Growth, Personal

Fine Lines 

How do you know when you’ve crossed the line with someone? How far are you willing to go to find out?

Something happened yesterday that has me wondering if it’s worth it or not. 

I remember being a kid and I couldn’t wait to grow up, and move out and life my own life. But I imagined it happening differently. I wanted my parents to be happy about it. I wanted to leave feeling fulfilled and accomplished. I wanted to make them proud. As the days go by, I’m realizing now that when I move out, it’s not going to be like that at all. It’ll be more like “good riddance bitch”. And I feel like that’s what happened with my cousin and it scares me.

My cousin had a false threat come to her. It’s a threat parents always use to get any sort of power they have left over their children. She’s 23. She’s capable of making her own decisions. She’s been dating someone outside of our culture and religion. Her parents obviously don’t approve. We weren’t surprised. We all know that if you’re going to do something like that, not to make it overly apparent. Give your parents that respect at least until you know for sure. But I guess she did know for sure. She’s in love with her boyfriend, he loves her, blah blah blah. She told her parents the truth. They didn’t take it very well. A lot of fights broke out between them. Eventually they got fed up and told her “you have one day to decide. It’s either us or him. And we already know you’re going to choose him so just get out.” And she did. Yesterday evening. She packed her stuff. They took her house keys. They watched her pack her clothes into garbage bags and put it in her boyfriend’s Benz. She wasn’t planning on taking her dog, but they kicked the dog out with her. And she just left.

She asked me to come to her boyfriend’s place to help her unpack her stuff. She had 9 garbage bags of just clothes alone. Her boyfriend lives in a condo. It’s a decent size for a bachelor pad. But it’s definitely not enough space for her clothes and things. So we couldn’t unpack much.

Just seeing it go down. Talking to her about how she was feeling. Talking to her sister about how things were at home. It was like I was seeing my life through a looking glass. We aren’t the same people by any means. We have a similar thing going on at times but I don’t know if I’m exactly like her. I’m dramatic yes, obviously so is she. I’m selfish about my love life, so is she. I want to live on my own, she already has – sorta.

We were talking about how nothing panned out the way she wanted. She wanted to move in with her boyfriend in September with a little more financial stability as well as making amends with things at home. It just didn’t happen in her favour. She hates being home so much that she’s never home at all. She was always at her boyfriend’s place for refuge. Completely voiding her of chores and responsibility at home because she was never there to do them. Everyone at home was fed up of picking up her slack. Including taking care of a dog that she wanted.

It’s funny, she wanted that dog to move in with her, she was planning on taking him with her, when she would talk about it. And when the time came, she didn’t want to take him. She was forced to. And it hasn’t even been a day, and she wants to give the dog back. It sucks. She’s going to have a lot of sleepless nights. She feels guilty I suppose. She wants to write a letter to her parents. Wants me to help, as usual. For whatever reason she think I’m good at writing my feelings out. I don’t think I do. But that’s besides the point.

The point is, she took the plunge. She dived in. This is a new beginning for her perhaps. We both don’t know if she did the right thing. She’s almost the guinea pig. No one in our little crew has left the nest yet. We’re all working towards it. I always thought I’d be the first to go. I wasn’t obviously. I’ve made some poor decisions that have held me back. It’s all a learning process I guess.

I’m not who I thought I would be at 25. I remember a memory of myself looking in the mirror. I was no more than 10 years old. I imagined what I would look like 15 years from then. Living on my own. Self sustainable. A small long bookshelf beside a chic futon in my one bedroom apartment. Sleek black hair. Almost heroic looking. Successful. Happy. Accomplished. Embarking the journey called life. I had another vision that by 25, I’d already be married with children. I know they’re such conflicting thoughts, but I had both of them growing up. For either of my futures. Alone, or not. And right now, I’m alone and still living at home. In order to even fulfil that vision I had to decide what the hell I wanted to be. I couldn’t pick. I’ve been dicking around trying to figure it out. What to do the rest of my life. Forever. What a commitment.

I went on a tangent there sorry. A fine line. Yes. So it leaves me wondering, did she cross that line? Will I be destined to cross such a line as well? Do I want to? The answer is most likely yes – for both. I do want to push the boundaries, but I also don’t want to do it in a way where my parents have just completely lost Faith, respect, and hope for me. In a way, it feels like I may have already crossed that line. When my mom found that condom in my car, or the carelessness of me leaving birth control paperwork on my bedroom floor. I’m 25 and still in school with no end in sight. I work 2 measly part time jobs to make ends meet. No matter how much I work, I can’t seem to manage my money in an effective way to actually just get out of the cycle I’ve put myself in.

I keep making the same mistakes over and over. I’m careless. I’m irresponsible. I’m immature. To top it all off, I’m also consumed in things that don’t actually help me grow. Relationships are important, but there’s such a thing as excess in that aspect as well. I’ve definitely surpassed that limit. I obsess over it. For as long as I can remember, I’ve just chased love and relationships. To fill whatever it is I’m trying to fill. People say/think I’m so smart and that I have so much potential. It disappoints me because; A) I don’t see it, B) If I actually do have/had it, I may be/have wasting/wasted it.

So if I find the person I want to be with forever (not that forever really exists but just to save time), does that mean everything else will fall into place? No. And I know that. So what the fuck am I doing man. What the actual fuck. And if it consumes my time so often, if I was smart – I would’ve found a way to make money off of it or something. Anything is a waste of time unless you’re profiting from it somehow. Whether it’s monetary value or something else… Right?

Another tangent. Sigh. Guess I’ve got a lot to think about. Seeing what my cousin is going through has definitely given me time to reflect my own decisions based on the perspective of her own life. Not to judge or compare hers to mine. We live different lives. I do admit there are some things about her that disappoint me, but I’m no angel. I’m not perfect. I have flaws so fuck it. Let her do what she wants. I just have to worry about myself.

When her sister told me how things were at home; that when she got home, and said that truly, no one cared, or mentioned the fact that she left. It struck a chord in me. That’s going to be me very soon. Especially with my mom. She does care about me, but she’s definitely fed up with my antics. Or whatever it is about my life choices that bother her.

I explained to my cousin that left home, that she shouldn’t be surprised that her parents are upset with her. The fact that they just watched her pack and did nothing to stop her, goes back to a lot of past experiences they’ve had with her. And they have had enough. I told her she needs to understand that in their eyes, she’s completely disrespected them. They raised her, put her through school, supported her financially, put up with her antics and her personality, (like any family would do). No matter what they love you. When she left yesterday it really did feel to her, at that moment – that the unconditional love became conditional. She crossed the line in their eyes. She knew it and I knew it. Going against tradition comes at a cost. The biggest cost being you don’t know what’s in store anymore. There’s no rules. It’s anarchy. Tradition makes almost a blueprint on how to live life effectively. The minute you skew away from it, anything goes. Almost everything is up in the air to them. They don’t know what to expect. You never really know at the end of the day, but to some people tradition gives them purpose. And she took that away from them. Just like I may do someday. She chose a stranger over family. I explained to her that that’s what it looks like to them. Someone she hasn’t even known for a year. Not that time matters – I learned recently that you can never really know a person no matter how much time you give – it’s all just a gamble.

I told her all this, and while I said it I felt like a complete hypocrite. I was giving advice to her when I needed to be giving it to myself. It wasn’t really advice. It was more like a reality check. And I get it. I hate it too. I hate the pressures of Indian tradition. I hate the sexist regimes. I hate the lack of diversity and openness. I want to escape as well. But there’s parts of Indian culture I admire. And one of the big ones is the unity of family and how they make sure – similar to Japanese culture – that your family is extremely close.

For example, to get “rokh’d” – engaged to be engaged. An opportunity for families of the person’s getting married to meet. The whole family. Mingling and getting to know each other. Possibly even creating new friendships. Creating a fusion between the families. Becoming one big family. Even if I was with someone from a different culture or religion it would be so nice to have a fusion like that. To have both families embrace one another and…. here I go… into my fantasy world where none of this is actually going to happen in reality. But yes, there are things I like about Indian culture. I don’t hate all of it. And I don’t plan on losing my sense of culture either.

The thing about taking care of your parents when they’re older… A little complicated for me. I can’t imagine living with my mother forever and tending to her. I can’t imagine taking care of my father that has a completely separate family from us now. Not that he isn’t around, I just wouldn’t know how to truly be there. I don’t know at all. In my defence (if it even is a defence at all), both my parents left their families behind and visited their parents here and there when they could. Sent money when they could. Went to their funerals. Tried to spend the last days with them. Didn’t actually live with their parents or tend to them throughout like the rest of the family did for them. Not saying I’m throwing it all on my sister to deal with. Just saying I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with it when the time comes.

Yet another tangent sigh. I think I’ll stop here before I never end. Goodnight.

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