Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mother's Day Special Series - Guest Posts

"My mother left a very comfortable lifestyle in the 50’s to travel to Ramtha in the North and eventually came to Amman to work as one of the first women anaesthesiologists in Jordan....after surviving three rounds of cancer, she simply said to us, 'this is the beginning of the end' and taught us strength in adversity."

Walid Zou’bi as a child with his mother ClareMaria Fawaz,
may she rest in peace

My mother inspired me by deed if not by speech; she introduced me to art, to reading and dance. She said you are never complete if you do not indulge all the senses. She instilled in me very high standards of ethics, morals and a sense of justice.

I learnt that feminism is not a dirty word and you can work and be an excellent housewife and mother. I learnt independence and that I am not at the mercy of anyone else’ opinion of me as long as I am honest and straightforward.

My mother left a very comfortable lifestyle in the 50’s to travel to Ramtha in the North (as you can imagine, it was like being in the Wild West) and then eventually came to Amman to start working as one of the first women anaesthesiologists in Jordan and for the Red Crescent and Red Cross. She was on call 24/7 and still had time to raise her three rowdy boys.

She was also an excellent cook, an artist and craftswoman, who in her later years dedicated herself to her charity work, mainly for the seasonal bazaars for the The Al-Hussein Society for the Habilitation/Rehabilitation of the Physically Challenged (AHS) as a member, and president more than once, of the Scandinavian Women of Amman.

And lest I forget, my mother was one of those women with incredible insight into human nature coupled with a really wicked sense of humour.

Perhaps one of the greatest ways my mother has impacted me is her strong sense of justice and a love for all things beautiful. She also tried to get me to be more compassionate (still working on that one mother!). She always said, “Never ever confuse the fact that you were born lucky to be that you are better than anyone. You are just lucky to be different and that’s it. If you think you are better than anyone is when you should know you are not.”

My mother was an atypical Scandinavian Valkyrie, she studied anaesthesiology, loved nature, music, art, motorbikes and dance (she studied classical ballet and ballroom dancing), she made sure that there were always plenty of books, records and art supplies in the house and also made sure that we visited museums and art exhibitions whenever on holiday.

Caring and loving, she was also a humanitarian. With an O-blood type, she often gave her own blood in emergencies to newborns. Without hesitation, she would roll up her sleeve, put the cannula in her own arm and transfuse the blood to the blue babies as they were known (that’s the kind of woman she was).

My mother was a realist – after surviving three rounds of cancer, including lung, she simply said to us, ”this is the beginning of the end” and taught us strength in adversity and how not to get over emotional and hysterical. Keep your head high and have dignity, she always said, but laugh at yourself when possible. She also taught us that when faced with a problem, you must see the problem, acknowledge the problem, deal with the problem and solve it, if possible, and then move on. Do not dwell on it and never internalize.

My mother passed away in August 2006 and I had a creative block for several years until my Godmother said to snap out of it! "Your mother wouldn’t like to see you like this!" And so I did.

I am a renaissance person – I studied Fashion Design, Commercial Art, Beauty Therapy and Art Therapy. I sing, I dance, I perform, I write and I paint.

Thanks to my mother, I broke boundaries and went into my own business as one of the first Styling Image Consultants in Jordan. I design makeup for films and I teach it too; at the time, it was a nontraditional job for a society brat but my mother encouraged me.

And yes, I stand before the world as an unabashed feminist (the Naomi Wolf kind) and for that, I have to thank my mother.

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