I was born in poverty. My father was the “lazy” middle child in a large family of nine siblings, all of whom grew up to become either scientists or homemakers. But my father preferred to laze around in his dream world.
I grew up witnessing a volatile relationship between a passive man and a super active woman. My parents would divorce shortly after my eleventh birthday, and my father would claim he owned everything my mother had earned by putting in hard work and tears. This included a large house, a car, and two girls studying in an elite school. He would lay claim to everything because he thought everything was his by virtue of him being “the man of the family.”
But this is not about my father alone. It’s more so about the sheer resilience of my mother, who with basic education changed her destiny and that of her two little girls.
I grew up in comfort. My schoolmates are now top models, actors, and entrepreneurs. None of them could have guessed that at the time of my birth, my mother didn’t have money to afford a doctor. Fast forward to today, I am now setting up my own business. I write part time and act as the directorate member for a local writing society.
There have been numerous highs and lows after my parents’ divorce. My mother remarried and we are blessed with another beautiful sister. From all of the lessons I have learned, there will always be three fundamental takeaways from my story:
- My story resembles that of millions of other women from developed and privileged nations, yet I come from a third-world country, known for its legendary tales of oppression.
- My mother is one of the few people who have changed the course of their destiny in the face of severe oppression.
- The universe has its own tunes. Those who live a happy life just learn to adjust their steps to dance to these universal tunes.
Since it is a little cryptic and my favorite bit, I’ll explain the last one first.
Although I fully appreciate my mother for raising us with the best clothes, food, and education, I have inherited some traits from my father that are both a blessing and a curse. I love to read and write. I love to day dream. And I tend to shy away from strenuous hard work. When I resist these traits, I feel blocked, especially In terms of expression, but the traits have a way of manifesting themselves in my everyday reality.
It could be the force with which I have tried to block out my father, which gets bounced back at me. Or I could take it as the way in which the universe is trying to show me how imperfection is part of our fabric. We cannot be someone we are not meant to be, yet we must coexist.
My parents separated a long time ago, yet now in my own imperfection, I see the hope that they could have made it together had there been someone to tell them about the subtle tunes of the universe. People like to call it karma; I think karma is a harsh word thrown around when people don’t have time to decipher the universal pattern and its meaning.
My mother will always be my savior after God. Now, being an educated and independent woman in Pakistan, I fully realize the magnitude of the efforts which she had to put in to raise us to this caliber. Sometimes, I wish that I would have the courage to show her the universal tunes that I aspire to dance to. I wish that I would follow her footsteps and become brave enough to weave a new pattern for the next generation of our family.
At this point in my life, I have nothing but gratitude for both my parents for giving me life lessons, in their own unique ways. I am grateful that I found love after hatred, joys after sorrow, and respect after scandals, all of which came to me in this beautiful country where my parents dwell and where I was born.
This is the moment in time when I am bringing all of this together—and with the strength of my mother and the dreams of my father, I am stepping up to speak the truth that the persistent courage of our actions has more profound impact on our lives than the isolated moments of violence. This is the truth—and it’s universal, no matter which part of the Earth we call our home. I hope to speak it loud and clear to my parents, in our lifetime.