Many people spend most of their time trying to fit in to society. I have noticed my fellow Ethiopians comparing themselves to one another and competing. Constantly trying to see what so and so is driving, where they are working, what their kid is doing. I have noticed some people refer to others by their career path, rather than their name or other identifying features. Why is that? What is the true measure of an individual.
My philosophy is this- BE YOURSELF. You can’t look outside of yourself to determine who you are, or where you fit into society. The reality is that you have to spend time with yourself to figure that part out. I think that’s the part many people within the Ethiopian American community struggle with. We are all so busy running between social functions that we forget to take that time out to spend with ourselves. That is what hurts our community. We need to actually spend time determining what our goals are as individuals, rather than figuring out what it is that everyone else is doing or wants to do. It is then that we will all reach our full capacity.
Being yourself is the ultimate form of self satisfaction. You can be at ease, free and genuinely happy.
What are your thoughts on how Ethiopian Americans navigate their way through society? Do people always put up fronts, or is everyone really keeping it real? Share your story!
5 thoughts on “Being yourself”
Dear Ethiopian American Girl,
My name is Grace. I live in the Seattle Area where there are a lot of ethiopian americans. II am working on a novel in which my American 14 year old boy character runs away from his very dysfunctional parents and hides out in the home of an Ethiopian American family. I want to include the life of the ethiopian family and their own teenaged child as part of my story. Here is my problem. I don’t actually know any ethiopian american families. I see that you are a writer and I am wondering if you could answer questions for me as I work on my novel. Please feel free to write me about this at email@example.com . I myself am from an immigrant community (but that was 40 years ago, and there are not a ton of Armenians in this part of the world.)
R. Grace Atmajian
I would love to see how I can help. I will be in touch!
Hi! I’m wondering if from your social work experience or in your law practice you have in your contacts an Amharic-speaking psychologist or therapist in Maryland. The person in need is most comfortable in Amharic. Ideally the practice would be in the Silver Springs area but no worries if it isn’t. If you can help, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have tried to look online but haven’t had much luck with Amharic. Thank you!
I may have one contact, I will do a little research and let you know.
Hello/Selam or whichever you prefer.
I found this article interesting because it is one of those topics where you have to have a circumvented understanding of its complexity to really get it. I say this because it struck a familiar nerve. I guess I am a very distinct, estranged Ethiopian from the bunch since I was raised under a real rural type of Judaism and not the mainstream progressive Amharic christian Ethiopian culture while growing up here in the United States. Unfortunately, because of my parents lack of education and underdeveloped standards I had to suffer trying to either modify my cultural/ethnic Identity to accommodate people or to just isolate myself entirely from everyone with little to no social interaction with anyone.
Ironically it was this isolation that let to the urges and drives to acquire knowledge through experimentation with myself, family and others and to do self employed research. I guess that point here is that I concluded that in life I have lol no choice but to be myself, now meaning someone who is progressive enough to be considerate to new ideas in science, technology and innovation but conservative enough to try and preserve any ethnic identity life’s works and value system to past down to the next generation if I am fortunate enough to do so. “I HAVE NO CHOICE!!” 🙂
Looks like you got yourself a new subscriber, keep them coming Chow.