Racism and Love?

„The only reason you say that race was not an issue is because you wish it was not. We all wish it was not. But it’s a lie. I came from a country where race was not an issue; i did not think of myself as black and I only became black when I came to America. When you are black in America and you fall in love with a white person, race doesn’t matter when you’re alone together because it’s just you and your love. But the minute you step outside, race matters. But we don’t talk about it. We don’t even tell our white partners the small things that piss us off and the things we wish they understood better, because we’re worried the will say we’re overreacting, or we’re being to sensitive.“ 

(Adichie: Americanah 2013, p. 290)

Adichie is describing love between two human beings, between an American and a Nigerian, between a black and a white person, between a man and a woman, between people from two different cultures. Her point of few is the Nigerian girl in America.

Your origin is a topic, especially when you are obviously from different cultures. (That means people see it with their eyes!) The quotation says very well, that the topic might not matter between the lovers as long as they are alone, but the moment you step out, it becomes an issue. Wether we are in Cameroon or in Germany, with friends or family, at work or in the neighborhood – the topic is there. People have cliches in their minds, people are interested in your story, people heard something about “such” couples, people are happy to see something different, people like to gossip, people like to share.

Being from two obvious different cultures gives you sometimes more possibilities to define yourselves and your love, sometimes it demands a lot of strength to keep racism outside of your emotional sphere.

Positiv is…

A lot of people don’t measure your relationship and judge as they do with others. Because they don’t know what is normal or strange for your situation.

Family just observes first, to get to know the new member. You are not necessarily forced into same traditional rituals and if you miss a nice gesture, probably you didn’t know about it. That’s the good case. If you have your family behind you, you are already an a good way…

You really get into another culture. It’s not just a visit to a new place, but if you open up you will be invited to enter the other culture. And than you should also talk about the things, which piss you off.

Negativ:

Already in bureaucracy you meet a lot of problems. A Cameroonian needs a visa for Germany, which is not as easy to get as a Visa for Cameroon. While I just need to send my documents and for sure I have to pay the visa, my love has to fill in a lot of documents, fight for a date to apply for the visa, he has to feel that he is not really wanted in our country and that he will be considered as a suspect from the moment he crosses the border.

Sometimes when he comes to Germany people ask him, if they can send something to his family like cloths or drugs. They don’t mean to be rude, but it is. It’s the only idea a lot of people have about Africans, that they are poor.

It gets really dirty, when people approach you with the prejudices: You are just a couple because of the papers for Europe. The white person brings the money and gets sex. Actually I read once that about 80% of marriages in Europe are motivated by the financial aspect. And I mean white-white couples.

 

Summary: 

Don’t let it get to you! Don’t let it get between you! Talk about your feelings, even the littlest feeling! Don’t attack your partner!

Talk to each other and talk to people about how it feels. In my eyes, there is no other way to overcome the cliches and prejudices which come with such a love. However it should never rule your relationship. 

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To measure your treasure…

Sometimes we are too deep and too close in our relationship. You start fighting about the small things: Who has to buy water or how to wash dishes… These little fights are not essential for the love between two people, although they become the most important things in some relationships after a while. If you start fighting about those things, you have lost the main focus. I would say, you need to step back.

In a binational relationship you are forced once in a while to stand longer distances, though you don’t always want it. Wether it’s for work, family or visits you leave for your “home country” for some weeks, a month or half a year. These separations are not always easy, but most of the times worth it.

The moment I leave my love and find myself in another place alone for days and nights, just in contact via “what’s app” or “skype” I realize a lot of things. It’s like a bench, where you sit down to look back on the path you have already taken and to estimate the next challenges coming soon. I sometimes loose the main focus with all these things going on in my daily life, but being forced to sit down on this bench for a while always helps me to get it back. While people around me pity me once in a while, one part inside of me is also looking forward to those moments. Why?

The moment I prepare for leaving and the first days and weeks, I just enjoy the longing for my love. These very intense moments show me every time that our love still grows. The first days I am alone I find myself in some situations in which I burst out laughing about the last stupid fight we had.Sometimes I even start missing the little things I complained about before. (I also enjoy watching a whole day my favorite season, sitting crying in front of my laptop without being disturbed.)

Finally I am able to look back and appreciate what I have. I let go of these small things which are not essential in my relationship and I get back to the main focus. I have a lot of time for myself and thus has my love. After those periods we just enjoy each other with a new pinch of the charm of first love.

SONY DSC
pictures by Carolina E.

Summary:

A change of perspective is helpful in every situation of life. Especially for things we consider negative or difficult in the beginning, it could help us or give us a new point of view. 

Distance in a relationship sometimes brings you closer than you have been before. It’s also necessary to stay yourself and become aware of your priorities or your own life (in the relationship). 

Distance and love are not two different things. They are emphasizing each other. 

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.”

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Ludwig Wittgenstein.

This quotation gave me a lot of inspiration. Actually the limits of our language are the limits of our world. At least under the conditions that we share our world with other people. To share your ideas, your dreams, your feelings and your inner world – you need words to describe this world to somebody. And everybody knows the very moment you try to catch a feeling or an idea you want to express, but you lack the words. At these very moments I mostly feel very uncomfortable, that I am not able to put it in to words, and the person I am talking to stays somehow in a foggy land, trying to follow but not really sure about taking the right path.

So in a relationship between cultures you have to be very attentive in listening to your love, as both people mostly don’t use the same language or expressions. You may be describing the same thing, but using different styles and expressions to paint the same picture with respect to your language. You may be drawing the same image but with different colors and finally you don’t understand each other rightly. Nevertheless, this is not a bad thing. If you are dealing even with two languages, I don’t think that your world is limited where your “language” stops, but where both languages stop. That means your range is growing.

(Not just for the fact, that you learn a second language well.)

To get back to Wittgensteins quotiation – at the same moment  there is something missing. A spoken language is one side of communication, but there is also the unspoken language, which crosses the limits exactly at the point where you lack words to express. Everybody knows the following situation: You enter a party with many people. At the very first moment there will be at least one person catching your attention and maybe one person you don’t want to talk to at all. This phenomenon is just part of the wide range of unspoken communication. There is more, we can’t put into words. And maybe we don’t have to put it into words.

How would you describe in words that feeling when your lover takes your hand and presses it strongly, to let you know that he or she is there for you in a difficult moment. Would you call it support, love, comfort … etc” Is there really a word good enough to explain the feeling in it’s entirety? Well I don’t think so. How would you describe the feeling of a hug after two months without your partner? That one hug which tells you more about the time he or she spent alone and the joy to see you again, than anything else:  Would it be enough to say “I missed you badly!” or “Good to see you again!”… etc.

Summary:

Understanding what your lover tells you is important, so listen well and talk about your understanding. Sometimes it is even more worth to talk about expressions and what they mean, because by so doing, you find out whether or not you are speaking the same “language”, though you are not speaking the same language.

At the same moment, try to feel what’s going on and trust your feelings. There is so much more in that unspoken language, that you can’t catch from words so stay attentive and find ways to express yourself, so that your language is not an absolute limit to your world.

 

face yourself

 

Pic: By Tina Marohn: Multiperspektive

A relationship becomes a mirror, if we really open up to love. The picture we have to face in the mirror is not steady, it’s changing every time we face the mirror. And it’s reflecting all the fragments of our personality.

If you are really into love, you open up. The very beautiful parts of your personality come out to show up, because you don’t hide anymore. But also the very ugly sides show up, the very moment you could be hurt or attacked in exactly this nakedness.

” all of me loves all of you with all the curves and all the edges, all your perfect imperfections” John Ledgend: All of me.

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