This post was originally intended to be titled “Being Iraqi”. But since I was born as an expatriate, and the only connections I have to that place are the relatives that I love and a piece of paper that says I am originally from there. I wouldn’t be the best man to know what it’s really like to be a real Iraqi. I honestly used to have days where I didn’t know what to be and from where I should pretend I am.
I don’t know how many of you recognizes from where I am. Some of my old readers have seen my older posts when I was visiting Ur ruins, among other places too in Iraq. I have been raised abroad, although I lived in many places. I have almost spent half of my life away from loved ones. I started this blog, and my writing quest, with the policy to never mention from where I was, unless someone asked me of course. Even my author name is an abbreviation from my true birth and family name. But, and due to recent events that have happened, I decided to share my story, and I hope everyone will listen. So… gather around this shimmering screen, join me in a tale of sadness, laughter, hardship and naughtiness. This is the story of a citizen of the world.
I was born as an expatriate, with no real country, but I was never homeless. The home my parents have come from was suffering from a dictatorship. The last straw was the time in jail my mother had to spend because they suspected her being from a rival political party. She was a math teacher, and she made me fall in love with numbers. She told me “To understand the universe, learn physics, to understand the soul of the universe, learn math.” I nodded like an idiot at the time, thinking. “Gosh, lady! just let me get back to playing football.”
For those hailing from the American continents… football = soccer.
It is a hard thing being a kid from another country… but it was twice, even thrice as much difficult to be from a country and studying in a country yours just came out from a war against only months ago… needless to say, kids were tough on me and I had little friends. This, however, forced my imagination to go through a spurt growth, and I managed to forge portals to new worlds. I’ve never been alone; in my yard, I would be the only one using the slides and swings in a way they were not made for, to try and find a way through the walls and pretend to be escaping, and trying not to fall on the lava below me that I imagined from grass and sand, I remembered my walks back home from school; I pretend to be following someone… I was six and probably never watched or understood a thing named a spy… but I was doing it, hiding from one tree to another… gosh I was a dork.
I grew up, and my talents grew with me, separately… I became somewhat a musician… even though everyone I know listens to music; most of them frown at the knowledge that I play the piano as if I am committing a sin. My writing burst out of its shell one day when I was in Emirates, after I mentioned ideas that I have in my head. And recently, I started to use a different form of story-telling, drawing.
I mentioned something about Comic Con Dubai and how I am a guest artist. Well, I’ve never written about it here because it never happened… the thing is, they refused to let me in because of my passport. They said I need a whole month before I can issue a new visa. I don’t know in what world we live in, but when you are invited to be a guest artist and you get an official invitation, you should be able to go… but then again… being Iraqi is something out of this world.
At the time, it hurt… it was a thing I was working for for almost three months, issuing two comic books… a combination of 430 colored drawings I might add, and I have only learned how to draw digitally recently… oh… plus I was studying for my MFDS exam and I drew this as a gift for Comic Con, as a tribute to the recently demised Leonard Nimoy.
Life took all the lemons and I had nothing to squeeze. But… my art… writing, drawing and music… are my passion… They are the only thing I have in me that worth to fight for. I never stopped, I moved on, spread my words around locally.
It is said that when you really want something the universe conspire in your favor… and the universe did. I landed a publisher. Yes… I no longer pay to publish anymore. I got lucky and met a person who was looking for a new publisher to publish in more than one language. I got accepted. And ever since, I promised to never question anything that happens to me… because it is all part of the creator’s plan.
Here are the books I am going to publish with them by the coming months… one in my native language, and the other is in English… Don’t worry, I’ll translate it one day.
Goodbyes are the worst part when I write to you all… so instead… I’ll leave you with my recent drawings that I made for four special people for me… Cheers everyone.