I read this quote somewhere and it really struck a cord in me...in a good way, like affirmation I was on the right path.
"Your own family will talk shit about you when you're in the process of breaking all their generational curses. This ain't for the weak." - Denzel Washington.
WOW! Let that soak in for a minute... Do you feel the vibration of that statement? I sure do.
That totally resonates with me right now in my life. Before I dive into they WHY, I actually want to share a quick story that ties into the quote.
The other night I decide to watch a Bollywood movie with my mom and dad, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha toh aisa laga. This love story was different than from any love story Bollywood has done...it was based on a lesbian couple! This story tackled the mentality, paradigms, and religious contexts of the SouthAsian culture.
Quick Synopsis, and I apologize ahead of time I will give away the ending, but if you know anything about Bollywood movies, you already know the ending!
So you get introduced to the main heroine and hero of the movie in the scene where the heroine is trying to escape this crazy guy and the hero is helping her escape. The hero falls in love with her in that moment and later on discovers the guy he was rescuing her from, is actually her brother. We then find out that the heroine's brother is upset that his baby sister is in a relationship that would be against the family and society's standards. She is in love with a girl. Her truth is revealed to the whole family by her brother and her family is upset. Her brothers solution to solve this "illness" is to get her married off. Finally, the dad comes around after much turmoil and reading her diary to find out she felt alone, ashamed, confused only then he accepts his daughter and her girlfriend.
So I want to address some points,
1) COMING OUT THE CLOSET
I can truly identify with a person who is deciding to "come out the closet", because it is more than sharing your sexual preference, to me it is more about revealing who you truly are. It is scary. You don't know how your family or friends with react to your truth. In my case, my truth was that I dated men outside of the SouthAsian culture and primarily I dated Black men. My dad made it clear to me early on he would disown me and I told him when it came to that point I would accept the consequences. A lot of my SouthAsian friends would ask me how I could be so cruel, selfish and disrespectful. For me, choosing who I decide to love has nothing to do with being cruel or disrespectful, but yes I was choosing to be selfish. I was being selfish in choosing my own happiness.
2)GOING AGAINST SOCIETY IS AN ILLNESS
Throughout the movie, they kept addressing her being a lesbian as an illness. When she was little she had witnessed her brother bullying a gay boy and saying that he was beating the illness out of him. My very own parents felt or even feel like I have been "ill" or possessed for liking men that are not Indian. My parents even invited Indian Priests to do ceremonies to cleanse me. I am not sure about your opinion on homosexuality or interracial dating, but to me that is not an illness, it is just who you are. There is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with who you decide to love.
The other reason the SouthAsian culture believe this "illness" is being influenced by the Western culture. Ha! My parents would tell me the same thing. We wish we never brought you to America then we wouldn't have to deal with these influences of the western culture corrupting our children. Completely disregarding the fact that it may not have anything to do with influence from a culture but rather choice and they way we are born.
3)THE FAMILY HONOR
I totally felt for the heroine in the movie, her brother and father threatening her that if she decided to be with her girlfriend that she would ruin the family honor and make the family a disgrace in the whole community. I experienced something very similar, however I actually went through with following my heart and was told that I completely ruined the honor of my family. In reality, speaking with my friends in the community they honestly didn't care of what happened and they didn't think any less of my family. For the heroine the burden was so much for her that her only two options were to either commit suicide or run off with her girlfriend. But the fact that suicide is an option I would think that would be a red flag to start paying attention,, to be empathetic, to be compassionate, to be understanding, to be love.
The main hero of the movie is a play screen writer and his dad is successful movie producer, but he decides to forge his own path in the world. In the scene when we get introduced to the heroine, she sneaks into a theater that is in the middle of dress rehearsal. The hero and heroine introduce each other and she gives him advice on how to make his love story play more relateable and magical is have some sort of contrast. There has to be some big drama so the man and woman can prove their love to each other. WRONG! I totally disagree with the message. Yes it makes for a great movie, but in real life why do we need to create drama to have love proven to each other?
So back to the Denzel quote, my goal is to shatter the paradigms, expand the boundaries, to break the bondage that is preventing this new generation to be authentically and unapologetically themselves in the SouthAsian community primarily.
*The family honor does not rest solely on the daughter, really not at all.
*Your choice of sexual partner or your life partner is your choice and it is not an illness if it goes against society norms.
*You are not alone, there are more people like you than you think.
*Your authentic self is special and important to this world, your uniqueness adds value
*A true love connection does not need to be tumultuous. No need to add additional drama to the relationship to create a false sense of love.
*Love is love
This is a tough road to stand up against your family and essentially society to show a new perspective and defy teachings and ways of doing things that have been around for hundreds of years. But in order for change to happen you first have to become the change. And I am willing to do the work.
I am becoming the change, so that my son has a better interaction and experience with the SouthAsian community and for generations to come!