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Choosing Between Two Paths
Enisa Eminova
MacedoniaGALLERYCONVERSATION
“Well, you had no education and no job, you were fifteen, and you decided to get married. I am twenty-one, going to university,...”
“Oh, my God! Are you trying to say you are not a virgin anymore?! Listen, if you want to have sex, then get married!”
One leads me towards traditions that I must respect because of others’ opinions or for the sake of my parents’ reputation. That path grabs me and gives me no space to move, but I must follow it simply because I was born a Roma girl. I do not have the right to choose the other direction that gives me the room to sit down, to reflect, to know that I am an individual with my own sense of self, the one who knows how to steer my own life. I am afraid that I might lose my parents if I do.
So I shall live my whole life between the two paths, practicing the one called tradition. I shall never be a person who can say, “I have an idea. I know how to solve the problem.” That will always be done by someone else, and I shall stand aside, watching someone else deciding for me, someone who is unwilling to hear that I already know what I want.
Just because I decided to study, to get a better job, to be integrated into society, and to choose my partner, I will be labeled as a Gadzi (non-Roma) or as a crazy Roma. The only important criterion for those who decide whether I am smart, whether I come from good family, whether I should be respected, and so on, is my virginity! I must remain a virgin until marriage just because this gives my family a better reputation — otherwise they will disown me or will be disappointed to death.
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