After an intense full day of writing and attempts to say “goodnight world” my mind insists that there seems to be more to write about. To say a little bit about the “half” person.
It’s been two years since I returned back home. Although it feels much longer as the 24 months have been packed with many realities that I have continuously traversed through. An intense amount of learning, un-conditioning, re-conditioning, defiance, surrender and 24 months later I’ve shed skin again. Though some of the cultural norms i have come back to are suffocating to say the least.
My twenties, especially the latter half, were quite transformational in the sense that I was getting to know me or a version of me at depth – sort of like fallowing land in preparation for the various cycles before reaping what was sown. At thirty-one now, I’m quite content with a lot of things in my life – the choices I’ve made over the past several years and the choices I continue making consciously. Though according to the dominant narrative and perspective of the social context and reality in which others find me in at the moment, I am perceived as “lacking”. Perceived as “lacking” because in their eyes I’m nine months away – not from giving birth – but from turning thirty-two. And through the lens of society and my immediate social context, I am perceived as “lacking” because I am without child and I am without a ring on my finger. (who said the fist through the glass ceiling was the only thing women had to contend with).
To my early amusement, the heartfelt concern and constant query of many around me, is the question of why I have not settled down yet. I used to sympathize with such concerns before whereas now such unwarranted and unsolicited concern has become to my mind, what a grater is to cheese.
By societal definitions, I am a “half person” I guess because in the normative tradition in Ethiopia, the act of marriage transforms both of the parties to the union into “mulu sew” or full persons. That phrase, in and of itself, I find quite humorous, because not even at the lowest points in my life have I ever thought of myself as a half person. Yet I have come to realize that a thirty something single woman in Ethiopia inspires a type of fear in people which I quite don’t understand.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not particularly opposed to partnerships and unions of the traditional sense, yet my idea of such commitments is that it’s exactly that – a commitment. Which means, a partnership premised on full awareness of self and other, rather than a rally to beat the normative clock.
I spent a considerable portion of my twenties – seven years to be exact – in a relationship which was to transform into that which society applauds. And it didn’t because there was more learning to do – more shedding of skin – more growing to do – more time to become whole and complete as an individual – that was my personal journey. In retrospect I am quite pleased that it did not transform then as I was utterly unprepared to conceptualize such a contract.