“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” ― Mark Twain
I didn’t write a post last week, mainly because I felt overwhelmed by the sudden overexposure of my blog on Pakistani television and online. That’s right. My blog went sort of viral in Pakistan for a few days. Well, viral for a blog that typically gets around 20 views a day and was now around, oh, 165. If I had known earlier that it was going to happen, I would have figured out how to get ads and whatnot on my blog to make me some money, at least, since Zahara and I are completely dependent on my parents to support us financially right now. But no, all that happened was a slideshow of pictures of me and Naveed and our wedding, and of me and Zahara, and of Zahara and Naveed that played on every Pakistani station again and again. And oh yeah, a dramatic reading of excerpts from my first post, a reading that I found pretty funny actually, since it made me out to be some sort of an anguished, desperate victim.
I am not a victim. I’m not miserable and I’m not tortured. Naveed Parveez married me and kept promising to be someone he could never really be, while he and his family greedily took advantage of my kindness, generosity, and naivety. The cheating I discovered was only the last part of all of that. There were good times, but I also endured a lot of suffering. I gave the marriage and that family and that man every chance I could, but eventually I had to decide how much I was willing to take, what message I was sending my daughter about how a woman should be treated, and ultimately, how much power I was going to give others over my life, happiness, and dignity. I spent the first year of my baby girl’s life trying to give her father the benefit of the doubt, trying to believe him and give him every opportunity to stop lying, stop cheating, and make this marriage work. I felt horrible about it, but I was also a mother and tried to be happy for Zahara. At that point, I was a victim, because I allowed myself to be.
That family of frauds, who lie to and manipulate everyone around them in order to gain something, was not worthy of me and my daughter. Over the years of my marriage I had put up with insults and emotional abuse. Money and jewelry went missing from our home repeatedly when only my in-laws were there. I gave those people everything, including that home my in-laws lived in with me, but they treated me like I was inferior, someone to be mocked and used and thrown away. By the time Naveed’s family encouraged and facilitated his affair with the Pakistani Lollywood scandal queen Meera, I was already trying too hard for his and his family’s caring and approval. I refused to stop trying, lying to myself that if I just gave a little bit more, I would finally win over their hearts and they would be as compassionate towards me as I was towards them. But eventually even my limits were reached. Being stranded in a foreign country by a man who claims to love you will do that.
I filed for divorce early in 2011 after returning from that last chance for romance trip. The media reporting on Zahara’s baba’s engagement with his girlfriend last week discovered that we were married, but they falsely concluded that this marriage was legally over. In fact, that media coverage told the public that that man had divorced me and when they questioned him about it, he claimed not to ever have been married at all! Of course, a couple of weeks before this engagement Naveed made sure to contact me to say that there were some rumors about him and Meera getting married and I shouldn’t believe them. I laughed at the fact that he thought I still cared what he did. Meanwhile some reports lied and said I had contacted them and was trying to stop the marriage or engagement between Meera and Naveed. -_-
Now you see why I couldn’t write last week? God, I was angry that there were all these lies being spread about me and I wanted to tell the world the truth but I held my tongue. I didn’t speak to any reporters or answer their calls or make any statements at all. I was very careful to just watch and see what happens. As I have always done, I took the high road of restraint, and thought ahead to my daughter growing up and finding all of these things online one day. I have always put her first, and I did it again by remaining calm. Now that my blog has gone back to its normal limited audience and the Pakistani media and tabloids are on to some other gossip, I can write.
I don’t need to explain or prove the truth. People want the sensational story, not the facts. I know I made the right decision a year ago when I filed for divorce, and even though Zahara’s baba never signed the papers and continues to pretend he wants to fix things between us (whenever he bothers to contact us at all), the recent events prove just how worthless and selfish a man he truly is. His girlfriend doesn’t want to believe he’s lying to her, too, but she knew we were married and had just had our first child when she met us over 2 years ago and she chose to be with him anyway.
Whatever lies they tell each other and however much they choose to use each other doesn’t matter to me at all. I made the right choice for myself. I protected myself and my daughter from a dangerously callous man and his equally destructive family. I am not a victim. And although I held my tongue, I am not suffocating in silence like I had in the past. I am powerful, happy and at ease with my choices, and proud of myself for saving myself and my baby from a lifetime of misery and for doing my best to give us the life we deserve. I have nothing to hide, but I also have nothing to prove. I’m still a nice girl, but I’m strong now. People like Naveed and Meera and their families will continue to deceive and abuse the people around them, but I am no longer one of those people. So go ahead, believe what you want. I’m honest with myself and others. I know the truth about my life and I’m happy with it. And that’s all that really matters.