July 2011

As children, all we wanted to do was become grownups. I don’t know what fascinated us with the adult world. Perhaps it was the simple fact that we wanted to be someone we weren’t. What we couldn’t have was what we wanted. Like all the times we begged for a certain toy, the one that was popular and always on television commercials. My mother was strict about spoiling me with toys. I remember crying for a toy, and still she wouldn’t give in. I guess now I am not as spoiled as I could have been.
Summers in Tehran were hot and long. As kids, time went slowly, sometimes so slow that instead of three months it felt like a year. It was also cockroach season, big, brown ugly creatures. Some had wings; we feared those the most. Summers were also the season of daydream, of hopscotch on the roof, board and card games, trips to the Caspian, making fires on the beach. Just as I do now, I suffered from boredom. My mother registered me for all sorts of activities and lessons, all of which I despised. But my boredom didn’t stem from wanting more. I didn’t know what more existed out in other parts of the world. I didn’t have anyone to compare myself to. Sometimes the things I wanted were as simple as wanting a house for my Barbie and Ken and their little son.
When my father left for the States, I was 8. That’s when things changed and I wanted us to be with him. I didn’t know what America was, or what it meant to the Iranian people, to my father. But I knew that I wanted him back in my life, and if that’s where he wanted to be, we had to be there too.
I am a 23 year-old adult now, and I probably have more than I ever imagined I could want. But now, I don’t know what to want. What to look forward to. As children, you look forward to a world you don’t know yet. It is that very ignorance and naivete that gives you excitement for the future, that leaves you dying to find out. But then you find out, and there is nothing else left. Instead, you reminisce the past and you want to remember what it felt like to be a child again .
What it felt like to experience those first moments. The more you experienced, the more you wanted more, more of the new, more of the same. Once you know what it feels, nostalgia develops upon the loss of that feeling. We learn to mourn after things we’ve lost, people who’ve left, people who’ve died. Because we know what it was like when they were there. We like change, and yet we can’t cope with heartbreak and loss.
It’s like wanting to be in New York. Then you live here, you get tired, and you know everything, almost. What’s next, you wonder. You’ve tasted it, and you realized it’s not all that fancy, not all that great.
I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. It seemed like a good question while growing up. But now that I’ve reached that stage, it seems silly, stupid, redundant, and frankly, I have no idea. Maybe I never really knew the answer; I was just more excited to make one up. But my current state of bitter transformation has left me begging not to be asked.
Don’t ask me what I want because if I knew, I wouldn’t be so unhappy.

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