Finding the courage to live your life, your way

Aiisha Ramadan

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I was ten years old when I looked into the mirror one day after being bullied at school and said to myself “You’re too plain and there’s nothing special about you. You’re not gonna amount to much.”

With an incredibly warm family, who has embraced me at my best and at my worst, I now find it difficult to link the source of these poisonous thoughts to some random bullying. It was deeply rooted in my subconscious mind because I remember having this conversation with myself on more than an occasion. Then things took a wild turn.

While I was on a one-month-promotional job in 2002, I stumbled upon a couple of gentlemen who worked at MBC Group and who insisted I’d be fit for a job that could benefit me. Meanwhile, I was waiting for my curriculum to arrive from the American University in Atlanta, where I was supposed to obtain a higher degree in Fashion Design and Marketing. I took the job and the few months I was prepared for grew into 16 years, still counting.

Four years later I felt ready to start my own fashion business alongside the full time job. So I rented a shop that I could hardly afford and with no experience in the business world of fashion, I went from extreme loss to extreme gain and so on.

I was driven by passion not knowing whether I wanted to be a designer or a brand, I didn’t even know the difference. However, I knew I was blessed with talents and throwing them away would have been my own way of denying the greatness of the Universe.

So I worked like a tireless battery, day and night.

Fast forward to 2018, I got my brand featured on international TV stations, such as CNN, BBC and Al Arabiya. Celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez and Charlize Theron among others have worn my dresses. I was awarded by prestigious organizations and I saw my collections around the world. Yet, I still managed to doubt myself and a lot of times, seriously considered quitting.

Why was that even an option?

While my family stood by me from the start, there was a time when they could no longer take my constant absence from home. They missed me. Therefore, they pressured me into a corner and I almost felt defeated. It was at that moment that I saw two options. The first was to be taken by the emotional plead of my family’s need to spend more time with me. The second was to take the core of their intervention and balance it out with my dream.

Needless to say, I took the second option because after all it was my life. Those sleepless nights over the past decade and a half taught me what no Harvard could have ever taught me. That sweat from carrying 20 KG of clothes on my back for hours every day gave my dreams its backbone. Those long days away from my daughter made me more determined to succeed, to be her role more and to teach her that no one will believe in her if she didn’t believe in herself.

The real change came when my purpose in life stopped revolving around MY success. It was when I asked myself how can I use that success to help others, that everything started falling in its place.

I’ve been called superwoman for running my own business in parallel with my full time job at Al Arabiya TV for 16 years as well as having a family. This incredibly rich journey took a lot of support and help from people. Some of whom are still in my life, others I can’t even remember their names anymore, but without them, the road would have probably been rockier. The bottom (thick) line is, always reach out to others with love because what goes around comes around.

Also, if it wasn’t for listening to my intuition, that low voice that whispers “keep going” among the loud noise surrounding it, none of the opportunities that came my way would have ever mattered. Finally, the earlier you connect to your soul, the sooner you find your own purpose in life, and that is everything!

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