“I am an educator, student and leader in the making.”

 Najwa Zebian, age 25, was born and raised in Lebanon before moving to Canada in 2006. Her passion for creative expression was evident from a young age as she delved into Arabic poetry and novels. Najwa is a now teacher, poet and author.

Her latest book, Mind Platter, is written in the voice of every person who ever felt unheard, mistreated, misjudged or unseen. It contains 200 one-page entries as reflections on different topics that we encounter in our everyday lives; love, friendship, hurt, inspiration, respect, wholeheartedness, motivation, integrity, honesty and more…

What inspires you?
Many things inspire me. To be as precise as I can possibly be, I will say: the moment that I’m in. Silence, innocence, struggle, love,  belonging, disconnection, and loyalty to name a few, allow me to dwell in places where my mind is able to create pieces of art through my heart.
You spoke about keeping a journal. Writing our thoughts down gives us clarity when nobody else is there to listen, so when we read it back its just like having a conversation with ourself. Do you think this helped you find out who you are?
Absolutely. I discover myself as I allow my words to flow. Sometimes my words take me in the direction that I know I should feel, and sometimes I take them in the way I want to feel. Both ways tell me quite a bit about myself. The time that I put into writing also allows me to become more patient with myself and more aware of my thoughts and feelings.
Writing things down often helps someone to understand their emotions. How well do you control your emotions? Or do you let your emotions control you?
We all go through times where our emotions control us. In fact, I firmly believe that we need to fully feel our emotions to move past them. My most powerful writing is when I am going through an emotion and I fully express it in a raw and unedited fashion. Once I write about an emotion, I claim the power to direct how it’s going to direct me.
 What does success mean to you?
I, myself, have not fully figured out what success means to me. At the moment, success is being able to live freely and do what I love doing. At times, it means being able to put my feelings and thoughts into words. At other times, it means allowing someone to see the best in themselves. Success is relative based on the context that you’re in. Life presents you with challenges and you can choose to be successful or not.
Often victims of bullying have low self esteem and confidence in themselves. What would you say to people reading this who have been bullied? What advice do you have for them?
That’s a tough question. I will share one of my writings as a response to this question.
It’s called “Choose”.

Today, I choose to be happy. I choose to let go. I choose to be myself. To love myself. To cherish myself. Today, I choose to let go of the people whose company is toxic to my peace of mind. Today, I choose to be free. I choose to liberate my soul from the aches it’s been through. Today, I choose to stay away from closed doors. I choose not to craft a wall around my heart. I choose to decorate it with the lessons I’ve learned. I choose to paint it with respect and confidence. Today, I choose to forgive myself. For being too much of myself. For allowing myself to hurt myself. Today, I choose to embrace my flaws. I choose to accept my mistakes. Today, I choose to change. I choose to be better. I choose to move forward. I choose to guard my soul. Today, I choose to be brave. I choose to say no when saying yes hurts. Today, I choose to be wise. I choose to walk away from places I don’t belong. I choose to embrace my time. For all that is timeless is precious. All that is precious is unique. All that is unique is different. And all that is different is beautiful. Today, I choose to be beautiful.

– Najwa Zebian, Age 25

If you are interested in reading her book or finding out more, visit www.najwazebian.com
And to receive daily inspiration written by Najwa herself, follow @najwazebian on Instagram.

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