Saturday, September 22, 2012

Deceiving Myself

I've been doing a lot of thinking back over the last few months. I've had the opportunity to really see India and America with new eyes because of my experiences over the last 2 years. As some of my long term blog readers will remember I deleted several posts a while back because of a psycho that is unfortunately not leaving me the hell alone. That hasn't changed but, I did decide to put some of them back and I have some further explaining to do now that I'm finally ready to face things myself.

Before I left for India I had some extreme things occurring in my life. I promise you no Indian serial drama nor American soap opera could possibly hold as much drama as was going on around here. I was working 3 jobs and dealing with a sick father (mentally). Another family member fell ill and I began having to take off of work a lot. My income dwindled to around $900 a month and I couldn't keep up the payments on the American dream any longer. STILL, I wasn't concerned with the material things because family and the people in my life mattered more than anything else.

After almost 2 years of going through all of this drama, I wound up in the hospital myself. I had a mild heart attack at the age of 32. The doctor looked me straight in the face and told me that if things didn't change drastically right away I would not live to see 33. Knowing there is already a high risk of stroke in my family, this incident scared me more than anyone can imagine.

I began making the drastic changes that I felt needed to be made. I started by quitting one of my jobs. It was the job I loved the most but it brought in the least amount of money. I started getting rid of the things that caused me financial stress. Still I didn't seem to be getting better. So I *convinced* myself that I needed to go back and live with my mother until I could recover.

I specifically say convinced because I knew at the time that I could not get along with my step-father very well and I knew he would cause me tension. Still, I managed to make myself believe that this tension wouldn't be as bad as all I had been dealing with previously. So I quit a second job. That only left me the writing job and it was easy to take that job anywhere and the pay was good too.

During this time I was also thinking that one way to solve the issue of not having my soon to be husband by my side would be to go to India and get him. I don't know how many of you are familiar with the US immigration system but if you go on WikiLeaks you can find documents proving that roughly 75% of all fiance visa's are denied. I knew we needed to get married if we truly wanted to be together.

So while I was trying to recover at my moms I began to realize that I had really only traded one heartache for another. Instead of bills, robberies and pyscho assholes I now had family drama which is not better. I wasn't prepared to handle any of that at the time. I had not given myself enough time to get past the stress that had caused the heart attack before taking on new and different stress.

I talked to hubby every day and most of them I was crying because of my unhappiness and fear that I would have another heart attack. I also talked to other family members and did some additional research. Now, I'm not completely naive. I have several family members who believe in natural medicines and I've seen them work first hand. Somehow I with all this influence and the sadness I was experiencing I began to believe that I could go to India, marry my husband and spend some time healing using the natural medicine practices India is well known for. (AKA Ayurveda.)

I talked to all of my important family members and with their blessing, I went to India 7 months after my heart attack. (So as you can see, this all happened really quickly.) I flew into India and was even sicker from day one. Still, I managed to convince myself things would get better. I started right away using the medicines and getting treatment. My husband and In-laws did everything they could to take the stress away and help me relax.

In the beginning I felt very positive about the situation. I could see some good changes in my body and my health and even though I was struggling with some issues there, I was determined that things would get better and I would be fine. I was committed to seeing this treatment through and I was convinced I would wind up healthier in the long run.

I had EKG's (Electrocardiograms) done regularly and my heart remained strong. That only helped me convince myself more that I was going to be okay in the long run. My stress level (despite how frustrated I've sounded on this blog at times) was lower in India than in the US. I still had stress. That's one thing no one can ever escape in life. We just trade one stress for another. It's just that I was becoming much better at managing it because I needed to for my own health.

I made it a point to learn every new way I could to keep the stress under control. Looking back I can honestly say that I didn't do so good at keeping my stress level down sometimes (hence the angry blog posts). I was constantly deceiving myself by continually convincing my mind that I could make it just a little longer because of my health and for many other reasons that only mattered in those moments.

Why do I keep using the word "convinced?" Because I was not in a position to see things as objectively as I should have. I was very sick in India. Things were not as good as I thought they would turn out to be. My health was not actually getting better, it was getting worse. Yes, my heart was doing better but overall my health was deteriorating more than it was getting better.

That's a lot of deception. Maybe it takes some self deception to survive in India. I know I saw a lot of it in other people. I see it in people who are just getting fully exposed to India. Some of the deceptions are much deeper than mine and some are not as deep.

Did you deceive yourself about the culture you were moving into?
Did you deceive yourself about your own culture?
Did these deceptions help you survive or did things not work out like you expected?


2 comments:

  1. I hope all the Indians who read your blog realize from what you've written that the 'American Dream' takes a lot of hard work in reality- not what is shown on TV.
    I think the biggest mistake I made in dealing with the "Indian Family Drama" was taking it personally. I truly thought the family members giving me Hell hated ME as a person.
    In reality I was given the 'hard time' that every new daughter in law was given in this family. After I learned that you have to give up your American ideas of being 'equal', 'polite' or 'nice' and fight back (LOUDLY) to earn your 'status' in this Indian family things changed. I don't really like it, but the unfortunate truth is our American ideals of politeness/ 'being nice' are considered 'weakness' or stupidity. Take your American ideal of treating all human beings as 'equals' and toss that too, 'hierarchy' is all important in the Indian family. Don't expect that having a university degree or more $$ than the entire Indian family could ever hope to put together will get you any respect in this 'hierarchy' either, as 'daughter in law' you must fight your way up from 'slave status'.
    Sounds overly dramatic, but that's what I've learned living with my Indian family.

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  2. You're right, you have to fight. Learning that has helped me in my US life as well as personally. I'm glad you commented. I have a special respect for those who have lived in this culture and dealt with family longer than I have. It takes time to truly learn about desi culture, you can't just pick it up after a short time visiting. It's a constant learning process.

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