For a long time, I’ve been content with the level of engagement I had with my culture. I did Somali things like eat pasta with a side of banana and attended weddings that started late at night and ended in the early morning. But I still had a ton of knowledge gaps including the lack of proficiency in the language.
For a long time, this didn’t bother me. This year, it’s been made abundantly clear that the ease of which I found in my Somali-Canadian identity was disrupted by the idea of not being “Somali” enough. It was as though the virtue of being ethnically Somali with Somali parents wasn’t enough. My father responded to this with a confused look on his face when I confessed this to him. “You’re Somali. Whatever you do or don’t know doesn’t matter. You’re Somali.”
I love stories and ancient history. I used to be obsessed with ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome as a child and I wanted to be an archeologist more than anything in the world. After hearing about Filipino myths from my friend, I realized that I didn’t know much about that side of Somali. I didn’t know pre-islamic Somalia or the royal family or the myths that were passed down from father to daughter and grandmother to grandson. I have the story of Dhegdheer – a long eared woman who ate children – that my grandmother would tell me and my siblings just before bed (it was frightening) but I want more.
So I’ve started to do some research and I’ve decided to start a TinyLetter about my discoveries to make the journey fun and give it a structure. You can start subscribing here. I’m aiming for once a month for now and will start in January 2017.
This is exciting.