Sometimes I wish I had been born of another culture, a culture of eyes wide open, a culture of hearts wide open.
They say to resist ‘what is’ is to cause your own suffering. Am I suffering? No. But I certainly do ask the question: what if?
Would I be further along in my life journey if, as a child, my sensitivity had been celebrated by my culture, rather than shunned? Would I have saved myself years of healing from the innocent unconsciousness of those around me? Because of a rigid cultural narrative, those who have loved me have accidentally hurt me. I shudder to remember those who have held me in their lives as an insignificant supporting character.
I hope humanity soon understands that the world they see is a choice, rather than a given. I hope the beautiful little soft girls of the world are one day celebrated for the depth and gorgeous attention to detail they bring the world. How shameful that they haven’t been, thus far.
Am I angry that I was brought up starved of female role models? Am I angry that not even my Mother knew how to teach me to truly grow into womanhood? How could she? All she knew was what the western world was. Hardened. Money hungry. Black and white.
There is an aspect of me that is angry. But a bigger part of me understands. There is no one to be angry with. We have all been brought up in boxes. Every single one of us, and when you’re inside of a box (we call them cultures) you truly cannot see there is another way. Another way to see, another way to be. And if you cannot see or be, you cannot teach. You cannot change.
I hope enough eyes are opening, now, to the beauty of individuality.
I’ve changed. My goodness I’ve changed. And although the change has been gradual, I am living a version of my internal life I have never lived before.
It all has to do with my heart, and maybe (probably, absolutely) hormones. You see, the thing is, empathy for humans has always come easily to me. But now, empathy is changing the way I see the entire universe.
Once, I would have seen a cut flower and been very pleased to have been given such a lovely thing. Now, I feel for the flower. It has been cut to make me happy, and yet it is dying in my hands. Is this the way the world was meant to be?
Once, I would have read a book, held the pages close to my face and inhaled. Oh, the smell. It would have brought me such pleasure. Now, I think of the trees and all the animals who’ve lost homes because of the glorious romantic story I’ve called books. Is this the way the world was meant to be?
Once, I would have seen a spider on the wall and swatted it, killing it instantly. Now, I deliver it outside and onto a bush (if I can). I think of my children and wonder how I would feel If someone swatted one of them just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Killing for convenience? Is this the way the world was meant to be?
And lastly, I would have gotten a pet and loved it as my own child. Those innocent, melty puppy eyes, how they would capture my heart and soul. Now, I connect to the primal core of its mother, and I hate myself. Taking her baby (or the baby of any living being, without permission) to meet my own needs. Is this the way the world was meant to be?
I am not at all saying that anyone who has a pet, kills spiders or reads books is doing ‘wrong’. I am one of you. I do these things, too. All I’m saying is: I see this world anew.
And because of this, I fear I see too much to go back.
Cultural differences. Familial differences. How could you ever say a person is wrong in their beliefs, traditions or values? And what do you do if one person in a relationship is satisfied with the chosen boundaries, and another is left feeling unfulfilled, unsupported, traumatised, even.
What do you do?
One mother may birth a child with the expectation that her job is simply to raise a child to adulthood and set her free when she comes of age. The child has been given life. She will be guided. She will be taught to fend for herself. But a mother is a mother, says the mother. Her boundaries are strict, yet fair, and she has no intention to provide for her child beyond basic care, until she dies. She has provided well, therefore, she has loved.
Another mother may birth a child with the expectation that her job has only just begun, and will never end. She is love, and she will give and give and give, in every way, to this child until her final breaths. She will provide the role of parent. She will provide the role of best friend and confidant. Her boundaries are far and wide: anywhere love lives, she and her daughter will wander, together, always. She has provided, therefore, she has loved.
What is a mother?
It is an individual question.
It is an individual answer.
And it is only one of the question answer combinations of life with no black or white answer to relieve us of conflict and struggle.
The rules of life and love.
There are none.
But there are many.
How easy it is to fight for our right to be right.
How difficult it is to find true peace amidst the chaos of life.
The oddities of humanity. The neuroses that so often become us that really have nothing to do with who we are, at all, or what’s best for our health, wellbeing and growth.
Take breakfast, for example.
My body doesn’t know that breakfast is a man-made occasion, and yet, still, I choose to feed it specific foods such as toast, cereal, orange juice or coffee at the very time it expects to find them in my life. The morning.
My body, I’m fairly certain, just needs food. To be nourished. It doesn’t care if what I eat in the morning is not, what I might consider, ‘breakfast food’. Only the odd little whisper of my brain cares about that. Should I listen? Or should I challenge what it has to say?
It’s not just cultural expectations around breakfast that rouse me. For too many years, I allowed the cultural narrative of suppressing emotional vulnerability to rule my choices, and, as a consequence, I lost the ability to live with my heart. Goodness gracious me. My precious life moments. Potential soul singing moments, destroyed because I succumbed to a life story that, ultimately, had nothing to do with the truth of who I am.
I have no regrets. Every wrong turn has brought me to this place of strength, wholeness and home, and I am grateful for the rocky roads I’ve travelled thus far. How could I be anything but grateful for the ways it has all helped to shape and expand my perspective?