When I was growing up, I didn’t know that Life was going to be a roller coaster ride. The only difference was that I didn’t go “wheeee, again!”
The ride’s thrown up some really mean loops and some crazy free falls. Before I sat on the ride and the seat belt fastened, I was given the “guidebook to Life and other things” to read and know and live by. Gosh!
a) Study hard. Come first in class. It means you’re the best. And you have brains.
b) Having brains meant two things – either you were the butt of jokes or you were forever doomed to be competing against those who were insecure.
c) It’s OK not to be called pretty. Beauty is all about being beautiful inside. But what does that even mean to a young 6 or 8 or 10 year old?
d) Must get a job. That’s what good middle-class people do – study their f&^%$g brains out and then get a job. Why? Don’t know, that’s how it’s been.
e) You no have boyfriend? Oh no worry. You being getting married like all good middle-class girls? Marriage? Why? Don’t know, that’s how it’s been.
f) You no getting married? Oh no worry. But you no leave job okay? You be good girl. You be finding love, no matter late. Yeah, right! So what if friends my age have children who’re ready to have children eh?
g) Try and be honest. It’s important. (But the whole world and its uncle are bloody dishonest. Including you! So why bother drilling it into me?)
h) Girls must not talk loudly. Must sit cross-legged. Don’t be coming too late from a pub. But it’s okay to be coming late if the a-hole boss wants you to somehow finish something that isn’t going to be looked at till 5 days for 5 seconds. Bah!
i) Good girls don’t really express their needs about ‘sex’. Shhhh! Sex? My God, did you just say sex? But you’re supposed to be a virgin till you got married. And what if I didn’t get married?
j) You’ve fallen in love? Who’s the boy? How many degrees does he have? How much does he earn? What are his family credentials? But what about the man he is? Er…come again? Never mind.
k) Your friend has gone abroad? Is doing “very well” isn’t it? He’s already AVP? Do you have opportunities to go abroad? No? Loser.
l) Her husband is the Director of “somebullshittingmoderncapitalistbloodsuckingleech” of a company. They’re going to Sweden for their vacations, on a cruise. Yeah, but how about the yelps we hear from the house when he’s busy beating her up?
m) The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. So keep your man satiated with finger-licking food and he won’t stray. Bet you didn’t know he’s seriously into infidelity.
n) Save. Save. Save. Rainy days are about to happen and your savings will come in handy. But rainy days are every 6 months for days on end. How much to save?
Study hard. Be a good girl. Get a good job. Get married to a rich man (preferably, and rich purely in monetary terms), have super talented children, travel, see the world, have status, save, own the good stuff, have a “good life”.
And then the roller coaster of Life was on its way.
As I continue to weave my way through the alleys and narrow pathways of Life,
I’m certain of one thing. I didn’t sign up for this!
I’m untangling the cobwebs in my heart to figure out (notice, I said heart, not head). It’s tough going, especially when every successful person on the planet is talking about:
purpose, clarity, calling, don’t fear risk, the lows, the reinvention, the conquering spirit, the spirituality, the yoga, the faith in oneself, the belief, the “surround yourself with interesting people”, and yadda yadda yadda.
There’s no step-by-step guide to how to reach your potential. Because no one really knows, truth be told. The Universe has its own unfathomable very cryptic ways of doling out success and fame and wealth and happiness to people. Why him and not you, why her and not you? Well, it’s karma karma karma karma karma chameleon. For today it’s karma tomorrow it’s faith, belief, conquest of fear, action and what-not.
Bottomline? I’m still trying to figure out what I did sign up for! And you?