Today I had one of THOSE talks with people I admire. We were discussing about the socio cultural issues in Colombia, families, tradition, arts and how to live life basically when you have to choose between doing what you are expected to do and what you feel like doing. This may sound oversaid however what people dont understand is that where I come from ( A folkloric 200 year old town) Last names and pedigree matter.. and a lot. You grow up going to family lunches where pretty much everyone gets together to talk about other families, gossips, who bought what, who married who, who died, politicians and so on. Men have a role.. they provide and rule, women; they “decore” and behave. As a 20 year old woman raised believing this bullshit was the purpose of life..somewhere along the road I started to be a little odd. I remember wanting to quit school at 16 to persue my own interests which unfortunately my school didnt support much since it wasnt a priority in society. But after talking with the school counselor obliged by my parent I stayed, even though I was miserable going to class; I still had my friends, which now I cant remember what is exactly what we had in common, but nonetheless they were my friends.
Shakira wrote a song which fueled me to write this now at 6 am. Pies Descalzos which I copied an excerpt below.(Funny fact: My classmate and “friend” was Shakira’s cousin and her birthday is one day after mine so she always made me feel super guilty for handing my party invitations first because then no one would go to hers so I basically started hating my birthday because there was ALWAYS drama attached to it.. so Natalia R. if you are reading this, I hate you, you caused me a trauma!) This was written in 1997 and 20 years later, nothing has changed in my city.
My friend, whom I was conversing with today told me about how his boyfriend’s family (which btw he is one of my school’s “best friends” brother) didnt liked her because she wasn’t a typical Barranquilla girl and she wasnt what a guy like him deserved. Back then she had a Grimes fringe, frizzy hair, wasnt tanned, skinny or conventionally pretty and was socially awkward. I remember meeting her the first time they went out (we were at the same restaurant) and the worse thing is..I remember thinking the EXACT same thing… and even her sister, and yes, we do discussed about it afterwards. Few months later, I found this same girl on my first day of college, been polite and a bit scared because I was inside a whole new world where I was starting from scratch, I said “Hi”. Now a days I know how talented, free spirited, COOLEST personality and funny she is. She is definitely someone I look up to now and after 2 years with this guy its obvious to me why he likes her so much to not care about what his family says, which in this city family’s opinion matter..and a lot.
Another thing I want to target is independency. I’ve been looking for a way to move out for months now and it hit me hard when I realized there’s not such a thing as living on your own here, not even a share-with-roomates kinda thing.. Nothing. Why? Well, its because we lived in a conditioned life. The
muchacha servants, the chauffer, the free expenses, everything we have it as long as we follow rules. I have a couple of friends who just returned from Europe and quick schools because they weren’t “happy”, it was too hard, They couldnt handle the oh so famous real life our parents warned us about so they returned to the known and safe..as long as they follow the rules. Which are the rules? basically EVERYTHING listed below in the Shakira’s excerpt. I remember the time I wanted my doc martens SO bad and I showed them to dad and my sister because the only way to get them were for her to ship them and him to buy them for me. What I got back? a “those are lesbian shoes” and “what are your friends from the Country Club will say?” in a teasing way but the words had the same impact..what did I do? I didnt push further, because that’s what Im suposed to do..aceppts things, forgive, be nice. Same thing happened when I wanted to dip dye my hair red when the whole trend was a new thing. For some reason I seaked approval from my friends once I shared about what I wanted to get done.. they said I was crazy, extrambotic and weird…Now almost EVERY girl in town is wearing the overdone ombre. “First they laugh, then they follow”. Im going through the branches here with my own dissapointments in myself and what I wished Id done differently. Independency again.. I have wanted to move for a long while..my parents tell me Im crazy because Im not “adult enough” and I cant do laundry or cook a meal.. thing is, I love to cook and but everytime Im going to try they always tell me not to. With the laundry I got my sister’s anecdote to tell. On her first solo trip to Europe, she has this thing of washing everything she buys before she wears it and guess what? she screwed up.. EVERYTHING. Her designer new bought clothes resembled a hippy flag and she cried, for days. BUT, she learned. The hard way, but she did.
Another thing is marriage. Its almost unbelievable the amount of pressure a girl my age has to marry, and marry rich. Oh god forbid if you have another plans cause you wont hear the last of it. My father’s birthday was a couple of months ago, that day I only heard about how he was getting older and his only wish was he would leave earth with her 2 daughthers married. Not with a master, not even a degree. Not being successful, not with my own house (because god forbid I live on my own seing as one is supposed to move ONLY when you are married). What I said? Nothing.. because they are supposed to be right and since Im young and “silly” Im supposed to be wrong. and dont even think my father is naive or uncultured. He was V.P, he traveled and A LOT. actually he was one of those who moved, learned a language, had a cool experience and then came back to marry with whom he was supposed to.15 days vacations and then back to the safe, to the “normal”.
My professor/friend/creative person gave me the answers and 3 possible outcomes.. A) You say “fuck it”, you leave, you start haxing old “frienships” and building new real ones, syart rodiating yourself with people that wont make you lose your time, that you feel alive. Yes, it will be rough at first, youll have to work your butt off, start tiny and then keep working and struggling, but at the end the personal gain and stregth will be worth it. Its Your dream, your life, your path. B) You keep living the life you are living so far, be nice, polite, do whats expected, dress how its expected, decorate, and live a life that most like will get you to where you parents are, living for otehrs and trying to keep everyone happy but secretly living a misserable life C) Which is the most common, you settle for this 10-20 year old limbo in which one expects family to accept what one wants in life while family secretly expect for one to change their ways and become “normal” ..well guess what? Not happening on either sides. While it may sound easy.. its a complicated thing to choose, it takes time, and a LOT of courage. Personally I think Im in this process right now. on trying to make it work, little by little on my own. I thought I was independent when I was younger, paying my bills, buying the little things I wanted and such but no.. independency is more than buying that expensive lacy thong your mother wont buy for you because you are way too young or getting to pay your part of the bill everytime you go out. True independence is not being influenced by others in matters of opinions or actions.
Pies Descalzos -Shakira excerpt
Saying ‘hi’ to your neighbor
Going to bed at a certain time
Working every day
to live life. (food)
And answering ‘that’ only
and feeling just ‘this’.
And may God save us
from bad thoughts.
Doing your homework,
going to school,
what would the family say
if you’re a failure?
Always put your shoes on
Don’t make noises at the table,
wear pantyhose and
ties at parties.
Women get married
always before 30
otherwise they’ll only get to dress saints!
and that’s even if they don’t want to.
And on your 15th birthday
you better not forget
a fine champaign
And to dance the waltz well.
It would be cool if you go watch the video as well since its so fitting. everyone with masks and such. Love it