About a month ago I sat with a woman at a kitchen table and we were talking about nothing and everything. I’ve always been curious about other people’s lives, stories, setbacks, failures, and all so I ask. We had been talking a lot about the role of women in general and the feminist in me was explaining that if women back in the days in our communities were given opportunities, that they would rise and not settle with a man and start a family. I asked, “When you were younger, innocent, what and where did you see yourself at in your twenties? What was your dream?” She replied, “I wanted to have a husband in my early twenties and kids by 25.” I thought to myself that it was one of those answers women in my community give to sound fulfilled when in fact they have dreams and goals buried deep within. I took another shot and asked, “In another life, if you could be anything, do anything, be or go anywhere; where would that be?” She laughed and then answered, “ I would have a family.”
It was an epiphany. I’ve always thought that marriage was just a weapon traditions and cultures used to keep women from reaching their full potential (excuse my extreme thoughts). I still think that in some ways it does with the culture of forced/arranged marriages that happen in some of our cultures as well as marriages by abductions all of which I can list examples of people I have met. BUT that’s not my point today.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from screenwriter Eric Roth,
For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel thing you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
I was finally able to understand why some women aspire to marriage. I understood why growing up, some girls choose to learn how to cook not because they wanted necessarily to feed themselves but because they wanted to prepare for the future while I was out there riding bikes and playing with boys. Here’s why : love is their dream and marriage is their happy place. The same way becoming a writer is my dream and writing is my happy place or traveling and living in different countries. And that’s okay.
In the end, as you read this,
I hope you go for whatever it is that will make your soul completely happy. If it’s a job, career, life, love; I hope you pursue it or allow it to pursue you. I hope you find yourself in the process. I hope you learn to be gentle with the wounds of your past and more optimistic towards your future. I hope you stop going back to things that hurt you just because they are familiar. I hope that you come out of your addictions or drugs safe and sound.I hope you stop campaigning for approval and live your life wholly and fully as yourself.
I wish you LIFE above all else, however way you wish to have it.