Survival instinct and human unexpected resources never fail to amaze me. Nothing seems to beat us – not even physical death.
Am I lost in translation? From Arabic, the language I spoke for many years, back to my mother languages Portuguese and Spanish? From Arabic to English, my second self ABC? From Egypt to the world – sounds perfect, doesn´t it?
From my former self to my new – still undefined – self. I´m literally lost in transition, navigating in an Ocean I´ve never known and unable to safely arrive to dry land. Even my newly found freedom – after many years of daily sexual harassement and all other kinds of violence experienced inside and outside my home – seems to make me unstable. We build our identities upon the circumstances that surround us and feel quite dis-Oriented when circumstances change.
Who am I? Towards which direction do I wish to expand?
In Egypt, my identity was clearly defined by others as well as myself. They saw me as the marginal, the outcast, the glamorous prostitute, the “rakkasah”, the devil in disguise, agent of “fitna” (disorder; chaos; darkness) and, for many, a target to abate. I saw myself as the misunderstood artist in search for my personal version of the Holly Grail: what does authentic Egyptian mean? Who am I in that dance and what can I offer to the world in this area?
It was a hard won battle crowned with a successful career no one – except me – believed was possible. I thought I knew everything about who I am and what my life purpose was until I started travelling the world and, slowly but surely, cut the umbilical cord with Egypt, “Life´s Mother” (“Om Dunya“). Now I wake up in the middle of the night with these disturbing words singing in the darkness: who am I?
Oh, boy. I´m scared to death, for the first time in my life.Absolute freedom can be scarier than any kind of jail – don´t you know it? You can go anywhere you wish; do everything you dream of; be whoever you want to be.
Dancing and writing are still my life saving medication, therapy and miracle.
New, bigger, somewhat intimate, dreams come to flourish in this garden that insists on having no barriers, names, address or definition. I haven´t quite accepted the fact that I´m a lover, not a wife. An eagle, not a domesticated bird. A tiger, not a lamb. It astonishes everybody – me included.
Here we are, facing the biggest challenge of our lives: defining and constantly redefining who we are. Some call it Growth. I call it Fate. Names are not important.
Courage, dear heart: courage!