Mj’s Wonder Women Series Feature #2: Linda Ghaderi

Following a passion can be many things. For me it meant – stepping out of my comfort zone, trying something completely new, something I had little to no knowledge of, learn, explore a new culture, network, confront my fears, conquer it and keeping pushing forward. This process is constantly impacting me in numerous ways. One majorly being – healing!

I picked up my camera three months after my brother tragically passed. It was a period of deep pain, despair too intense to even describe. In fact, although time passes, the pain remains just the same. I had two choices in my hand – sulk in misery or sail over it. I chose the latter.

The way I saw people, life and relationships had drastically changed. Through my photography, I am constantly on a quest to see beyond what meets the eye – the soul, the emotions, the love, the joy and the grand adventure of life! This quest, this reckless longing to keep pushing boundaries has subconsciously been healing my scared heart.

On this MJ’s Wonder Women Series, I would like to present a similar story – the story of a fighter, a survivor, a seeker, a seer, who uses her words to reach out and touch lives and hearts!

Name: Linda Ghaderi, Age: 42, Nationality: Sweden, Occupation: Poet

Linda_Ghaderi_MichelleJobPhotography_LR-11Share a little about your growing up years – place, childhood dreams, hobbies and education.

I was brought up in a small village named Kröcklinge, in the county of Västmanlad in Sweden. I spent most of my days in the woods, climbing trees and burying dead animals. I early realised that there was more to life than what was seen. That there was an extra dimension no one ever talked about. My interest in existence started early and my father gave me a stargazer after finding me night after night looking in admiration to the moon instead of sleeping. As soon as I had learned to read and write, I wrote stories and I started a magazine at the age of 7.

I loved learning new things and school could have been a fantastic experience, but I was bullied. Living in a small society leaves no room for free thinkers. I remember feeling sad for them, that their world was not open. Years later one of the guys run up to me and apologized for have been so mean. He said that they, collectively, had been jealous, that I dared to be myself.

I grew up in a worker’s family and my parents later on in life also turned Entrepreneurs. I always wanted to go to university, but was advised to instead get a job and stick to it. So I have worked full time and studied at the same time for most of my life. My first job I had at the age of 13. By 16 I could buy my first motorcycle with my own money. By 17 I worked before school and after school to support myself. By 19 I was offered a job as Restaurant Manager, but turned it down wanting to continue studying. Since then I have had many different positions among others Operations Security Manager at the Casino in Stockholm. Simultaneously, I completed a course in theology at the university regarding existential rooms in literature, culture and religion. And now I pursue my dream to study philosophy and soon I will have my Bachelor of Arts in Creative writing. Still, my mother has a hard time understanding why I study.

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One person who has inspired you the most.

Madonna has been a true inspiration for me. Something clicked in me when I saw her in the movie ’Desperately seeking Susan’. I loved how she was herself, and then I decided that I would always be true to myself. Madonna is not only a great artist, she is a creator and can take any situation and turn it fruitful. She has the mind of a true entrepreneur and has developed survival skills beyond imagination. We all need to have the spirit of a cockroach, that’s how I refer to myself.

What sparked your love for poetry?

I remember a friend coming over to my house for a sleep over. We were around 10 years old. In the attic we found a book with poems and decided to go for a moonlight picnic. As the sun started to set, we sat down in the grass field, with the light of an oil lamp and we read poems to each other. I remember the words entering beneath my skin in a way I was not familiar with.

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Where do you find inspiration for your poetry? Is it your personal life events or observing other’s lives or nature?

My poetry is helping me process things on my heart and mind. It can be injustices of the world, lessons learned or inspired states of existence. Sometimes I just let the words come to me during or after meditation.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I have always loved to communicate. My sister is three years older that me and we fought a lot as kids. I noticed that I could push her buttons by twirling words. When she started learning English in school, I listened and learned from her studying. I love languages, so I chose french for third language.

My first french teacher did not teach us so much. When I went for college I was falling behind. I asked to swop to a group that had beginners, so that I could stand a chance to follow. But the teacher for that class said no. I convinced the principal I really wanted to learn, so he overruled the new french teacher. She then started to harass me, in various ways.

One day I had had enough and stayed after class to ask her respectfully why our relationship seemed unbalanced. The teacher replied angrily that I was not going to come and destroy her lessons and no matter what I performed she would give me the lowest grade. And so she did. I performed average, which proved that it was the right level for me, but still she gave me the lowest grade. Words can be used as healing or a sword.

Linda_Ghaderi_MichelleJobPhotography_LR-16The background story of your first book ‘The Silent Songs’ –

I wrote the poems after surviving domestic violence and managed to leave the destructive relationship. Writing, helped me bring the experience out of my body to see what I had learned from it. During my deepest despair I heard something whisper, leading me back on track. The same voice that I ignored, when warning, me before entering the relationship. When I had finished the writing, I put it in a drawer.

What would you like your readers to experience as they read your poetry?

I hope to touch someone else’s soul, bring hope when all seems dark. We all share the same wealth of emotions. When we communicate on an emotional level, we can awaken the dormant part of our neglected self, learn and inspire each other. I love when my readers come and share their thoughts and emotions regarding my poetry.

Linda_Ghaderi_MichelleJobPhotography_LR-21What impacted you the most about the refugee situation in Sweden?

One day I was scrolling through the feed on Facebook and saw a photograph of an old classmate that was on vacation on the island Lesbos in Greece. She was on the beach having a wonderful time. The next post was from an aid organisation, that at the same time was on the other side of the same island pulling dead bodies out of the sea.

The algorithms of Facebook made me see two parallel worlds, knowing nothing of each other and it was such a strong symbolism of our time in history. I just felt in my heart that something had to be done, with limited resources I then realised that I had poetry to give from my heart.

How are you supporting this cause through your poetry?
I called Sweden for UNHCR immediately to check if it was possible to donate the proceeds from my poetry and they said yes. It is interesting that when you truly wish to give something from the heart, you end up being the one that receives gifts.

In order to donate I had to publish the poetry. I could not find any Swedish publisher that would publish a Swede writing in English. I could not find any English publisher that would publish a Swede that was not already published in the home country. I was in a momentum 22. I had to learn how to code e-books, had to design the cover and figure out the best layout for the poems. I had to learn about being a publisher and how to get the books out in the world. I had to step out of my comfort zone in order to be able to donate and I have truly been given so many soul- and heart gifts in this development. And I am so grateful for all the people I have met and what I have had to learn in the process.

Click here to purchase Linda Ghaderi’s ‘The Silent Songs’. All proceeds from ‘The Silent Songs E-Book’ are donated to UNHCR!

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What do you see as the role of poet in modern-day society?

I believe that poets are ordinary humans that all have their own road to follow. Most important is to follow once heart, poet or not. There are so many different types of poets today. Some are provocative, others experimental, some are classical others spoken word performers. Each and every one of them can only answer themselves what their specific role would be.

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What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a novel and my poetry has found its way into a documentary regarding woman in history, present time and the future. I also act in the documentary and tell part of my story. My poetry has taken me for an adventure, and all I have to do is follow. Shortly I will go to New Delhi to give Inspirational speeches and also receive the award of Exceptional Women of Excellence at the Women Economic Forum.

Linda_Ghaderi_MichelleJobPhotography_LR-27Three positive ways in which following your passion impacted you as a person/woman/mother?

When I then met my amazing husband and our son was born, all become very clear to me. That we were his role models and how could I tell him to pursue his dreams if I had not myself? My husband is an artist, painter and sculptor working hard every day to always improve his skills. I knew that I had to fully become myself and be proud of my past and what I had made so far out of that journey. We can all end up on a road that was forced upon us, it is of importance to take back the power and start walking on the path that makes your heart sing with joy. In the end, all that matters is that I do my very best to keep that heart of mine smiling. It will then inspire my son to follow the desire of his heart.

Linda_Ghaderi_MichelleJobPhotography_LR-30Connect with Linda Ghaderi

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Rapid fire questions –

1. Favourite Book
The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy – Douglas Adams
2. Favourite Song
The other day my son wanted to listen to Elsa’s song In Disneys Frozen ’Let it Go’. I then realized what a great empowering song it is, letting yourself be who you are, only then you can make true magic.
3. Your greatest fear
Like all mothers; that something would happen to my child
4. The most courageous thing you have done
Staying true to myself, no matter what.
5. Your philosophy for life
All is possible, if your willing to work for it.
6. Favorite quote
A poem by Jalaluddin Rumi –

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next, did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being.

Click here to purchase Linda Ghaderi’s ‘The Silent Songs’. All proceeds from ‘The Silent Songs E-Book’ are donated to UNHCR!

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