If you read part 1, you may be wondering how our different lives affect the way we exist as a married couple. If you didn’t read part one, the long and short of it is: he’s from Kenya and used to working hard, I’m from California and I’m used to being sheltered. I sound like kind of a loser in these posts, but it’s important to remember that it’s not really in my nature to see or say nice things about myself. It’s possible that I’m not so terrible.
You’d think I’d have an “advantage” of some kind, since I’m living in my place of birth. But he’s better prepared for life in America (or anywhere else) than I am, because he is a-ok with struggling and working hard. It turns out that that’s something everyone has to get used to. I’m trying to learn that from him. I’m improving… I think. For example, before I married, I was often to lazy/depressive to shower, but now I shower nearly daily, even if I am feeling gloomy and lazy. That might sound like a tiny thing, but it has ripple effects on other aspects of life, such as willingness to leave the house and overall self esteem–believing that I’m worth the water.
He is also encouraging me to be more confident. He sees me doing nothing. He asks why. I tell him I’m afraid of such-and-such. He can’t wrap his head around that. He believes that I should put myself out there and act, even if I do the wrong thing.
On a totally different note, I want to tell you the saddest part about being married to an African. I have to watch him learn about racism. Where he grew up, yes there was tribalism, but everyone looked pretty similar, so it was harder to discriminate. Here, he stands out, even among Black Americans. A child spat on him. A policeman “randomly” searched his backpack. Etc.
He keeps asking me, as though I could have an answer, but I never do. I never know why so many police are racist, or how to deal with it. I never know why so many people convince themselves that having a black president makes this a “post racial” society, when it clearly isn’t. Worst of all, I don’t know how, when we have kids, we will explain to our kids that some people will be cruel to them. And I don’t know how we will deal with it if/when we find our child has been discriminated against. I know my husband will go off the rails, and could possibly do anything, and that scares me a bit.
If anyone reads this who has grown up experiencing and learning about racism from that perspective, I would really appreciate knowing how your parents dealt with it, or how you deal with it as a parent. I’m trying to collect answers to that, in preparation for the future.
To take us away from that topic, I’m going to tell you that my husband is silly. Most people don’t know that. My sister thinks he’s an emotionless robot. But I see a side of him that he keeps pretty private. He likes to tease me. Sometimes I like it (like when he hides my phone), sometimes I don’t (like when he starts discussing the reality of death, right before bed). It’s hard to describe the way in which he’s silly…. I’m realizing that I may not be able to come up with specific examples that really make it clear. Sometimes, when I have to pee in the morning, he grabs me and I have to wrestle to escape in time! This is, naturally a risky move on his part, and I’m sure he will eventually take it too far, But I enjoy it because it’s fun and cuddly. He has the sweetest giggle and a bright smile.
Almost every morning, he has me drive him (he has no license, as he’s always too busy to think about getting one) to Starbucks, where he stays and studies until 10 pm. He’s studying to take the MCAT. So I don’t see much of him in the day. Most nights he studies at home, and I rarely interrupt him, because I want him to achieve his goals. I’m pretty good at keeping myself entertained, with audiobooks and art and school work and blogging.
I made him promise not to read my blog unless I give him permission to read a certain post. I have complete trust that he will respect that.
It’s funny that in writing this, I made our differences such a big deal. It never felt like a big deal (though that could be because I never once dated someone with a background similar to mine). Some how, our differences fit together.