My adventures & misadventures in parenting & life.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Being free is priceless

Write Anyway

What does freedom mean to you?
Think of a time when you felt restricted.
How old were you?
What were you stopped from doing?
Did you manage to overcome the opposition?
If so, how did you reach your goal?
If not, what did you try?
Do you have a different perspective on the situation now?

Let me feel your frustration.

My first husband was a Moroccan & I was lucky enough to spend some time living in Morocco, not in one of the tourist traps but in the real Morocco where I was subject to the same religious & social codes that all the women lived by.
These "rules" were not as strict or severe as they would be for a born Moroccan woman (I was after all British & therefore classed differently), I could do many things that a Moroccan woman / wife could never do & many of the restrictions were relaxed in my case.
I know these things would have been unthought of freedoms for Moroccan women but to me they didn't go far enough, I had been raised in the west & had western ideas & was used to the freedoms women have living in the west.

I had to think before I did anything as to how it could be construed, my husband & his family were lovely, caring people & I did not want to bring any embarassment or shame onto them.

Clothing was an area where I was restricted, not only by what clothing was available in the shops & souks but also by what was considered appropriate & what would upset / enrage others in the community, a knee length skirt & a spaghetti strap top were out for example but long, floaty tops & anything that covered the skin was fine.

Food was another area, I did not have the freedom to eat what I chose, when I chose as in a muslim country bacon sandwiches for example are off every menu.
Moroccans have cutlery but most meals are eaten with the hands so I felt that I could not use a knife & fork but had to eat in the traditional, expected way.

You had to be careful how you spoke of the King of Morocco, people had been thrown in prison just for disagreeing with his policies whilst I was used to being able to state my opinion even if it did usually disagree with Major or Blair for example. Learning to limit or curb my tongue was a major loss of freedom for me, the loss of freedom to have & express my own opinions, thoughts & points of view.

Even something as basic as the weekly shop was bound by rules, I could not go out unless accompanied & not only for my safety but also because it was expected. Women are rarely seen outside alone it is somehow dishonourable to the family.

Women are limited in what they can & can't do in a myriad of ways, there are rules & social mores to conform to in everything from cooking & cleaning to marriage, mothering & recreation to how one lives her life both in the privacy of her own home & in public & of course religion.
The limitations I had while living in Morocco were only small; no skimpy tops, no going out unless accompanied, eating meals Moroccan style & no smoking in public but I found them difficult as I was accustomed to living my life relatively unhindered & on a more or less equal basis to men, knowing that my life was not worth less just because I was female. It was the little things, being unable to just browse the market on my own or talk to people of either sex of always having to think how will me saying such & such affect my family, is it acceptable?

I am glad I had the opportunity to experience this different way of life, the life in another country & religion it taught me a lot about myself, life in general & taught me what I needed to be happy namely the freedom to be, to make mistakes, to live & to love unhindered by societies expectations or limits.
I learnt that I need to be "me" not a me bound with expectations & rules where there are penalties imposed for having a different opinion

I'm glad & thankfull to have grown up in a country where I have freedom of choice in the clothing I wear, the religion I follow, the lifestyle I choose & the freedom to express my opinion no matter who it disagrees with.

Freedom is a priceless gift & one we should all treasure.

1 people have experienced mischief:


Thank you for giving me something to think about. :-)