Dolls and their houses

When I left home to live with my boyfriend, I was on cloud nine. Home was a place of chaos and yelling and petty squabbles that sometimes turned violent. I was glad to leave. I had just swerved on a life-altering course that turned out to be my very first act of independence. I knew things weren’t going to be perfect. I have always been a realist. But I expected a life a lot different from this empty shell I’m living now.

That was almost three years ago and now, though I hate to admit it, I do regret leaving my home, my parents, my siblings. It’s not because at home, I wasn’t charged with as many responsibilities. Nor is it because of the more superficial benefits like the fact that the room I used to share with my older sister is now air-conditioned. It’s not because at home, I wasn’t as isolated as I am here because at any time I can just barge into my sister or brother’s rooms to have a little chat.

The reality is that, when I left home to be with the man I love, I also spurned the chance for me to grow up, to mature into a stong, free-thinking woman. I believe that love still exists between me and my boyfriend, just as I believe that living together, when we were both supposed to be at an age of soul-searching, has soured our relationship. Earlier today I yelled at him that he didn’t really love me, that what he had loved at the time when he asked me to come away with him, was the idea of saving me, of being the magnificent prince who stole the poor maiden away to live a life of happily-ever-afters (of course what I said wasn’t as elaborate as that). But I realized afterwards that I, too, fell in love with the idea of being rescued from my meager existence. I hadn’t expected our life together to be as constricting as this. Now, my boyfriend tells me what I’m supposed to do everyday, subtly hinting that I should cook the meals, clean the house, AND do my job as a freelance writer.  Subtle? Yeah, like a gun to my head. What he doesn’t realize is that I already know that these are my responsibilities. He doesn’t have to tell me. And when I try to tell him that HE gets angry. Twisted? Damn right it is.

The worst thing about my situation is that I allowed it to happen. So now I’m stuck in this rut, unable to think for myself, and worse, unable to leave. All I can hope for is that in a few months I’ll be going back to school. Away from the suffocating whirl of you-should-do-this or that’s-so-like-a-girl remarks. I’m not a feminist but I do agree with Henrik Ibsen’s Nora when she said that her husband had been treating her like a doll-wife, fragile and weak, never to make decisions, unless they involved running the household, or learn about serious matters.

Finally she says, “I must stand quite alone, if I am to understand myself and everything about me.”

I just wonder when I will have my chance to do such a thing.

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