When I was little, I struggled to emancipate from the bonds of a proletarian condition. My parents worked in shifts, were subject to the heavy burdens of industry, and wished for their daughters not to fall in the same snare. We didn’t.
When I practiced as a lawyer, I didn’t struggle much because I was breathing my first emancipation – coincidentally contemporary with the Fall of the Iron Curtain. A host of new opportunities, of exciting avenues and unforeseen deceptions.
When I had my first two children, I still had enough resources to feel emancipated. Perhaps because I never considered an outlandish escape. Though I used to co-conspire with my husband in quite some adrenaline-driven adventures.
When my twins arrived, I turned into a total Godzilla, helicopter mom and control freak. Years after years of permanent stress and worries. The only place where I could run – literally – to be alone with my mind was my garden. But you still need a man to be happy, or so I say. Loneliness is one of the most common causes of depression, or many say so.
Happiness is no magic recipe that you can prepare with general purpose ingredients, such as emancipation, being your own master, independence, autonomy. If every particle in this universe is somehow connected to all the others, so are we. Absolute self-determination, complete self-reliance won’t bring you joy but a lot of cats and an acid taste in the air.
Mothering on the other hand, when it turned exclusive, converted me into a perfect slave – precisely the opposite corner of emancipation. You may like to cook and bake, to clean and wipe, to listen and comfort – because you are a mother and a housewife. Put too much of these submissive ingredients in your life recipe and you’ll come to notice that confidence is nowhere around, that all you have left are doubts and anguish, pain and misery.
Finding happiness, or the process of pursuing it, requires balance, like in a real and well seasoned recipe that is rich in opposite ingredients yet moderate in dosage and fire.
When I was a teenager, I didn’t have the nerve to go wild, like Emma Roberts did in Nerve.
When I chose to ‘graduate’ from self-sacrificing mothering to a controversial alternate reality of the MILF, I realized that there is, still, some nerve in me. Rediscovering your femininity in your forties and parading it through your fifties requires Nerve!
According to my own recipe, I won’t cross the line behind anyone’s screen (it’s been over five years since I started walking this fine line). I am satisfied with the sex I get. Even if I tried, I can’t get bored next to my man – I actually get scared, as in dared. And the grown up kids, plus the teenagers, have the innate ability to keep my narcissism in check. Ingredients, ingredients, ingredients.
When I am happy, I call it emancipation.
Knowing that it won’t last, I treasure the moment. Because the present is all that we’ve got.
Initially, Eve answered a proposal for emancipation from rules that didn’t exist in her present but could have been in a hypothetical future. She traded her present away.