it’s funny how, it took being adopted by a “first world” country, to be acknowledged as a real human being worthy of acceptance—one that could now walk freely in the world, in any country, as if by magic (“a blue passport”). i am thankful to canada for opening its doors 18 years ago, but i would be lying if i said that, given a real choice, i would have ever left home. no one abandons their roots willingly and most of us would never dream to leave it all behind if imperialism had not destroyed the lands we call home. such is the dilemma of an immigrant, a term i refuse to acknowledge any longer, for to do so i would have to accept the definitions and imaginary lines created by all these feeble minded, war hungry men who divide to conquer. but the consequences of their actions are real and it feeds this internal dilemma, where gratitude and pain permanently seem to co-exist. here, i walk on this land in a nation built on blood and yet, there is still so much life here, so much goodness and so much beauty. and for as long as i can remember, all i ever wanted to do was help alleviate the pain experienced by outsiders like myself. for 16 years, i dedicated all of me, often to my own and family’s detriment, to helping others chase and fulfill their dreams. i felt helpless and small in the face of the beast, but this gave me purpose and that was good enough, “this is the best contribution i can make, art, the truth is the only way to build a new world” was always the loudest thought in my head and the drive behind my efforts. i have been lucky to enjoy successes beyond my wildest dreams, the life experiences i have lived could never be taken for granted. but all the while, i forgot an important component during this journey, and that was my own soul, my life and dreams. in an attempt to help heal the world, i overlooked my own healing, i pushed myself to the limits and to the side, recreating this smoke and mirrors reality where i, by choice, became a second class citizen in my own life.
but no longer. awakening to my own illusions meant reliving what i had avoided facing—a life torn apart by war, sex trafficking, soulless immigration procedures, separation and threats of deportation, inequality, discrimination and alienation—and understanding how all is intertwined. as such, these last few years, my own heroine’s journey reached the ordeal, the dragon’s lair stage, where i had to face the biggest dragon of all: myself. it has often been hard to admit, the reason monsters “out there” exist is because one lives inside of me, too—one that creates division based on illusory data, is judgmental and far too fixated on the external at the expense of the internal. i had to face her, for i did not come here to contribute to a fractured, disconnected society and a broken system, manipulate people to want what they do not need, nor fix what already exists. i came here to co-create something new with people who are itching to do the same in the depths of their soul, to build a new paradigm from the ground up, together, where only love prevails. it’s only natural that the next stage of the journey was marked by a deep understanding that anything i do is meaningless if what i’m doing is not fused with meaning, and there can be no meaning if there is no love for all that is. and that’s what it took to begin again, love—unlearning everything i knew and relearning how to love, fully and wholly, starting with me, by creating space for myself and owning the space that i take with no apology, because i, we belong, and by filling my own cup and yours, because all life matters, regardless of these labels and social constructs we are conditioned and live by.
slaying the dragon opened this new door, the (re)birth of my own humanity, which allows me to see and feel the spark of life in everyone and everything. because i have learned, humanity is not a product of nations, laws, traditions, culture or customs. humanity is created through love, for life itself, through tolerance, acceptance and understanding, that we are all humans—cosmic beings made of stars, limitless, unique, and each a little piece of a beautiful puzzle—and we share a common bond: we are all birthed by the same mother, Earth. and i know in my heart of hearts, when we collectively internalize this truth, we will, at last, know true peace. because what we have inherited does not matter, and the only thing that matters is what we build with the time given to us from here on out. and so it is, here’s to the next 18 years, where i hope to lead by example as i learn to be more compassionate and loving, toward myself and you.