Sonia Said: Stability is an illusion
By Sonia Hadj Said
'I could lose my job,' my mum said on a video chat. I just nodded away as she explained how her bank division was being shut down. There were some options, the big guys came and asked where she'd see herself. “What did you say? What now?” I asked. “Nothing,” she said. “We're going on a holiday.”
What does stability mean to you and do you hold it dear? One of the #raiseyourvoice questions we always ask is: stability or defiance? I was positively surprised when I saw so many of you cautiously lean towards stability or explaining that you can't have one without the other or that middle ground was probably the best option. But again, what is that middle ground? In times when buying a flat is nothing, but a fantasy and we can always get kicked out by a landlord, carrying on odd jobs changing them more often than gloves, has stability become the equivalent of success? Once, the simplest and more basic thing, now a mere fantasy.
So I didn't say anything to my mum but when the conversation stopped, I laughed. My mum is an embodiment of stability. A really good, well-paid job. Educated kids. A flat. Holidays once, sometimes twice a year. And that's that. I found it really funny to have realised that the person who says “stability” every few seconds when talking to me should become its next victim. Because guys, STABILITY IS AN ILLUSION. As long as you work for someone, that someone can take it away from you. As long as you're still paying that mortgage, that house can be yours no more in an instant. As long as you cling to this idea of possessing things, you're not a free person.
"Has stability become the equivalent of success?"
So now as I'm writing this from my little rented room, avoiding that new girl who moved in and asked me how to open a window, I remember Sundays back at home. Car rides to shopping centres to buy nice clothes and then eating out with my mum and sister. Cleaning the house, saying, yes I've done my homework, watching my parents stare at the TV, their well-deserved downtime before getting back to their successful lives on Monday. There is one thing I “miss” about that time. Back then I wasn't responsible for my own life. If I stayed in Poland I still wouldn't be. My parents would by me a house. My grandma would bring (only best in the entire world) pierogi and I'd be seeing some guy who also has a nice flat, car and doesn't know much except how to go to work.
Instead, I'll kick back with a pint in a beer garden nearby, walk around second-hand shops, unafraid of the week to come because if I lose my job, I'll get another one easily. If I lose my room, I'll stay at my friend's couch and find another one. There are no strings to me, but my mobile phone bill and you know what, maybe this is our new stability? Creating lives that make us invincible to those in power because if you have nothing, it can't be taken away. If that's the price to pay for no Zara clothes and all-inclusive holidays every year, I'm all in. Are you?