We had the good fortune of connecting with Chaimae Bouzagaoui and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chaimae, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m Moroccan by ethnicity, but I was born and raised in the Netherlands. My parents were immigrants.
Growing up I definitely felt like I was going through an identity crisis. I was constantly torn between two worlds and I used to blame myself for never fully fitting into the both of them. Until I realized that I never will, because it’s not about that. The more mature I got, the more I understood that I somehow belong to both worlds and neither. This is something that I write about a lot too. In my poems I often refer to myself as an island. When I understood that I’m bicultural, I realized that’s a beautiful thing. I speak multiple languages because of it and I’m able to view the world in two completely different perspectives. It’s like a blessing to me now.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The interesting thing about my poetry is that I never intended for it to become something that I wanted to share. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but I got into poetry when I was sixteen. It became a way for me to express myself, deal with my thoughts and rationalize my emotions without actually having to speak about it. I realized at a young age that I understand the world well, but that others often don’t necessarily understand me the way I’d want them to. I’m a deep thinker, I’m introverted and I like my space, but at one point I created my Instagram account (@memoirsofamoroccan) where I anonymously started sharing my poems, because my friends encouraged me to do so. Long story short: I ended up going public on there and it has allowed me to build an international community full of fellow writers, poets and artists in general. It has also allowed me to self-publish my debut poetry collection ‘Cherry Blossom Season’. I’d say what sets me apart from others is the fact that I bond with my audience on a more personal and emotional level. I receive (daily) direct messages of people from all over the world thanking me for the fact that I share my words and that creates space for conversation and friendship. Even though I’m a reserved person, I do have control over what I do and don’t share. Some poems I strictly keep to myself, but I also realize that I have a gift and talent and that I’m one of those people that is able to inspire others. I create art because it’s part of my human identity. To create art is to be human. That’s what it comes down to for me.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m definitely ‘old school’ when it comes to stuff like this! I would take them to museums, theme parks, the movies, etc. I would also make sure to check out all the retro, unique and weird spots in the city.
Apart from all the exciting stuff, I would also schedule time for the simple things. Like driving without a destination to just talk about life, picnics, stargazing, laying on the grass, and so forth.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Definitely my mother. She has been there during the highs and lows of my life. She’s not only my mother: she’s my best friend. Her love, care and loyalty is a constant in a chaotic world. I aspire to become as strong and resilient as she is and I’m infinitely thankful to have her in my life.