Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Family tie

"You are really selfish!"

This would never hurt so much if it isn't said by one's mother. During our last tele-conversation, hearing that word felt like a bland crocked knife drove through my flesh and lodged itself in my heart and the tone of her voice, gave that knife a mighty twist.

What prompted such an outburst from an otherwise loving and dotting mum was my unwillingness to settle down, to have a "normal" life, a career, get married and give her grand children... And my wanting to lead this nomadic life, this "aimless" wandering and doing "nothing" to my life. Growing up, I was bombarded everywhere around me with the idea of a life like that of everyone else: education-career-marriage-children-retirement, I was brought up to compete with everyone else, with my siblings, my cousins, the neighbour's child, my father's secretary's sister's child. Phrases like "your sister just bought a new car" or "your cousin just bought a house" or "you know the so-and-so son just got promoted" are not uncommon, they are meant to encourage me to achieve higher goal, but those kind of comment just push me further away from wanting to have anything to do with that kind of idealogy.

I love my family, I used to be a mummy's boy, that's enough said. I grew up in a huge and united family, always surrounded by uncles, aunties, cousins and grandparents, from both sides. But something changed. People always asked me how do I feel being away from my family for such a long time. My answer has always been as long as I know that they are fine and healthy, that's enough for me. How do I get to this stage of detachment from my family?


The death of my grandmother, whom I loved and was an anchor to the family, I had the ilusion that she would always be there. But life has a lesson for me, a painful but necessary lesson - To let go. These last few years I have been trying to learn to "let go"; to let go of expectation, to let go of all things: ties, emotions that bind us. Because nothing is permanent, not even family, nor their love, nor the ties.

I would like to say that I am above the emotion that "family" evokes in me, that I am not bound by my love, nor by duty, not even guilt, to do thing one way or another just because of this concept of family that we were brought up to believe to be the fundamental truth. I would like to say that I am beyond that truth. There's no such thing as absolute truth, everything is relative.

I love my parents and my family, but I don't have to show it in a societal-dictated way. The manifestation of my affection doesn't have to be limited or constructed under a rigid rules and regulation, or bound by physical and geographical distances.

Knowing my parents, and most people for that matter, they would beg to differ. So maybe my mum is right, that I am really one selfish bastard who lives his life free of ties, like a prisoner set free... like a lunatic let loose... but one free and happy lunatic, nonetheless.