Getting a divorce is the greatest accomplishment of my life. It’s the thing that puts a smile on my face as I fall asleep each night.
I was married for 21 years, my husband and I were very different. His work was the most important thing in the world to him, and I, I was nothing. I was always pushed to the side. I was always humiliated and beat up over the most trivial reasons. He’d hit me and flip the dining table over if there was just a little extra salt in his food. I was never allowed to open my mouth and give my opinion.
Cooking zucchini was always a frightening experience, because if just one piece of zucchini turned out smaller than the other, it’d be a disaster. All the housework and things for the kids I did alone. He’d constantly yell at me in front of other people and call me a servant.
“Cooking zucchini was always a frightening experience, because if just one piece of zucchini turned out smaller than the other, it’d be a disaster.”
After one year of marriage, I realized my mistake. I realized I had chosen the wrong person to marry.
The last six years before the divorce were the worst years of my life. I was treated for depression. I spent the week before I started medication unable to sleep. I decided to take action. I lost 21 years of my life because I had succumbed to his abuse. No one stood by me at all. Nobody knew what it felt like to raise my children alone.I gave up all my rights and my belongings so that he would grant me the divorce.
“You’re not taking anything with you if you leave”, he had said.
So, I agreed.
When the officiant who was going to finalize our divorce asked us to reconsider, my son told his father, “Baba, I think you two should go through with the divorce so that we could all get some peace”.
My mother cut off all contact with me after the divorce. Both my brothers, the one who lived abroad and the other one who lived here, also cut ties with me. My father, unfortunately, passed away before I got the divorce. He was the only one who supported me.
“I gave up all my rights and my belongings so that he would grant me the divorce.”
I started looking for a job after the divorce.
“You’re too old”, I was constantly told.
But I didn’t give up. I was prepared to cook in a restaurant kitchen, and I saw no shame in this. I lived alone in an unfurnished apartment and slowly furnished it bit by bit. And how dare I, at 44, complain about the lack of love in my life?
People saw divorce as the end, whereas I saw it as a new beginning.
BuSSy is a performing arts project that documents and gives voice to censored untold
stories about gender in different communities in Egypt. The project organizes storytelling
workshops and performances where women and men step on stage to share stories about
harassment, rape, gender discrimination, honor killing, forced marriage, Female genital
mutilation, motherhood, domestic violence, child abuse, mass sexual assaults and many
others, from different communities and cities in Egypt.