THRIVE is an AIWA project dedicated to highlighting individuals who are doing remarkable things in their personal and professional lives to better themselves and those around them. These individuals are inspiring, dynamic, innovative and interesting. Today, we feature fine artist, writer, storyteller, and nurse, Mariette Tachdjian.
Mariette Tachdjian is a Registered Nurse (RN) with a Master’s in nursing/healthcare administration (UCLA). She is also a self-trained artist. Currently working as an independent visual artist, and studying towards a degree in art history.
Born in Beirut at the dawn of the first Lebanese civil war, she spent her earliest years alongside her father whose medical work informed her about the importance of services to others. They fled Beirut as refugees, and Mariette spent part of her childhood in Montreal, and then Los Angeles. Mariette had an early interest in art and writing, but turned away art schools in favor of a career in nursing. After 2 decades in healthcare, she felt burnt out, unfulfilled, and ineffective. She then had a wake up call, her creative voice amplified and she realized her true gifts and fulfillment came from her art, writing, and storytelling. Today she spends the majority of her time painting, and writing, while doing some consulting on the side, for medical professionals. She has exhibited in local art shows, as well as overseas in Italy, and has several projects in the works, including a current portrait project called the Wall of Armenian Women (Grounded Coffee Cup) series.
Q: How has the Armenian culture influenced you?
I was that odd immigrant kid in a sea of native white Angelenos (when ethnic diversity was not as celebrated as it is now). I rarely spoke about being Armenian, but spoke my language at home. I was keenly aware of the challenges laid before me, both academically, as well as in the social graces. Later, as I started to learn more about our history and our diaspora, I began to gain a deeper appreciation of the specialness of our ancient roots. Mrs Hermine Maserejian’s “Armenian Culture” Class at CSUN was an elective I took by chance during my bachelor program. I felt something when I noticed that non-Armenian students were also enrolled. This impressed me. I felt quite proud to be there. To date, hers were the first and most memorable lectures which helped me gain a broader understanding of my own history. Having Armenian roots has also taught me about the importance of storytelling. Armenians are great storytellers, and we need to do more of it. Stories not passed down are stories lost forever.
Q: What is your life philosophy?
ALWAYS KEEP EXPLORING. Don’t be afraid to try something new. We lose vitality when we stop exploring and learning.
HOPE for the future: I think the future is right now. We can make 5-10-15 year plans, but the time to take action is now.
Whether that is advocating for a cause, or planting a seed now to grow something later, or starting to write down your family story for that ‘some day’. Everything that is happening happens “now”.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being Armenian?
That random moment you meet another Armenian anywhere in the world and go, “Oh! You too?”. That is a pretty neat feeling.
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