Wanted: The feeling everyone wants to experience1/30/16
The last few days I have been going through my mind whether to take a writing opportunity that I was offered. Because of the language barrier, I was afraid that I would not be able to do it. I was discouraged because I could not keep up with language and social scene of a normal Ethiopian.
For my friends and family who might wonder what I am taking about… well I am an Ethiopian American. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be living or even visiting Ethiopia the land of my birth. When I was a young adult I would ask my dad when will get to see my hometown. Each time he answered that, I was not ready yet. He knew that the culture and environment might not be something I was prepared to see.
Now that I have been here for a while, I am beginning to understand what he meant. When you get off the plane in Addis, nothing seems familiar or what one might expect in an African country. As you drive away from the airport, you can see the difference of the classes. It is not just wealthy, working, and low-income class. Quite the contrary there is an additional class that you might not see in the West. It is what I would call the haves and have not’s. The haves are what we would consider the wealthy class who worked hard to make that living. Than the next group you might see are the working class. These are people who are working in either restaurants, stores, hospitality business, and yes even the young person who comes up to you with a stack of books to sell is part of the working class. Finally, we see the poverty class, which is even below what we in the west consider the low-income class. Drive down the roads of Addis and you pass by groups of people lying in the streets. Sounds typical right? Well let us go down another road where you will notice in small separate groups of women with children on their backs. They come to your automobile and reach into your open window begging for a coin or some local currency.
Every day I see people who are willing to work hard to earn money to take care of their family. If they do not have a family, they are willing to do menial jobs to take care of themselves. A person is willing to travel to a foreign country if it means earning money towards a better future. What they do not realize is that it might cost them their lives or a part of themselves that nobody should give away for that extra buck.
How does this whole thing come back into my life? I understand why people do things to make a difference in their own life. When I left my family to get married, I thought I was going into a life where I was wanted and respected. Little did I know that might not have been the case. I was not the typical African American whose parents seemed wealthy by his standards. What he did not realize was my father worked hard to earn his college degrees. He went against the grain and most stereotypes to prove that he was serious. My mother did the same thing. She was young when she found out that she had polio. If her mother did not encourage her to get an education, she would have ended up a beggar on the streets. Yes, sadly people with disabilities ended up automatically on that lowest social ladder.
It has been sometime since I began this article. I had decided not to take the job as a corresponding reporter at the local magazine. I had given it my best shot, but I came to realize that it was not the right choice for me. There might be a possibility they might have used me just because I spoke English. It has come to my attention that most people I meet are either distraught that I was not taught Amharic as a child or they are envious that I was able to grow up outside of Ethiopia all together. I do not know whether to take that as a compliment or as an insult. Usually my short temper takes it as the latter.
This brings me back to my original point the feeling that everyone wants to feel is to be chosen and desired. When I got my first full-time job with benefits, I felt like a million bucks. I had no experience in retail, but I was willing to learn as much as I could so I could make some sort of difference. I always considered myself to be a jack-of-all-trades because I had so many talents and energy. At that time, I did not realize that I had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) that bestowed me with an energy boost and the impulse to learn things at a high speed.
These days I am trying to figure out what my identity is. For a long time I was the daughter of Pastor Sebhat’s. Then I became Sam’s wife and the mother of our son. Now three years later I am back to being Molly Sebhat. I am happy with that title because it describes my whole life. I was an Ethiopian who grew up in America. As I was preparing to graduate from high school and I finally had a chance to decide my identity. I realized that I had a gift of spelling and writing became my choice of the day. I received a scholarship with the English department at South Seattle Community College. It was the first time I was selected out from the class of 1998 for something I was good at. That was when my writing skills went full speed. I concentrated on taking creative writing courses with the beginning academic classes. Did ever feel like I did not belong in the classes? I sure did every day. I than decided to take classes that I knew would help me in whatever career I would take on. I took a keyboarding and choral class to start. I than decided to register for a two-year program at Renton Technical College so to become a Teacher’s Assistant. It was during this time that I wanted to help other children that felt like they did not matter. These kids fell through the cracks of the educational system. I proudly graduated from that program learning how to use Microsoft Office programs and how I could use the in my everyday life. With all my training, I was able to help so many people in the industries that I have touched.
Now that I am about to turn 37, I am still wondering who I am. This is what I have come up with so far. I am a Domestic Diva (thank you Google for that title I love it!) who wants to change the world one person at a time. I am using my office skills to help my family and friends when it comes to typing, researching, and number crunching. I am a writer who puts her thoughts down hoping to inspire someone. I am a long distance mother who prays her son’s safety and happiness. I am a young woman who enjoys listening, singing, and dancing to whatever music she can get her hands on. I am a person with an inner strength that shows up when she least expects it. I am wanted, loved, and appreciated by so many.
Wanted: The feeling everyone wants to experience1/30/16