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What About My Dreams?
I pulled my homework out of my backpack along with my iPod. As soon as the iPod’s music blared through my head, I began my geometry homework, the most difficult out of everything. As the songs kept reciting themselves in my head, my ears heard the now dull sound of my grandmother’s television.
My maternal grandmother, this Armenian and Russian lady, lived in the room next to mine, and her television always blared in either Russian or Polish, two languages I did not speak nor understand.
Then my favorite song comes on: “What About My Dreams?” by Kati Wolf. Everything of her came back to me with every line.
I always stood behind you, always close,
Stood by your side no matter what the cause.
And I always was there for you when you called.
My grandmother lived a very hard life. She grew up in the Soviet Union during WWII, when the Germans attacked. There was an inconsistent flow of food to the populous, and both of her parents were deported to Siberia to be sent to a labor camp. Only her mother survived. She entered a conservatory in Moscow, another one in Odessa (now in Ukraine), and became a renowned concert pianist. She married a Polish chemist, and had a daughter with him, but he died before she and my mother immigrated to Finland, and then to Sweden.
But it still didn’t excuse her behavior. She emotionally abused my mother, and still does. She did a bit to me, and has threatened to hit me. But I still care for her, and I try to make excuses for her.
Should I live my life or only your parts?
My mother leaves at seven and comes back at seven every weekday, and all my grandmother does is complain to her about everything our family does and about the world. We cannot take a lengthy vacation because she would ruin it for my mother. Our finances are tricky because we pay additional insurance for her car (which she uses only weekly), and our electricity bill is so high because when we run the air conditioner, she leaves the window open.
What about my life?
What about my dreams?
What about how I feel?
What about my needs?
I can’t hold back, I can’t go back, I must be free
What about how I feel? What about my life?
I can’t go back, no more.
She is overly invasive. She sometimes stands in the doorway to whoever she’s talking to so that they have to hear her tangents. But, if you do the same to her and try to act like her, she treats whoever does it like an animal. She is insensitive to other religions, ethnicities, and opinions. We cannot mention evolution, any other religion, or minorities without her unfavorable opinion being made bluntly.
Tíz lépés, száz lépés távolság kell (Ten steps, hundreds of steps should range)
Nem számít merre csak el, t?led el (No matter which way you can only be you)
Mit mondhatnál, mit mondhatnék (What do you say, what can I say?)
Elkoptunk rég, szemeinkb?l nézd, hova t?nt a fény? (Worn long, which look appeared to light?)
My parents and I know that we cannot do anything about her. She is an old lady, whose opinions cannot be altered. Furthermore, we cannot put her in a near-by retirement home because she’ll take her car and visit us every evening, and complain about the retirement home, which will make things worse. We cannot put her in a retirement home that is far, because we’ll invite her in for long weekends, which will not be pleasant. We cannot move her out; we do not have the financial resources to do so. And her pension is not very large.
The chorus repeated again, and the last verse came:
(I can’t go back) Gonna live my dreams
(I won’t go back) Oh my dreams
(I need to be) …
(All I can be)
(I can’t go back) Can’t go back
(I won’t go back) I must be free
(I need to be all I can be)
What about my dreams?
She tries to dominate my life. She wants me to become a white supremacist like her, she wants me to become a doctor, like her aunt, she wants me to only listen to classical music, she wants me to learn Russian, and she even wants to make sure that I marry a fellow Christian. Even if I become any of those things, I will not do so because this miserable old lady told me to. I respect her, I honor her, but she is not mentally stable. She takes medicine for her emotions; she ramps up our phone bill for talking to her old Russian friends who feel sorry for her. And yet, here I am, writing about this woman, but I can never say any of this to her.
What about my life, babushka? What about my dreams, grandmother? What about how I feel, grandma? What about my needs, bama?