Posted by: MC | September 18, 2011

“I have had a lot of change lately”

In a few days, when 100 Voices: Americans Talk about Change hits book stores, Marjan Baradar’s voice will be #91.  Back in 2009, Marjan spoke of her optimism alongside her fear of the polarities in the country – she mentioned specifically the violence that can come of that.  She spoke of the power of civic engagement and indicated her sense of such participation as a responsibility, a natural expression of being an adult in this country.  As a counselor and a mom, she also spoke about the importance of family, of taking care of one another and especially of the children.

In April of 2009, Marjan was excited about the outcome of the election.  Two years later, I’ve had the chance to speak with Marjan again.  Here are some of the things she’s saying now.

You know, I still say we are always changing whether we like it or not. Change, at times, can be very scary to people.  At times it is a very necessary thing.  It is revitalizing the system.  Sometimes when people are in fear they will block themselves from the full experience of change.  They will limit their fullness of being all they can be.  But it’s happening anyways, so you don’t have any control.  Trying to control something you are out of control of – there’s no point.

I have had a lot of change lately.  It needed to happen.  I am going through divorce.  Everyone who hears it says, “Oh, I’m sorry.”  I say “No!  It’s a good thing.”  And not just for me.  For my husband and my children, for the family it needed to happen.  We were in a sad, depressed moment and that wasn’t acceptable.  That change, that movement needed to happen for us to be alive again.  And we are.  We’re all in a better state of mind.  We’re all activated again as human beings.  We’re more happy as a unit. 

That’s what’s more important.  Not to follow with the system, but to be accepting of new things if the old doesn’t work any more.  Keeping a marriage only for the sake of an idea of family is what is in people’s minds, but if mom and dad are in a depressive mode and not communicating, what are the kids getting.  That’s not a happy home.  Now they have two happy homes, two full human beings relating to them.  This is much more than they had a year ago.  I’m not kidding you.

 I’ve experienced a lot of major change over my lifetime.  It doesn’t make it easy, but I may be less afraid of change because of it. 

 When I came from my country, Iran, I was 17 years old.  I remember in the airplane I was kicking and screaming inside.  I didn’t want to leave my friends and have to learn a new language and new culture.  I didn’t want to do that.  At the same time, because things at home in Iran were so bad and dangerous for us, I thought even though it is a hard step, I’m willing to take it.  It is what my family needed to do.  That was a frightening change for me as a young girl.  I knew my parents would be in danger if we stayed, but I also noticed how they struggled through the changes with the culture and living here. 

 All of that helped me learn not to be afraid of change, but to be stronger.  And be persistent for what I want – not to give up on my dreams and my goals.  My mother was a good role model.  She went at her age, 50 some years, a woman from another culture – and got her GED.  Right after that she had such eagerness about learning that she went to college and got a certificate as a nursing assistant and started working – morning and night!  Two shifts!  Because of our caste, she never had worked in her whole life back home.  She wanted to here.  It was life for her.  She was being alive and that helped me a lot.

 Just like the way I finally did well with our move from Iran, my children are doing better than I thought they would through the change of this divorce.  They are learning to be independent. I was always teaching them independence, but not in the way they are experiencing it now.  At the same time, they know I am there with them.  We feel each other wherever we are.  When we were together all the time, it was much easier to take each other for granted.  Now, we have more appreciation for each other whenever we are together.  And when it is just the three of them together, they take care of each other.  They stand up for each other.  That is so exciting for me to see.  All the messages I tried to give them are activated.  What else could I ask?  This is so powerful and wonderful. 

 I want the same happiness and confidence; I want the same ability to rely on each other for the people of America.  The collection of people that make this country makes that trust harder.  Not everyone is as accepting of the changes happening.  That means we struggle.  My message to people everywhere is to realize how wonderful it is as a teamwork rather than individual work.  Look at my marriage.  I was the one running the show.  In divorce, we’re all activated.  We’re all doing it.  It is much better to work together as a team than to rely on one individual to take it all on.  It is always a group job in any system, to make something happen.  I believe in that. 

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