Writing about someone you love, admire and respect (all at the same time) can be tricky: you don´t want to sound too corny, too personal (I´m publicly exposing this text in my blog), too something – anything – that makes you or the other person uncomfortable. But then comes the “but”; then comes “me”, totally unable to do whatever doesn´t come directly from the heart. Let´s face it: I´m corny, emotional, temperamental (as so many have called me), excessive, raw, impulsive, passionate and 100% loyal to the ones I love (and love me back).
Loyal to my loyalties. One of them is Rocky – aka Morocco, the living encyclopedia who knows pretty much everything there is to know about Oriental Dance and surrounding matters . No presentations required. Sure I´ll be corny – not necessarily excessive – when speaking about her. I have to. Fernando Pessoa – an underestimated Portuguese genius – introduces my subject:
All Love Letters Are Ridiculous
All letters of love are
They wouldn’t be love letters if they were not
In my days I too wrote letters of love,
Love letters, if there’s love,
Have to be
But at the end
Only those who never wrote
Letters of love
I wish I were in the times
When I wrote love letters
Not thinking how
But today the truth is
My memories Of those love letters
Are the ones that are
(All the strange words,
Like the strange feelings,
Alvaro de Campos
21 October 1935
Aunt Rocky sponsored me in New York last month but she´s been around my career for some years. We first met in Egypt – where she saw me giving my very first steps in lousy shows people returned to for mysterious reasons; substancial growth has happened ever since and her support to me, my dance and my ethic attitude was never shaken. Having someone I truly admire and respect supporting my work is a privilege I don´t take for granted, although I can count on some pretty amazing people who said “this girl has it*” and never refrained from expressing it (Shokry Mohamed, Mahmoud Reda, Souhair Zaki, Nagwa Fouad and counting).
What surprised me the most on spending a little more time with Rocky in New York (before and after our event) was the way she kept her soul intact after so many years of living, seeing and knowing too much. Let me tell you one thing: ignorance can be bliss and life´s realities can turn your soul into ashes in a second. Fortunately (and surprisingly, for me), her soul is intact and I don´t know how she´s done it (I want to know the secret, Rocky).
Thie conversation is as old as the world itself: it´s so easy to be successful while becoming the bitch the world tends to invite you to be on a daily basis; it´s a REAL ACHIEVEMENT to be successful (especially on the long run) while becoming a better human being. Rocky is a living proof that it´s possible – yep: these kind of miracles do exist 😉
We´re in Brooklyn at Rocky´s wonderful place; the radio is on (an extremely affirmative radio presenter is advertising “MY HOUSE IS A DUMP DOT COM”) and I´m having my good girl breakfast (fruit – fresh and dried – and yoghurt). I open my book (books are like flies flocking around me at all times), grab a bite of the breakfast and manage to pat Leo, one of the house cats. Suddenly, I feel a smooth pat on my shoulder and a soft, honest voice “hi, honey…” – Rocky´s in the kitchen but it´s not her. I mean:
it´s her but not her: it´s a mother. I hear a mother taking care of her daughter. Too confusing? Life´s confusing.
She makes me laugh (vaccum cleaner guy is a classic I won´t EVER forget); she makes me think (even more than I usually do which is A LOT); she makes me want to do and be better and she certainly makes me wonder: how does a heart which has lived so much can still be so generous, caring, beautiful, trusting, ALIVE? I´m sure she doesn´t realize how dumbfounded I am by this phenomenon: her.
This is a person who has been in the Oriental Dance business for a long time and seen the darkest side of it on way too many venues; this is a person who has lived and SEEN through all sorts of illusions. Still…she receives me like a mother and allows me to see through her eyes for a while: the streets of New York filtered by her mind and, above that, her heart are worth the Journey: that landscape she´s painting as we walk side by side is beautiful: so beautiful. Still beautiful.
(I can see it too, Rocky – thanks for the Ride. Hoping I´ll be able to keep my heart intact along the way – just like you do).
Maybe this is what true intelligence is all about. Maybe this is what Life is all about.
Love you, Rocky (and thank you*)