On Being Alone

There is a danger in sharing your story. People are quick to dismiss you as,”angry and vengeful.” Well, let’s get this out of the way: I am absolutely angry, and I have a right to be. I am not asking that you understand my anger.
 
As far as vengeful, what can I really do to my abusers? Shame them? They should be ashamed.
 
If they didn’t want me to talk about my traumatic experiences at their hands, they shouldn’t have inflicted trauma upon me.
 
There is another real danger. Much bigger than people criticizing you.
 
It is the loss of relationships.
 
When I talk openly about my experiences, and I’m revealing parts of myself, I am also inadvertently unmasking others or people whom they love.
 
For me, its some of my siblings that I do care about.
 
When I talk about the trauma I’ve experienced at the hands of their mother, there could be a potential loss of relationships.
 
I’ve realized a lot of us are silent because of the people we’re bound to. We don’t want to hurt their feelings. We don’t want to inadvertently make them,”choose sides.” Do I ever expect my siblings to choose me over their mother? No. That’s lunacy. I struggle with depression, but I’m pretty lucid and sane. I’m pretty realistic too.
 
It’s a risk that I’m willing to take because I want to be free from the emotional trauma that I’m still carrying. And speaking about things openly, and publicly, is my way of processing things.
 
Of course, there are going to be casualties.
 
Also, when you’re the only child from a different mother, you and your siblings are already oceans apart. There is you. And then there is them. They’re connected, bound by a single womb.
 
You’re always the outsider. If they’re particularly cruel, they never let you forget it.
 
I’ve realized my aloneness is my best asset. I feel loyal to myself, and to my own truth.
 
Being alone removes from you the “loyalty” that keeps you silent, that keeps you accepting the bullshit, the microaggressions within your family, the constant otherness you’re made to feel and expected to forever live with.
 
Being alone, for me, has never been more powerful.
 
Being alone is also understandably scary. I want to address this one day and talk about forming tribes of your own choosing, based on mutual respect and love.
 
But right now, here’s to being alone, being proud of yourself, and loving yourself despite all the ways you’ve been made to believe that you aren’t lovable or a worthy person.
 
You are.
 
Cheers.
 

The Trauma of Dhaqan Celis

One day, I’ma tell y’all my dhaqan celis (direct translation: return to culture .A situation where children, born and or bred in Americas or European countries, are sent to their parents native land, or a close country if the native land is not a functioning state due to civil war, etc) story. ( Obviously, it didn’t work…hehehehe)
 
But on the real, though, it really wasn’t a joke. It was one of the most traumatic and defining experiences of my life.
 
Recovering from that has been a battle, and a half and I’m still not there.
 
Most Somali parents punish their kids with,”dhaqan celis.” Most of us haven’t lived in Somalia, or Kenya, ever or for a long time. So imagine being dumped in China or somewhere you don’t know the language, culture, or anything during adolescence, an already turbulent time?
 
Alone.
 
The decent ones, usually mothers, go with their kids.
 
Some of us who have no mothers, or mothers who care, are dumped in a foreign country by ourselves and left to our own devices of how to deal with it, and numb the pain. Somehow.
 
Every day, I wonder, how I’m still alive. How I’m still fighting. How I’m still here.
 
Then I remember, I have a child to live for. He is my saving grace.
 
Damn. This is sending me back memory lane. I’m already experiencing second-hand PTSD from last night’s documentary about the horror “rehab center” in Eastleigh.
 
Anyways, I’ll tell y’all when I get my thoughts in order, and after speaking to a therapist. Whenever I go to dark places, the depression hits me tenfold, and I’m not able to function at all.
 
I just have too much on my plate right now to be incapacitated. Is there ever a time you’re ready to be incapacitated,tho? Not really. 
 
I’ve realized with our suffocating ceeb/xishood (shame) culture, there must be so many of us walking around as shells not ever able to process the trauma.
 
I can’t count the number of times, I’ve been told,”caadi iska dhig. Waxaas mar hore ayay dhacday. Iska iloow.” ( Act normal. That happened a long time ago. Forget about it). 
 
What part of,”one of the most traumatic and defining experiences,” do people not understand? You can’t fucking forget it. It’s always there. The pain is always there, and it never leaves you. You learn to live with it and somehow function as a “normal” human being that fulfills their responsibilities.
 
But some days, it just creeps up on you, and just destroys you for a few days/ maybe weeks, until you’re able to crawl, and then walk again.
 
I think I’m really tired of the silence surrounding so many social ills. I’m tired of it, and I don’t want to participate in the silence. Some days, I tell myself,” what good is it for you to talk about this? It messes you up, and you’re kaput for a few weeks. ” But I tell myself,” there must be someone also struggling with this. Someone, like me, who doesn’t have a mother or any family members who care about their pain. ” I want to reach that person to let them know,”I care. I’ve been there. I know how it feels.”
 
Someday, I’m going to have to dissect what is to be the only child of a woman who’s missing and no one knows wherever she is; whether she is dead or alive. Someday, I’ll have to confront how that part of my identity really shaped my life and the things that have happened to me.
 
Right now, I’m going to admit that that was one of the key reasons why I was sacrificed and dumped in a foreign land alone.

Fetishization, Revenge Porn, And Habo Ifka’s Talk to the Ladies

Any ajnabi who talks about how much they love Somali women should send alarm bells ringing in anyone’s head. That’s not love – that’s fetishization. Somali women are not a monolith.
 
This reminds me of a video I watched about Asian women talking about white men pursuing Asian women because they think they are,”docile and submissive.”
That’s my same suspicions about ajnabi who talk about their love of Somali women. I don’t know what you heard, but GTFOH all the way with your myopic view of us.
 
I’ve been hearing of one in particular who is preying on Somali women on social media, seducing them, and sharing intimate conversations and images with none other than Somali men . Btw, those Somali men are the weakest link in Somalinimo.
 
Part of me knows why those men gleefully revel in those images/videos. They believe any Somali women who has been with an ajnabi is tarnished goods i.e no longer valuable etc… They basically dehumanize us, so anything that happens to us is whatever to them.
I hope something terrible befalls on them, and I don’t care if that’s unkind of me. Your warped thinking is wrong and hurts women in many ways.
 
You know, I never thought I would be the one to say this; me who likes to see the best in people, and give everyone the benefit of doubt, but I’ve grown out of the naivete, and stupidity. I didn’t have a mother or a mother figure in my life so I had to learn everything the hard way, but basically, ladies, YOU CAN’T TRUST THESE MEN.
 
Let me tell you something.
 
Ladies, it’s a hard world out there for a woman. We’re sexualized and desexualized at the same time. You’re supposed to act like you’re not a sexual being, but apparently put out seriously behind a closed door (how f* sway?!) Our bodies are not even our own in this world. They’re constantly micromanaged, trespassed upon, and violated. Sometimes, I wonder what women really own in this world. It’s psychologically traumatizing to be on edge all the time. You can’t trust these men but, if you’re straight, at the same time you’re supposed to have romantic partnerships with them, marry them, have children with them, but still watch your back even when you’re married to them, coz marriage is not even enough for them to see us as human beings.
 
That’s enough to drive a person mad.
 
I have no answers, but just a suggestion. Take care of your mind, body, and spirit. Own your body, and continuously challenge anyone who even *tries* to trespass. Challenge everyone, even your loved ones. This warped thinking starts at home. At home, you’re taught what a,”good woman,” is supposed to be, and that a, “bad woman,” deserves all the bad things that happen to her. But we’re not taught the hierarchies in the world that devalue and dehumanize a person. We’re not taught about the ways women are continuously disrespected and dehumanized in society. They tell you the “qualities” of a good woman, but they don’t tell you that their love and respect for you is conditional, and you’re always one step away from being considered worthless, after all the basis for all of it is that,”you are but a woman.”
 
Remember that,”good girls,” the next time you want to slut-shame another girl. They don’t love you either. You’re only in their good graces (for now), because you follow the rules set by patriarchy to keep you in your place. You can stay there, forever at their whims, or you can fight along with us for ALL women to be free, and have autonomy over own bodies and destiny.
 
Also, DON’T TRUST THESE MEN and go out and flourish in this world!

English is my preferred language

Sometimes dadkayga have a hard time accepting that for some of us Somali is no longer our first language.
At this point in the game, I’m 31 years old, and have been out of Somalia for 25+ years, and have been forced to learn other languages to survive and live. I think in English, and I dream in English. English is, at this point, my language. The way I can express myself in English, I am not able to in Somali. The different words I know in English to convey something, I probably only know one word in Somali that can convey or come close to conveying that same meaning.
 
So what do we do when we, as Somali Diasporans, want to discuss social issues in our immigrant community? We typically express ourselves in the language that we excel in, especially when many of us know that language, and we know that they will understand what we are saying, and where we are coming from. Many of us who were either born or bred in the West speak the language of our adopted countries more than our native tongue. For those who are born and bred in the West, is Somali even their native tongue?
 
I, too, am sad about the fact that our language isn’t being retained by us, but every day we are overwhelmed with the business of LIVING. The language that we do our work in, speak to our neighbors with, speak to our teachers (and students in my case) with, the language that we do our groceries in, pay our bills in, get directions in….do all our business of living in, is the language that our tongue is going to prefer. Does that make one a traitor? Does that make me,”mid dhaqankeeda iyo luuqadeeda tuurtay?” I think that’s an unfair statement considering that what I’m doing is natural. It’s adaptation. It’s a survival mechanism. It’s evolutionary.
 
Many times, a well-meaning brother or sister will tell me,” walaal waxaan ka sii fiicnaan lahayd inaad luuqadeena dhibkeena ku sheegtay siday gaalada noo ogaan.” “It would be better if you talked about our issues in our language so that these other peple don’t know about our problems. ” Excuse me? First of all, they have issues too, and every day they talk about those issues in English, a language that you and I understand. They don’t stop and think,”What if those immigrants judge us for the problems in our society?” They don’t. So why are you preventing me from speaking about issues near and dear to my heart in a language that I speak well and can express the issues with clarity to other Diasporans because THEY are my preferred audience? If I’m speaking about Somali issues, I’m speaking to Somalis. That’s it.
 
I have gone to several Somali events and it is evident that the preferred language of communication is English. We’ve reached a consensus that this is a language that many of us speak, and have adopted as our preferred language. It is okay. There is no shame in that.
I was just thinking about this as time and again someone shamed me about my preference for speaking in English about a particular issue in our community. However circumstances I may have acquired this language, this is my preferred language of communication now. Yes, I work with Somalis, and I do make an honest attempt to learn and speak Somali, but unless I’m in a country where the majority of people speak Somali, my tongue is not going to prefer Somali. It will resort to English even when I’m speaking Somali especially markuu hadalka iga dhumo. (when I lose my words )
 
Ah, I already hear some of you saying,”waaba lazy inantu?” (She is so lazy) LOOOL. I very well may be (Cue Gucci Mane in court ). However, there’s a limited amount of time in the day, and survival is more of a priority than relearning a language that is not a prerequisite for my survival right now. I personally try because I am interested in studying and learning about my heritage.
 
Sometimes, I can’t help but also think that people are purposely trying to derail the conversation because the topics at hand are uncomfortable and put us, as Somali people, in a very negative light. The thing is, though, that communities all over the world have issues that they’re actively working on. If you’ve been paying attention, and reading the news, blog sites, social media, you know the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket, so let people save themselves in the language they know best!
 
Anyway, drop me a note, if you have comments and/or questions.

I’ve done a good thing for ME

I have done something good for myself that’s alleviating some stress off of me, and making me feel as though I’m working towards something.
 
Usually, I’m old school when it comes to writing. Think composition notebooks, and pencil kind of girl, you know, hand to brain connection and all that good stuff.
 
But then I would have notebooks upon notebooks, if I was lucky, or loose papers upon loose papers, if I was unlucky, everywhere full of writings, and thoughts, that I’m simply too lazy to type out on the computer. I fully admit. (Stop judging me! I got a lot going on!)
 
So I’ve just been writing on word documents, and saving it (this is KEY! Also, saving as I go to avoid despair from the computer crashing, and losing all my work!).
 
In two weeks, I have 14 documents saved averaging 600-1500 words per each document.
 
Ok, granted, some are just free flowing thoughts, but imagine all those in notebooks/loose papers that I would never type out!
 
Phew.
 
You know what that is?
 
GROWTH, BISHES!