From a disparaging mother to a tardy clothes horse, Aunty D gives her unique take.
(Dumb)belle of the ball
Dear Aunty D,
Ever since I was a kid, mum’s manner of showing affection has been…unique, to say the least. Some prime examples of her nicknames for me include dumbbell, dummy, and duffer – I don’t know if she likes the alliteration or she just genuinely thinks I’m stupid. When I confronted her about it, she said it’s a term of endearment and she thinks it’s cute. Now that I’m older, however, I’ve realised it’s actually taken a toll on my self-esteem over the years. How do I tell her this without her brushing me off?
Dear (Dumb)belle of the Ball,
Mum unknowingly disregarded your psychological needs, damaged your self-worth, and warped your identity, and may never understand this, so take the first step on the long and rough road to healing by forgiving her. It must be difficult for you to open up and make friends, or confidently take on assignments and jobs because the labels branded you as stupid and incapable, or even worthless. In forgiving, you’ll subdue the pain and anger and deter you from perpetuating the cycle onto others close to you. Introspect deeply and get reacquainted with your true self; the one that’s been suffocated; a self that’s deserving of love and respect from yourself and others. Avoid like a plague people who treat you as any less!
Dear Aunty D,
My dear hubby, God rest his soul, passed away last year, and yes, it’s been a struggle. However, I’ve noticed that I’m being treated very differently compared to the widowers in our society. Everyone sees me as fragile and they walk on eggshells around me, while at the same time, I’ve become a bit of a pariah. In the meantime, all the widowers seem to still be invited to all the same events, and no one treats them like they’re made of glass. Their spouses have also passed away, so why am I the only one who’s cast away?
Dear Black Widow,
Imagine a reversed tragedy where your husband is left a bereft widower; I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted him to sit around moping, waiting to be included in the so-called ‘friends’ circle. After all, you get to live only this one life, so please, go out there and grab the chunk of happiness and life awaiting you with both hands; you owe it to yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and widen your horizon and circle of friends by joining classes and new activities; do whatever else you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t even know it yourself; reinvent yourself; dye your hair green; get fat/get thin. Love yourself and forget public opinion; even the saints were not spared!
No ‘Dash’ in Dashing
Dear Aunty D,
We live in a joint family with my grandparents, parents, sister, brother, and babhi, and for the most part, I have no complaints. However, whenever we have an event go to as a family, it’s always my brother who’s holding us up. I don’t know if he needs to oil his beard to perfection or he’s just that indecisive about what chud to wear, but he’s taking hours longer than even the ladies in the family (I guess he’s the reason we shouldn’t rely on stereotypes)! How can I encourage him to stay a Dapper Dan without being a Dawdling Dan at the same time?
Dear No ‘Dash’ in Dashing,
Though recent studies have debunked the stereotyped and myopic view that women take longer to get ready, I wonder if they took into consideration that we womenfolk have much more primping to do within the time frame, i.e. make-up, curling/straightening/arranging our hair, and pairing-up the handbags, shoes and jewellery. We also pick-up the pile of clothes heaped on the floor, and simultaneously coordinate the household schedule and requirements of that day and the next, and when ready, close the lights behind ourselves. So, Dapper Dan has no excuse! Force him to do all his dawdling without disturbing others in the family, by having him pre-select his clothes and the matching patka/turban, socks and shoes a day earlier!