Tag Archives: Ethiopian-American

Identity Crisis, Is this still possible at my age?

Every time I’m in the school bathroom and I’m washing my hands I try to make my motion and be nice by trying to smile to the person also washing their hands next to me.  It ends up being slightly  awkward for me and try my hardest not to judge what they’re wearing, in my head.  Then I notice, some days, I don’t even bother looking my self in the mirror simply because I’m afraid of what I’ll see.  Does anyone else go through this inner conflict?  Other days I’m only just barely satisfied with what I see in the mirror.  I’m not saying I’m ├╝ber self-conscious of my self-image.  Just the idea of looking myself in the mirror just makes my head come up with all kinds of existential questions that I really don’t want to be bothered with at the moment.  I use to hate looking my self in the mirror and thinking I’d be very vain to even take a glimpse.  Or, it’ll be an issue with weight that will lead to another serious of questions that pop in my head.  I don’t want to be dealing with my inner issues when I got to finish this lab report due in  a couple of hours. 

This mirror incident is what makes me ask my self, do I really know myself (as you can tell I’m a kind of person that’s always in my head).  I feel I’m still struggling with my identity.  I’m not sure if its one of those times that I’m over thinking this idea or if this is like a major problem I need to be tackling!?  Being in my twenties I have been through this self journey that has helped me better get to know myself.  Whether it was either in the workplace, at school, with friends, at parties, with family or where ever or whenever, I learn more about my self.  I’ve read self-help books and articles  to ease the stress on my identity crisis journey.  They’ve helped, but to only make me feel a bit alienated from social life.  I feel that all these self-help things I read single you out from this sea of people and of course, this is the point.  However, I’m finding this is just not working for me.  I come from an eastern culture, being Ethiopian, its hard to NOT know who you are.  You are either muslim or christian, either raised according to your religion and are a family person.  If this isn’t the case, then that is when you are a special case.  My father is an atheist but a good man.  My mother believes in God but never was the type to go to church or do anything that had to do with any social activity. I’ve been blessed to have other family members in the past try to get me into church fellowship. 

My family is Eastern Orthodox, or  at least most of us.  I’ve had people like my older cousins and my dad’s friends take me to church, have me baptised, try to get me mingled in with the other kids.  But, my dad being the parent he is, wasn’t comfortable with the idea of me interacting with the kids just being KIDS.  He was the kind of dad that wanted to have me under his watch when anytime I’m outside the house. The problem here is the fact he was ALWAYS at work.  Anyways, not to get to far fetched or out of topic…I could simply say, ok, I’m a “christian”.  The problem, again, is the fact I don’t know how to be a real christian.  I’ve only been in church sporadically through out my life.  Yes, I do believe in god.  But, I can’t just solely base my identity on my religion because there is clash between what i really am and what I would try to be.  Its an expectation vs reality question.  I’m a habitual sinner.  I don’t do it on purpose and yes I do ask for forgiveness.  I also express my gratitude to God in prayer everyday.  But, I still don’t feel im persay a good christian. I also pray to God and ask to help my find my self, kind of ironic, I think.

In highschool, I’ve always been sort of quite and didn’t quite have the chance to express  my self the way I wanted.  I hate to put any blame on anybody but I feel this was due to my father’s strict rules.  For the first 3 years of my highschool like my dad would pick me up and drop me off to and from school.  And, that, was my life.  On the weekend I would have my older cousins visit or me and my sister would come to they’re homes.  These visists, never included my mom or dad.  Most of my extended family are from my fathers side.  My father never associated with his family (some kind of grudge he has with like all of them).  My mom is pretty much a hermit.  My dad spent most of his time “at work” but never home.  So that left me with a whole lot of time with the computer or just my older cousins litlle children.  So I felt I missed out on the thrills of what highschool life can offer.  However, my senior year of highschool I had  a good bite of it since that was my first time driving myself to and from schoool.  Then, college came.  My  first year was definitly dope.

My true self journeys started when I lived in the dorm.  It was fun and a great experience.  I had the help of  teachers, my roomates, suitmate and new friends, in this contributing to finding myself.  I saw my personality florish as I saw my “self” relative to other “selves”.  Basically, what I’m trying to say is that everyone in my life at the point served as that mirror for me. Helping me to see what they see (about me) and adding to the definition of me. I feel like I’m being redundant and confusing, but any how when I was out the house it was good for my soul. I had to move back in for money issues and now I feel like highschool all over again.

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