The Saudi Snow White

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Is it an arranged marriage or an arranged life?

Submitted: June 26, 2018

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Submitted: June 26, 2018

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Girls all over the world first came to know Snow White as she expressed her longing and undying love for her prince charming; assuring them that “someday [her] prince will come” until she eventually met him as he gently revives her with a loving, delicate kiss. But apparently, not every girl is lucky enough to meet the same fate as Snow White’s. Unfortunately, I happened to be one of those girls.

I grew up with dreams of meeting my dream man one day, who had to be honest and loyal, and raising our own little family together. I had high hopes of becoming the perfect housewife just like my mother whom I always admired. To bring this desire to fruition, I took it upon myself to learn how to cook, clean and treat my future husband right. I spent years diligently helping my mother around the house and writing down hearty, delicious food recipes in my notebook in addition to reading books on what makes a man tick. All the while, the barrages of suitors that would come and go weren’t my cup of tea. I just simply didn’t feel the sparks flying between me and any of them despite each of their mothers’ attempts to brag about her son’s incomparable talents, impeccable virtues and unmatched looks. Until one day when the unexpected happened. I was twenty-seven years old when he came to my house to see me for the first time. My dad and brother were present when I coyly entered the guest room to meet the man that was my soon-to-be husband. It was a typical arranged marriage first meeting. Him and I awkwardly exchanged a few words before I exited the room. Shortly after, we decided that we should both tie the knot! After all, that’s how the vast majority of the people in my country get married.

Him and I were engaged for a year. During which I kept having second thoughts about becoming this man’s lawful wife. However, the stigma of being single at the age of twenty-seven and the incessant societal pressure to get hitched before reaching spinsterhood, which is thirty years old according to society’s standards, were agonizing. Therefore, I decided to call off the wedding. No, just kidding! I actually went ahead and made all the preparations for my big day. The wedding took place in a large ballroom and I wore a fancy dress. It was an extravagant one similar to all Saudi weddings.

A few months have passed after the wedding before I was legally divorced. Soon after that, the news of my divorce started circulating and people started offering unsolicited advice and blaming me for my unforgivable mishap. I fell under society’s pressure and scrutiny once again.

But what didn’t kill me had actually made me stronger. From that point in my life onward, I learned to throw people’s opinion of me to the wind and act of my own accord. In 2012 I did the unthinkable act, in the eyes of a monolithic society, of flying to the United States to pursue a master’s degree in linguistics all by myself. Three years later, I was a proud holder of a higher degree in linguistics from California State University, Long Beach. An accomplishment which I consider to be my greatest so far. By living abroad as a newly single young woman, I was exposed to a new intriguing culture, learned the value of independence and acquired a few good friends along the way.

Looking back at my arranged marriage now, I can confidently say that I have no regrets. It was a learning experience albeit being an unfortunate one. Do I still have a chance of meeting my prince charming in the future like Snow White did? I don’t own a crystal ball to answer this question just yet…

 


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