For many long years I had lost my voice, and with it I lost my essence. As I travelled across continents heading towards civilisation, I left all the sophistication of words accumulated in my young eighteen years behind. In this new land I was a newborn who had to learn to crawl, walk and talk all over again. Words were no longer a tool , they became an obstacle. Sentences struggled to walk freely, instead with heavy steps they stomped over listeners.
I was no longer travelling, I was crawling my way into a society that quickly becomes impatient and disinterested if someone lacks fluency of speech. Fluency of speech equals fluency of thought. If you were unable to express your opinion, your opinion did not exist, and I was trying very hard to exist.
I became extra sensitive and self-conscious. Miscommunication equals misinterpretation, so I found myself becoming more compassionate towards those who hardly spoke a word of English, and a bit defensive at times telling others ” Just because they don’t speak English, that does not make them stupid”. Injustice tends to breed resilience and determination, so there I was adamant to regain what I had lost, that is my opinion, my thoughts, my brain, my voice.
It took me three years to finally be able to speak without having to think. It was such a relief as I was too tired from thinking prior to speaking. I had to listen to others attentively and measure their style of speech, eloquence, expression and select what I felt represented me. This is when I realised that this is what we unknowingly do as we grow up; we sift through, select and shape our speech. It is our voice that tells the world who we are after all.
I had regained my speaking voice but what about my poetic voice!
I had attempted to write but it was too feeble, weak and childish. I gave up with a heavy heart burdened with the knowledge that I had spent many years trying to perfect English only to lose my Arabic. I could now speak two languages but I could not write creatively in either of them. My native language had given up on me, and abandoned me as I abandoned it.
It was only a few years ago when a few words came to me and I decided to save them and out of the blue a poem was born. I was ecstatic, I had finally located a childhood treasure which I hid in a box so long ago. I calmed myself and assured my excited soul that it is merely a fluke, yet the next day I sat to write again and there it was, another poem. Surely this inspiration will run dry or at least my English words will start duplicating themselves! I was quite scared that I would quickly lose what I had found.
As days passed by I was to discover that inspiration exists when we forsake expectations, fear and we simply allow it to present itself. I have not stopped writing since.