COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Najwa Zebian, the poet
A common thread that holds every human together is that we all want to be loved. That feeling of belonging, that quest for a home is universal for all of us. Some find it in the face of their children, others find it in their lover’s eyes, but the ones who can truly say they’ve built one are those who find that home within themselves. Those who learn how to immerse within their pain, bathe in it, let themselves feel it and learn how to swim against its currents are the only ones who can stop the flood from coming in and wash away everything when others decide to walk away.
A painful wound caused by such a perfect emotional storm can become an art form when you learn how to tame and overcome the excruciating moments. In those in between moments when art happens the pain you’ve been carrying transforms into the fuel that will lead you to conquer that mountain top. And it all starts when you learn that acceptance begins with you. For Najwa Zebian, a Lebanese Canadian poet, it all started when she saw a big part of herself reflected into the eyes of a group of immigrant students. That struggle to fit in, that unbearable sense of loneliness was all too familiar to her, so instead of walking away like she did when she was 16, she decided that this time around she would not give up on them or herself. So she begun writing and with every word she started to slowly build that home she was so desperately longing for. Today Najwa’s powerful words of wisdom echo throughout our planet, encouraging others to walk fiercely, run fearlessly and live restlessly. The haunted memory of Najwa Zebian being the oppressed, scared, little girl in pursuit of home is long gone. Today standing tall in the place where there once was a frightened little girl, you’ll find a beautiful, confident, extremely strong, powerful woman whose loud roar is no longer silenced by society, a woman whose comforting words are healing millions of people around the world. So read on to find more about this incredibly kind empath, as she shares her story for the latest edition of Cool Faces of Bastet Noir.
BASTET NOIR:I first heard about you when Goalcast published your motivational video on their site. You were talking about finding home within yourself. At the time I was going through exactly the same process of having built so many homes outside myself, some of which got burnt to the ground or were taken away from me, so your words really resonated with me, especially the part where you say: “I was looking at a person that no longer resembled me”, because at that exact moment I felt exactly the same thing. Your words helped me see things more clearly. They helped me realize that dedicating time to yourself is not selfish, as society taught me to believe, but necessary for growth. They especially helped me a lot in learning how to say no without feeling guilty about it. So if for me, you were the person that made me start thinking differently about myself, was there someone or something you read that influenced you and made you fall in love with writing?
Najwa Zebian: Thank you for saying that! Very moving. For me, it was my very first group of students. They had arrived in Canada from a war-torn country, forced to adapt to living in a new country. Seeing them reminded me of my 16-year-old self. The 16-year-old who needed someone to see her. Someone to tell her “you belong here”, “you matter”. I knew, at 23, that I had not healed that 16 year-old-self. So I started writing for my students. And by doing that, I started writing for me. And here I am.
BASTET NOIR: Do you remember the first thing you’ve written?
Najwa Zebian: I don’t remember exactly. I used to write when I lived in Lebanon. I had a journal that my friend, Mariam, gifted me on my thirteenth birthday. That was the journal that I ripped up at 16 when I arrived in Canada. Because I didn’t want to feel anymore. I would love to find out what I wrote in that journal, but there is no way of going back.
BASTET NOIR: You’re an author of three books, the Mind Platter, The Nectar of Pain and the recently released one Sparks of Phoenix. As you go through them, it’s beautiful to see your personal growth unravel and how you’ve matured.. I know this is a tough question, but do you maybe have a favorite poem you go back to over and over again in challenging times?
Najwa Zebian: It’s hard to choose one. I do have to say that “these mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb” from The Nectar of Pain and “I am so proud of the warrior I’ve created from the ashes that were meant to bury me” from Sparks of Phoenix are ones that I have been coming back to recently. They make me feel like I can overcome absolutely anything.
BASTET NOIR: Curious to know what does your writing process look like? Do you have a routine you follow?
Najwa Zebian: I don’t have any routines or rules. I just write when words come to me. Anytime. Anywhere. I don’t believe that there should be a specific process or set of rules.
BASTET NOIR: What would you say were the crucial milestones that led to your success?
Najwa Zebian: I believe that every time my words reach someone and inspire them to rise from their pain by feeling it, that’s a milestone.
BASTET NOIR: As someone who has become hugely successful what advice would you give to all the future poets out there?
Najwa Zebian: Just write. Don’t follow rules. Don’t think what people will say or think or do. Just write what’s in your soul. Be yourself. Don’t aim to be like anyone else.
BASTET NOIR: Do you think it possible for one person to actually make an impact and change the world?
Najwa Zebian: Yes. If you can change your own life, then you’ve contributed to changing the world. Let alone changing someone else’s life.
BASTET NOIR: Favorite female empowerment speech
Najwa Zebian: Too many. This is one of them:
BASTET NOIR: What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?
Najwa Zebian: The Rhea Dress
If there’s one thing to take away from Najwa’s story it would be to find your own voice and demand the world to hear it. Roar, scream, do what you have to, to make people listen and once you do make them hear you, tell your story, inspire others, motivate them, elevate them and never be ashamed of what you’ve been through. Scars, regardless of how big or small eventually heal and yours will too, if you give them the time of the day.
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