I can’t remember how old I was when I heard Whitney Houston sing these lyrics…I remember watching her video, she looked absolutely phenomenal. Her hair, her make up, what she was wearing – the styling of the video – absolutely fierce. The song begins with her angrily reciting evidence that she has discovered against the accused – her man. I suppose in a court of law, the evidence submitted would be classed as ‘circumstantial’; but everyone hearing her would know in their heart of hearts, that the man was guilty with a capital G!
It’s not right; but it’s ok; I’m going to make it anyway. Close the door behind you; leave your key – I’d rather be alone than unhappy.
Now, I’m aware that things were not right in Whitney’s life. She possibly didn’t practice what she preached. I’m guessing she was a tortured soul with her demons – but… that song! That song! That song has stayed with me and brought me strength – it’s an anthem that I live by – if only she knew. I wish she knew. I wish she knew how powerful those lyrics are – and the way that she sang them – she sounded invincible – and made me feel invincible on more than one occasion.
I always go back to my childhood don’t I? Well here I go again. My mum was married by the age of 17, she had me by the time she was 19. A child bride. But that was the culture -get an education and get married early. So by the time I had finished university, I was 22 and apparently time was running out. My shelf life and window of opportunity to get married was limited and I needed to do something about this situation before I was left forever.
To be honest, this was one area where my mum and I really clashed. On the one hand, she had brought me up to an independent, self-sufficient woman who needed to stand on her own two feet; and on the other hand, I was running out of time to be a subservient wife to ‘some’ guy. I had tried my best to be the perfect daughter – but this was one area that I had to think about myself and my own mental health. In my last blog, I wrote about not caring and not living your life according to what people think. I actually practised what I preach. I needed to break away, live for myself – and so I moved away to London ‘to find myself’.
Charles Dickens wrote at the start of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,” This perfectly sums up my time in London. It was incredibly hard at first; but an experience that I definitely needed to go through. It was where I was the most insecure – but where I learnt to believe in myself and met people who broadened my mind and changed my life forever.
I made some incredible friends in London. The most amazing people. So strong. So full of self belief. In London, there is a feeling that the world is your oyster – and once you settle into your life there – it’s infectious. You believe that you deserve more. You know more. You are the cutting edge of everything in London. I loved it there.
But at the same time as making new friends, living life to the full, working exceptionally hard and becoming ‘someone’ in that dark, grim city of lights – something was missing. I wanted to find that person who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Initially, all I met were jokers and time-wasters. In Bengal there is a fruit – a ‘makaal’ fruit. Beautiful on the outside; rotten on the inside. Slowly but surely, I developed a BS filter. It was driven by the development of my own self worth. How often have you heard of men being described as a ‘catch’? They have ok looks, maybe a house, doing well in their career? Yeah, you’ve heard of them. Well guess what, times have changed and I was that catch. Why would I need to settle for any old idiot who paid me some sort of fleeting interest? After going through some tough experiences, I realised that things had to change.
So this is what I did. I broke all the rules that women are supposed to follow. You may have heard of the games that women are meant to play in order to get a man? Stop following them. You know what they say – don’t be a player unless you want to get played.
What did I do? First – I remembered that I was quite happy on my own. I had friends, a great job and a good life. Rather be alone than unhappy.
Second – this was easy for me, because I’ve never been much of a talker – so when I went on dates, I asked questions and listened. Listened really carefully to what the person opposite was saying. Did they want children? When did they see themselves getting marred? I looked carefully at how they treated other. You learn so much when you shut the hell up and just listen.
Third – and this was the most sacred rule that I broke – but enabled me to ultimately end up with my husband. ASK. Ask where this relationship is going, because trust me I wasn’t going to waste my time on any more idiotic time wasters.
Fourth – if you feel that your time is going to be wasted, or you’re getting answers that feel like you’re being put on the back burner – WALK AWAY….NO, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN AND DON’T LOOK BACK. You don’t need time vampires like that in your life!
I don’t think that unless I’d moved to London, I would have discovered my own self worth. I’m grateful that in London I’d made incredible friends who lifted me up and made me believe in myself. Changed my life forever. And as always, I write because I always wish that the lessons I learned through experience – I wish someone had just sat me down and told me about them. I hope that you’re reading this at the right time of your life and it helps – even if it’s just a little.
And listen to Whitney once in a while. Her songs were great! Even if that’s all you take away from this….well, it’s not right; but it’s ok; I’m gonna make it anyway!