I think that I am, finally, ready to admit that my public story had immensely affected my wellbeing. I apologize to anybody who would see this as a shock because “Hind you are a strong girl, you can handle this”. I do realize that many people perceive me as an unbreakable strong woman. I am, indeed, unbreakable, but I am not always strong! Does that make sense? Is it ok to say that receiving an unexpectedly cruel message from a person I thought knows me inside out has completely and utterly ruined my day? Is it ok that I am not accepting being lectured as a prerequisite of support? Or is that very unexpected of a ‘strong’ woman like me? This personal message I received today might appear as a trivial event, but, the truth is that it acted as the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Just now, I am realizing how much I had to endure to stay the strong woman I am expected to be. Fourteen years ago, when I got pregnant out of wedlock and decided to seek my daughter’s rights from a father who refused to acknowledge her, my pride was what dictated my actions. My decision was to stay strong so I can continue to motivate and inspire the many women who depended on my strength and perseverance. My decision was to stay strong to, also, fulfill the expectations of my family and friends. But it didn’t stop at only being forced to appear strong regardless of what my actual feelings were. It reached a point where I am expected to accept to be lectured, to be told what and what not to do in my ‘private’ life, to be judged, shamed, blamed and humiliated.
It didn’t stop, even until now! And I do admit that it hurts! It has been hurting for 14 years, and I am sorry to say that I do not accept it anymore. I will not accept to be constantly shamed, blamed, and judged for a ‘mistake’ I’ve done 14 years ago. I will not accept my friends telling me “We don’t check on you because we know that you are strong enough to handle anything on your own”; “we know you are facing many hardships, but you always manage to overcome them, you don’t need support”; or “well, it was your choice, live with the consequences”.
Let me tell you something.,Yes, it was my choice, and it was not a mistake. I will say it out loud this time: I do not consider my pregnancy a mistake just because the father refused it; I do not consider my pregnancy a mistake just because I am a woman living in an Arab Muslim country that disregards men’s ‘mistakes’ but not ‘women’s’! My pregnancy was not a mistake. Being unplanned does not qualify it as a mistake! It was a choice, a very personal choice. And, to be blunt, I do not need to explain or justify it to anybody. I have rights and my baby has rights regardless of whether it was planned or not. Having a baby out of wedlock does not give anybody in the Arab Muslim world the right to lecture me, shame or judge me. Many of you cannot handle what I had to deal with, and what I am still dealing with.
Now, after 14 years, I am admitting that what I dealt with and still dealing with throughout my life did affect my wellbeing and still is. But finally, I have realized that it will continue to affect me until I refuse it. So here I am saying it clearly; I refuse your control over me; I refuse your lectures; I refuse your judging; I refuse your talking about me behind my back; I refuse the lies that you spread; I refuse your shaming. I am who I am and I will not accept or tolerate any interfering in my private life in the name of religion, culture, tradition, or whatever else. When I ask for help, I’d accept you to either offer help or stay away. I have not given you the right to interfere in my life just because I asked for help. Focus on your lives and let people live the lives they choose to live. Focus on your problems; we all have a lot in our lives to deal with, so stop pointing fingers.
Remember that, simply, I took full responsibility for my actions and didn’t hide like many do. And from now on, I will focus on my well-being. I will stop fulfilling what I am expected to be or do. I will pursue the path I chose for myself, and never again will I accept any shaming from anybody.
Stay out my life! This message is for both chauvinist women and men!