relationships

Am I "Indian" Enough For You?

I have been single for 2 years. In that two years, I have met some great people, and not so great people. Gone on some great dates and some not-so-great dates.

I have met some people who say to me: Why are you single? You’re such a great girl. And I have met some people who resort to calling me names when I say “No thanks, I am not interested in dating you…” Sorry, but you can’t win them all right?

Then one day, at school, I had a conversation with a Native guy. He was being his inquisitive self and I was being my talkative self. He then asked me a question, which I cannot remember precisely… but I asked him why he was asking me that. He proceeded to say, “I like to find out how “Indian” someone is.” I was kind of shocked. I then proceeded to say to him, “You know I never dated a Native guy before…” And it is true, I never have dated a Native guy before. In fact, my first relationship was with a white guy. And my second, and my third… I haven’t even gone on a “date” with a Native guy.

There are some great Native guys out there. In fact, race or ethnic background isn’t even one of the requirements for me to date someone. I don’t even have “requirements” or a “checklist.” I believe that you know someone is “right” for you, when they are strong enough to be there for you through the good and the bad times. Yet, whenever I think about having a relationship with a Native guy, there always lies that thought or question in the back of my head: Am I “Indian” enough for him?

I don’t know much about my culture. Well, I know what I was taught, and that is different from what someone else was taught. I don’t live at home, and I see my family when I can. Family is a big thing in Native culture. It’s not that I don’t love my family. I do love them and I love them a lot.

So as I sit here in my search to find that someone special, I begin to think: Why am I single? Am I too picky? Am I too busy? Or, maybe it is because I actually am I too “bitchy”… (Bitchy being: saying what is on my mind, standing up for what I believe is right)

Sometimes I practice my culture, sometimes I don’t. For some, it’s not enough. For some, it’s too much.

I remember having breakfast with one Native guy and during that time he said to me, “I come from a long-line of chiefs.” I didn’t know if this was a joke or if he was serious. Am I supposed to be the same, and come from a “long line of chiefs”? I don’t even know my grandparents (but that is because all but one passed away before I was born).

Then in a conversation with my mom about what I should speak about during an event in June, I told my mom what I thought about myself, event aside: I may never be “Indian” enough for a Native guy, and I may never be “good” enough for a non-Native guy.

But then I begin to think to myself, am I even ready for a relationship? I am busy with school, volunteering and working. I love all three of those things. Do I have enough room for anything else? Then I remember what an old friend said to me last year when we were discussing her relationships and my single life, “You might be alone the rest of your life.” My reply to her statement, “I am okay with that.” And you know what, I am okay with that. I have enough love from my family, and great friends who are supportive in everything that I do that if I don’t find that special someone… it’s okay.

It is not the end of the world that I am single, and it is not the end of the world that I am not “Indian” enough…

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A poem dedicated to fear…

This is a poem I wrote after an abusive relationship ended that I was in for about 1.5 years. Before this relationship, I used to be one of those girls that would wonder why girls stayed in abusive relationships, and ask those same girls… “What don’t you just leave?”

An abusive relationship is more than just waking up and leaving the next day. He hits you, calls you names… Then he tells you he is sorry, and will make it up to you. You spend days and nights in bliss and masked happiness. Then, it happens all over again…He hits you, calls you names.

You just hope one day that it won’t happen ever again and that you give him one more chance. You begin to believe that maybe he is right: everything is all your fault. His bursts of anger, really are your fault. You become so broken that you don’t even know what the difference between right and wrong is anymore. You used to believe that violence against women is wrong, but now that you are the one being hit, dragged, pushed, spit on… you believe that what you are experiencing is not as worse as what other women are experiencing–others have it worse. You begin to make excuses for his actions, reasoning with yourself. Yet, little do you know, is that he has you right where he wants you: boxed up, in the corner all alone, no where to go.

I knew that this relationship had a hold onto my life even after it ended. I knew this because living in a small community, we would run into each other every now and then (even if we didn’t want to) and I would experience anxiety each time. My heart would race every time I saw him, and not the romantic-movie-heart-racing type. This would happen even if I thought I saw him, and in the end it was just a stranger that looked like him. I remember one incident, when he came into one of my places of employment. He said to me, “It’s okay, you don’t have to be scared.” Then he smiled at me with a wink. It sent chills down my spine, and still does to recall that incident. He knew. He knew I was scared, and he knew I was still scared of him.

Even after I moved away to a different city, I would sometimes feel my stomach turn over when I see a vehicle that looks like his. I was still scared even knowing that he physically wasn’t around me. Today, I have worked through this hard time and have been able to move forward in a positive direction. This poem I wrote and I dedicated it to fear.

A poem dedicated to fear.

Reaching towards you
In the pitch darkness,
Feeling nothing,
Hearing nothing,
Knowing your there,
Standing,
Watching,
Your eyes piercing,
My chest.
I feel it tightening,
Wanting to run,
Feet glued to the ground.
In one spot,
No where to go,
Fear.

Note: I write this post to anyone who has experienced violence…whether as a witness or a victim/survivor. Male, female. It doesn’t matter. Violence against anyone is wrong. I share my story and my experiences because I want others to know that it is okay to get help, and that any amount of violence no matter how many times it occurs or how many times someone says sorry, Violence is not okay.