Nabila (52)

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‘The word "surrender" is not in my vocabulary’

‘My name is Nabila and I am a wife, a mother of three and an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. My family and my company are very important to me, they give meaning to my life.  I feel blessed when I can share my happiness with others.

Many years ago, my family was my whole world; my “bubble”, in a manner of speaking. But then, because of everything I experienced over the years and the challenges I encountered, I grew bolder and more courageous. I decided to embark on an adventure and opened my own clothing shop. My shop is only a few meters away from my house and there, you can find me arranging my collections and mixing and matching the outfits. It started as a small business, but over time we have expanded and we added an online store.

What I love most about my work is the interaction with people: my clients and my employees. I am also very pleased that my shop is creating job opportunities for young people within my community. There may be a socioeconomic crisis in Lebanon, but I am doing everything in my power to make sure that the business survives and thrives. It’s far from easy, as I’m sure you can imagine. But such is life in Lebanon.

When I’m facing problems and challenges, that’s when I feel powerful. The word "surrender" is not in my vocabulary. My family’s lives would have been completely different if it weren’t for my independence, my control of our finances and the way I combine the organisation of my household and my business. I protect my family. If I would not do that, our way of living would not be the same.

As I’m getting older, I am becoming stronger. My family and friends trust me and see me as an example of a powerful female role model. Over time, I have learned that not everyone can be trusted. I had people in my life who I thought were my friends, but who turned out to be the opposite. I have learned from these experiences though, and I have become more careful.

It’s true that I often make others laugh, but that does not mean that life has always been easy. There have been times that I cried on the inside. But I never let it show. I feel vulnerable when I’m not in control. When that happens, I take some time, sit by myself and face the situation head on. I don’t want to show my vulnerability. My family relies on me and admire my strength. If there is an issue, I look at myself in the mirror and remind myself that I will be able to handle the situation. Because if I can’t, our home will simply fall apart.

I believe that the basis of femininity lies in integrity. To me, a woman is a real woman if she takes care of her responsibilities. If she cannot handle her responsibilities, she is not a proper woman. For me personally it means that my husband and I share all our tasks.

I feel it is important to be transparent within your family and to have an open and clear way of communicating. Motherhood... Oh, it’s not possible to describe my feelings about motherhood. It is such an overwhelming journey, in every way possible. You learn each step of the way: from pregnancy to giving birth to breastfeeding and then the children’s upbringing. When I became a mother, I finally understood my mother’s concerns and my brother’s fears for me. It’s important to mention that marriage is a whole new life. Marriage requires maturity and preparation. Then, you will learn even more about motherhood.

In my opinion, a strong woman is independent. She’s determined to reach her goals and, when she reaches them, to reach even further. I see my mother as my role model. She had clear values and she raised her family according to these values. My late father was also an inspiration to me. He was a great man and a great example. He always supported me and he showed me the meaning of unconditional sacrifice. The people around me, my close family and friends, they consider me a good listener and a happy and cheerful person. Someone who comforts them in times of need and who supports them without judging them.

The status of women has become better in our society. We are more valued and we are more empowered. Women have started to reach decision-making positions. We have female ministers now and female parliament members. But when it comes to rights for the elderly, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Elderly are still marginalised. They are not benefitting from indemnities and their healthcare support is lacking.

In my spare time, I enjoy being creative. I like to crochet and to create decorations for my home. Crafting helps to reduce stress. Let me show you my family photographs, especially this one, with my husband. In a few weeks, we will be celebrating our wedding anniversary. An anniversary is a wonderful occasion to remind ourselves – and by that I mean my husband and myself – of our commitment to each other. By the way, I love surprises and I hope he is preparing a good one!

I won’t deny it, with time passing, I do fear being left alone. My children are busy, they have their own lives, they are preparing for their future careers. As for my legacy, I would like to be remembered as a supportive woman. Someone who empowered others. I still have many dreams and hopes. I want to expand our clothing shop and I want to witness the success of my children. As a final thought, I would like to tell the younger generations, wherever they are, to always be kind and to make a great impact. Always remember: what comes easy, won’t last long and what lasts long won’t come easy.’

LEB_Nabila (6)

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