Tuesday, November 22, 2011

if there's so much i must be, can i still just be me the way i am?

in some cultures, being twenty three years old would make you a responsible, independent adult - or at least give you the option to be so. it would make you free. i do not live in one of those cultures. i grew up hearing that i would go from "my father's house to my husband's house," never my own house. i would go from being a daughter to a wife, with no time for being just me. i mean, sure, i could technically be me while i was playing the other roles, but it's not the same as when you're being you alone. there's never really any way to test your capabilities, find out what you're made of, without offending one person or another and being shunned by your entire world. i have often come on this blog to bemoan this fact (though i think i have stopped doing this as often as i once did). i have, a few times, wished for a narrower mind. i have said that it would have been easier had we not grown up with people telling us the world was full of opportunities ripe for the picking. we would not have grown up with expectations that can never be met and dreams that can never be fulfilled.

don't get me wrong, i like my life. i have a good life, full of blessings i am well aware of. i had a very happy childhood, i have always had food on the table, clothes to wear, and a roof over my head. i was not forced into marriage or kept out of school. i have a family that i know will always have my back no matter what, and it's actually made up of people i like. i have people to hold intelligent conversations with and people to act like a three year old with. i have a million and one things and people that i am thankful for every day. but still. there is always that "what if" hanging in there whispering about future selves that i will never meet. 

the other day, though, i was talking to my dad and he was saying that he made a mistake by raising us like he did, like the kids from other cultures who will grow up in ways that we shouldn't even dream about. one of his arguments was that if we were raised like the mindless puppets i have always been glad i'm not, we wouldn't be questioning things now. we would accept things easier. which may be true. but it's one thing saying that myself, and another thing entirely having it said to me. kind of like how i can complain about my parents all i want, but no one else is allowed to say a word about them, you know? with him saying it, my sisters and i turned into mistakes that he can never fix, eternal reminders of what he did wrong. it didn't matter that he was taking the blame, we became the faults. the thing i fear most is failure, and with just a few sentences he turned my life into something that had been doomed to failure from the start, a failure that could never be turned around. 

i love my dad. i really do. i don't always agree with everything he says or does, but i do understand where he comes from. (i was cursed with the ability to be able to see every stupid side of a situation, which makes arguing and getting mad pretty hard since i really, truly see where the other person is coming from and see how they think they're right. and you can't get mad at someone for doing what they think is the right thing.) he wasn't trying to be hurtful, i know that for a fact, and he was voicing an opinion that i have often voiced in the past. but when it comes right down to it, i think that my sisters and i were raised awesomely. i have always looked at the people who told me i was destined for a life of obscurity, cleaning, and gossip and secretly felt glad that i could see beyond that when they couldn't. even when i was wishing for ignorance, i was holding on to my knowledge like a lifeline. i was grasping my dreams of more like they were the only things keeping me going, because, at times, they were. they are what make me who i am. and suddenly i'm being told that one of the things i hold dearest to me, my ability to look out past the box i've been put in, was a mistake. i shouldn't see past the four walls closing me in, and if i was raised right, i wouldn't. 

i'm not looking for people to tell me that my dad is wrong. i'm not looking for reassurances that my life is not one big failure. i'm not looking for advice to throw off my culture an embrace life. i'm not sure what i'm looking for, really, except the ability to vent. i've recently been having a bit of an identity crisis, which is a post for another day, and this conversation just came at a really bad time for me.

i am having a really hard time posting this post.

*We Are One - The Lion King 2 Soundtrack


  1. anonymous hippopotamusNovember 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    this made me cry :'(

  2. oops. totally not my intention.