Friday, February 03, 2006

Stuck in Limbo

First of all, please excuse my last blog… I mainly used it to vent out all of my frustration and anxiety about schoolwork. And moving on…

I have gotten three letters from friends in the States in response to my “Winter Holiday” blog. Each of them was unique, but the beautiful thing was that they all were so completely honest and open. I felt that these three people really bared themselves to me, commiserated and sympathized with me in regards to my feelings, told me how that blog made them think and question things as well. It was incredibly touching and meant a lot to me, not only to see the power of my words, but also that these people felt comfortable enough to share those thoughts with me. You know who you are. Thank you.

Nonetheless, I do feel that I have some explaining to do. Granted, I received three very positive letters, but there are some people who I just have not heard from. People who mean a lot me. And I’m not sure if it’s because of what I wrote, or simply because between school and life, finding spare time to relax or write an email is a very rare luxury. I was very hesitant to post my “Winter Holiday” blog; I was worried about its repercussions, that it might hurt or offend people. So, to anyone that I may have upset, I’m very sorry. It was not targeted at anyone in particular. I just felt that I needed to somehow give an explanation to some people in regards to my “odd” behavior at times, but I don’t know, maybe it only made things worse. As my dad reminded me, this is a “public journal, not a private diary.”

But the thing is, it was something that I wanted to share. It was the truth. I want people to be able to understand and see how I’m changing, how Ethiopia is beginning to alter me. The East Bay/Oakland is still my favorite place in the world, I wouldn’t consider raising my children anywhere else. I still feel completely “at home” in the hallways of Head-Royce, I even think I can be more myself around my friends at home. Only more myself, not completely myself, because Ethiopia has changed me. I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I know that the time I’ve spent in Addis has given me a confidence that I didn’t have before. Sorry to get controversial again, but last year was a crucial time for me grow: between my American history class and my English class, from watching movies like “Bamboozled” and “Hotel Rwanda,” and reading books like Beloved and Reservation Blues, I finally realized race. I began to more fully understand the horrible things that have happened because of the color of one’s skin, and how that still thrives today. I have still yet to be directly confronted with racism, but there are certainly times where the world seems impossible. This only becomes more confusing because I’m half white, because why should things be any different based on the way we look, because race is actually socially constructed and has no biological basis. In Ethiopia I know that I can walk down the street with my head held high: I am just the same as everyone else, slightly qay, light-skinned, (in fact, people call me “white,” which is the weirdest thing for me) but abesha, Ethiopian. I can truly be beautiful and feel beautiful. Now, I think that the East Bay and Head-Royce should be applauded in their diversity and appreciation for it, but racism is too deeply ingrained in American society for it to be completely nonexistent within my community, however unconscious it may be. I believe that my friends and my parents’ friends are wonderful people, and they are our friends because race is not an issue. But simply being in the States changes everything. As much as I love Montclair, I can’t help but feel a little out of place as I’m crossing the street, a little on edge. The problem is that I don’t feel any more comfortable on E 14th.

I don't know... maybe this comes off as more extreme than I mean for it to be... but the fact of the matter is that in Ethiopia I completely fit on, I'm a part of everyone and everyone is a part of me. We are Ethiopian Many people take for granted the feeling of truly belonging. It's very powerful.

…I’m tired now, perhaps more on this subject in the near future.