I rarely find myself in the position of writing about myself in English. I mean other than resumes or letters of intent. I wanted to be the first “portrait of a lady” on my blog, not because I want to set an example, far from it. I started the blog as an attempt to discover myself and half a year later I still haven’t found anything. Someone once told me that this self-discovery journey may last our whole life. Not that I am rushing towards anything, but…time is ticking. And often time seems to tick in a faster pace after 30, especially for women.
I recently read some articles on this topic written by man. They mirrored a kind of a funny-bitter reality. That women in their 30’s lack the sense of reality. Which is strange ’cause after all we are supposed to be the most pampered of our generation. Obviously I am talking about Romanian women. A 100 years ago or so, we were learning French, had a German baby-sitter for our children and being a woman meant being an ornament. We had access to education, no doubt, but we were merely entertainers, mothers and household keepers. Then communism brought such an abrupt shift in the old ways that some of the women born in the 1950’s never fully recovered from. I have had as role models my grandma and my mother. The first was born in the countryside in 1929, and her life was marked by land ownership and constant commitment to labor. My mother on the other hand, was brought up in an age where education meant a chance to leave the rural life; she saw the benefits of having equal rights with men (although it was still an ideology). This thing with equal rights brought a lot of damage in the women’ mentality. You had to somehow sharpen those aspects in yourself that were clearly not meant to be sharpened. Learning to master the hammer or a bulldozer was not among the qualities that defined the woman. But you were also supposed to contribute to the growth of population, to create labor force. Little has anyone known on the long term effects of those times. The only argument that comes to my mind is the fact that yes, you managed to become an adult. No one is interested in your sad story about growing up like a weed, with little sun, water and frugal affection.
Yes, I have made it! I am a 33 years old woman living in Romania! I was brought up knowing that learning is my most important asset, that I should respect authority to the extent that standing out is never a good thing. That I should earn my own money, not rely on a man ever and generally contribute to society in a quiet/meaningless way. That kids are safer if they were enrolled in institutions, rather than nurtured by a loving mother. You earn money to give money away, to buy a house rather than build a home.
Some say that us, Romanian women, have a collective wound – a wound that hit motherhood during communism. I won’t develop it any further because every woman knows what’s it about. It’s a constant fight to gain control over our bodies, to be seen as women, not child bearers. And this chaotic fight has lead to a state of a complete abandonment of our true core. We are goddesses!
I am Irina, mother of a lovely 5 year boy, and wife. Constant learning makes me doubt my every action in bringing up my child. We learn together, we grow together with plenty of set-backs, tears and frustration. I am also a wife, I am not the proud owner of anything but a home, a cozy one. I am still striving to earn a decent salary, one that will allow me more visits to a beauty parlor. I enjoy shopping. I think sugar and good friends are the greatest antidepressants. I have reached this age without any notable achievements ’cause I never stopped to consider notable in my own hall of fame. I think there is still time to become someone I would be proud of. Maybe writing will be my great breakthrough!