My family was a little upset with me when I went to visit my future in-laws for the first time. According to a rule I knew nothing about until I broke it, I was supposed to meet them with my own family on a day they decided on with my in-laws.
I didn’t know. I grew up in America and was never briefed on the appropriate way to marry someone.
In my mind, I felt I had always been honorable. My fiancé and I both told our parents about each other because we understood the weight of what we were doing. We wanted to enroll them in our process because our parents’ opinions are important to us.
My relationship with my family is lovingly tumultuous. I pride myself on being a good daughter. This journey has walked us onto thin ice because I decided to add a person who wasn’t our flesh and blood into our family. I expected my family to love him like they love me overnight.
This process has shown me how much I don’t know about my family, culture, and traditions. From my point of view, I felt like I was doing the honorable and right thing. When met by push back of my parents’ discomfort, I would often get frustrated.
I was getting met by a lot of opposition from culture. Culture, I didn’t know about because I live as an second generation Indian American. Things I didn’t know because I was the first girl in my immediate family to be married. Culture, I was desperately trying to avoid because it just didn’t make sense to me.
It has become clear to me to survive culture, I’ve had to make a few choices.
I am choosing joy because I am tired of being engulfed in the things I cannot control.
I am choosing to apologize because I rather be sensitive to things I don’t know or understand.
I am choosing to give people the benefit of the doubt because I am susceptible to being wrong.
I am choosing peace because I love God, my family, culture, and the places I am from more than anything on this earth.
It wasn’t doing me any good to try to fight the nuances of culture with my own strength or by proving a point. It didn’t make my relationships with my family stronger or even put me in a higher position.
I am realizing culture will always be embedded into who I am, what I do, and how I respond.
The more I talk to people the more I see that many of us have gone through these things and had to bear it. I would like to believe that these seasons you have gone through will be useful to you and the people around you.
I am choosing to fight with my gift and my art because it was the way God was asking me to do it.
I am choosing to tell this story because it is our collective story to tell.