Here’s what happened when I told my Punjabi dad about my Puerto Rican boyfriend:
Sometimes, when I feel sorry for myself (lol), I go down the rabbit hole of feeling as if I was dealt with cards I could never win with. As if I didn’t already have an identity crisis (growing up British Indian), the concept of falling in love outside of my culture is something that’s always scared the shit out of me—for fair reasons.
My dad has always reminded me that I am no daughter of his unless I marry an Indian man, a Sikh one for that matter, someone who is the same caste (more about this another time). You get this gist and yes, my prince charming options are narrower than me becoming Queen of England.
My dad is a good man. No, fuck that, he’s a great man. He came to England from India with nothing, spent six months wandering all over the West until some nice guy stamped his passport with “British Citizen”. He was introduced to my mum through a family friend, met her on the day of their wedding and went on to raise three girls in an alien country. He did what he could what he knew and I understand why he feels so strongly about certain things. But still this marriage shit, drives me nuts. It’s 2018 fam. We have Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari doing real shit on TV.
Anyway, dad isn't talking to me right now and it fucking sucks. I love that man so much and as much as I understand him, he doesn't understand me. I guess that how it works right? Parents aren't supposed to get it. I’ve been with my (superduperfuckingamazing) boyfriend for a year and a few months now. Everyone and their mother knows about us, thanks to Instagram, everyone except for my father—up until recently.
Earlier this year when my parents came to visit me, I tried one last time to sway him on his life long views on how he thinks his daughters relationships should play out.
Me: “Dad, what if, he wasn’t Indian?”
Dad: “Then you are not my daughter.”
I decided to carry on with life and vowed that when the time came and my relationship was ready for the next step, I’d tell dad and see what the fuck happened. I just didn’t anticipate it being a month or so later at 2am over the phone, me in tears and drunk. I guess I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. I felt like I was breaking, unable to share my happiness with the man who made who I am.
It’s a weird world we live in. Three of my best friends just recently got engaged, and all I want is for my dad to talk to me and MAYBE start to accept my choice. I’m scared that I’ve lost him and he doesn’t know me anymore. I’m scared that I can’t grow and move forward as a woman without repairing this relationship. I’m desperate to be the one in our family to change our culture and help other people who are in the same boat.
Dad, there’s a zero percent chance that you’ll read this but I know you know I love you more than anything.
If there’s anyone going through anything similar, holla at me. Let’s get tea and talk shit about it. I’m here. And stayed tuned, I’ll keep you guys posted when I hear back.
P.S. I started writing “This Brown Life” because I’m at a point where I feel ready to be honest with myself and the world. There’s a lot of things that happen to a person that shape who they are, and without context, oftentimes people feel so misunderstood. I wanted to create a space where I could share that, hopefully inspiring others to do the same in order for them to live comfortably in their truth (Vick, I stole that from you, thank you).