Yachting all day on the same waters my wonderful father sailed in his youth. Such a wonderful day hanging out with my friends. Away from the B.S. and in this beautiful place enjoying each other’s love and company. Princess Island was so relaxing and charming. Every restaurant was a seafood restaurant, and I was in heaven! When I saw the tears in Merc's eyes, I could feel that she was ready to “go there.” I am so proud of her rawness about what she wants and her needs. After all, how can we achieve something we can't even visualize or speak of? I am here for her for strength, love, and support through thick and thin. She will be a wonderful mom!
By the great power of Destiny and Will, Reza, my Mom, and I were able to find a way to make a personal pilgrimage to the border of Iran, where all of us and our ancestors were born. It was such a long, intensive, and at times dangerous journey there, but this was nothing compared to the 30 years we have been waiting to go back home.Without getting too political, I wanted to explain to those who might not fully understand our inability to safely go to Iran. The fact alone that I am a political refugee is not the only reason. While I'm a very proud Iranian and feel a great responsibility to shed light on all the wonderful things about my culture, I also feel socially obligated to be honest about the things terribly wrong with the government of Iran. Iran sadly is a tyranny and deals with political dissidents (that's anyone with an opinion) as criminals. It jails, tortures, and executes its own citizens for simple expressing a political opinion. Think about all the individuals, comedians, talk show hosts, or journalists expressing various opinions here in the US about the president or government... In the US it's called freedom of speech. Well, this freedom does not exist in Iran. The number of “political” prisoners and executions of the latter is staggering. So, somebody whose art deals even mildly with such things and is considered “Islamic Feminist” going to Iran safely is pretty much out of the question.
Back to our beautiful pilgrimage to the center of my heart. Throughout the whole day, my Mom, Reza, and I were like silent warriors. We were all dealing with our own personal emotions throughout the journey while also in the collective experience. On the flight and the bus ride, it was sheer excitement. Then on the last leg of the journey in the Kurdish car, we all lost it. Listening to our favorite old Persian song on our iPhone and nearing the Iranian border, tears of joy and sadness starting falling endlessly.
It was so incredible for me to have my Mom, who sacrificed everything in her youth to make a brighter future for me and my brother, with me. I could feel her pain and joy and see it in her eyes. Reza and I really bonded on a primal level, and I will never forget these moments we shared together. I felt that we were making this pilgrimage for all immigrants, all refugees, all displaced people in the world.Then as I got out of the car and smelled the familiar air, a feeling of complete joy and euphoria came over me. I was not sad anymore. Nor was I missing it the way I used to. I surrendered all those heavy feelings right there on that earth. As I said, when you embrace the big monster, it melts away.
We all have landmark events in our lives. This was one of mine. Going to the border of Iran with my Mom and Reza was one of the most profound and cathartic experiences of my life. I am forever grateful and enormously blessed to have been able to have this experience. And I’m thrilled that I was able to share it with you all.