Crying “Ye eneJohnny Abaat”
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.
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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