Sometimes, when we deal with difficult people for too long, we may feel ourselves burned out. It could be even worse than that: the feeling of wasted time creeps up on you and then, you feel anxiety and depression.
When my mom passed away, I bumped into the most bitter regret of my life in the fact that she was gone forever but she has not been yet truly happy. I mean the simple for any woman happiness—the love and respect from her husband and some sort of freedom. She stayed up until two in the morning washing clothes by hand for her family, because there was no running water system constructed in the house, —all the inconvenience of housekeeping necessities only worsened her health and shortened her life. I’ve seen my mom a couple of times paint some nice landscapes. Most of all she loved painting flowers; bunnies and hedgehogs were the only animals I could find in her paintings. I’m not sure why she chose these animals, although I have my theory about it—the theory of her personality: she was harmless, like a bunny, and therapeutically soft to anyone who came with peace, but she could be as sharp as a hedgehog if there was a need to protect her family. Her passion for painting was quickly extinguished by my dad who was a long-term artist. He did not hesitate to remind her that her business were the children and the kitchen, not to mention her day job and taking care of the livestock and an endless series of "ands". Contrary to the famous three German K's - Küche, Kinder, Kirche - the latter meaning church – which was undesirable in Soviet Russia, but the kitchen and children were still relevant. I will always have a strong sense of regret that my mother deserved better, but there were circumstances that prevented her happiness. Many factors and conditions would not allow her to live the life she wanted. Some facts of that lifestyle, I described in the short paragraphs below.
• Sharing a house
Divorced couples still lived in the same house back then, which of course doesn’t make sense unless I explain some socio-cultural aspects of soviet life. Back then, people had no chance or financial ability to buy a house. Houses were given to people and of course, the government would not provide you with any additional “square meters” because your divorce was at your choice.
• Open meetings about someone’s personal decision
Soviet society was extremally judgmental. A couple could be summoned in front of their co-workers and bombarded with questions on what had happened between them. Three or four people sat on stage at a table and led that meeting allowing co-workers and anyone interested in such drama to be nosy or rude.
• “Badass” household security
Another significant societal trait was the hast fact that in certain areas, without a man in the household, you were unlikely to survive. Someone needed to build shelter for the livestock and slaughter the occasional hog when it was time to do so; and of course, a woman felt more secure when she had a “badass” husband under her roof because then, any other troubling character wouldn’t come close to you.
There were many more complications than you might think, that thwarted any personal decision. When I created the Fight-For-Your-Happiness blog, my mother’s life was always in the loop of my cognition. While still a teenager, I swore to myself that I would always fight for my right to be happy, and I would always advocate for anyone who is trying very hard to pursue her or his dream. If someone likes to write or paint or to play music, it should only be their own personal decision and not someone else’s. In fifth grade I was shoved into a German class against my will. The teacher only snorted at my desire to learn English. Humiliation was normal on a daily basis. Our class of twenty-eight students was divided like a flock of sheep into two sections. We were lined up as the teacher alternated calling out : German-English-German-English. Nobody asked us what we wanted. We were expected to abide by either established or unspoken rules, and any question or expression of a different interest was seen as arguing with a teacher. Well, it’s sad for me to say, but to be honest— even in a free country, sometimes, people are exposed to unnecessary demands made by someone above them. Here is such a situation (I’m sure) some people may recognize: a child does not understand how his schoolteacher explained an algebra concept in class. Once the child came home the parents showed him the easiest way to solve the math problem. Even though all of the student’s answers were correct, the test returned home with a big, fat, red zero written in pen by the teacher. What consequences can be projected from this situation? —This teacher not only discouraged the child from studying algebra, but she also created anxiety of creative thinking in this child. To wrap it all up, I would like to express my desire for us, educators, to always keep in mind that acceptance of different kinds of way and the adoption of these new ways of solving problems is the key to our freedom and progress. Let us not kill creativity and imagination in children and instead instill freedom of thought and mind.
Your life will be easier, and you will feel happier by embracing the simple fact that although all of us are different, we are all pretty much the same because of our desire for happiness.