In the Shadows of Men: Injustice of Justice



Every time I went to court or to the police, my feelings for him turned into a harder stone. It made me despise him. There were times when I became too close to him to hate him, but I would remind myself that hatred is a feeling we can only have for someone we used to love. I decided that I never loved him. He didn’t deserve even my hate. I had loved him only because I was raised to; I had been taught to love my husband.

I had loved him. When I left him, I realized that love was never my real feeling towards him—not true love or adoration or understanding. I loved him because he was my husband, and I believed it was my duty.

I married him when I was very young. I became the bride I had refused to be at first. Inside me was the woman I wanted to become for my mother, the woman my mother could not have become in her own time—the woman who demanded, and took more from life. There was still a human being inside me who wanted to prove to her parents that she deserved to live fully.

Maybe this is the weakest of what lies inside me. My fragile confidence can be crushed by a look from my mother. How harsh mothers can be in their love, never realizing how unfair this harshness is. My mother always wanted me to be what she couldn’t become—until I decided to get a divorce. It was as if I had intruded on a world she had suppressed for ages. I had created a strange earthquake inside her. I had awakened her quiet volcano and she couldn’t make herself stop.

My mother’s love is equal to her harshness. It’s a love like the love I feel for my children, except that my consciousness is different from hers in many ways. My mother is the victim of a society that maintains patriarchy and demands weakness in women, ideas that infiltrate the soul that otherwise might dream of a future without a man. She taught me to be what she secretly wished she could become. And when I became what she aspired to be, she tried to break it the way Abraham tried to smash the idols in his temple. Her looks followed me constantly. I felt besieged by her, yet I tried to prove to her that I deserve to be her daughter. Because I  had dashed her dreams of a male child by arriving as a girl and bringing more girls after me, I wanted to compensate her by proving that a girl can be like a boy. A feeling that never ages, no matter how old I become.

I was an obedient wife, as my mother wanted me to be, and I was strong, as she wanted me to become. I saw her joy at my stability and I saw the panic in her eyes when she remembered her own disappointments.

My confidence haunts me. So do my sisters, my children, and my ex-husband, as if they represent society. Sometimes they all collude against me, believing they’re right to think I’m crazy, that my blind confidence is unrealistic, that I’m not beautiful. My eyes are hollow and lined with black circles, it’s true… but they are more than the tired circles below. Just as I am much more than the features one can immediately detect. I always mocked anyone who would say my eyes and my mouth are my best features. I would imagine my ex-husband mocking me in front of the children, both during happy times and when we were fighting: “They must have seen you while you were wearing sunglasses at dinner.” I would laugh and the kids would laugh, and all would agree. If I mentioned that someone complimented my body, the children and my sisters would giggle. “They haven’t seen the cellulite and stretch marks,” they would say. I would swallow my pride and answer, “Of course, the stretch marks.” This would always be a good opportunity to show my tummy to my children and tell them the history of the lines and curves and stretch marks and surgery. One is for my eldest; the stretch marks are for my son. Those on the side came from my third and fourth. Showing my children my belly was a way of teasing them, of playing with them. When they were younger, they teased me in return. As they grew older, they viewed these scars with more respect and appreciation, as traces of the pain I endured to bring them into the world.



    1. the good news is that I made it…. I have no idea how.. whenever I think back… but yet you know, that when we are put in a situation we don’t have options except to fight our way for survival if we want to stay alive.

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