I am a firm believer that no matter where we’re from, it is always a part of who we are. The place where we grow up and spend our formative years is instilled in us, no matter how far away we may move.
As a Native New Yorker, you will never, ever hear me say I am from anywhere else on this planet. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of…”
I’ve lived in other places over the years and to this day people still stay “You’re not from around here, are you?” I will never get rid of my subtle accent, and I refuse to allow anyone to make me feel self-conscious about it. I didn’t grow up easy, but I’m proud of where I’m from.
A friend of mine, after several years of “marriage” (I have a hard time calling it that), is immigrating to the United Kingdom. Her husband told her she had to “get rid of her Americanisms” because she will be “British”. I was utterly appalled reading her Facebook post, as if this was something cute. “Yes hubby bunny, I’ll get right on that.” I had a thought that went with that bit of submissive nausea, and I totally blame Jodi Ambrose for it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😛 (I’m kidding, slightly. It just goes to show you our minds are both in the gutter, and thank GOD for that! Make sure you read Jodi’s awesome Eulogy post. It is a work of art.)
I was quick to inform her that citizenship, which will take 2-3 years, as she will be there temporarily on a spouse visa, will not make her British-born. She will never stop being a native of the country she was born in. That’s like me dying my hair blonde, moving to Finland, and claiming to be a native. No one would EVER believe me, so why pretend? Why would anyone ask you to change how you speak and how you think in order to make you something you’re never going to be, except on paper? It blows my mind.
She’s not American, but she was raised to speak American English and taught to aim for a better life. I told her she’s being brainwashed, and she is, because she’s willing to let someone a good 20 years older than her tell her how to think, write, spell, what to wear, eat, etc. Five years ago, she may have been single, but she knew how to think for herself. Now she has a “husband” with all of her passwords (If you’re one of “those types”, I strongly question your I.Q.) who is very quick to jump down anyone’s throat for reminding her that she has a mind of her own. I suspect there’s a reason he’s so controlling; and I don’t find anything cute or attractive about it. It’s worrisome, to say the least. Have we been over the fact that if you use the word “hubby” in my presence, I might lose my lunch? He’s British, shouldn’t she just refer to him as her “old man”? It’s what he is, let’s be technical.
Every friend I have that isn’t American born, but has dual-citizenship in this country, is the first to say “I’m Italian.” or “I’m Swedish.” They are proud of where they’re from, they’re proud of their U.S. citizenship, but that doesn’t stop them from also being themselves as people. They haven’t stopped saying “In my country…” no matter how long they’ve lived here. I find nothing wrong with that and I’d NEVER correct them or tell them to “adapt” or to change their method of thinking or their speech patterns. They are who they are, and I respect that. They can lapse into any language they want to speak in front of me, I do not find it offensive, its merely force of habit. They do it in front of husbands, wives, children, etc. It is what it is. But when someone is controlling you, it’s a whole other ballgame and it’s NOT okay. There’s a reason men don’t talk to me like that; it’s because they value their natural teeth and the family jewels.
Maybe submissive women is a thing I’m unaware of. I was not raised to be a passive, submissive, unquestioning, brainless, giggling little fool. If being a wallflower spouse/partner does it for you, well good for you, but it repulses me. Even when a man is super quiet and lets someone run roughshod over him, it’s repulsive to me. When people make their relationship your business by publicly discussing their life via social media, they should expect people to chime in. Her husband attacked me once for being honest with her and I told her if he ever did it again, he’d be sorry for it because her friendships aren’t his business. I’ve been friends with her for over 20 years. I’m not going to blow smoke up her ass. Good friends tell you the truth.
He got her a puppy about ten months ago and she is leaving three animals behind in another country to be taken care of “by family”, with no intent to bring them to England whatsoever. That too, is absolutely disgusting and heartless to me. I suggested re-homing all of them so that they could have good lives and her response was “This will be our vacation home, we’ll be back here when we retire, so we’ll see them when we come back.” I have NO IDEA what dream world she’s living in, but in my world, you don’t leave animals behind. That is cruel and evil. She has no guarantees whatsoever that her “family” is going to take care of her home and animals. I do not want to hear how that ends, but I’m sure I will.
When you truly love someone, you don’t tell them they need to change, unless it’s for health reasons via doctor’s orders. When you truly have someone’s best interests at heart, you realize that they’re uprooting their entire life to live in a foreign country for you and that it’s an immense sacrifice. They’re not “visiting”, though I already know the outcome of this story.
I am not good with “yes people”. It physically makes me ill when women behave like that in relationships, especially when they genuinely mean it. It’s not like the sarcasm of “Yes, dear.” that many American women use. Most of us say it, but we don’t actually mean that we’re going to wash, fold, and iron your underwear for you. If you do wash, fold, and iron someone’s underwear, I hope he’s paying you incredibly well, or he’s your son and you want him to look his best. Whatever floats your boat. <rolls eyes>
Wherever you are from, BE YOU. Don’t ever let anyone, not even a spouse, tell you there’s something wrong with that. My best friends are almost all overseas, and I love them like sisters. I would never tell any of them they have to change their speech, thoughts, views, etc., to be anything more than who they are as people. One of my best friends does hope to achieve American citizenship at some point in the future, which I will support, encourage, and assist with in terms of helping her study American history so she can pass her tests (She’ll probably learn way more than I ever did, or more than I can remember.). I want her to achieve that dream and be able to live out her days with an American passport if that’s what she desires. Why not? In my mind, if a friend has a dream, you help them to the best of your ability if they’re unsure if it is attainable or not. You support and encourage. Moreover, as a life partner, I cannot ever imagine turning to a man and saying “Could you not be Welsh, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Swedish…”, etc. and don’t speak the language in front of me “because you’re AMERICAN NOW!” Not only is that rude beyond words, but it’s disrespectful.
If you’ve been with a person for a while and marry them or live with them, then you pretty much know what you’re getting into. Yes, they’re going to have odd little quirks that will drive you crazy, but if someone is going to be a psycho control-freak, you might want to re-think how you’re treated and have a major discussion about respect and boundaries because being told you’re not good enough unless you do A,B, C, D, and E is utterly unacceptable.
When I hear crap like this and a woman accepts it like that’s what you do in a marriage, either to avoid conflict or to be a submissive dumbass, it 100% makes me want to say “FUCK NO!” the next time someone asks me to marry them.
No matter where I go in life, no matter where I live, no matter who I’m in a relationship with, I intend to continue being a badass bitch. Take it or leave it, gents.
copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.