Being an “oorbelseun”

The word translates to “earring child”…

It will have to stay that way for now because I can’t think of a proper translation for it.  You see – the Afrikaner culture is the only culture that I know of (at least it used to be) where a man wearing an earring is almost universally frowned upon.  So to try and translate it removes it from its context and subsequently the meaning is lost.

So in and effort to make the meaning known I will say that:  “Being an oorbelseun probably means a mixture of being slightly effeminate without necessarily being gay and being a reject.  We don’t have a nerd culture or a goth culture as Afrikaners.  We have oorbelseuns.

I am an oorbelseun.  But not a proud one.  It’s difficult because I do identify with so many things from my culture.  I do identify with braaivleis, bier, rugby, biltong etc.  But at the same time I enjoy swearing, writing, making music and writing, video games and writing, playing with my wife and kids and writing…

Recently I developed a bit of a guilty conscience for the umpteenth time over my fowl mouth.  But I am way past simply trying to clean up my act.  Instead I evaluated my reasons for talking the way I do and acting the way I do not.  Despite my being very “effeminate” in some ways I am extremely “heterosexual” in others.  My wife jokingly pointed out the other day that I have probably washed my face a total of five times….  in my life.  I confess that I do not brush my teeth every single day and if I did not have to comb my hair I would not.  I often go to the mall bare feet and I promise you that I do not even notice the people that my wife say are staring at me.

But somehow I cannot bring myself to get an earring.

I would get an earring for the same way that Goths, at least initially, wear black and hip hop singers wear chains.  I somehow identify with it in a way that I can’t explain.

I have walked away from religion completely but I still love Jesus.  I have thought about this a lot and even though I profess that I have no idea what Jesus would about me getting an earring I believe that he will still accept me.  I am like somebody who is trapped inside the closet.  I wish I could have the same blaze attitude about wearing an earring as I have about walking bare foot in the mall.

I mean my mom will survive this one as well.  She survived my tattoo and she survived the names I gave my children and she survived our decision to home school our kids.  She will definitely not like it but she will survive it.  So what is stopping me?

I am going to have to wait until I understand it better.  I don’t want to do something permanent just for the sake of doing it – that’s one thing I learnt from the tattoo :-).

Ironically I believe that as soon as I get the earring I will probably stop swearing.  I can’t promise this but I have this feeling that the two go hand in hand.

Maybe that is what I should do.

Stop swearing and just be and “oorbelseun”…

That is ultimately who I am…

However I will say that I have died to the world and the world to me…

So for now I am still going to ride this one out…


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