Get To Know: Lozan Amedi
Being a Kurdish woman is hard. Being a Kurdish woman living in the United States? Almost impossible.
I’ve lived in the United States practically my entire life, like every other Kurdish family, my family and I were refugees brought over by the American government. I’m sad to admit this, but for the first half of my life, I didn’t even know I was Kurdish. My parents never taught me about my heritage, as a child they would tell me to just tell others I was from Iraq, but they would make it clear to me that I wasn’t Arab so I grew up not knowing who I was. It wasn’t until I got a little older and went back to Kurdistan in 2009 that I came in touch with my roots and discovered who my people were, who I was.
No, I wasn’t Arab. I was Kurdish.
Of course, that was easier said than explained to someone. I found myself struggling to accurately express this to people when they asked where I was from “it’s a region in Northern Iraq” and they would just look at me like “so you’re Iraqi?” I would soon realize that this would become a norm, and while I thought it was innocent it would be something that defined the entire Kurdish struggle. It’s not easy being Kurdish, it’s not easy being part of a group that has an identity, a culture, a rich and often tragic heritage but the world refuses to acknowledge your identity, instead they want to rob you of it. My heart bleeds every day for my people, for the injustices and violence they must face, every generation of Kurds have been born into violence and war and that breaks my heart.
My parents had already decided that I was going to become a doctor while I was still in the womb, I still remember the three choices they’d give me, my baba would tell me: “be a doctor, lawyer or engineer.” That was it. Don’t get me wrong I understand that my parents only wanted the best for me. My parents gave up their entire lives and families back home so that I could have a better life, but they never understood the toll it took on me. I graduated with my biology degree but I realized, that’s not what I wanted to do. And I became depressed because I didn’t know what to do, I already had my degree, a degree that I didn’t want and I felt like I was stuck.
I will always be proud of being Kurdish, but I don’t agree with everything that Kurds are expected to believe in, especially Kurdish women. My parents were very strict with me growing up, I wasn’t allowed to do extracurriculars, my baba didn’t see a point to them, I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends or go places with them, I wasn’t even allowed to dress how I wanted to dress. Even in college, I was still expected to be home by whenever my parents wanted me home by, and this added to my depression. I don’t think nonimmigrants realize how difficult it is, trying to live a good life but also being restricted because of your culture. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to do something, but Kurdish guys were and to be honest this is still something that I will never adhere to. I love my culture, but I won’t lie and say that it’s perfect, it’s toxic to Kurdish women and I hope that my generation will fix that.
I started my blog lostinthediaspora as a way of helping me process my thoughts and feelings, I have a lot and I knew this would be a good way of expressing myself in a healthy way. I started my blog as a way of getting my thoughts about Kurdistan out there after being prompted to by an old teacher of mine, but it soon turned into something that I could use to write about anything I wanted, beauty, lifestyle, gaming, travel. It’s my own little space. It’s exciting that we have a small community of female Kurdish bloggers because it’s something that I want to see more of.
I don’t know where life will take me, no matter what though I will always hold my head up high as a Kurdish woman and not let anyone take my identity away from me.
Be sure to check out my blog and thank you to Alin for reaching out to me and letting me do this.