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Born and raised in Marrakesh, Morocco. One of my earliest memories was of me sitting at my home's door step, playing with pebbles, when a tall man came up and asked me if he was at the right address. He was looking for my best friend Nezha's home. A few days later, Nezha's wedding ceremony took place. Nezha was Twelve. I was Eleven. She was gone. She moved in with her husband, his first wife and three children , to a village a distance away from Marrakesh. That was just one of many experiences that rendered me broken to this day. There is much I couldn't make sense of, and therefore, couldn't move past. As I walked alone to school everyday, I pondered ways I could run away should someone show up at my parents doorstep wanting to take me away. It never came to that, but I am not sure if I compared my journey to Nezha's, which one would be more tragic.
A few years later, I moved to the US, and started a family with a man not too far in character from the ones I grew up with. My marriage came to an end in recent months, and I suddenly felt the uncontrollable urge to scream as loud as I could. Even though I had convinced myself that I was an independent woman, I came to the realization that I had never been free. I always belonged to someone, and always lived in the shadow of a culture that requires you, as a woman, to sacrifice your entire being for those around you, not by choice, but rather by duty. An amalgamation of deeply traumatic experiences that culminated for four decades, needed to be unfettered.
I started to paint and write poetry. They were both mediums where I could release so much, in so few strokes or words. My poems are powerful entities where I convey a story with all it's weight, in as little as a verse. Details remain immaterial.
I needed to write Naked Tree for all the women that have yet to find their voice. There are millions of women out there, like Nezha and myself, that need to know they are not alone. There is strength in silence and perseverance. But, in speaking up, there's power.