I’m going to make a lot of enemies with this blog post. But I’m not ashamed of my life story. I come from Poland. I was born in a communist country so knowing that I’m mid-thirties you can figure out that we’re relatively new to the democracy. What we’re also really new to is change. And the world.
When I was younger we were still a poor country. Travelling abroad meant usually going to the neighbouring Czech Republic or Slovakia for a bar of cheap chocolate. When I was little, bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruit were a luxury and often a lot of kids wouldn’t even know them. Supermarkets appeared in the 90s and so did McDonald’s and alike. A lot of Western stuff was new to Polish people and I’m sure we were not the only country. The internet has changed everything. We got IRC first and you could connect and talk to anyone, even (or rather especially) with a stranger. You could talk to someone in America and get a glimpse of the American dream.
This changed a lot of kids but don’t forget, the majority of the population back then remembered communism very well and they spent most of their lives in it. This is where, for me personally, the hard part comes in. Because of that relatively new knowledge of the world, we kept 20th-century mentality. And we still bring up a lot of children with it.
Poland is very religious but religious in the very worst meaning of this word. If you’re very negative about Islam because extremists treat the Quran too literally, traditional Catholics are not much different. The tradition of a woman being at home and bringing up children while the man is hard working in a mine still exists in small towns. And that’s the beginning. Try talking about gay people or transvestites in Poland. In many places, you’ll be lucky enough not to get punched. I’m not even going to mention racism. You see the mentality is like that because we’re so afraid of differences and change. And Polish people were closed in their little communist box for so long that all those differences are now scary. But most importantly they… wait… we judge everyone else a lot. And that’s because we had only ourselves in that little box and that’s the only thing we had to do – judge ourselves.
The first time in my life I travelled to the Western country was with one of my best friend’s school. It was a trip to Nederlands when I was about 17. It didn’t take long to open my eyes. Red light district, weed, boys holding their hands or (and I swear this is a true story) a rollerblade rider in g-strings only. As a young person, you clearly catch the perspective that there is a different world. My second trip was to France with my back-then girlfriend to visit her family. I spent almost 3 months there earning extra money as a student. That’s when I decided in my head that I will not live in Poland.
It took me another 7 years to leave Poland permanently but I knew it was the right decision. My destination happened to be New Zealand and that’s probably one of the best decisions in my life. New Zealand is a very open country. A country that first allowed women to vote and one of the first countries to allow gay marriage. There are some social issues here too, however, this is what I’ve learned coming from a perspective that when you’re gay – you’re against God.
In Poland if your neighbour buys a brand new car the first question you would ask would be “how much did you pay for it and where did you get the money from?”. In New Zealand, if your neighbour buys a brand new car there’s a high probability that first of all you wouldn’t notice because why would you look at your neighbour’s garage in the first place? But if you did notice and you’re on good terms with your neighbour the most likely question would be “is it comfy?” or “Can I go for a ride with you”.
You see one of the things I’ve learned in my life is that we do not have to be who our parents wanted us to be. We don’t have to do what society wants us to do. It is entirely up to an individual himself or herself to decide on their faith, beliefs and actions. And one of the biggest value I’ve learned in New Zealand is that you do not judge the other person. So I have nothing against gay people like I used to 20 years ago. One of my best friends is black and I consciously went with my friends to see a drag queen show. Am I going to burn in hell for that? Really? I mean pick a religion or faith and think about this big creation somewhere. They created the universe, billions of species, planets, space oh yeah, and this special bad place for a man who kisses another man called hell. If you don’t realise how silly this sounds I have no words for you.
The biggest lesson of life is love. This is yet something I’m trying to learn as I go. I get frustrated often, stressed and angry. But I’m trying to learn and become that person who shares the love between humans. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care where you’re from, you are just another entity that shares this space on this planet with me and we should love each other. I had a really bad influence from my early life that taught me things that I’m not proud of. Back then “being gay” was a substitute of saying that something is bad. But I overcame it and I’m a different person so we can change, we can be better and I hope that one day we all will be equal.
With this beautiful dream, I wish you a beautiful day. Your spiritual guide Ralfisilitiko The Great 😉