandered off. My right foot inched forward, those towering white doors opened and everyone turned to take a look. I had no choice but to walk down that aisle.
For many years, I have been angry with myself for not seeing it for what it was. I ask myself why? There was so much that was wrong with the circumstances, yet I convinced this man to marry me.
Ultimately, I wanted validation from my parents, my culture and my community. I wanted to be accepted by my parents. And who I married didn’t matter. My parents wanted me to be married, they wanted me out. They wanted to fulfil their parental obligation. I was a burden to them. Walking down that aisle represented freedom. Freedom from not being told any longer that I was a “budhi” (an old woman) that had passed her expiry date. I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I was now free from the “cultural abuse” and I received the parental validation and attachment which I was yearning. They now loved me.
But I was a prisoner also. I was imprisoned in what I can only describe as being a contract binding me to accept intense emotional and mental abuse on a daily basis.
It took me 10 years to walk away.
We all need contact, connection, belonging and love. Without attachment, we can’t survive. But we also need to be authentic. Being authentic is about having the capacity to know how we feel, to be in touch with our bodies and to be able to express and manifest who we are in our lives and in our relationships. Both attachment and authenticity are basic human needs and we need both.
I had a strong gut feeling as I was about to walk down that aisle but it was too costly for me to be in touch with that strong gut feeling – so I suppressed my feelings and walked. If I was authentic, my parents would have rejected me. I paid the price for 10 years.
I have started to loosen the attachment ties ever so slightly and although I still seek parental validation, I listen to my gut feelings and I am working on being more authentically me.
What have you chosen – attachment or authenticity?
Kay Kaur works in the financial services sector, is mum to a beautiful boy and is on a constant quest to understand the world and everything in it.