The Lives of Others

Let me begin with a certified cliché: It’s not very easy to be a single woman in an Oriental society. Well, actually I tend to believe this is the case in any society, for different reasons. It’s not only about people’s expectations of you, sometimes it’s because they don’t expect that much.

Let me clear up any possible confusion by this little example: My cousin used to freelance for this company through this man. One day he called her to ask if she could take a new assignment, but she said she couldn’t because she didn’t have much time on her hands, to which he replied: “But why wouldn’t you have time? You’re not married or anything”.

You see what I’m getting at?

Sometimes people would assume that since you’re not married or you don’t have kids then you don’t have a life, and hence you should live their life. You should do their work, babysit their kids, run their errands, etc. And it’s not because they are trying to take advantage of you, it’s just the general idea, and it’s up to you to point that fallacy out.

I remember when my niece started getting serious homework at school. My sister tried somehow to get me to be the one to help her with it, so I had to stop her right there and tell her I didn’t have the time or the nerve for it, because although I love her girls to the nearest viable planet and back, they are her kids, her responsibility, not mine – although I still do it on the odd occasion, so it’s the exception not the rule.

So, get used to it. People could expect too much and too little of you. They could expect you to live their life as the natural course of things, and you owe it to yourself to set things right and make it clear that you do have a life, even if it’s not quite what they expect.

This is not a call to be a selfish witch, but rather a call not to let your selflessness make people take you for granted and finally end up living their lives, fragments of different lives, instead of being out there making a life of your own.

3 responses

  1. There is a thin line between holding back in extending a helping hand in fear of being taken for granted and self absorbedness , however I agree that you need to control an open ended relationship

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