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After Wales...

Between trees hundreds of years old
I was searching for my past
 at the top of the mountain. 
Within the shades of greens
asking the rivers 
watering the meadows.
Speaking with lotus flowers
lying on the river bed
I  touched the rocks
trying to understand what I missed.
 I’m  hurt inside
by the wind carrying my past
Torrents fell from my eyes
I thrust my head into the clouds
confused, unable to breathe…
not knowing what I missed.
I’m hurt inside
by the wind carrying my past

Over the years I got used to living with illnesses and eccentricities. I had created a small world with very few people and I was struggling in that rarefied world. Until one day I came to Wales.

Wales was the first place I felt I belonged. Wales became an obsession for me after I came to Brecon fifteen years ago for my English course. My biggest dream was to live in Wales one day... I dreamed the day would come... One day…

However, in the space of one night, I had to leave Turkey abruptly for my own safety. I had written an absurd play called Mi Minor which was staged in 2012.  A month after our play finished, the Gezi Park demonstrations in Istanbul started. The creative team of our play became the target of a huge hate campaign and incredible accusations. For three nightmare months, without setting foot outside, we were trapped in our own house. When our lives were no longer safe Pinar Ogun,  the lead actress of the play and I (the writer) left our house, our loved ones, our pasts. We left in a night with a single suitcase and came to Wales.

In Turkey there is an indictment against 16 people including me,  Memet Ali (director Y Brain/Kargalar and Enough is Enough ), Pınar Öğün (actress Y brain \Kargalar and Enough is Enough) was issued on February 20, 2019. We are facing a life sentence because of our play Mi Minör. Because of this absurd accusation, I feel once again Wales is protecting us.

I arrived in Wales as an exile. When I dreamed of living in Wales, I had never imagined my arrival in Cardiff to be like this, with all my insecurities packed in a single suitcase And since then my life has become more absurd than my play. A life stranger than fiction! Everything was left behind, most of my belongings, my banned novel, all my published books, along with the less tangible parts of my life, my fights, my speeches, the accusations, the harassment, the threats... I left everything, perhaps even myself, or that version of myself.

But as soon as I stepped from Cardiff station something clicked. For the first time in my life, despite all the difficulties I had a sense of peace and a strong connection with Wales. I didn’t know how to deal with this belonging and peaceful state of mind. 

I got married during this time when I was desperately trying to find answers to all my questions. In the month of our marriage, I learned my husband had brain cancer. Surgeries, chemotherapies, radiotherapies... Unfortunately in a year, I lost him.  This was a huge turning point in my life. I lost my husband. I lost my trust in people. I lost my savings to pay for his care. I lost everything.

I had to confront the fact that the person I had put at the center of my life for thirty years, who I valued more than anything, somebody whose every word I trusted unconditionally, was actually a narcissistic manipulator.

I started to walk in order to survive, to not lose my mind. I walked the mountains, the coastal paths, fields, forests, parks. I walked six hours, days for months…. I walked and walked everywhere, not only in Cardiff,  in north Wales, mid-Wales, south Wales.
As I walked, I stared at the facts that had led me to this suicidal point in my life.  As I walked in nature,  I realized I had assumed the identity of the country and culture  I was born into, whilst all at sea amongst people I could never understand. Despite all my reflection and attempts to make sense of everything including myself, the answers eluded me, the question of who I remain increasingly unknown.

Nature is healing power for me. Whist walking my thoughts ramble but here's a selection long distant walking like this is a bit crazy because it's quite painful walking 25 miles... It's giving me a strong mind, it keeps my body working so I can look forward to many more years of activity, it is in the essence of freedom. I understand that what you do is painful in parts and required huge determination and sense of purpose and commitment to the task. Bu pain is not the problem, not living a meaningful life and peaty yourself is the real problem...

In those days Memet Ali our director told me that “I’m seeing you are changing day by day, “what is going on in your mind when you are walking”, I’m so interested in, I want to make a play about that. He was right, these walks had a big transformation inside me. I had discovered a way to live as a woman who had learned to accept herself, rather than a shattered woman.

Wales wrapped me, hugged me, talked to me like a mother during the most difficult time in my life. For this reason, I wrote my play; Y Brain /  Kargalar (Crows), which is written in Welsh and Turkish. It describes my story, the place this land has in my life and how it transformed me.

I was in such a schizophrenic situation that I represented this internal struggle with two parts which I explore openly in this play. These two parts are sometimes alien to each other, sometimes hostile, sometimes understanding and sometimes accusative of one another. I was caught between the two, stunned, bewildered, trying to figure out which one I am. The play shows the drama going on in my mind. And being in Wales was my only advantage, it helped me to disintegrate and reform because I could be nobody here.

You’ve always wanted to reach out for more
You were always restricted
You’ve always accepted being restricted
You’ve always wanted to reach out for more
Out of yourself 
to the depths of your feelings
to the depths of your perception
to reach your edges
Yet you were always shy
You’ve always wanted to reach out for more
You’ve always been restricted
You’ve always accepted being restricted.
Before coming to Wales
You’ve always wanted to reach out for more
You’ve never reached out for more
I’ve always wanted to reach out for more
And now in Wales
You are the one that allows it
To reach the end. 
In Wales with Wales
Reaching to the depths of my feelings 
Revealing all my fragility
Chasing the traces of my DNA
Allowing yourself
To reach out for more
You’ve always wanted to reach out for more
You were always restricted
You’ve always accepted being restricted
Now, together, we can reach the end
If we can be one.


Unknown said…
You have such a beautiful voice. Thank you for sharing
Mirtes Oliveira said…
Hello! I came to know about your blog because of my friend Skip Conover. I'm autistic, too. I'd like to thank you for embracing your diagnosis and for choosing to be a voice for the autistic minds. Also, for opening this channel of communication, it will be a way for me to get to know more about your work as a play writer. Thank you!

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