Balinese women are amazingly beautiful, they have captivated men’s hearts for years, and I can see why. They have such poise and natural beauty, and keep themselves composed, something I am not always good at doing!
The other night, I went to a charity event, where most of the guests were wealthy expats. It was really not my scene at all, and I felt very uncomfortable. I had barely been there and I had already started squirming in my seat, wondering how I could leave without being noticed. My table was still mostly empty, and I was dreading who would be coming to sit beside me. So I was intrigued when I saw who was approaching me. She was an absolute vision, dressed in a pale pink ball gown that hugged her curves perfectly, and brought out her natural caramel colored skin. She had a dusting of glitter on her bare shoulders that made her skin glow. Walking beside her was a distinguished looking older gentleman, looking very proud.
She introduced herself to the table, and slid in to the chair beside me, flashing the sweetest smile. Despite her gorgeous looks, and perfect composure, I could sense her unease. She was very attentive to the gentleman beside her, making sure he was comfortable, and he took great pride in introducing her to everyone as his wife. He bragged about how he made sure she always looked good. She was the classic example of a trophy wife. And yet, I felt there was much more to her than that.
Still sensing her tenseness, I decided to make a gesture to attempt to help her feel more comfortable. I turned to her, and started talking in Indonesian. Immediately, her expression relaxed, and I was reminded of a scene in Pretty woman, as she confided ” I hate events like this” I admitted that I also felt uncomfortable, and from then on we did not stop talking for the rest of the evening. We both realized that our situations were very similar, she is a Balinese married to a Western guy and I am a western woman married to a Balinese guy. Each come with their own set of prejudices, and assumptions from outsiders. Both considered “Trophies” but underneath we need to be so much more.
As with all Balinese women, we have to keep the family unit strong, make sure everyone is taken care of, while still maintaining our own identity. The women here are the backbone of the family, and calmly maintain peace. On the surface, they are beautiful and poised, but underneath they all have a story to tell, and most have pretty strong views. They are not as timid as they seem!
I was reminded that women are all facing the same issues no matter where we come from, or what we look like. This stunning woman has perfected the art of looking the part on the outside, but still harbors the same insecurities and frustrations on the inside. I am not so polished inside or outside, but we are like one. The longer I live here, the closer I feel to the Balinese, and the more I feel that I have found my home.