Sultana's Dream

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Sultana's Dream
April 2012


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'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do'

I was 27 years old when I made the very difficult decision to move out of home and find my own physical and emotional space. Easy for some, but absolutely horrendous for the eldest daughter of a large-ish Asian-Muslim family.  

What was meant to be a calm discussion to tell my folks 'IT' was finally happening and that it was important for me to have their blessing, resulted in my mother crying hysterically in a locked bathroom and my father's passive-aggressive cloud of wrath hanging over me - his unmarried ‘disobedient, ungrateful, westernised’ daughter and sister to four younger siblings!  I still moved in with my good friend from work the next morning twenty minutes up the road.

I left behind an emotional letter for my mother and one for my siblings, who were amazingly supportive (they just wanted the extra bedroom space). Ma eventually talked to me after six weeks when she saw I was at the family home more often than when I used to live there. As heartbreaking as it was to put my parents through something they thought they'd never have to experience, we all learned a lot; I was the same, if not happier person, and I survived my life's biggest rebellion in my late 20's!

If you're anything like me, an easily guilt-ridden bundle of eldest-sibling-burdened nerves, chances are that you wouldn't do anything against your parents' wishes without analysing and fretting about it over and over again. What got me through it all was a tiny thread of hope that it would all work out in the end - and that there were at least three 'worse' things a Muslim daughter could inflict on her traditional parents!

Dakhylina Madkhul