Living the Dream


I’ve had this song on repeat to get me through the day (thanks Saaghi joooon for the best music):

Back to regularly scheduled programming…

Despite living across the country from my family, I’m actually pretty lucky. I’m not as disconnected as I thought I would be. I talk to my parents regularly (without a choice really) and as I’ve gotten older – our conversations have transformed.

Now – instead of sole lectures – my dad likes to debate too and apparently, I’ve become someone worthy of his intellect.

dafdMy dad and I have great debates because we think so differently. I listen to his advice now, but for most of my life – I’ve done what I want. And therefore, we have a different belief system.

I’ve always had to go the extra mile to convince my dad to see my point or back my decisions. Our most frequent debates surround my life decisions or my opinions regarding Islam and Iran.

My dad rarely talks about Iran, if ever. His childhood stories come in random spurts, and when they do – it’s like a glimpse into this side of him that my family and I barely recognize.

Don’t even get me started on his reaction when we discuss Islam. He just gets a scowl on his face and says, “This is a ridiculous conversation topic, Islam is ridiculous – I don’t vant to talk about it.” 

I’m the opposite – I obsess about Iran. I stare at pictures all day, I talk about going back all the time – much to my dad’s dismay. And when it comes to Islam – I emphasize my opinion that people have the right to choose their beliefs.

For a long time, I thought my dad’s “disdain” toward Iran was because I had chosen to focus on it so much in both my identity and in my professional goals. I thought his aversion to all things Iran really had a double meaning – and that secretly, he just didn’t support my desire to pursue any field affiliated with Iran because I would never become a doctor, lawyer or engineer.

I thought my dad was being negative and unsupportive – but it didn’t take me long to realize that he thought he was protecting me.


Our (my) parents came here to live the “American Dream” – they came here for more opportunities and to provide their children with those same opportunities that weren’t offered to them when they were our age. I feel like – when I talk about wanting to go to Iran or visit new places like Egypt…

My dad feels like I’m keeping myself from achieving the American Dream – the promised American life without conflict or danger.

And frankly – my dad carries a lot of bitterness toward Islam – it’s what many of our parents blame for what Iran has turned into. While I think the blame should be more targeted, I get it. There’s almost an underlying sense of resentment.

My dad came here for equal opportunity – the ability to become successful and have access to freedom. Sometimes I think that maybe my ambitions threaten his sense of security. Like I’m about to screw myself of all the opportunities that he worked so hard to obtain for me.

Or maybe I’m just overanalyzing my control-freak of a dad. Regardless…

I prefer to think he’s looking out for me. Wouldn’t you?






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  1. I completely understand this. For the last eight years (since I left home) my parents continually questioned my path in terms of studying and working in (and on) Iran, although since (like you) I had basically done whatever I wanted they were not in a position to stop me as long as I remained financially independent. Its only now that I have started achieving some professional success that they question me less, although I sense their doubt remains.

    I think for the hundreds of thousands of diaspora kids there is a fascination with Iran and a desire to be tied with it somehow. Have you actually gone back to Iran recently? A while back I went there to work for a few months, one of the best decisions I ever made.

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