Joana Saahirah of the World – reborn*

10354075_594941310641709_7097784822994197078_nGrowing up means, aside from all sorts of mostly things, accepting who you are and who you want to be at different stages of your life. I´ve learnt, so far, I cannot be a static, boring, predictable person. I just can´t. It would be like asking Jude Law to become ugly and untalented: it ain´t gonna happen, sister!

Some of us spend their whole lives on the same spot, hanging on to illusive idea of security, knowing all the corners of our neighbourhoods (no surprises there or so we like to think), never daring to change, risk, taste different food, mentalities, goals, breathing rhythm. Other will jump once and grab themselves to what they find with all their might, never considering dropping the caught fish and departing on new adventures, new fish, new Oceans. We – human beings – are so different & colorful!

According to family myth, I was rescued from a Gipsy camp by my “adoptive” mother and, one day, I´ll find my biological progenitor (probably reading the palms of somebody´s hands or travelling in a caravan, selling t-shirt and what nots). We laugh at it, of course; it still makes sense, in a metaphorical kind of way. My essence is gipsy: transitory: adventurous: discovery oriented.

After three years of silence, I´m starting to hear – once more – the Voice of my Soul calling me to greener, higher pastures. No, my career in Egypt was not enough; no, my work around the world is not enough; no, my  published book – “The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” is not enough; no, the name I´ve built for myself due to hard work, talent, sacrifices and an often scary will power are not enough. What I´ve done is amazing but what interest me is always – tragically, perhaps – what I haven´t done.

A musician I love (John Mayer) once said in an interview:

– Once you get the fish, throw it back in the water and try to catch it again.

Do you get it? I do. It´s the CHASE that makes us grow, not the comfortable chair on the top of the mountain (always small when compared with many other sits on many other mountains).

10384905_728635537218564_4835700019942759007_nLife´s not only asking me to start a brand new chapter in my career but a BRAND NEW ME & a BRAND NEW LIFE (because Existence, although it pains me to admit, is not only about building a successful career).

After 8 years of a well defined work routine in Egypt (performing like a maniac on a daily basis – non stop!), I´ve started to travel the world for work.

Everything collided in blissful perfection: Egypt had nothing more to offer me – I ´d accomplished everything I´d aimed for and then some. Furthermore: I wouldn´t be able to do something for Egypt if I remained there. The state of the country was pissing me off so much I felt like twisting men´s necks on a daily basis (not good!).

The backwards mentality, the increasing insecurity and sexual harassment in every public space (you´re never safe from the moment you put a foot outside your home) and an overall boredom that comes when there´s nothing more to challenge you – all of these factors made it clear that my Egyptian Chapter had come to an end. No regrets, nothing left undone and so much to share with the world (in the shape of performances, teaching, lecturing & books).

It has been amazing and the natural progression of my path: from Egypt to everywhere. Then The Question came: where are you living now? Where is home?

The answer had been clear for so many years – it wasn´t anymore.

Boxes – which are still sealed, just as they came from Cairo – filled with essential objects from my Egyptian home have been resting on a corner of my family house in Portugal. I´ve forgotten what those boxes are carrying – that´s how blurry the whole thing has been.

I returned to Egypt several times but mostly to finish legal stuff, to send more objects (books:books:books & a “baladi” coffee shop table) that travelled through the Mediterraneum in order to arrive to my private No Man´s Land. No drama in relation to Egypt – it´s easy to understand why: when you do ALL you want to do & in the way you want to; when you don´t leave hanging threads behind; when your conscience is in peace and you´ve become part of that country (no physical distance can separate me from Egypt – that´s the beautiful truth), saying “farewell” is quite simple or non-existent: you don´t get to say-goodbye because you don´t ever leave.

The dramatic part resided in not knowing where I would want to live next. It´s great to travel the world doing what you love  – I´m deeply grateful for it – but it´s essencial (for me, at least) to know where is my home, a space I can call mine, a garden planted with my own hands, a physical reference of who I am and where I stand, recover from my trips, rebuild myself on a daily basis.

I spent one week in Portugal – catching up with family and friends after almost 10 years of absence and breathing freely, once again – and travelled the other three, working on my beloved crafts but with a disturbing sense of being ROOTLESS, HOMELESS, CENTERless. The Voice that had called me to do everything I did, so far, had been silent for these last years – taking my sleep and tranquility away. It didn´t matter how much I searched for it, opened my ears and my heart: my companion seemed to be totally gone.

Alone, for the first time in my life: that´s how I felt without my Guiding Voice*

Where do I want to build my nest? Where do I go from and go back to? I´m everywhere but I´m nowhere – all the time! Travelling suitcases defined me, temporarily; the air became my element and landing on earth became strange, uncomfortable, almost alien.

One of the great things of being European is that you can CHOOSE (or could – let´s see how Europe reshapes itself) where you want to live, work and thrive. That freedom is a luxury I don´t take for granted, especially after knowing so many Egyptians who dreamt of leaving their country in search of a better life (if you´re poor in Egypt, life SUCKS!) with no chance of doing it, except through marriage to foreign women. I mention “marriage to foreign women” because most Egyptian  women don´t even have the right to dream about leaving their country – that seems to be another exclusive male right: dreaming of a life better than the one destiny – “nasib” – prepared for you.

The horizon was too foggy – no matter how many possibilities I had at my disposal, I didn´t feel the CALLING that is required to start a new Life Project from scratch. Until now.

Slowly but surely, the fog got slightly dispersed and I could see where I felt I had to be.

It´s with joy and enormous reflief that I announce: Portugal, my original homeland, is my home for the time being. Here´s where I´ll be based during 2015, at least. If this sounds too shaky and uncertain for you it´s because you´ve never been in my shoes: knowing where I want to stay during an whole year is a rare blessing.

The reasons that led me to this (temporary) conclusion are varied, between the personal and the professional and not meant to be fully displayed in public. What matters, for now, is the peace that irradiates from NEW HORIZONS that slowly but surely start to be shaped in front of my eyes and the tranquility of having a clear answer when someone asks you “where do you live?”

I´ll keep flying in perfect, well deserved ascension – travelling the world to teach, perform & lecture; but now I can honestly say I know where my center resides: the place where I have my books, my dance studio (for rehearsals, preparation of shows and workshops, choreographic work and on line classes), my bed, my bath tub with aromatic salts and oils (yes: I´m that kind of girl), coffee maker & tea shelf (my tea shelves have always been amazing), writing, dinning & loving space. More than creating a new base, I´m RE-CREATING MYSELF and whom I wish to be from now on. How exciting is that?

EXPANSION – full mode! (amen, halleluia, thanks God!)


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