Brown Skin Girl Author Mytrae Meliana

August 14, 2020

Brown skin girl Mytrae Meliana
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The subject matter of this podcast is patriarchy in Indian culture.  Mytrae (pronounced My-thray-yee) recounts her ex-pat journey of coming to America as a teenager, eventually falling in love with a local man, being “kidnapped” by her own family, and sent back to India for daring to go against the cultural norm. This experience was traumatic for her to say the least. Despite the fact that there were a lot of laughs in the interview, it is a serious matter, and I for one, am pleased that Mytrae was able to survive her ordeal and become a stronger person for it.

 

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Brown Skin Girl Author Mytrae Meliana:

 

woman with brown hair closeup smiling
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Coming out stronger on the other side.
Talking to Mytrae, I could identify with some of her struggles because India and Africa, at least my part of the continent  (Nigeria) shares a lot of the same cultural expectations including schooling (no dawdling and everyone should become a doctor or something equally prestigious), and the expectation of women getting married soon after college and going on to have lots of babies, and even arranged marriages to a lesser degree.
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It takes a very strong will to go against the “normal” that is expected of you. If you push back in any way, you are definitely asking for trouble, as Mytrae discovered. Some in my family, even today, still think l am “cursed” and refuse to believe that l chose not to have children :-). Hearing, and seeing that this kind of madness still goes on in this day and age doesn’t surprise me of course, however, it’s still maddening.
To some extent, there is definitely still a universal norm that is expected of all women, everywhere, be it vocalized or not. I’ll tell you what, with the way the world is now, I am supremely glad l chose not to procreate.  That’s just how l feel. I don’t push it on others, so l come down like a sledgehammer on those that push their beliefs on me, family or not.

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Highlights of the podcast include:

  • Growing up in India and the family dynamic.
  • Feeling that white people were superior, thanks to the mentality.
  • Moving to America in her teens.
  • Being a brown skin girl in the south.
  • Having trouble adjusting to her new life and interacting with her peers.
  • Music providing a much-loved respite and finally making friends.
  • Falling in love and being found out after making a fatal error.
  • Being sent back to India to live with her grandparents as punishment, with all her papers seized.
  • Eventually finding her way back to America.
  • The courage to finally lash out and live her life to an extent.
  • Marriage, even though it wasn’t what she wanted.
  • Taking her life back and becoming strong, and her spiritual awakening.
  • Finally finding her place in society and happiness that had eluded her for so long.
  • Working to help others heal from their traumas.
  • Advice for others in the same situation.
brown skin girl mytrae
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Sharing her story with others has been cathartic.

The Mytrae Meliana memoir is called:

        “Brown Skin Girl: An Indian American Woman’s Magical Journey From Broken To Beautiful”
You can purchase it here on Amazon:

You can get in touch with Mytrae via her website
Listen to the podcast here, or on your favorite listening app like Spotify, iTunes, or Stitcher, etc.
                                                       *Don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite platform*  
Other podcasts of interest:
Can you identify with patriarchy? Or is it something that would never happen in your culture?
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6 thoughts on “Brown Skin Girl Author Mytrae Meliana”

  1. Interesting story. And insight to other cultures. And even not so different in this part of the world no matter what your race. I was brought up to believe that men are superior and women are just here on earth to cater to men’s needs. Except that I rebelled at a very young age to that concept which made my mother furious.

    An Indian woman grew up in a nearby town, about 10 minutes from here, and rebelled against her parent’s arranged marriage. 20 years ago she married an Indian man she fell in love with and disgraced her family due to his occupation – rickshaw driver. Her mother and uncle hired assassins to kill the newlyweds. He survived the attack. She did not. It’s been in the news here ever since because mommy dearest and her brother have been fighting extradition for a very long time but finally got sent back to India last year. It’s such an outrage that it’s taken so long. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/jassi-sidhu-20-anniversary-1.5603812

    Reply
    • It is insane that this stuff still goes on now, just like in years back. Unless you have a strong personality, it’s tough to go against the grain. Having people killed takes it to the extreme of course. At home, you are pitied and ostracized, but that is pretty much it. As a teenager though, it’s near impossible to make the decision to leave the family, so l understand why it took a bit to make a break and choose her well being.

      I had a friend from college in Boston with an arranged marriage, and no matter how much she fought it, she eventually married the person and moved back to Florida (had come over as a preteen). I sometimes wonder what happened to her, and if she is happy.

      Reply
  2. What an amazing life story! It’s incredible to realize how stuck we are in the past even today. All countries still do things like they were done hundreds of years from now and I don’t think things will change too soon. Change is probably the most difficult thing to do in the world.

    But it was nice to learn a bit more about India, a country that has always charmed me. All that matters is that things ended up well.

    Reply
    • Yes, the end result matters and l am so glad it worked out well for her. You can tell that is in such a much happier frame of mind. It is pretty amazing that we still do things like the old days. The only problem is that it is so archaic for the most part, but as you say, change is hard. No, I don’t think it will ever change as it’s passed on from generation to generation.

      The important thing is to “fight the power” :-).

      Reply
  3. Another fascinating podcast Kemi and a glimpse into both the Indian and Nigerian cultures. It is amazing how family expectations can impact how we view ourselves even after all these years and interesting to speculate on why some of us accept the path laid out while others rebel and choose to forge our own. (I knew you were a rebel and, growing up in a fundamentalist Christian household, I definitely am!) I’m looking forward to reading “Brown Skin Girl.” Keep Well!

    Reply
    • It’s amazing how similar cultures can be no matter which end of the world one is at. Family expectations can definitely be a motivator (if it aligns with the way you think) or absolutely horrendous (if you have a rebel mind). I think most people conform because it’s easier and they sacrifice their happiness, something l for one was not prepared to do. Funny how a lot of expats are “rebels”…haha!

      Stay safe Anita :-).

      Reply

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