Marriage through the Eyes of a Young Cambodian

I slowly open my eyes. It’s my big day, but agony, it’s still there. I thought it would be gone after a night’s rest, but my worries doesn’t leave me alone. Maybe, I overthink. Perhaps, I am immature. Probably, my mom is right after all, for moms know best. “Follow mom,” I sadly comfort myself “because she wants the best for me.”

Sometimes, I hate myself for being different. There’s a dream inside my head, which no one will understand. As a person who love knowledge, being an undergraduate is not enough for me. To me, undergraduate program is a brief introduction to every subfields in a particular field while graduate program gives one an opportunity to explore a particular subfield more deeply. For post-graduate, it is for those who want to create something in the field. Personally, I am passionate enough to long to know, but not enough to create. So, at least master’s degree satisfies me. Although I don’t like being a medical student, I still think of pursing my master’s degree. However, I have been told not to aim too high because soon I will have a husband, and high education will only be an obstacle for me from finding a husband.  Maybe, they are right. My friends were married during their early 20s. They seem very happy having a family. Due to this, I am ashamed to admit that I am not ready for marriage. It’s such a great responsibility to have a family, and I am not ready for such a commitment. Sometimes, I am curious whether my friends had the same feeling and doubt when they were about to get married, and whether there were a lot of things they wanted to explore but then gave up. Maybe, I will be happy like them after my matrimony. Probably, I am not different from my friends after all.

To my parents, my husband-to-be is perfect. With his wealth, he can hide all of his imperfection from my parents because, in my parents’ perspective, money means perfection and happiness. To my parents, he is handsome with his being shorter than me, black skinned, curly hairy, and acnes bombarding his face. To my parents, he is smart with his high school diploma, which is the only thing he’s got. To my parents, he’s polite with his sense of pride and arrogance. I don’t understand how money is able to turn bad to good. Maybe, I will understand when I grow older. Yet right now, he seems imperfect to me. There are times he indirectly objectifies me because I am a woman. There are times I have to dumb myself down because he doesn’t want any intellectual talks. There are times that I wish there was someone coming to rescue me. And there are times I feel like I am a prostitute: my parents use marriage to sell me because of wealth. But, what can I do? I am 25, so it is now or never. Plus, I have to find the answer to my parents’ prayer.

Taking a deep breath, I get out of bed getting ready for my big day, and getting to hear people say how lucky and successful I am to marry him. I guess marriage is about the deadline and wealth after all.

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