I’m not an angry person. Emotional, yes. Angry, no. If something upsets me; I might feel hurt, I might even cry if I feel that bad. But recently, something absolutely infuriated me. You probably know by now that I got married and had children quite young. I don’t regret any of my decisions for a second. But over the last 6 years that I have been a mother, I have endured some of the snarkiest comments a person could ever hear. I’ve been subjected to absolute ignorance and disrespect. Yesterday wasn’t any different – someone had a go at me for conceiving my first child out of wedlock. Despite the years of judgement that I have faced, I’ve continued to hold my head up high because I know, regardless of what anyone else thinks, this is my life to live.
Photo Credit: artur84 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I’ve always known I was different
I was never really a crazy child. I didn’t touch drugs, I didn’t smoke. I did drink here and there, but never to extreme excess. When I was 15, I chose to spend my lunchtime photocopying pages from IT magazines in the library, because I wanted to further my knowledge of web design. I would enjoy talking to substitute teachers more than I would my closest friends. It bored me to talk about make-up; I wanted to talk about the Schapelle Corby drug bust instead.
I was certainly different to my peers.
So when I met my husband at aged 17, it felt right to talk about marriage and children right away. It took me only one month to know that he was The One for me. We spent almost every day together. Sometimes we would watch funny videos on YouTube, go to the arcade to play games, sing karaoke, or just sit in his car eating McDonald’s at midnight. Our idea of a ‘party’ was going to a friend’s house for a quiet get-together, sitting in a circle eating chicken nuggets and sharing a cheap bottle of alcohol. It was so quiet the neighbours wouldn’t have even known there was a party going on.
Both of us knew there was more to life than just partying. We wanted more than that. We wanted to settle down.
Overcoming the judgments
So when we had our first child at 18, we were elated. Even though it was unplanned at the time, we knew the day was inevitable. It was what we had always wanted. However, we just couldn’t afford to get married back then, so we decided to wait until we could.
Because we were young and unmarried, the judgements came pouring in. One of the worst comments came from my closest friend at the time. I used to spend hours giving her advice, hug her whenever she felt down, care for her when nobody else did. But despite how much I had supported her for the past five years, she had the nerve to say to me:
“I’m not the one who got pregnant and dropped out of university. That’s okay, the rest of us are going to be lapping it up…”
I was absolutely furious at her disrespect. I couldn’t believe that she could be so small-minded. I couldn’t believe that a ‘friend’ could be so unsupportive and not realise that this is what I wanted.
Despite the fact that Lawrence and I hadn’t planned on it, we were so happy that our lives had turned out that way. I was proud to stay at home and to be there for our daughter.
Over the next few years, the comments were just as judgemental:
“Why aren’t you two married? You live together, you have a child.. It’s a bit weird..”
“I know you guys only got married because of Alisha.”
“Weren’t you scared that he would leave you?”
But we didn’t let the judgements get to us. We went on living our lives, eventually getting married and having three beautiful children.
The day I married my best friend and soul mate
This is your life
Even now, as a 24 year old, if I go on a walk with my 2, 4 and 6 year old, I get dirty looks. Even now, when other mothers notice me at the park, they ask me if I even wanted to have my children. Even now, when we go out as a happy family of five, people stare at us in disgrace.
Even now, people try to force me to justify why someone would willingly choose to live a life of nappies, crying, sleepless nights at such a young age; when they could be out partying with their friends.
For me, it’s an easy choice to make.
My three children who make me proud to be a mother
There is always going to be someone passing judgement on your decisions. There is always going to be someone trying to put in their two cents. Some of their advice might be meaningful, the rest may not be.
But ultimately, this is your life to live.
I’m not saying be reckless and be oblivious to all the consequences. What I am saying, however, is don’t let those ignorant and uneducated minds make you feel worthless. Don’t let society determine the way you choose to live your life.
- So what if it’s unusual to get married at 20? I did, and I’ve been happily married for almost half a decade!
- So what if it’s crazy to quit your high-paying job to live a life that you’re actually passionate about? Valerie Khoo, the founder of the Australian Writers’ Centre did, and she’s now helping others do the same!
- So what if it’s unconventional to move from a quiet town to a busy city like New York? Many people have and gone on to become international names!
Don’t let your happiness be dependent on what others think of you and how you live your life.
At the end of the day, it is you that has to live with the consequences. And it is you that has to look into the mirror and be proud of what’s staring back at you.
It is only you that is living this life.
Thuy Le (formerly known as Thuy Yau) is a freelance writer and Youth Work graduate living in Perth, Australia. She loves to share her own personal experiences about overcoming adversity, as she believes that human beings are more capable than they realise. She writes to make a positive difference in the world and to inspire others to learn from themselves and their own experiences. Her writing has been discussed on radio, won writing contests, appeared on The Huffington Post UK and major Australian sites such as news.com.au, SMH, Kidspot and Essential Kids. She is currently writing her first book.
10 thoughts on “This is Your Life”
An excellent insightful post that I enjoyed reading. I would add here that it too has been my experience that friends are never what they seem and we are all always under a watchful judgemental eye usually from the least expected source.
That is so sad but true, Steven. Sometimes people aren’t who they appear to be. We just need to learn to let go of those people, and appreciate the ones who still deserve us. Thank you for such a kind comment and for reading! 🙂
Very well written post! Everyone is different, and all have ideas of what life should be. So many people are judgemental. People should learn to live and let live. You are happy. Have a great guy, and beautiful wonderful kids. Don’t listen to anyone and do your own thing as you have.
I am in the opposite boat. I never wanted kids. Still don’t. My fiancee’ and I have a great life, yet so many judge us for not having kids. It’s kind of funny and annoying at the same time. What works for some just won’t work for others. People need to get over it.
You are so right, Phil. We all have different ideas of happiness and it is our right as a human being to do what makes us happy. I think it makes more sense not to have kids, than to have them and be resentful. You are the one who knows what is best for you. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for your kind words!
Your post says a lot.And i believe that judgement has been around as long as mankind has been around.
Only we need to learn to navigate our way through the harsh comments that come our way.Most often unsolicited.
I like the way you responded to life.I am also a believer in sticking to our own convictions.People may not always understand one.And so we need to develop our own mechanisms for dealing with inevitable interpersonal surprises .
Human relations are way too complex to be passed over with a pre-written formula .It doesn’t work that way,simply because every body is absolutely unique.And so are you.Therefore you have the right to stick to what matters to you most.
Admire your courage.Keep it up.Just do not allow the cynic to decide what is right for you.
If possible…try and bless your enemies too..
You’re so right, each of us is different and because of that, we make different decisions. There is no right or wrong way to live life – just the best way for YOU.
Thanks for your kind words! Keep on thinking the way that you are – it’s a great way to be happy.
I read your article this morning on strict parenting (which I agree with) and was impressed enough to find your site. I love your views and outlook on life. You put into print what I think but don’t have the words to say. If I ever come over to Perth I’ll buy you a drink! 🙂
Oh wow, what a lovely comment to read first thing in the morning. Yes, my strong ability to empathise with other people makes it easier for me to get the words out. Though, I will admit, caffeine sometimes does the trick! haha. And if you ever come to Perth, I’ll hold you to that! Thanks for the kind words, Dale. Means a lot 🙂
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