To Go or Not to Go? That is the question!

Sometimes when brainstorming an article, you need to wait for the right subject to come to you. Something that you feel is important to talk about.

Right now. what I feel is important to talk about is this question:

"What do you do when you are on the verge of making a decision that you're not comfortable with?"

Recently I've been accepted for an internship in New York. It's a great opportunity for me I feel lucky, I feel blessed, excited, I feel like this is something that could not have come at a better time in my life. However, I also feel like I'm not ready for this. I feel as if something might go wrong, and that I'm not ready to take on such a big role and such a big responsibility. However, making this decision all comes down to the fact that for the first time in my adult life (or beginning of an adult life) I will have to leave my family.

I've had to play the role of a grown adult and “part-time m5other” for quite a while.  It's not something that Europeans or Western American can culturally understand. However, in my African culture it is something normal or to be expected:

"Many important family functions, such as taking care of younger children and teaching them basic household and occupational skills, are carried out by siblings in non-Western societies."*

 As the oldest sister, it is my duty to be responsible for others. It is normal for me to be in a supporting role in my family. I'm not a parent, but I'm not a child either, and for so long I've played that hard role. I believe I mastered it, but if you were to ask my parents, it’s another story…
It might have been a heavy responsibility, but it was a position that I felt comfortable in. In that role, I knew what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to handle a thousand things such as becoming a role model for my siblings, supporting my parents to the best of my abilities, doing my best at school, building up my professional career, etc.…

With the news of this opportunity, I realized that I had a co-dependent relationship with my family and that it needed to stop! I have to experience what it felt like to be on my own, at least for about 6 months. I have to learn to be alone with my thoughts, to be without any type of duty to others aside from the one to myself. These first few weeks on my job, I have to say that it was hard to cut the umbilical cord. I've been calling my family every day starting at 6:30 a.m.. When I wake up they still are the first people I talk to, and then I talk to them again around 3:00 p.m., and then sometimes in the evening we will call each other. It’s mostly me trying to check if they need me for anything because I am not used to it, and guess what? So far, 9 times out of 10 they needed me (sigh). It would have been so great to hear them say: “Go ahead and live your life we are fine!”, but I guess that's wishful thinking on my part.

What they don’t realize is that now I know! I know that they miss me, I know that it's hard for them to experience this change suddenly, I also know that they are nourishing my codependency. However, the most important thing is that I know that I am ready. I am ready to be independent. I am willing to take on my life, not just their life. I am ready to focus on my happiness, to stop resuming my identity to being a “big sis”, and to cease being scared. It doesn't mean that I don't love them. I don't think it would be possible not to love them. It just means that I need to start having my own responsibilities and wishes, and discover my self.

I hope this helps anybody that is trying to figure out how to break the cycle of codependency with their families. I want to tell those people that it is ok to take a break from the role (at least for a little while). It is okay to try becoming your own person. It will be hard. You will sometimes feel lonely or scared because it's not something that you were usually doing. You will feel out of your comfort zone because you've played this role that has been given to you for so long, and now will have to create your own character. If you are this person, if you are scared to take the chance, know that taking on this significant change will build you as a person. As a result of taking this leap of faith, you will not only have the experience of being a leader in your family, but also the experience of being a leader in your life.

I hope this message finds you and helps you!



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