Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria Haddad.
Hi Maria, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I moved from New York to Los Angeles in 2017 when I realized a chapter in my life desperately needed to close. I had been working as a design director for a wonderful design agency but knew I needed more freedom and flexibility in my life. I also needed to explore the undeveloped sides of myself. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I was so alone in a city that felt so spread out, and it was a time when I really started moving inward more than ever to examine myself. New challenges arose here, and parts of myself started to awaken in ways they could not before. I started writing in order to navigate the workings of my heart. Poetry started to pour out of me. It was so incredibly healing to turn these painful processes into something so beautiful. Through this process, my first published book, Jasmine Water was born.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course, I’ve had so many external hurdles come my way but when I think back, my greatest struggles have been very internal. I call it the “earth angel” complex. I think a lot of empathic people struggle with this. I constantly felt the need to self-sacrifice and serve others in order to feel loved or worthy. I didn’t know how to say no, I felt responsible for others and their feelings, and I just desperately needed to learn to love myself. It has been a complicated emotional ride towards more freedom from within. And of course, the hurdles keep coming! I guess that’s what makes the human experience so interesting. The highs and lows create a dynamic life.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Thank you! I definitely express who I am through many mediums, but I’d like to focus on my book of poetry and prose I wrote and published called Jasmine Water. The book reflects my personal experiences and thoughts navigating my relationship with myself, the people around me, the earth, and God. My hope is that it will help people feel into the depths of their own lives and also comfort those who are moving through their own difficult circumstances. I hope it makes one’s pain feel seen and heard, and also gives hope for the light on the other side. Jasmine Water has really been an outpouring of love and pain and joy from my heart. I can be really critical about myself, but this is a book I keep returning to over and over again, reading through, and saying, “God, I’m so glad I wrote this”.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey, born to loving parents that immigrated to the US from Syria. I was instilled with a lot of middle eastern values as a child, which was both beautiful, but also made it a challenge to merge traditional Arabic values and expectations with modern suburban America. I was always a very creative, free expressive spirit and loved the arts. I loved singing, drawing, and painting and was a sensitive child in a world that didn’t understand, value, or nurture that quality. I always felt a crushing pressure to be something I was not. It was freeing to go to art school later in life and meet so many other creative souls that felt similarly out of place. The desire for self-expression has always been there and has taken on many different forms throughout my life.
- $22.00 on Amazon and Barnes and Nobles
- Website: www.maria-haddad.com
- Instagram: @mjhalo
- Other: https://www.amazon.com/Jasmine-Water-Healing-Spiritual-Awakening/dp/1662904738
(image of open book with magnifying glass and blue bottle) taken by Lauren Jennings