|What do you want?
My desire is to have peace from my family
By Yasaman Rohani
September 16, 2002
If you had asked me this question last year my answer would have probably been completely
different from what it is now: a life partner. We all go through that period in our
lives, where we want to share all that we possess and have experienced with someone
who can understand us. We go out of our way to find this one special person in our
It is definantly something well worth doing because in the end no one in this world
can deny the need and desire to sit down with someone at the end of a hard day's
work and just talk. And of course once the need to communicate ones feelings and
emotions has been met, the idea of snuggling up with someone at night and watching
the stars dance is always welcome.
But aside from this love-intimacy-friendship scenario, what else is it that one might
want in their life? Badly enough to make some major adjustments and sacrifices to
obtain it? Before I go any further I want you to think about this for a couple of
Well as I said, last year I was looking for a partner, this year I opted for something
much more challenging in some ways, however just as important. Peace from one's family.
Now this might be hard for you to comprehend and even harder for me to explain because
it is a very touchy subject. What do I mean by peace from one's family?
Family is a very important and enduring aspect of our lives. We can change the circle
of friends we hang around with, we can change schools we attend, we can even change
personality. However one thing we possibly cannot do is change or separate ourself
from our family, the people we grow up with and share some of our most exhilarating
and exciting experiences with throughout the development of our lives.
Who else can tell you about your first steps or your first words? These are people
whom you have spent so much of your life with that the idea of not being with them
is almost unbearable especially for us Iranians who will always in some way be strangers
to this country.
But despite all of this, I go back to my initial desire, which is to have peace from
Expressing the desire in itself is probably one of the most difficult things I have
ever done, but after having had to actually go through with it, it turned out to
be even harder than I thought.
We all come from a culture which has its strengths and weaknesses just like every
other culture. But one thing which becomes unbearable is when people deny one culture
even though they are living in a country in which two opposite cultures co-exist.
Who can judge which culture is superior to the other? No one can. We can only judge
our own actions which are based on our decisions of what seems to be more advantageous
or attractive for our survival.
Now this all sounds very easy and simple but now bring in the family into this picture
and that's when things really get rocky. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your
parents or family who believe that our Iranian culture is THE one to go by and to
Humans have different opinions and ideas and whether you agree or disagree you have
to maintain a level of respect. If you taste one kind of food most of your life,
you will eat it and that's the end of the story.
But if you were subjected to different kinds of food you would naturally become more
selective and start to analyze the pros and cons of all these varieties and in the
end decide to stick to one kind of food or even a combination of different ones.
Now the mind works in a similar way. Our generation was subjected to two different
cultures and therefore is more selective in what it might believe or accept and what
it might reject in terms of beliefs, ideas and so forth.
The majority of the older generation though cannot accept a rejection based on selectivity.
In other words, if you decide to go against something which is very common in our
Iranian culture then you are basically a delinquent according to your parents.
This is in no way trying to make our generation
superior to the older one, rather it's just to show that there is a completely different
mind frame at work and this is exactly which causes a lot of friction.
So what do you do as a child who has to deal with your family who sees things through
their own eyes only? Who expects you to accept every with of theirs because doing
otherwise would be disrespectful?
Is a life which is based on their wants and desires one that you would want to or
even could live? Is it even psychologically feasible to subject someone to such a
situation and not expect to have some kind of complications erupting later on?
Now obviously the focus is more on people who have reached a certain level of maturity
and mental stability and are perfectly fit to make decision of their own.
What is my point in all of this? Well, basically it's the fact that all Iranians
go through this with their family. But some of us have to opt for harsher actions,
which are not reversible and also affect everyone including your family to great
Mentally, physically and emotionally it is a rocky road which is why you have to
be sure it is what you want to do. There is no going back and you have to be certain
to want it badly enough because once you start driving, you break the bridge behind
What am I talking about when I talk about breaking the bridge behind you and wanting
peace? Well, to leave and start a new life from scratch. Does this sound outrageous
to some of you? It might and I don't deny it.
It is simply not acceptable to the older generation
to have their kids leave them and move out and live on their own. It is simply not
done and not proper. It's not something I advise people to do unless it's a last
Complete alienation from the people you have so many memories with is not something
that will leave you alone. It will eat you up inside day and night and make you cry
until you have no more tears to shed, regardless of who the guilty party is. Every
one you see, every laughter you hear, every where you go, everything you do basically
will remind you of your past and the people who shared that past with you.
I miss my family to death ( I won't deny it) and not a day passes by where I don't
think of them in some way. But on the other hand I know that I tried everything in
my power to try and reason or even compromise in order to prevent this from happening,
but I failed at it over and over again and each time it made things even worse by
increasing their expectations.
It was simply not possible for me to go on living a life of hell and misery and anguish
day by day and not feel like I was losing myself, losing my wants, losing my desires,
losing my power to think..
Life in Iran was terrible which is why we moved here, but in all honesty life here
was not much better with all these unnecessary restrictions and obsessions. I needed
to have some open space in my mind and in my life and the only way I was able to
obtain it was to leave everything I had behind and to start from scratch.
I repeat do not do this in order to make a rebellious
statement because you will eventually get over that stage or phase in your life and
find yourself alone and away from your loved ones for no reason at all. Do it because
it's your only way of survival. And that is exactly what I meant with having peace
from ones family being the one thing I desired to have most in my life.
Earlier on I asked you to think about my question of what it is you wanted most.
What was YOUR answer? Maybe something simpler than what I was thinking about
and maybe not. But just remember that nothing in life is as simple as it seems and
we just have to make sure that we want it for the right reasons and not for the wrong
or impossible ones.
Right now I am hoping to one day be able to build a tiny little bridge again. It
will never be able to replace the big old one which was destroyed, but hopefully
it will be one which won't have to be ever destroyed again.