I often debate how much I should reveal of myself.
In the states, what I say is dependent upon my comfort. Here, it’s also dependent upon my safety.
So where do I draw the line?
Because here’s the thing: I’m on very shaky ground here. I need friends, and I can’t afford to make enemies. But I can’t live with myself if I don’t stand up for myself. If I’m disrespected, and I don’t say something about it, I feel like a coward (and I continue to be disrespected). But if I do say something, I often make an enemy.
People here have such extreme views. And although we could be friends, if I disagree with them on that crucial issue, we’re done.
And yet, it has happened twice that I’ve voiced my opinion on one of these issues, and I’ve discovered a kindred spirit. If I’m too quiet about myself, then I may miss out on good friendships.
So, there’s that.
And then there are the topics that I am confident I will not discuss, like being Jewish. But although I won’t discuss it, it’s still insanely difficult not to say anything when Israel pops up in conversation. People either assume that because I’m American, I love Israel. Or they assume I’m Christian, and thus believe that I dislike Jews. So what do I say?
Or if some guy on the street creeps on me, how do I act? Do I 1) avoid eye contact and ignore them, or do I 2) turn, flip them off, and tell them kis emek! ? I was in the bazaar today buying pomegranates, and found myself walking behind 4 guys who would blatantly turn around, check me out up and down, and then turn to their friend and talk about me. So I compromised by flipping them off Italian-style and cursing at them in English. So I got my anger out, and they didn’t retaliate (Kurdish men have serious tempers). But I still feel like a coward for not telling them, in a language they could understand, to go stuff it.
Do I keep diplomatic ties open? Or stand up for myself?
That is to say –
How much should I?
P.S. Your opinions on this matter would be very welcome.