Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Liar Liar

Yesterday was a strange kind of day. I was sitting at my desk typing an email when there was an almighty bang and I saw that a crack had magically appeared along the bottom of my fish’s bowl, threatening to snap it into two in the next moment. I had to run out and buy another one before disaster struck.

Later that evening I was taking the shopping down to the basement where the chest freezer is kept and I went tumbling down the stairs, landing squarely on my back. The only good news of the day was that a friend from university sent me an invite for her wedding in February. Her email gushed with joy and excitement and it got me thinking about weddings.

Chances point strongly to Mr Zeus and I getting married one day, seeing as our engagement is officially around the corner. But when I think about my wedding, I don’t feel happy and I don’t feel excited. I feel sad and I feel stressed out.

It’s not because I’m having doubts. The reason getting married to Mr Zeus fills me with dread is the same reason this blog is so sparse on details which are pretty obvious.

Why don’t I just name the Homeland? Some of you have already guessed it. Why is it that I sometimes wait a few days before I bl0g an event just to throw off exact times and places? Why not name people in my blog?

First off, I don’t do any of the above in an attempt to make myself appear more mysterious or interesting. How glamorous if that was the case, and how simple. The truth is I do this because I am scared.

Since I met Mr Zeus my life has been crammed full of lies and question dodging, but that’s not his fault. Meeting him was the catalyst for me deciding to throw of the shackles of social convention and live my life the way I wanted it, but freedom always comes at a price.

Not only have I screwed up my relationship with my Dad, who still tells me now and then to find a nice Home Country boy to settle down with, but I am constantly terrified that someone from my extended family Back Home will discover what I’m doing here in Athens. That’s why I do what I can to avoid this blog turning up in certain Google searches.

Let’s look at the absolute worst scenario, which is me paying with my life for my freedom. I just don’t know who out of my extended family might decide that I have so tarnished a good family name that they need to avenge the family’s honour. My sisters think I’m being crazy and say “Bollybutton, our family isn’t like that.” Are they really not? How many times have I read about someone saying they didn’t think their family was like that? Why take a chance?

A more likely scenario is that my actions will end up dragging my father’s good name into the mud. As for my mother, her reputation is not likely to suffer more than it already has. We lived in a small town in the Home Country, and my mother as a foreigner was never accepted. Every step we put wrong was attributed to her being a foreigner, and the crazy thing is not only is she Asian too, she also converted when she married my father, go figure!

One solution to this would be to get married, right? Wrong. Unless Mr Zeus converts, we will never be accepted as actually married. Neither of us has considered it important for the other to convert to be together, but that’s completely going to fly right up the noses of the busybody Aunties Back Home.

This ties up nicely to why am I not at all happy about getting married one day. Because with a wedding taking place, certain people will have to be invited from Back Home. Bear in mind this will be a wedding in Greece, with drinking, dancing, kissing and general merriment, all of which is going to completely embarrass my father in front of these people.

This is why I don’t feel happy, because my choices are not to invite any of these people and upset them and my father, or to invite them and have to be thinking of social protocol even on my wedding day. And even if I did that, even if there was no alcohol served and I didn’t kiss the man I loved, they’d still be disapproving because we’d not be actually married according to them.
They’d also think Mr Zeus was an idiot not to take up the honour and the privilege that is entering my religion, an honour so great that if I got him to convert, all my sins would be forgiven and I could basically spend my life raping and looting and still be guaranteed heaven.

Sometimes I think I'll get married just so I could stop lying. I’m tired of inventing excuses about why I'm Athens. A married woman in the Home Country has a little more license to speak her mind to other women. But then there will always be lies, there will always be conflicts. When you belong to the culture I do, you’re everyone’s public property, and everything you do is their business. Having my children baptised is just going to be the cherry on top of the Cake of Dishonour.

When I read my friend’s wedding invitation, bursting with happiness and anticipation for her big day, I really envied her. In the end, you might think, is a man really worth it? Is Mr Zeus really worth it? That’s something I won’t know until I reach the finish line. But is it worth it to live my life the way I always dreamt I could? Absolutely. Plus, I’m sure livening up the gossip at the hideously boring ladies’ tea parties back home. What would the Aunties have to talk about if I didn’t exist?


Hope said...

Why can't we all just get along right? I am so sorry that you are not looking forward to your wedding day.

I don't know what else to say...its just so frustrating. Why can't people be tolerant and also accept that it is not their life but YOUR life and you will do what you feel is right for you!? I just don't get it.

toomanytribbles said...

bollybutton, no man is worth it.

the only thing that's worth it is being true to yourself. if you make these decisions for the sake of a man, you may be sowing the seeds of future bitterness.

clear your head, decide what you want to do and proceed to let others know what you'll allow and what you simply won't put up with. you're a grown woman -- take charge of your life.

i can't help but say that this is yet another example of how religion can poison lives.

bollybutton said...

TT, I'm not doing this for a man, I'm doing this for my life. Mr Zeus was the first person who encouraged me to open my eyes and choose whatever path I wanted, not the path I believed I should take. He is my best friend, and the man I love. Just because he comes from the wrong culture and religion doesn't mean I am going to be able to talk myself into a life without him.

toomanytribbles said...

no i didn't say that at all... i meant to convey that you should follow your needs first -- there's no reason why they should clash. if they coincide, great.

itelli said...

I was gonna say "go on, give the Aunties something to gossip about" but u got there first.

All I know is we've got one life.

(This by the way, was not meant offensively. I 'm guessing ur religion, but even so, I don't know much about any. So I don't know if ur religion says we reincarnate, but u know what i mean by saying waht i said... - Ufff! trying to be politically correct and all...)

betabug said...

First I would say that you are wise not to reveal too much personal information on your weblog, no matter what the background story. There is no need for anybody to expose their private identity on the web more than absolutely necessary. I can enjoy your stories and your writing even if I "don't know who you are".

As for marriage, myself I think marriage is much overrated anyway :-) But then I come from a very "western", so called "modern" culture, and have seen way too many divorces. So nevermind, live your life choosing every day what's right for you. I have complete trust in you that you will find the right way, just don't push too hard on yourself.

deviousdiva said...

Hey Bollybutton. Sorry you are feeling so confused and conflicted. I think there are definitely two issues here. Your blog and your life. I agree with betabug, keep your blog as anonymous as possible and never reveal personal details. It can be dangerous. Your blog is charming and part of it's charm IS the fact that we don't quite know where the homeland is or your religion or what Mr. Zeus real name is! I love it.

As to the second issue,your life, it would be wrong of me to say that I could understand any of the problems you are facing. Clashes of culture or religion can be so difficult to navigate if family members are determined not to understand and embrace your choices. I don't have any advice as to what you should do except to suggest you seek out other people who are in or have been in similar situations. Use the internet as the giant resource tool that it can be. Perhaps join some safe forums where you can discuss the issues with people who might understand on a more first-hand basis.

I will send you an email for a group I would like to see you join. It's by invitation only and there is an enormous diversity of women meeting there from all over Europe.

Take care.

AL said...

wow... that was heavy dear. It sounds and i bet its so stressful to think of the situation. how nice to have a win-win situation. not always possible,... sigh. coincidently i was with friends yesterday too and a newly married couple was gushing about their big day and currently basking in their married life. There's hope.

Margaret said...

Bollybutton, what a sad post, and how complicated your life is. I've got a friend who was in your position, more than 20 years ago. I was her bridesmaid. She's still married, has a wonderful husband and two lovely children. Her father never met her husband, but it was her husband who was Asian, and her father Catholic. People are prejudiced the world over, aren't they? It sounds as if your sisters are a great strength to you, you have good friends, and Mr Zeus of course. A marriage between cultures can be richer and more exciting than any other. I wish you lots of happiness.

toomanytribbles said...

i just read this and immediately thought of you.

i hope your life is nothing like this.