Sonia Said: Why did you leave?
No one really asks that, do they? I've heard "are you going back?" but never any interest in why I left in the first place. But maybe this shouldn't be surprising. Everyone's migrating these days. Hear "Poland" and you won't wonder for a split second. So when reading this piece in Guardian today about the situation in my home country, I was briefly reminded of many reasons WHY. Are things ever going to change so that people can stop running away?
"Things will get better once our generation steps in and leads the country," my friend suggested. "We have to give it 20-30 years more."
But what if there is no one left to do that, I asked. I mean, we're all here, in the overcrowded United Kingdom of runaways. Not exactly true, she noticed. Plenty of people we went to university with are back home, with professional careers, flats, cars, marriages, money in their bank accounts...PLOT TWIST. Suddenly we're messaging on Facebook, too lazy to travel more than one hour to see each other, tired from doing too much or doing nothing and feeling guilty about it, too many ideas in our heads, the so ever daunting mentality that unfortunately didn't stay in Poland that you ought to be able to define yourself.
We forgot all about politics and country's future. All we want to know is W-H-Y-Y-Y-Y are we still here? Most importantly, who would we be if we went back? This gives me an unpleasant backlash to last Saturday and my mother's now screams, since she probably believes that's the only way to communicate with me anymore. "GIRLS YOUNGER THAN YOU ARE APPLYING FOR MORTGAGE". That's what we would be. Isn't it crazy that we can actually know for certain that our mother country would welcome us in a warm embrace, take care of us and slowly sway into a long and peaceful life of stability. Isn't that enough of an answer? What's safe and steady isn't always good for you.
Why did you leave your home country?
Why did you leave your town?
Why did you leave home?
Why are you still here?
I look at two bottles of red wine in the room's corner. All the second-hand books I bought about lives of people so similar to mine which I read while taking a very long bus route to work every day. And I hate many things about that life but I'm content knowing that I'm living it as well instead of sitting in a pretty flat, bored after the good job I have, Wednesday night on my own because everyone's in bed. The worst part is, you really can't explain that to people who don't have a wandering soul. You can't come up and say: "see, there is this thing in me that dies if I'm living within normal standards." Like, it actually eats me alive from the inside out. And if I feed it well enough with complete freedom, hangover poems, humble characters, countless mistakes, it will let me be. And yes, I know, we've all moved from this stereotype of a haunted artist because now we hang out in gyms and drink green juice, well try saying that to our mystical creatures because they don't listen to us, they won't listen to you.
I think this is why. After 19 years of slowly realising that my mother country would most likely suffocate my mystical creature in that embrace, I decided I had to run somewhere that wouldn't happen. We could probably give dozens of reasons to go back and only this one to stay and yet, it wins every time.
But the air is so heavy now and it's only 11 am, instead of writing, I'm contemplating an alternate future, all because of one article. My friend can feel it too so she pulls the plug.
What keeps us here?
Overdrafts, she says. We laugh and go back to discussing a song she just recommended. It's Polish, one of many amazing songs we probably don't know. And it's about choosing your own, long road and not getting locked in by seeing yourself from the inside. Or something like that. Well, let me know if you want a translate! And, why did you leave?