Learning To Love You More




Assignment #14
Write your life story in less than a day.

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA



I was born in Burco, Somalia on May 8th (?) 1980. I don't have a birth certificate. I'm the middle child and only girl. There is one day in particular that I remember from Somalia: I was about 3 years old and crouching down on the ground washing a pot. The floor was made of cement and somewhere I see my grandmother. Things are a little hazy as to why we left Somalia in 1985 to relocate to Abu Dhabi. Perhaps my father's job? Or his affairs with other women? Or something else totally. I'm in the process of uncovering these things. So, back to the story. We lived wealthy in Abu Dhabi until 1986, when we (mom, dad, two brothers, one uncle, one aunt, and one cousin) suddenly packed up and flew across the world to New York. The story I've been given for this hasty departure is that I was meant to be genitally mutilated, when my mother furiously said 'no' to my Sunni Muslim family. Sounds brave, non? Well, it ain't fact, cause I have no proof. And again, I'm in the process of figuring out how to ask my mother about this. Here we are then, 1986, a bunch of FOBs, trying to navigate their way through a see of white folk (a novelty). I remember a shotgun in the basement of the uncle's house we stayed in New York. Also, cousins, lots of them, fat ones. Then Montreal, le Metro, and Provigo. Montreal was lovely. I wore snowsuits and rode my VMX (poor man's BMX) in the summers. I swam in the pool next to the tenements where we lived. Eight of us in a two bedroom basement apartment. The neighbors down the hall had a dog, they were Cambodian, then one day the dog was gone. I've learned recently that Cambodian palates have a taste for dog. We went to Hull one summer as a family, I was 8 and wore a dress that was too small. I have pictures of this trip. I spoke French, English, Arabic, and Somali. My father knew about 8 languages. He was born in Yemen and only went to Somalia to marry my mother. An arrangement. In 1990, we moved: Without my father. Half away across the country to Vancouver, and I only found out the real reason for this (and this is fact!) in 1998. Vancouver was lovely, no one spoke French. There was little snow and lots of rain. In my new school, I once wrote a letter about how no one liked me cause I was black and "accidentally" dropped it on the floor right next to the nicest girl. She became my friend after that. I wore sweaters and slicked back hair in high school and way too much lipstick. I listened to Nirvana not knowing why, secretly enjoying my NKOTB tapes. I went to music festivals, got a part time job, and partied in bushes. I obeyed my mother. University was hell. I fell in love. This lasted a tumultuous and utterly gut-wrenching 7 years. It was/is/will be a life changing relationship. My father died, I saw his body, it was grey. I can't sleep, dream vividly and crave newness at the moment. Write your life story in less than a day.