Children's festival, Fier, Albania 1978

(In this picture, I was singing “I am the color Red” in 1978 at children’s festival in my city where I won the second place)

Feeling a bit awkwardly nostalgic at this moment when I think back of how my life has always been staged to be played in the way that others designed it for me. I am finally coming to my senses. Today I came across of some of the newest songs of this Albanian singer Ardit Gjebrea…Ah Arditi!…who doesn’t love him among Albanians? Ardit Gjebrea…The Albanian equivalent of worldwide pop music stars who all sing about love and touch our hearts so deeply… Is this the manifestation of collective consciousness as they all seem to have the same moves, same words, same promise to love forever, and the crowds always reacting in the same way…crazy for the star, dreaming about him/her…yet unreachable… ? Or is it something else trying to confine us into well stamped models? Think about it…

Guess what, I met Ardit Gjebrea when I was in one of those summer camps in grade 6, in Durres (Albania-1979) by the beach. No it was not quite a casual meeting by chance. I was attending one of those summer camps, where kids were organized in different groups and each day every group had to come up with some activity for morning or the afternoon shifts. My groups’s shift was in the morning and I volunteered to sing representing my group. The song was titled The Mother’s Song (Kenga e Nenes) that was one of the winner songs in children’s festival, a couple of years ago. That was the song that Ardit Gjebrea and his friend Inva Mula (another well known Albanian singer) sang in that festival. I was still into singing at that time and had not lost my singing voice yet. So, here I went to the radio station center of the summer camp and sang for the entire camp. After I finished singing I went on with our daily activities and having fun with my friends at the summer camp. An hour later I was called through the PA system to report to the radio center immediately. To my surprise there was Arditi waiting to see me. He asked for my name and wanted to make sure that I was the one who sang that song in the morning shift. People at the radio center asked me to sing that song again. When I finished singing Arditi hugged me, which was a bit intimidating for me at that age, and full of enthusiasm (one of his specific characteristics, as we all know) asked me if I would be willing to sing again with him later in the evening for the concert at the summer camp that night. I was ecstatic, How could I not be? I was also surprised that he was in the same camp as I was, so I asked him if he was visiting or was he staying there? He explained that he was staying in one of those separate suits (VIP of course) so he did not mingle with other kids, but yes he was going to stay there for the entire two weeks of that summer camp. In case you wonder, it was nothing developing between us in those brief moments of conversation but it felt beautiful just the same to be appreciated for your talent. Nevertheless, my joy was cut short, so brutally, so brutally. I will never forget that…

And here is how my story goes. As the evening was approaching I was feeling anxious as why I wasn’t being called to the radio center to start practicing with Arditi or something. Then, our leader, the sort of teacher-instructor of my group told us that our group was scheduled to clean the seashore from the garbage that afternoon, and it was a really, really long walk, far away from our summer camp’s building. I told him about the plan and the conversation I had earlier with Arditi, but he told me that the concert was cancelled so that’s why I had to go with the rest of the kids cleaning the seashore. I was so sad indeed. Even more sad when we came back very late that night, missing our dinner time too, and that’s because for some reason our instructor/leader pretended to be busy talking to some family members he met on the beach that night, and we could not return to our summer camp without him. My shock was even bigger when we returned…the concert did happen. It was not canceled as I was told. And guess what?…Summer camp children had a surprise visit that night from a special guest. Can you guess who that special guest was????? Inva Mula of course… Yes she came to sing with Arditi because, come on, he belonged to her only… They always sang together didn’t they? How did I dare thinking otherwise? I wonder, I wonder… And so it went for me. I never saw Arditi again, and never really wished to see him anyhow. I did not care about him, I was just a child. I cared about my broken dreams… Two days later when my parents came to visit me at the camp I asked them to sign me out and take me home. So I left the camp one week earlier than I was supposed to.

This was the last time I tried to sing in public… When grade seven started, I withdrew from all the singing activities… And my life took a different direction. I found a different passion….I fell in love with numbers, formulas, math and science all at once.

Now, tell me, is this a coincidence or a diabolic plan to keep you wondering and wondering what your life could have been if you took a different path. People said I was talented at singing, but they said the same when I competed in math and science competitions… Never mind, if indeed there is a diabolic system, I bet this system more than once, each time I followed my heart, but the greatest victory of all was ten years ago. I won over this painful design that makes you feel like you are reaching the happiness but then this happiness is taken away from you at the last minute. The reason for this? I will tell you on another post for sure. Anyhow, I feel that I won my battle 10 years ago because I acted in a spontaneous way and followed that energy of momentum that I am talking about in all my posts. I rebelled against standards and I broke some norms of moral, apparently, and I am glad I did it,not because I met someone special that away, but because I learned about my potential. I learned how much values I was holding inside me. From that moment on I walked into the world with my head up, because I knew that I was worthy. Yes, I may have been abused, mentally, emotionally, and my dreams were always broken into million pieces, but I always got up on my feet. And the last time I checked I was proud of who I became, because even when false dreams and hopes were induced in me and made me belief things that were not real and did not exist, these things did not break me, they made me stronger. Yes, I beat the system; system did not beat me.

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