“You were homeless?” is what I get asked every time I allow my story to be heard. “You lived under a bridge for 3 months?” is what I get asked when I try to explain to people where I have come from. The difficulties of hiding what you have been through and how that has shaped you has been a battle of past and present. It has been an internal battle of past and future and what my life will be if I continue to answer these questions to those english-speaking Canadians who have no idea what freedom means. They keep asking me if I was homeless, but I do not know this word daughter. English-speaking Canadians use this word homeless as if I was born without a home and lived my life without knowing my roots.
They speak to me in a foreign language that they assume I understand as if I was lived in Canada my whole life and know what homeless means. My daughter, why do I have to answer these questions for these people to understand that the world is not always pretty. Why do I have to get them to understand that by just looking outside your backyard and seeing how peaceful and beautiful it is does not mean the world is like that place. Why must I waste my energy, I’m too tired to speak, I’m too tired to try and translate their English speaking words into my Kurdish speaking brain to answer their questions. I wont do it.
But I will tell you this my daughter, even though my life wasn’t what I planned for it to be. Even though I had no dreams and goals for myself in the village of Eradina. I knew that my only dream was to survive and see the beautiful side of the world and allow my future children to see. I ran from the ugly, the smell, the guns. I ran from the bullets, the Arab men, and from my village. I ran away from the refugee camp, and from the Turkish military that would hurt us. I continued to run until I reached the moment under the bridge. I was just resting my daughter, this is what it was. I knew my dream would not come true here, but I had to wait for my ancestors to pave the way. Why don’t you tell those Canadians who think that their backyard is their only world about my story. You have the language to speak and I give you my voice to tell. Tell them how I survived genocide and war. How I left that side of the world to be here and see the peace and beauty.
Let them know that homeless is not a word in my language or in my vocabulary. I was not homeless, I had a home. I had roots that grew under my feet each time I steeped outside my home in Eradina. I had a home with my brothers and sister, with my mom and dad that the world decided to break. Don’t tell me I was homeless when I have a language, culture, traditions and roots to prove you wrong. Don’t tell me I was homeless just because I decided to run from the destruction from those Arab men. I have a home, my home is with me everywhere I go. It is within me when I speak to my daughter in Kurdish, It is with me when I tell my oral stories about that ugly side of the world to my children and not keep it inside of me. I am not homeless, I have a home and there is no doubt in my mind that I will come back to my home and allow those roots that I left behind to reconnect and show you all, you were wrong.