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My project goes through 4 stages of emotions. LOVE. HEARTBREAK. ACCEPTANCE. MOVEMENT.

This process has been explored through different avenues. conversation, poetry, music and story. through these different mediums, I have been able to explore separate yet simultaneous journeys through the same emotions. Through my work, you will see my perspective which has been shaped by my identity. My Love is not synonymous with romance, my movement is not synonymous with career. My perspective is that of a young Black and Arabic woman living in Britain, using my creative energy to tell my story.

LOVE

High (rhythmic play)
The Market with Grandma 

I remember Longsight market. The suits the sofas the soft faces as I walked down Dickenson Road.

 

The narrow paths

The wide hips

The smell of new shoes

And old people

 

Families

Friends

Returning to somewhere familiar

 

He acts as though he remembers my face, with my newly gappy-teeth I beam up at the man

Selling

Birthday cards

Christmas cards

Graduation cards

Anniversary cards

 

Cards with words

Cards with pictures

Cards with numbers

 

‘She’s grown big hasn’t she?’ My grandma says proudly.

 

I didn’t hear his reply, I was distracted by a dress.

 

Deep red- gold finishing- a silky scarf- embracing the woman's neck- the ends gracefully hanging down her back

 

I look around and see the dress in different colours and shapes on women and girls

 

My grandma takes my hand

Taking me near the car park

I hate this part

 

I scrunch my face

And hold my nose

first the toilets

Then the fish stalls

 

I knew she was going to stop

Before she stopped

 

It was always the same routine

The same adventure

The same exchanges

 

A wave of brown faces

First Love

 

You gifted me my first breath 

You held me in your arms 

Looked me in my eye

You were the first person

To whisper you loved me 

HEARTBREAK

Traces (rough freestyle)
Hurtin'
Realising 

I didn’t belong in your arms

Because they were not arms of comfort

But desire

You are not sensitive

Like you led me to believe

How could you mask

your inability

to understand my needs?

 

I can’t recall who was selfish

We probably both were

I used your smile as a mask

Refusing to see past gentle eyes

And dimpled cheek

To the truth of you

 

You’re vulgar attempts

At pretending, I meant something more

(I went to Morocco as a Moroccan I left reminded I was not)

 

if the ants ceased to scurry

you would never know there was a hole present

one by one, like an army 

they marched

from the crack in the wall

across the cold floor

to the fridge

 

I watched the ants

as my Senegalese twists were tugged

and pulled, by the handful

as words and phrases

were said by the mouthful

so sped

I forgot to understand

 

It didn’t hurt

but before it had been issued

I knew

the style wouldn’t suit me

It was made for straight hair soft hair silky hair

not my hair

 

instead of thinking too deeply about the oxymoron of my competing hairstyles as a physical amalgamation of my internalised cultural dispute

 

I looked closely at the uniform ants

all aware of their place

along the cracked white tiles

I looked closer still

 

one wasn’t quite inline

ACCEPTANCE

A girl

I am the first. Not the last. I received a grant for my achievement. I am the eldest. Of seven. I am a sister, sometimes respected. I went to University as a woman as I was robbed the opportunity of a girl.

 

Since I remember I was reading, reciting letters from banks, the government, my school, the council. I read slowly so my mother would comprehend. Under pressure I explored synonyms of words I barely understood. I had to be smart as our survival was dependant on it, I was never praised as my intelligence was to be expected.

 

I de-escalated moments of tension when racial abuse was thrown at my Moroccan mother. I held on to unkind words spoken by classmates, friends and teachers because I did not want to aggravate Mama, she had enough, felt enough, hurt enough.

 

It was my burden to bear.

 

My siblings came to me for guidance as my parents could not supply ample kindness. Pain was second nature I think it still is.

 

It was my burden to bear.

 

I was a buffer between our world and theirs.

 

Showing off my words and pictures in schoolbooks on parents evening, but they didn’t look, not really. They waited on praise from teachers, like me they wanted acceptance, acknowledgment, appreciation. It was always the same. ‘she has a lot of friends, works hard, listens attentively, great marks’. Little did they know this description was not unique to me. It was what every parent heard.

 

I lay at night between my room and the hallway, depending on the light from the bathroom. It was always on. Reading books about caucasian adventures, children allowed out after 3, children who for dinner ate fish fingers and peas, ‘النوم صوفيا’ * my mum screamed.

 

I still feel like that girl, who is not in or out. Is not wrong or right, is not good or bad, is on the edge, on the brink of collapse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Sophia sleep

Self-preservation (demo)
Self-Portrait

Finally

She sees

 

The self that stands before her

Is the self she lives and breathes

Taking up the space around her

Waits her energy

 

An aura

Wanting to be seen

A spirit

Switching up the scene

The image

Staring back at me

MOVEMENT

Movement in Conversation
Father Lover God

 

It was a special day at church, women’s day/relationship day/ prayer day/ youth day. I don’t recall. But we were at a different venue, Manchester Academy (Mojosda Aboadagou), not Manchester South which meant something was different.

 

Retrospectively I see it was a significant day

I didn't know it at the time 

but this day would change my life

My dad wasn’t answering my calls

nothing could make him respond

I was with the kids

I was responsible

Accountable

 

This was the day I resented my responsibility

All of my friends

The boy… I liked…I loved…I liked

Was having sabbath lunch at his house

And I was invited

I was delighted

 

When my entourage was spotted

The brothers, the sisters

They rushed into the car

I saw from afar

As they left me

           ...

We were late that day

Our entrance was delayed

Strategically timed

Not during prayer

Not during sermon

Not during song

I pushed my sister in

She linked arms

With my cousin

 

But I stayed behind

And turned around

And explored

So many rooms were closed

And so many were open

There were babies and parents and sabbath school and children’s talks and teenagers avoiding the auditorium

So I hung around and spoke to people that intimidated me

And people that aroused me

I went down in lifts and walked up stairs and avoided pious sisters and brothers eager to assimilate me into the body of Christ to eat stale bread and drink grape juice

 

This was the day I chose

to walk backwards

not forwards

To explore

not conform

To be free

To be found

 

This was the day that men betrayed me

Father, lover, God.

 

This was the day I realised

I was divine without them

 

The day, I truly became me

Dedication

 

Time for meditation 

Retrospective contemplation 

 

Explore thoughts and feeling 

Find truth in meaning 

 

Time for mediation 

educated elevation  

Time 

to put your right foot forward

Dedication 

To the cause 

For the journey to your soul

 

© 2020 by Sophia Harari.