Maureen is one of those truly great people who I have had the pleasure of getting to know through blogging.
She blogs at Tatter Scoops and I can honestly say her posts have been some of the most emotionally inspiring posts that I have read thus far.
I asked her to guest blog here because she has a unique perspective on being a single mom, being that she is doing it in Indonesia.
She faces cultural challenges that I am very thankful I do not have to face. What's more is she does it with grace and dignity.
She's written a guest post here on what it's like to be a divorced woman in Indonesia. And I also encourage you to head on over to her blog and read what else she has to say.
I think you will enjoy her warm heart and words as much as I do!
The first thought that popped in my head when Jessica asked me to guest post on her blog was the D word. As in Dating!
But after several paragraphs, I realized it might be better to write about something that’s more familiar to being a single mom in Jakarta, where the other "D" word still has a negative connotation to it.
A new friend from the States that I met last night over dinner asked about how divorce is being perceived here in Indonesia. She who said “Back home, people are surprise that you are still married. How do Indonesians view divorce?”
We didn’t get a chance to really discuss the topic too much, I answered her concisely that basically, although divorce rates has been on the climbing in Indonesia, it’s still something that very hush-hush. People just don’t openly talk about it.
Why not? Maybe because our Indonesian culture still sees divorce as a shameful thing or as a bad thing…I don’t have the exact answers. But from the look and feel of it, it’s not something to be proud of.
Yet I’m no longer ashamed for being a divorcee, no longer have I felt the need to cover my status in the public eyes. Actually, I’m pretty damn proud of myself for coming along this far with the help of my supportive families and friends.
Here in Indonesia, they still put your marital status on just about every single form. From our ID cards to job employment forms. I learned from a mailing list of Indonesian Single Parents that some who got divorced here now had the section on their ID card printed as: Divorced.
Mine said I’m single because my neither marriage nor divorce was recorded here in Indonesia.
From the mailing list too I read some comments last week about how we as divorced women are ‘supposed’ to act accordingly to protect ourselves from the negativity that’s already surround our status. "Accordingly" as in to dress properly, to behave, etc. This my friend, to me sounds like a bunch of nonsense.
I replied all fired up and my vocal opinion on this subject may not make me the most loveable member of the group but I don’t give a damn. One’s morality or attitude cannot simply be judged by their marital status. Being a divorcee doesn’t mean we are bad people.
To them I say, please don’t let our divorcee status define who we really are as an individual. Good mannerisms and how we carry ourselves in public has totally nothing to do with being divorced. It all comes back to our own personalities.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a Westerners or Asians, the pain of divorce is hard to deal with. It’s a daily struggle to be a divorcee and going through one if you’re living in the capital city of Indonesia and I read that daily from the mailing list so I can only imagine what my fellow Indonesians ‘sisters’ are facing if they live in a small town.
When I said I’m proud of myself it’s not because my marriage ended. No one, I repeat no one enters a marriage thinking they want to get a divorce. What I’m proud is the way I survived the end of that marriage. Proud that I rebelled against the whole stigma surrounding my own culture. Proud because I dust myself off and am moving on with life. Proud because I chose to embrace co-parenting when most divorced women here have total deadbeat exes.
I just wish some day; somehow my patriarchy culture will stand by their women instead of sneering at us divorced women. In a country where polygamy is accepted as its major religious views, it’s time to show some support for divorced – often times abused - women. I hope one day they will have some sort of Child Support Agency like they have back in the States so these deadbeats fathers here will learn to be responsible for their children.
Here’s to keeping these hopes alive and becoming a reality soon.