To Speak Is a Revolution

I was 25 when we met. He was gorgeous, with eyes as blue as the Pacific and a grin as wide as the Grand Canyon. His body was lean and broad at the same time, the kind of muscled that makes you say, “Yes, please.”

Unlike me, a Bangladeshi woman, an immigrant, he was born with every privilege under the sun, including being treated as the almighty son. Within a few months, we were married. He would say, “You are the water to my fire.” I thought this meant we were ideal for each other. I was the softness to soothe his storm. The calm to quiet his rage. It felt like it was my duty to love him. After all, from the time I was a young girl, I had been taught that the presence of a man’s shadows were all the more reason for the women in his life to bend, forgive, cater to his needs. Was it not our life’s task to be the completion he required, the healing cast around a broken bone—forever loving, nurturing, giving to the point of self-sacrifice and disappearance?

Lo and behold, I grew to find that he and I were match made not in an ideal and loving heaven but a perfect hell. The more abusive he grew, the deeper I drew into myself. And ultimately, this was my saving grace. My inner voice was the plot twist he did not—could not—account for. She began to speak louder, more insistently, to protect me, make me wiser, embolden me. Until one day, I became a roaring fire he could not control.

Based on my memoir, I Am Yours, this video tells my story of finding my voice amid—in spite of—the shadows of a man I once loved.

Reema Zaman

About the Author | Reema Zaman

Reema Zaman is an award-winning author, speaker, actress, and advocate. Born in Bangladesh and raised in Thailand, she presently lives in Oregon. She is the 2018 Oregon Literary Arts' Writer of Color Fellow and author of the acclaimed memoir I Am Yours. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Dear Sugars podcast, the Guardian, Ms. magazine, and elsewhere.

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