Crying “Ye eneJohnny Abaat”

December 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm 7 comments

Ever belittled what you have to make others feel better [about the little they got]?! The undersigned did a couple of days ago, and it’s been bothering her ever since.

It starts out innocently enough. With the desire to make those next to you feel you were a kindred spirit, a fellow abesha thus a fellow victim (of this government, this society, this life). It’s the verbal equivalent of holding the hand or sucking the teeth. An “oh.. the buses are worse”. “If I didn’t say no, my mother would have sold me to the first bidder”. “Take my word for it, it ain’t what it’s cracked up to be”. It kills time and makes conversations run smoothly.

Whether it’s on a bus station, a University registration queue, a family gathering; regardless of what the signs you saw mean (an abuse of some sort, a self esteem problem, family problem, money problem, men!); you go ahead and start discussing your experience [with those problems] in an attempt to have them share theirs.

You may need to stretch the truth a bit, for every problem demands it’s unique “aqumada”. Show what you have or those you love in not-so-bright a light. But that doesn’t bother you. You got nothing to hide, you see. Nothing to lose. Nothing to prove. There is nothing that has happened to you that hasn’t happened to somebody else. If your loss could be their gain, let it be. And you are soon rewarded. You see them coming out shyly, one baby-step at a time, like a lizard trying to see if the rain has passed and the sun is out. “LeNegeru eko..” they’d say “bizowochachin aninagerewum enji”. They are turning before your eyes. Getting their self-respect back. Their ability to rationalize back. Stopping blaming themselves for what’s done to them and demanding for more. As they should.

It’s not a 100% selfless act on your side. You get satisfaction: from sharing what you know. From the fact that you’ve been the ‘rescurer’ and ‘protector’ of the emotionally vulnerable (a place where you’ve once suffered in silence). For making sure one more jerk hasn’t walked away with a smile on his face with breaking a heart he didn’t deserve to begin with.

Rage on behalf of womankind as well as a feeling of superiority are no doubt involved. There may be judgment lurking there too. But you keep it to yourself, not just because you have judged and still judge yourself more harshly. But for you recognize an understanding, and not a reasoning, ear is what these people need at times like this.

It’s a service you render to both friends and foes. Women you know would do you harm if they could. Laugh happy laughs when you are trodding you and yours down to the gutter. Petty individuals who try to use it against you some day.

Does that bother you? Not much! It may make you wanna recommend that the woman in question get a life or a neck message. May want to make you feel sorry for poor “amed afash” you. But mostly you treat it with the just ‘niQet’ it deserves. “Let her be” you’d say to yourself, “if that’s what it takes to make her life bearable, let her be”. If she insists on not being let, you get a relief by either hitting your head against the wall. Or by blogging about it. Transferring your ache to the paper, it always helps!

But there comes a time in which you stop and wonder. When your friends, those you consider close to you and expect better from, do it. You can’t help but be bothered when they start lying to you regarding the very things you talked about (sometimes on behalf of others: friends or family members). When they attempt to show you, in words and gestures, that your problems were genuinely bigger than theirs. When they re-think and re-word their past woes to try and make it look less helpless than it was. In a savage attempt, you can only imagine, to prove to either you or themselves that life hasn’t beat them down yet, that they are on top of or atleast in control of their situation. That there were mysteries about them you have yet to discover. Mysteries that are meant to show them in a more favorable light.

Or something.

It’s amusing and painful. Amusing for it’s hard to understand what people would get from refusing to grow up. Painful because you find yourself standing out there, all by yourself, with those memories/facts/loved ones you have unjustly painted discarded like tattered clothes; having bought an enemy instead of a friend.

And you wonder if it was worth it. If you were losing your soul when trying to save the world. Or if they were being swines, in the presence of whom you were told never to throw your pearls.

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

BeGenna Chewata.. What ur idols say abt you

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sistu  |  December 26, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    so this is the comment i mentioned: lol but i soooo wanna hear the whole story. didn’t realize I was so weregna so thanks for helping me discover that (i had my suspicions of course). but i would have loved to hear the details… i loved reading it tho, not the usual way i enjoy your blog but in a different way.. i guess its the feeling in it that made it a nice read to me. wey nedo iyalsh yalesh yimeslal. ok lemme stop. (but looool at the ‘lenegeru iko…’ part. it was very picture-able)

  • 2. Mazzi  |  December 27, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Abesheet … I absolutely love how reflective you can be in some of your writing. Even if I do not know the actual event that is the basis for this post, I can appreciate your thought process.

    Dare I say that as a culture we are not properly taught how to be inwardly reflective? The outward world laced with restrictive culture, family, society, responsibility, authority figures, school, poverty and basic day to day survival take over our lives, and we never seem to be left alone with our thoughts to deconstruct our feelings. And what a beautiful outlet your blog affords you. Ye-blogger guadegnana beteseb gin ayadirgegn. One might just see one’s reflection in cyber space both in flattering and not so flattering ways :-)! Quite the antidote for the excessively secretive culture we grew up in.

    One wise Ethiopian writer giant (a mentor of mine for a brief moment at a difficult time) said to me once, “a play about a savior always ends in a crucifixion!” I think he was trying to make me realize playing the ‘savior’ role when it comes to relationship with family or friends often ends in disaster.

    Another friend who agreed with his philosophy used to say to me, “are you suffering from a ‘Jesus complex’?” (playing the role of a savior, when it is often bound to be a losing battle she meant.) It is still a hard lesson to swallow, but it was interesting to hear it put that way. She often accused her guy friends of suffering from ‘Jesus complex’ when they complained about their relationships with women who long for some serious saving! The guys would be attracted to such women in the first place coz they liked being the rescuer, but later on in the relationship resent the women for the very same reason! “Wiy yene getta!” my friend was often caught saying to such guys, “yemereTkew mesQelih kebedeh?” She used to make me laugh with her views :-).

    “Sweet dreams are made of this
    Who am I to disagree?
    I travel the world
    And the seven seas–
    Everybody’s looking for something.
    Some of them want to use you
    Some of them want to get used by you
    Some of them want to abuse you
    Some of them want to be abused.”

    ….. so goes some of the lyrics for ‘Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This’ by Eurythmics. I have always liked these lines from the lyrics. Often victims of various injustices definitely need our protection. But others actually, secretly, or unconsciously may be enjoying their victim status because it gives them an excuse not to do something about their own situation themselves.

    But you don’t know how much I appreciate your instinct to want to protect the emotionally vulnerable. Many of us would have liked to benefit from such protection when we needed it most. The importance of emotional well being in our conservative culture is a luxury most (both children and adults especially women) can not afford. And yet, it is equally important as physical well being if we are meant to enjoy all aspects of life and our unique personalities.

    So bless you for even wanting to help a friend in need who later might have changed her colors, though it looks like it may have come at your own expense. But don’t worry, I believe in karma…. What goes around comes around as they say, right? :-).

    Great post….

    (I often appreicate the unique titles you choose for your posts by the way) 🙂

  • 3. Mazzi  |  December 27, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Ooops! Above, I meant to say I often APPRECIATE the unique titles you choose for your posts :-).

  • 4. abesheet  |  December 27, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Mazziye, min largish? I was heart broken, completely heart broken the other day. Then came your comment 🙂 .

    The “Jesus complex” is such a beautiful expression (as well as the thing about savior plays ending in crucifiction). You can’t believe how low i go down sometimes, to lift a friend up. It doesn’t come from the goodness of my heart, as much as the “kuchit” rising from knowing what it means to be bullied all your life over things you neither know nor have any way of protecting yourself from. People have taken me aside and told me not to give others a wrong impression of me and mine for people tend to take your word for it (on purpose or not). I just don’t seem to be able to help myself. Is there anything more heart-breaking than a grieving soul?!. “I haven’t seen a more unhappy girl holding a Martini”. That’s how it affects you. In the end, though, it’s me who ends up swallowing hard.

    Sistuye:
    I’ll e-mail it to you on monday and you’d tell me if you’d forgive yourself if you were in my place. Or not. Regarding your comment on “Selada” being a little annoying. Oh my God! I was sure you guys would try to rip me apart. For Seleda, i’ve come to learn, is the soul-full Ethiopian’s “Crime and Punishment”. Now that i know I have the right to not feel so good about some of the posts, and no longer under the obligation to appreciate every word (the way I did with “Giracha Qachiloch”, by the way, Inem) I think i can enjoy it more 🙂 .

    Does anybody know the poem “YeNeJhonny Abaat”, by the way?

  • 5. Inem  |  December 27, 2008 at 11:44 am

    I did not get how you were to begid appreciate graCha qaChiloch, please mabraria abesheet.
    Deginet bekifat boomerang slemadregu Mazzi chersawalech. tsinatun yisTish eyalkuN I hope this won’t deter you from indulging yourself in good deeds in the future.

  • 6. Girum  |  December 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Do u know am getting this blog a sort of a surprise?!
    De-leveling urself to lift a friend up (or at least to make him (her) feel well) is always a good thing to do!! But, it’s a human nature to be unable to understand back what somebody was really trying to play for us??….It’s human to feel ‘ Awekush Nakush’ kind of thing, after someone tells us ‘his losses’ though they aren’t worse than ours. (If the play is lady vs. lady, I would expect even a more complex chemistry)
    May be, u knew how it feels in playing a rescuer and end up with ‘nothing’ or even with ‘Niket’ instead. Many of us know how it feels otherwise, making people ‘Amed-Afash’ for all their goodness and deliverance offered to us. After we’re relieved of our situation, we end up hurting them feeling only their low image. It’s only after a while that we start waking up (may be grown up?!) and realize the whole scene. What a pity for life doesn’t have an undo button to help us fix their broken heart!! We start, then, to be wrapped of our guilt and punished by it so long (Psychologically). Doesn’t that even worse?
    So if it is one’s personality to do good for others, it’s only a cost of seconds for the ‘wise’ to start to feel and never forget it, but a sorrow credit for the dumb.
    A good post rings a bell to readers and inquires their deeds…. that has happened to me now!!

  • 7. abesheet  |  December 29, 2008 at 5:25 am

    I did not get how you were to begid appreciate graCha qaChiloch, please mabraria abesheet.

    Because Adam Retta wrote it, Inem! Remember on my “Crime and Punishment” post, how i talked about us (sim yeleshwoch) tend to offend when critisizing, or even questioning, the “Biqat” of some figures? That’s what the line means 🙂 .

    Girumye:
    So true. Unless you decided not to let silly people ruin your good manners, “kesew menor qelal aydelem”.

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