“And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn’t be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the window.” – The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
In The House on Mango Street, a book we just read in my Latin American Pop Culture & Art class, the image of “waiting by the window” seems to come up quite a bit. Although some of the girls in the novel manage to make their own success, most of the others sit quietly, waiting for a man to sweep them off their feet and bring them to their dream worlds. Marin waits under the streetlight “for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life.” Rafaela is “getting old from leaning out the window so much,” stuck in an abusive relationship. Sally isn’t even allowed to look out the window.
This imagery really stood out to me, not only because it was so easy to visualize, but because it reminded me of something that many of us are guilty of. We stare out the window (often metaphorically speaking) and wait for our fortunes to turn. We think about our choices and wonder if we will ever be able to reach the outside for ourselves.
Many people never actually do. Instead of walking outside and seeing the world for themselves, they wait for our dreams to magically come true. I was saddened by the number of girls in this book who were too afraid to create their own destinies, who thought that the “window” was as far as they could get. So many people — especially girls — are guilty of passively wishing for their happily ever afters without realizing that it’s okay to take action to get what you want. It is more than acceptable to take matters into your own hands, to escape the box you feel that you are placed in, and mark your own pathway. By following a preconceived expectation, you are only setting yourself up for regret and resentment in your near future.
Girls, please remember that you don’t need a guy to validate you. Yes, relationships have their positive qualities, but it is more important to find your own passions and figure out who you are while you’re young than to settle for the first guy you meet and forget everything else. Don’t lower your standards for one person and then spend the rest of your life staring out the window. (Tweet this!)