I feel like it’s been awhile– I’ve been having withdrawals. I need to speak to some people who can relate to how I feel- who understand what it’s like to have Persian parents.
My NON-Persian friends just don’t get it. They don’t get why in my mid-20s, I still have to ask my parents for permission to do certain things. When it comes to certain life decisions, I can’t just decide that “I’m going to do this…” without having to deal with backlash from my parents.
Moving away from my hometown required me to give a presentation to my father on all the benefits of taking an unpaid internship. And while I like to think that I’ve risen against and surpassed a lot of my parent’s “requirements,” the harsh reality is that I have to run every decision by them first.
I really feel like your 20’s are your transitional period. You have to make mistakes and learn from them… you have to experiment and do things that you normally wouldn’t because you just can’t away with those kind of actions in your 30’s and 40’s.
And I’m not always referring to partying or sex (shocker I know).
I’m talking about going abroad. Or moving to a completely different city where you don’t know anyone. I’m talking about taking advantage of opportunities that are available to you that wouldn’t be as easily acceptable if you ARE in your 40’s.
You shouldn’t be settled in your 20’s… that comes later.
I feel like I have such little time to figure out who I am before I’m required to really BE AN ADULT and it’s stressful. There are so many questions in my mind,
Should I go to grad school? Where should I go?
When my non-Persian friends tell me I should go to grad school in Europe– my first response is, “HA yeah, my dad would NEVER let me do that.”
And they just can’t understand how my father has the power to keep me from doing something because the truth is I’m not really at an age where what my dad says/thinks should dictate what I can/can’t do… but it is what it is.
Should I move away? Should I look for another job after I’ve been at my current job for a year? Do I want to stay in this city longterm?
I would love to live abroad in a country for one year… anywhere– Argentina? Germany? I know that sounds “nice” and the reality is that there are so many difficulties that might arise, but I want to experience those difficulties, I want to learn from them.
My dad would probably slap me if he knew I’d ever go somewhere without a plan.
WHO THE FUCK KNOWS WHAT I’LL DO.
But one thing is for sure, no matter what I decide– I’m going to have to deal with Daddy/Maman joon first.
In Persian families, there are usually consequences for your actions.
And it’s been like that for ME since I was a little girl.
When I was in the ninth grade, my friend and I wanted to go see American Pie 2 in the movie theaters. The inappropriate/rebellious/dirty film of our generation.
But our parents wouldn’t let us go– specifically MY parents. “Chi??? You vant to see dis feelm about sex? Mizanamet!” (Trans.: I’ll hit you).
So I did what any good little Persian girl would do… I lied and said we were going to see Princess Diaries– and instead, my friend and I snuck into American Pie 2. And it really felt like it was totally worth it… for about one hour.
Granted, I probably didn’t understand MOST of the jokes, but the thrill of doing something “illegal” behind my parent’s backs and getting away with it was amazing. I felt like I was on top of the world.
I had out-smarted them. Finally.
That night, I called one of my other friends and proceeded to whisper to her about how we snuck into the movie. We were so excited and my friends thought I was a total baller for being the sneaky little devil that I am. Until we hung up, and my mother comes into my room.
She makes me sit on the bed and starts asking me to tell her ALL about Princess Diaries.
All I was thinking in that moment was, “Fuck…” (my potty mouth started at a young age)
She wanted every detail about the movie. I’m not a very good liar so you can only imagine how red my face was as I attempted to stutter my way through explaining the movie. When I finish, my madar gives me this look of disgust and tells me that the movie theater people called her and told her that I had snuck into American Pie.
“Farrah, I have eyes EVERYVHERE. You cannot do ANYTING vitout me knowing.”
And I was horrified. I believed her and was literally afraid that I was being spied on every time I went to the movie theaters after that.
*News flash: she doesn’t have “eyes” everywhere, she listened to my phone conversation.
Needless to say, my punishment was harsh. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with the friend I went to the movies with for ONE YEAR. We went to different schools back then and so it was easy for my maman JOOOOOON to maintain the punishment.
Obvs. we learned our lesson. I never snuck into another movie again. Wanna hear the most ironic part? My little brother owned every single American Pie movie at the age of 10. I’m going to go ahead and call that some major sexism right there.
Oh well, he’s still cute.
So you can see why when it comes to making LIFE decisions, I’m not afraid of being thrust into the unknown- I’m afraid of the consequences I’ll have to deal with when it comes to talking to my parents.
God forbid I joke about a life-altering decision to my dad (like going to Iran for a year), and I end up getting a 45 minute lecture/scream/yell fest about how irresponsible I am.
Life is hard, but sometimes Persian parents are harder.
I WILL admit though that despite the pressures my family is constantly putting on me– and the amount of dread I feel when I have to listen to a 1 minute and 30 second voicemail from my dad… I do love them.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to comprehend how other parents DON’T have the kind of influence on their kid’s lives that my parents do- whether it’s a good thing or BAD THING.
JOONIEESS, I hope your parents don’t require you guys to give them power point presentations when YOU make decisions, but I can only imagine what they do “expect” you from you. So please shhhaaaareeee em! It always makes me feel better knowing that others suffer with me ;)
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