*Disclaimer – I love my mom. I wouldn’t choose different mom even that we don’t agree about mostly anything. I am like my mom in many ways and I like it (I’m not only as pretty, but also as sensitive as her 😉 ). Until the end of my days, I will be grateful for all the love and support she gave me.
Since the day we are born, we get influenced by our parents and other relatives, and to a certain point in our lives, we accept everything we are told by the people that surrounds us. Because we are young and unaware and we don’t have enough knowledge or analytic skills to filter the information we are given, we tend to absorb everything as underwater sponges (yes, I do hang out way too much underwater 😛 ).
However, when the right time comes (for some people sooner than later), young individuals realize that not everything (and for some cases almost nothing) that we were told was quite correct. I’m sure that this happens to all of us, regardless the place and circumstances we were born into simply because, even statistically, it is impossible that all of our parents beliefs can become our own truth. No matter if your parents were conservative or liberal,
religious or atheist, or they support gay marriage or not…one day you will realize that, unfortunately, some (or perhaps most) of the things that they made you believe don’t make any sense for you whatsoever.
Like any other person in the world, little Joanna received a huge package of rules, beliefs, and facts that were supposed to guide her for the rest of her life. The problem was, that the “life’s manual” that my mom gave me together with that lovely package never convinced me and never made too much sense to me. I didn’t want to learn from it and I felt like I’m disappointing my mom who could see that her daughter is choosing a different path disregarding most of her guidelines. Obviously, my mom taught me many important things (like walking and talking 😉 ) that I could never do without but with no doubts, she was wrong about few crucial things about life or being more precise, my life.
So I close my eyes and the first thing I hear is…
1. You won’t be able to accomplish anything without a higher education
WRONG. Sorry mom, very wrong. For my whole life, you were telling me that I need to be a good student, always get good grades and apply for the best university in the country in order to accomplish something in my life. I think that we already didn’t understand each other when defining what “accomplishing something in life” means, but regardless that, I think that this statement is completely wrong.
I did study a lot, I got diplomas from great universities and what? Not now and never I’m planning on working in any of those glorious fields I’ve studied. I won’t say that I regret the time (and money!) I’ve spent studying because I tend to see everything as an integral part of my life path, but I have to say that If I could choose again I would never go to the university. Period.
In my opinion,b first of all kids should be allowed to discover what “accomplishing something in life” means to THEM AND ONLY THEM, and then receive empowerment and inspiration to follow their own, unique path. They will get educated at some point – formal or non-formal education will do, but assuming that everyone needs to go to university is just wrong.
Also, trying to convince me that:
2. You won’t be able to escape from 9 to 5 job
Was kind of WRONG. Nope mom, I don’t need 9-5 job to support myself and be happy.
Since I remember I was telling my mom that I don’t want to follow the most common pattern: wake up, go to work, come back, go to sleep and then wake up, go to work…She would look at me very concerned thinking that I’m only a child that doesn’t understand what “real life” is, and no matter what I will end up with 9-5 job. Guess what? I didn’t!
It took me a really long time to finally believe in myself and realize that I do not need to become another robot that spent most of her life working just to live the life she hates. Yes, I had 9-5 jobs (in fact, right now I work a lot but in something that I love and that’s a big difference) but I’ve been juggling between many professions, working as a freelancer, traveling the world while working and not having a standard 9-5 job for years already. Possible? Of course!
Same as with the education issue, why not to encourage young people to try to do things differently instead of making them believe that we are all slaves of the system, and no matter what we do we will end up getting married with routine and monotony? I’m refusing to do that!
Oh, and talking about marriage and family, I was also told that:
3. Only your family members will truly care about you
Sorry mom, WRONG again. I could never understand why people believe that being blood-related to someone means more than just being a friend-related to someone. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I understand the unique connection a mother has with their kids after carrying them in her womb and dedicating years to take care and raise them, but family members are not the only people that can love and take care of you.
I was very lucky to be raised in a functional family, but let’s face it – there are so many pathological families where common DNA means nothing. Every day we see newspaper headlines about parents abusing their kids or siblings severely hurting each other physically or mentally, so where is the room for this special bond I’m asking?
My mother always told me that I can count ONLY on my family, that the real friendship doesn’t exist and that sooner than later I will understand that being open to others and trusting strangers will only cause me suffering. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG!
I’m blessed to have amazing friends, soul mates, people that I couldn’t do without. We are not married or blood-related and yet they mean the world to me. They truly care and love me and they’ve proved that on more than one occasion already. I’m not saying that I didn’t have shitty friends or that I didn’t get disappointed from people that pretend to care but hey, didn’t I get disappointed with my family members at some point? Oh yes.
My friends became my second family and I love them to bits – the fact that we don’t share the same DNA has zero importance to me.
And regarding love, another thing that I really disagree with is that…
4. Self-love is an attribute of egocentric and shallow people
Oh. What can I say about that? Perhaps, this one of the most painful beliefs forced on me when I was a child. I grew up in a catholic family whit strict rules regarding how we suppose to treat others and what treatment we deserve. And guess what? As an outstanding Christian I was supposed to treat others with love and respect, do only good and in case someone slap me on one cheek, I was supposed to turn to him the other cheek…
Self-defense, self-respect, self-love? Nah. I’m worth less than other people and my mission is to serve them. God forbid I want to put my needs on the first place! Only egoists, egocentrics, and shallow people do that (so I was told).
Ouch. I believed that for many years. Way too many. For decades I felt inferior to other people and to be honest, I still work on loving myself as deep as I’m able to love others. That’s so WRONG. Teaching a child to love and respect another human being is essential, but making him believe that what others want, think or do is more important that what he desire is simply wrong.
We are all an integral part of this universe and none of us is any less or any more than the other and that, I wish, I truly wish, I was taught when I was a little girl.
And last, but not least…
5. You can travel, but your home, your only home, will be always Poland
Ups. Not true again. Sorry mom. I know how much you wish it was true and how much you would like me to come back to live in Poland. I completely understand that, and I guess that for someone who traveled very little and never lived in another country that’s just as obvious as the fact that we will witness another sunrise tomorrow. Unfortunately, the fact that for you Poland was and always will be the only home you’ve ever had, doesn’t make Poland MY ONLY home.
I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but I became a complete gypsy, travel addict, modern nomad or whatever you want to call it. I’m sorry. Poland is, and always will be my home, but definitely not my only home. I don’t want to have only one home. I already feel home when going to Barcelona, Tel Aviv, Wellington and soon possibly Gran Canaria.
I don’t even know if I ever want to settle down in one place – buying a house is not on my priority list for now and I would rather buy myself an air balloon or submarine that will be able to transport me from place to place rather than buying a land that would perhaps give me a comfort but take away my freedom.
You told me that I will always be a stranger abroad – believe me, I’m not. You told me that I will always feel a language barrier and won’t understand different cultures…The thing is, that more than anything, I love learning new languages and understanding new cultures. Being precise, many times I feel more identified with certain elements of those “such a strange for you cultures” than with some of the Polish traditions. I know it’s hard to understand and I know that you think that it’s just a phase that will pass, but mom…it will not. I can make myself home anywhere in the world.
Although I’ve mentioned that in the disclaimer at the beginning of this post already, I need to repeat that once again: we are very different and I don’t agree with my mom’s certain beliefs but I truly love her and appreciate everything she has ever done for me. I know she did her best to raise me and I know that the differences we have come from the fact that there is a huge gap between our generations…But then again, I’m very sorry mom, but after taking into consideration all the pros and cons I still refuse to marry monotony and routine – I much better prefer to stay in an informal relationship with craziness and adventure 😉