As a child who loved to grab those coloring pencils and drawing on my school notebooks, imitating the cartoons I saw on TV. The feelings that I had holding these pencils fistful and moving my hands across the paper. The rusty scratches of the pencil tips across that smooth paper. Growing up between 3 big brothers I had to fight for my seat on the table. I always had to fight for my right proving I am strong. I had no one to confide in or talk to I found it hard to express what I feel in words. The moment I touch the pencil every ounce of my soul is poured into that piece of paper, Such a small paper yet so much soul and emotions it carries. " I FOUND IT! " The way that perfectly portrays that overflowing emotions trapped in that little body. Growing in a conservative society nevertheless, female, was challenging. I felt like a lone soldier in war.
Hear my story, witness dreams coming true.
Now, to some of you this may seem like a completely normal story. but to some, it might inspire them to follow their dreams no matter what. And that is the goal of me telling this story.
Art is appreciated in all cultures and all religions. Imagine being a passionate artist amidst a society that says drawing is " Forbidden ". Seeing my drawing torn apart and crossed out... it was crushing. Those part of my soul is being destroyed. I became more and more of a lone-wolf. just me and my notebook. I still did not give up on drawing. Even though, I knew there was no hope for this to be a lifetime career. There was no education for it, no appreciation. It made to prove myself even more. I know I am hard headed and stubborn, and that has its consequences, but it also has its magic. I started making "Statements" through my drawings. And I participated in multiple Art Contests and Galleries. The harder I tried to prove my self, the harder the challenge got. People started showing more art, and it was more accepted than before. Seeing that change happening, the feeling is astonishing that I cannot find any words to explain it.
Knowing that this was hopeless to be a career path where I live, I had other dreams that I was extremely passionate about. I wanted to be a Neurosurgeon (Ironically). I even started reading medicine books in high school. 2 of my brothers were already practicing medicine. And as the hard headed me, I wanted to part of that and be better than them.
Hats off, silky robes, racing heartbeats, chanting and cheering. you hear name being called "Lujain Khayyat" and you walk down that path all peoples' eyes fixated at you. Your family cheering for you on their seats. Seeing their smiles and how proud they are of me. I couldn't hide the grin that tore my face from ear to ear. I graduated high school. Little did I know of what was coming ahead of me.
I applied for medicine school for college. Now like I said, growing up in a conservative society, it was tough for a girl to practice medicine. Thinking that she will be too busy to get married or have children. My family did not like the idea of me being single for life. They fought this decision to the last moment. They had other dreams for me. My dad wanted me to be an architect so I could take over his work. My mother wanted me to be lawyer or a dentist. I still stood by me decision.
I got into that car to go to the university to finish all process needed for admission. who would've though, in the 50 c. summer heat. I get a call that my mother is very sick and was admitted to the hospital. Goodbye, medicine school. Yes, if I had to choose between my dream or my mother, I will always choose my mother. I missed the only chance to get into medicine school. I was devastated, crushed and hopeless.
Having sibling who are close to you, is a very beautiful thing. My brother, told me " Lujain, you are very talented. Do not waste your talent, why don't you apply for graphic design? "
I personally thought it was ridiculous. I am not going to apply to a private college with these spoiled ,rich air-heads. But, I did it anyways. so I am a spoiled, rich air-head. I don't care how people look or think of me. I had to keep me applying to graphic design a secret from my parents. I started going to college. few months later, after so much hard work and determination. I earned myself a scholarship. The next day I printed the scholarship and decided to leave it on my father's desk. my father was so mad at me that he did not speak to me for days. so yet, the challenge has become much more harder. I had to prove to my parents that I made the right decision.
During my second year in graphic design, something felt missing. This was not enough for me. And I had just learned that a new department is open "Motion Graphics". Now being the first to be in this path is hard. you're scared that it will not be as you expected, and you will be a lab rat for the next generations. I went to the counselor, I had to take few exams to determine what is the best path for me. When she asked me why I wanted to change my major. I showed her my drawings. She grabbed my hands and dragged me to the dean's office. I though I was in trouble, so I geared up and was ready to fight like I am used to. Surprisingly, the counselor and the dean both were amazed and were speechless and the demanded I transfer high away.
Now, being a lab rat. As much as it feels unfair, it still taught me that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to. The instructors were sadly unexperienced, so we had to self learn throughout my years in college. Instructors believe that student will do exactly as instructed, never less, but also never more. Each time I got a project brief, I always try to make it more challenging and unique that any other student. I tried to learn by myself so much more than any other student, I had to work more than any other students. The instructors and the department head, thought of it as being rebellious and out of boundaries. I was accused of plagiarism, I was failed for no reason. but I had to fight through it all. And I did it, I graduated with a GPA of 4.27 / 5
Everything I went through so far, felt so little when I entered the work life. this is where it all begins, the adventure, the real challenge.
The world is filled with different people that you will encounter. People who turn out the best of friends. And people who will eat you alive.
All I can say is: Stay strong!! Never give up. Never. And the unexpected will be achieved.