I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. I think they’re usually unrealistic and set people up for disappointment. Why wait until January 1 to change your life? Change it on February 27th, or August 8th. Change it when you finally feel brave enough to do so. Anyway, I’m normally not into it, but this year, I caved.
My resolution was to finally go through with something everyone should know how to do by the time they graduate high school (or maybe college, for the late bloomers): #1 – stop worrying what other people think about you! I thought I had learned that in high school, but it seems I need to take a remedial course in caring about what really matters.
I’d like to make it clear that there is a difference between caring and worrying, and it’s definitely a fine line. For me, I know when I care versus when I worry. When I worry, I lose sleep and I become irritable and very sensitive. When I care, I feel healthier. For example, I care about what my boss thinks of me, so I make every effort to do my job correctly, with excellence and integrity. Her opinion matters, and caring about her opinion motivates me to be a better version of myself. When I worry, I am usually stressing over the opinions of people who don’t matter, but for some reason, I give them power over me that they should not have. I’m sure I’m not alone.
Why am I even talking about this? Well, in the last month or so, I have been worrying more than caring. I’ve been worrying about what people will say about my decision to be a yabanci gelin. My family had some reservations for reasons I won’t discuss, but they were absolutely natural, reasonable, and valid concerns. However, they have been nothing but loving and supportive.
Other people, however, have not been very supportive, and it bothered me more than it ought to. In fact, I’m pretty sure my closest friends and family members are reading this and shaking their heads, wishing I could just let it go. But I still need to vent about it, and it’s my blog, so that’s that.
Why do I care about the opinions of people who:
1) don’t really matter
2) aren’t even close with me to begin with
3) did not give me life
4) did not raise me or make sacrifices for my sake
5) are not putting a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back or love in my heart
6) are not even brave enough to “voice their concerns” to me in an appropriate, mature way?
I really don’t have an answer for that. I guess most of my life I have always done things the “right” way and fulfilled most of the expectations people had for me (of me? Someone help me out). Moving across the world and marrying a man from a mysterious country is certainly not what people expected of me.
Social media also play a role in how people react to other people’s life choices. People feel REALLY bold and entitled behind the protection of a computer screen, like it magically morphs the second-hand sofa in their moldy basement apartment into a judge’s bench, where they are free to burden all of us with their unsolicited opinions. I truly believe that because he is from a different country, they think they are free to comment/criticize as though he were not their equal. Actually, he’s not their equal. He is far above people with such a simple mentality. I think his specific nationality is an issue for some people. If I were engaged to an Italian man or a Swedish man (for example), they probably would not react as obnoxiously. (And yes, asking if I’m afraid that my future husband will “force” me to have babies in Turkey and never let any of us leave is incredibly obnoxious and uncalled for. To answer that question, no. No, I am not afraid he would ever do that.)
Naturally, people make assumptions about what a man from this part of the world is like. I get that. Every group in the world has their stereotypes. Some people, unfortunately, give life to those stereotypes and ruin things for the majority of those who are normal, decent human beings. To assume that I would even socialize with someone who fits the stereotype of a “Middle Eastern man” is absurd, and I feel insulted when someone even suggests that. It makes me ask, “Have you met me? Have you ever tried to disagree with me on anything? Do you really think I’m the type to be bossed around and objectified?” If only people would THINK before spewing nonsensical questions.
An even better question is, “Have you met HIM?” They’d all have to say no. Making assumptions about a man before meeting him is a sign of ignorance and immaturity. Everyone who meets my fiance says the same things. He’s so sweet, he’s so sincere, he’s such a gentleman, etc. All are true. He’s not only like that with me. He’s like that with EVERYONE. Those are qualities I look for in a mate. If someone spent even just a short time with my fiance and I, they would see that in many ways, he is even kinder and gentler than I am. I’m not saying he writes poetry about flowers blooming or cries at the thought of a kitten taking its first breath, but he values all the right things in life and treats them (especially me) like they are precious gifts from God, so he cherishes them (me) fully. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I’m violating my second resolution, which is related to the first one. Resolution #2: I don’t need to explain or justify. If they are not willing to take the time to educate themselves, I do not need to waste my time trying to convince them of anything. They don’t have to trust me. They don’t have to approve of my choice. They do have to respect me and my fiance, but if they can’t do that, they do not have to communicate with us at all. And most importantly, they do not have to come to our wedding – EITHER wedding (we will have one in Turkey and one in my home country), which is perfect because my family is huge, so I’m trying to figure out every way to keep my guest list as small as possible. 😉
I’ve griped about this enough. The fact is, yes, my heart has been broken by how thoughtless and harsh some people can be. It hurts me more than it should because I am simply not used to that sort of treatment. I am also very sensitive about anything that is said regarding my fiance. I chose him, so to criticize or insult him is to criticize and insult me. I also know what a wonderful, beautiful person he is on the inside and out.
I always imagined my engagement and wedding would be like a fairy tale. It certainly doesn’t lack love or romance, and for that, I am thankful. I was wrong to think everyone would share my joy, and the timing feels unfortunate, but I suspect it’s actually perfect. I’m about to take a huge leap into the next chapter of my life. I can’t possibly leap if I have trolls clinging to my ankles, trying to bring me down. It’s time to let them go.