When you’re a second generation immigrant, it’s easy to forget that you’re not the immigrant.
We’re not living in a foreign land where the cultures and practices are different to the ones we were raised with.
We just weren’t given the opportunity to embrace them.
And when we try to embrace them (dating, anyone?), we’re shot down. We’re labelled a traitor. Religion’s used as a weapon. We’re pushed back into our box.
Which means we grow accustomed to wishing things were different. Dreaming of less pressure. Willing everyone around us to change.
And it makes us cower. Settle for less than we deserve. Compromise.
Sometimes, it isn’t about wishing or wanting. It’s about doing. And standing by your decisions
Y’know what? I just wish I could wear what I wanted without the curtains twitching as I walked down the street. We all know the curtains don’t literally twitch. This isn’t the 1960s. However, there is the possibility of one of my dad’s friends seeing me wearing a skirt that shows my ankles, mentioning it to my dad in some random conversation, and dad ordering mum to bin all my clothes I worked so hard to pay for. There’s no way she’s throwing out my Chloe skirt. Ugh. Society.
I wish I could tell my parents how I really feel. I don’t want to get married in the next twelve months. But what if they lock me in my room like that girl on that show and only let me out when I agree to everything they ask? Right now, settling down just means settling. For something I don’t want. Why don’t they get that?
And while we’re at it, I really want to marry a non-Muslim but my family would flip their lid. How would I tell them? Will we just fake the conversion? I mean, you don’t get a certificate to convert so where’s the proof? Dropping of the pants? Will one of them have a heart attack and die on me when I tell them? What about the wedding? How would zero-alcohol-at-reception go over on my currently fictitious fiancée? But anyway … is Idris Elba converting to Islam any time soon?
I long for the day I can move out and live on my own. I earn enough to pay my own bills and I already know how to cook (I’ve been learning since I was 12). It would be perfect. I could watch what I want without switching the channel when two characters start to kiss. The awkwardness, you guys. The awkwardness.
I posted a video of myself on YouTube and word got out. By word, I mean some neighbour stopped my mum in the street and complimented me on my performance. Mum came home in a rage and ordered me to set all my social media accounts to private. HOW THE HELL AND I GONNA MAKE IT BIG NOW? My hashtags are useless if they’re not attracting followers. Why can’t she see that posting a pic of myself doesn’t make me a whore?
When will they just accept me for who I am? See my side of it for a change? Why does communicating have to mean screaming at each other? And for the love of god, why can’t I question religion intelligently and have an objective conversation about it? WHY DOES IT HAVE TO RESULT IN MY GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL?
Quit your whining.
Respect your beliefs.
Pick a side and stick to it.
Grow a pair
When you start a sentence with I wish … it automatically becomes an aspiration that will never materialise because it ends with … but I know I can’t have it.
But when you start with I want …you’ve set the wheels in motion. Because the second you decide to commit, your mind looks for evidence to support your decision.
And that’s the key – making a decision.
You have a choice.
To live a life of disconnect between who you are and what you do. Or you can do what pleases you and let everyone else fall in line.
That’s what makes you a pioneer. You’re willing to do what most people aren’t. Go with that courage.
The answers for how to get what you want aren’t always there.
Because sometimes? Ignorance and confidence can take you a very long way.