Poet Najwa Zebian on sharing your voice and feeling your feelings
Najwa Zebian, poet, advocate, author of the book Mind Platter and Lebanese Canadian, was recently thrown into the spotlight when her poetic #MeToo Tweet went viral via New York Times, CBS News, the Times of India.
Today, Najwa shares her life, her incredibly moving poetry and an invitation to feel our feelings, own our stories and share our voices.
- John mentions this Goalcast video that shares his story.
- John mentions hearing Najwa’s story through her Goalcast video.
- Get Najwa’s books Mind Platter and The Nectar of Pain.
- “When excluded from activities, I felt like it was my fault. This is something not only children internalize, but that adults do too.”
- “I couldn’t understand what I was going through. That pushed me to find other means to express myself.”
- “Belonging is a basic human need.”
- I had good grades, good manners. I convinced myself that settling for that was enough.
- There’s no progressing in life if you don’t come to terms with your story.
- Even the strongest of us go through moments where we feel let down or taking advantage of.
- Just to visualize it: These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb. I gives me so much power.
- I must believe in myself before I expect anyone else to believe in me. I must raise my own voice and not expect someone to fight for me.
- To get heard, I was the one who had to raise my voice. There wasn’t anyone saying, you’ve been going through a hard time, is there anything I can do.
- I can’t expect anyone to lead me. I need to start paving that road.
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Najwa Zebian on how she became a writer:
- “On my 13th birthday, I had one friend who I only saw at school because we did not live in the same village. She gave me a journal. It was the first time I wrote my feelings out on paper. It was weird at first… unfamiliar. I found myself going back to it day after day. It became the home that I was searching for because nobody was telling me that I was being too sensitive or that I shouldn’t be feeling that way.”
- “They didn’t want to be here, but felt like they had to be grateful. They felt out of place and made to feel that they were not good enough.” Najwa said of her Libyan students in Canada. “I started to write to help them feel empowered. I thought I was writing for them, but I was writing to heal my 16 year old self. That was a pivotal moment.”
If you enjoyed Najwa’s story of advocacy, owning your story and using your voice, check out Ep. #82 with Christine Caine.
NAJWA ZEBIAN’S LIVE INSPIRED 7
1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? The Prophet. I love hat it talks about elements of love and life and purpose and friendship and that it’s timeless. It was written decades ago and if I were to read it in 2000 years, it would still make sense.
2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? Innocence. When I was young I used to take everything at face value. I wouldn’t hesitate to smile. If I saw someone struggling, I’d get emotional and try to help them.
3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? My journal.
4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? My grandma. I lived with her and I remember so many lessons that she taught me as a child. She would tell me old stories of going through the war and what she learned about life. I never got a chance to give her a proper good bye.
5. What is the best advice you’ve ever received? I need to put myself first in order to be able to give to others. When I feel depleted, it’s because I didn’t honor my boundaries.
6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Forgive yourself for being hard on yourself and tying your happiness to whether or not people welcomed you into their lives.
7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? Truly lived and owned her own story.
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If you like this podcast, you will love Live Inspired IN STUDIO. It’s my membership community where like-minded friends join me via live webcast to live inspired together. Registration opens soon! Join the waitlist.