I write this as I sip my tea in a very quiet room with just a lamp lit at around 3 am when the world around me is sleeping. The smell of lavender oil fills my room and my tea tastes like a sip of freedom after quite a while. I laugh at the word ‘freedom’ because I doubt you and I will interpret the same meaning of the word. You probably would look at me and say ‘Why do you need freedom?’ or ‘How was freedom deprived from you just because you were living with your mom?’.
I rented out an apartment a few days back in the city that my mom lives in, right below hers actually. The day I told her that I want to move in there for a while, at least because I needed space, she looked at me like I’d said something wild, you know the look you would give a teenager that just told her parent that she’s on drugs. Yeah, that look. Well, my mom and I talk a lot about probably everything under the sky and I think that’s a curse and a blessing. So, like all the problems in life, we spoke about it. My mum tried to understand why I needed space as I sat down right next to her giving her reasons.
You know what the sad part is? It isn’t that my mum doesn’t understand. She’s brilliant like that, she understands it completely. She understands why a 25-year-old needs her space. The sad part is, she couldn’t wholly and happily agree to it because of you. The word ‘society’ especially to a single mother weighs a lot. Every time there’s a problem at my house, and I explain my side, she nods and sighs and says, ‘But this society won’t look at it like that’. And so, that’s what she did when I told her, ‘I needed space.’ She said, ‘But the society won’t understand why you need space. They’ll say things behind your back. They’ll talk about you living alone in the same city as me.’
So, how do I explain the ‘s’ word to you? How do I tell someone that space is sipping tea when my favourite music is on and not when someone is moving around the house? How do you tell someone that space is not doing things that whatever the society thinks that women and men who live alone do but is putting up my jam and dancing to it? How do you tell someone that space is important to me when I am reading a good book and the story is unfolding in my mind like a movie and that suddenly shouting across the room brings me to the real world and messes the movie in my head? How do you tell people that space isn’t being a bad daughter but wanting to be a happy human? How do you tell a society of people that don’t understand the concept of space that personal space isn’t not wanting time to be with other people but wanting to be with yourself and smile because that’s when you think of the little moments in life and realize how beautiful it is?
So, dear society, not that I’ve explained what the ‘s’ word means would you just let me be? Would you just not snicker or comment or gossip behind my back because I live in a different flat right below mine? Because if you do, the 11-year-old girl who told my mom that she’ll live in an apartment alone and happy when she grows up will beam at the 25-year-old me for making her dreams come true.
Just a girl who wants to be happy.