In 2015, I almost did not participate in the Multicultural Arts Victoria Common Ground program.
It had been a tough year for me and I wasn’t sure I wanted to explore my emotions so publicly. Having already participated in the program the previous year, I also felt it would be taking away from someone else if I joined.
Luckily, I changed my mind a few weeks before the program started, and in the process, relearned two lessons:
- We do not live in a zero-sum world.
Sometimes, what you take you give in return, both consciously and unconsciously.
Participating may have meant one less place for someone else, but I know that it encouraged so many of my friends to write poetry and consider participating in future programs.
The experience also allowed me to help others. During the course, I became very close to fellow participant Zakia Baig, a tireless and remarkable advocate of her Hazara community (a heavily persecuted people predominantly from Afghanistan/Pakistan). We were devastated to hear that IS had beheaded Hazaras, including a 9 year old girl. I have often felt so helpless when I’ve heard of these cruel barbaric acts, but Common Ground provided me with an opportunity to do something about it. Collectively as poets, we decided that any money made from the album release would go to Zakia’s charity to help support the Hazara people.
But it wasn’t just fellow participants I was helping. I was also humbled by how many people came up to me after my performance to tell me how much my poem helped them on a personal level.
- Life rewards those who are open – our fears and excuses just don’t cut it!
We often make so many excuses as to why we shouldn’t do things, a lot of the time because of fear or lack of self-worth.
Most of the time we’re dead wrong.
Had I succumbed to my fears and anxieties, I would’ve missed out on so much personal and professional growth. I wouldn’t have met so many incredible people or made so many beautiful connections, and I certainly would not have had a video of my poem released!
So here we are, my very first official video for my poem: ‘Have faith’. What sweet irony it is that by having faith, I ended up here today, sharing all this with you :).
Hope you enjoy!
All proceeds from downloading album go to the Australian Hazara Women’s Friendship Network, run by Zakia Baig (track 9). So please donate BIG to help some of the most persecuted people of Afghanistan.