Be yourself. No, not like that

Do you choose your friends because of who they are, what they do or where they come from?

I get disturbed when I have a conversation whose path I can clearly tell is headed for a stereotype or two.

Some of our parents (and most of  their generation) find these conversations ‘normal’ and sadly there are many of us who have caught the bug. I will illustrate.

I met a lady I know who is  in her early 60’s and this is an excerpt from our dialogue.

Her: Where are you going?

Me: To a friend’s wedding meeting

Her: Oh, that’s nice. What tribe is her husband?

Me: I don’t know

Her: How long have they been together?

Me: About a year, I think

Her: He must be rich then

Me: I don’t know

Her: Is your friend pregnant?

Me: No

Her: What does he do?

Me: I have never asked

Her: What do you know?

Me: That they love each other and that is all I need to knoW

Even if I had answered the questions ‘correctly,’ she would have found fault if she wanted to.

What followed was a semi-fight. She lectured me on the perils of marrying someone from a different tribe and went on to give me several examples of everything that could go wrong. I told her  all the things in the world that could turn a marriage sour which trounce your spouse’ tribe.

Of course the conversation ended up being about me and why I was taking my time. “Leave that charity of yours and find a man before it is too late, people will even start to think you are the problem ” she said. “People will talk no matter what I do, at least let them talk while I do something I love,” I replied.

I know for a fact that many people think like her but they don’t always get to speak their minds. When they do, be sure to stuff a nice round object into their mouth and then give them a piece of your mind. Okay, that’s a bit much, but you get the point.

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Have you ever met those people, who ask you for advice only to do the exact opposite of what you said?

Anne is just like that. She asks. “Which works better, the blue bag or the red one?” You respond with all the reasons why she should actually carry the red one. Shortly after, she walks out happily with the blue one.

A few weeks ago, Rachel called me at about 1:00 a.m. She sounded so heartbroken. She was sick and tired of her job and simply wanted to quit. Her passion has always been music and she figured now would be a good time to pursue it.

I was really excited for her because she sings beautifully and there are few things more amazing than the joy of waking up to follow your passion.

She told me about all the issues she had at work and how depressed she was.

We spoke at length but I was later quite amused by some of her worries. Even if she called me out of everyone else, (maybe because I quit my job to follow a dream with nothing. No?)it seemed her intention was to actually convince herself that her life is great and needs no alteration.

She explained that she could not face her parents whom she lives with after making such a decision (‘Oh my God Esther, how did you manage? They will kill me’) *No, they won’t but hey that is just me.*

She further told me that her ‘image’ needed to be maintained because she is smart and from a good family of professionals so ‘people’ will never understand the change (Erm…)

“My goodness, how will I survive without a monthly salary that always comes on time, on the 28th?There is no way I will miss a shopping spree or vacation because I quit my job.Also, how does an adult even live a life of uncertainty, not sure when the next big break will come? *Yes, how do those adults do it?*

This back and forth went on for almost an hour till I realised that she did not want to hear the  “Follow your dream” speech. She wanted the ‘blue bag’ that she would pick whether or not I shared my opinion.

There will always be someone who drives a better car, has a fancier job title ,makes marriage look easy,gets all the acclaim, goes to all the great vacation destinations (and takes even greater photographs)…….*insert that which you most desire*

And yet, there is a certain comfort in humble beginnings, stupid mistakes, crazy ideas coming to life because you dared them too.

I guess it is ‘okay’ to want a good life and do everything possible to get it even if it means maintaining a dead-end job as you wait for the next best thing or getting stuck in certain relationships because the other party is of the ‘right’ tribe and has the ‘right’ kind of status. Whatever it is, do it for you, not society because not only do they not really care, they also do NOT matter. (unless you let them of course)

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