In a society like ours people tend to believe they are experts. For example, you could be sick with the flu only to have someone tell you about the distant relative who created a home remedy just for your illness. Some people might even tell you to dispense with medication all together and instead to use honey, mint, and lemon in your tea just as their great grandma used to do. These people might even give you elaborate testimonials on how their great grandma saved a man from death just by making him drink a mysterious herbal potion she had created in her own kitchen.
The strong belief that one can single handily cure your illness is only one example of the high level of self confidence our fellow community members have, as we are a population of self-acclaimed, philosophers, sociologists, doctors, and even engineers. The self acclaimed sociologists will all say random statements where they would assure everyone they talk to that “Every girl who is single is depressed”, “Every man is driven by animal desires”, “Every parent is stressed”, and “Everyone in Jordan is negative”.
They may even use these random statements to analyze your life without even knowing who you are.
I once met one of those self acclaimed sociologists and I found her to be truly entertaining, but that’s just me and my cynicism, many people put in similar situations would be discouraged, enraged, or even depressed.
On that blessed meeting, and less than 20 minutes after meeting me, the 40 something year old woman said to me ”Every girl wants to be a mother I’m sure you think about it all the time” . Personally, I found that general statement shocking simply because I’m a girl and I’m not dying to be a mother, it simply isn’t my lifelong dream, and I certainly don’t think about it all the time. I tried to explain my view to the woman that day but she wouldn’t hear it, she said “No, you didn’t try it”, before repeating “but every girl wants to be a mother, unless she is heartless”. Her statement instantly made me feel like I need to explain why I’m not heartless, she even drove me to say, “Look, I will not kill my kid if I’m a mother, and I wouldn’t be bad at being a mother, but I’m not dying to one, and that doesn’t make me heartless.”
The self acclaimed sociologist then replied to me “Then you don’t want to get married.” throwing another label in my face, i.e. if I don’t want to be a mother I don’t want to get married. I replied “No, I would like to meet someone fall in love and I would like to get to the point where I want to be married to that person, but I will not die if I don’t have kids. I will not be depressed if I do, but to me being married isn’t about having kids.”
The self acclaimed sociologist then said, “Every woman wants to have kids” again, as she was practicing the social trend of repeating a question or statement more than once in the hope that the other person’s answer will change. That trick might work for many but not for me, and by then I was really getting sick of this conversation so I replied “I guess, I am not every woman.” “You are not realistic” she replied.
Feeling I had to defend myself further I said, “Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I just don’t love them 24 hours a day; Again, I’m not a monster, if I have my own kids, yes I will love them, but if I don’t my life wouldn’t be depressing. I want other things. I live for other things.”
After saying these words, I wish I had a camera on me, because the shock on the woman’s face was priceless. After a long pause she irritably said “What other things could you possible want.”
I replied, “I want to travel the world, I want to write a book, I want to experience new things, and yes it’s my right to meet someone, fall in love, get married to that someone, and not necessarily have kids, or have kids either way it would be mine and that someone’s choice. It’s not a package. The two don’t go hand in hand.”
Sick of me, the woman then said, ”Good luck, no guy will accept that.” . I wanted to ask her “Who said it is about what he accepts?”, “Who said I want a traditional thinking average guy?”, “Who said, he should be any narrow minded guy?” etc. but feeling it is all a pointless discussion to get into I said, “Maybe you are right”
This is exactly what happens in our city of experts, people throw around labels, norms, and standards that they expect everyone to abide by. The people who hear these statements are either made to believe them, or at times they are even forced to believe them in order to belong.
They adopt them to fit in, regardless of what they think. For example some girls are afraid to say what they want in life, especially if it is different from the path society has laid out for them. Some men are afraid to say what they want in life, because what they want is not the same as what the city of experts has said they should want. Remember, people will pass the flu remedy created in someone’s great grandmother’s kitchen simply because the person thinking he is an expert swore on his mother’s life it works. All married women will fake enjoying motherhood, because it is said to be the natural instinct as affirmed by their moms, grandmothers, and great grandmothers.
But, then there are people like me who refute these statements made by the city of experts. After all, life would be so boring if we all thought and believed in the same ideas, especially if these ideas were passed on by generations of self proclaimed experts many of whom were too scared to test their truths for themselves.