You Cannot Shame Me for Choosing to Dream

Aysh Khan
Posted March 7, 2018 from Pakistan

 

I am writing after a long time because I prefer to write on real life incident because in this way, I can communicate with heart. I do feel every word I write. On 2nd March 2018, I attended a zoom meeting with World Pulse members. The incident I am going to write about has been happened before the meeting but I had no idea that I will write about it. But when Stella Paul said, “Write everything you feel whatever it is, its happiness, anger, joy, and love whatever it is, do share” then I decided to write my feelings. I am going to share about the things I am suffering now a day and they have made me feel so deeply hurt and angry. On the other side, they made me courageous than before.

I, Aysh Khan belong to a lower middle class family of Pakistan. My father was a very poor fruit seller and we had money just to meet our daily expenses. Due to shortage of money, my education was never a priority for my father. But I was fond of studies so with my mother’s unending support, I somehow continued. My father died when I was in 8th standard. After his death my relatives wanted me to leave study and get married. They forced my mother for this but she rejected their idea and preferred my passion for education. I did matric and intermediate from government institutes of my town where education is almost free. After my intermediate, one of my cousin brothers helped me financially to complete my graduation from university. He wanted me to be independent for myself and for my family. Since then I have done multiple jobs and still doing. With that I also get Masters degrees on my own.

I am proudly writing that I worked really hard and chose my dreams over society restrictions. I travelled on local rickshaws and busses during university days for 4 years. Even after getting job, I have same source of travel since 5 years. I am mentioning it because in Pakistan, local travel is one of most dangerous things for a girl. You have to face hundreds of men’s eyes on you who will look you in most inappropriate way from head to toe, you have to ignore their whistles and keep walking because other option is to sit home. Some of them can be so desperate that they will harass you or try to touch you. You can yell at them but they will smile as they have completed their mission to scare you. I have faced all of this and have been brave with the passage of time. Now I don’t get scared with their eyes rather I start looking into their eyes with anger, it embarrasses them and I can sense that. I had option to sit idle at home and get married with any boy my family chooses as other girls of my family do. But I thought beyond that and wanted well for all my family members. There were some marriage proposals came in my way during all these years but I had different priorities so I kept my focus over there.

Now I am 26 years old and all of my relatives are forcing my mother to find a spouse for me. Whenever I or my mother meets any of them, they ask, when Aysh is getting married. Have not you seeing any boy for her? She is getting old. They made me feel like I am not good enough to fit in the society while being single at this age. Nobody asks me “how are you or your mother?” They say, get married as your mother’s health is not so good now and God forbid if something bad happens to her, you will be alone and that’s not good for you.

Nobody encourages me for the work I have done or doing. With my 9 to 5 job, I support my family expenses and my sister's education. I also work with Zephaniah Free Education where we are changing women's life for better through education and empowerment. While I am getting recognition and encouragement on international level, my relatives try to put me down. They say that after a specific age, you won’t get good proposals and you have to compromise. I can’t tell in words, how much it hurts. They say that your husband and in laws will have no interest in your degrees, your job and the society work you do. They have only one concern that how well you can do home chores and can take care of them.

Some days before, they suggested a proposal and tried to convince me for it. That boy has not done even matric. They asked to me, what you will do with his education? They do not understand that he will not support my work as he will not understand its importance for me and my soul. When I rejected the proposal, they all became very angry and said that you have no respect for elders and your education ruined you as a girl. They have almost boycotted me. One of my uncles said that he will not attend my marriage if I marry a guy who is not of our caste. Though I am not in relationship with any boy but it made me feel so deeply hurt. I cried days and nights after listening this. I love these people all my life. I never broke their trust. I just worked for me and my family’s betterment. But still I find myself not fitting between them. They all have made a distance to me and said that you do not love us so you rejected our suggestion for your life.

I feel my soul has been shattered and I never found myself so alone ever before. While I am making new friends through digital technology and getting recognition and love from people who live in other sides of world, my own family disowns me. I cannot tell my pain to mother as she is a hepatitis patient and any kind of tension is not good for her health. She became widow when she was 39 years old and she spent her life for her children. Now I want her to make as happy as I can. But this society tries to set limits for me and wants me to follow their opinions.

My question is from all those people who set patterns for a woman. Who are you to tell us that education is necessary for us or not? Who are you to define a certain age for marriage? Who are you to decide whether women should do job or not? Why women can’t go out after evening?  Who are you to make me feel that whatever I have achieved is not important until I have a man besides me? You cannot tell me what dreams I should have. You want to know my limits? Its beyond skies.

God has given this life to me and He will find a spouse for me and send him in my life at perfect time with perfect reasons. If He has written that I will stay single, I am completely happy with that too. I am not wasting my days rather I am using every moment for betterment of as much people as I can including myself. God has showed this way to me and I am proud of my life. I have lived like a warrior. After the death of my father and my younger brother, I did not sit back rather I fought back and came out brighter on other side. So if you think that by making me alone you can break me, you are wrong. You cannot ruin my life by putting such pressure on me. I will not get married in fear of staying alone. I will not let you to destruct me just to be perfect in your eyes. I see myself complete and that’s enough. You cannot shame me because I choose my dreams. The thing which should be changed is perspective of people who set such patterns for women.

 

To all my readers including men and women, I request all of you to stop being judgmental if you are. Do not force any one to take decisions of their lives according to your will. You have no idea what kind of battles they are fighting in their lives. If you can’t be helpful, at least be kind.

And my specific massage for all those women who are facing problems and hurdles like me or in any other way, stay strong and trust your God. On this international Women’s day, make promise to yourself that you will do whatever you feel good for you and you would not be embarrassed for choosing yourself. Go, get education, be independent and help world to be a better place to live. Be proud of yourself and never compromise just because it’s easy. Why fit in? When you are born to stand out.

 

This post was submitted in response to You Are a Silence Breaker..

Comments 40

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Evelyn Fonkem
Mar 07
Mar 07

Wow sister great article I am happy the society didn't restrict your dreams.You stand tall out of the crowd to be who you are today great job

Aysh Khan
Mar 08
Mar 08

Thank you Evelin for reading and encouragement.. :) <3

moyna
Mar 07
Mar 07

Aysh, you are a beacon to women in Pakistan! Go for it! You deserve to fulfill your dreams the way you want and no man is the bestower of that....only you can do it!

Aysh Khan
Mar 08
Mar 08

Dear Moyna,
Thanks to you for reading and understanding. Such encouragement is my strength... <3

Hi Aysh. Thanks for sharing your amazing story, photo and encouragement:-) Happy International Women's Day, too!!

Aysh Khan
Mar 08
Mar 08

Thank you so so much for reading and encouragement.. Love you a lot. Happy Women's day too.. <3

You're very welcome, hon:) XOXO

Jafreen Alamgir
Mar 07
Mar 07

All women should follow their dreams. Happy International Women's Day!

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

I believe so... Happy Women's Day to you too... :)

Pollyanna
Mar 07
Mar 07

Ah Aysh, your words make me cry. You are an amazing warrior woman. I am utterly inspired by your courage. Thank you for sharing your story. xx

Aysh Khan
Mar 07
Mar 07

Dear Polly, Sisters like you are a true strength of mine. Thank you for understanding.. :) <3

Jensine Larsen
Mar 07
Mar 07

What a moving expression of your deepest soul Aysh. You your journey and determination is for a higher purpose - your path will inspire so many others. Society can change, the more strong voices like yours emerge. I believe that. Keep going.

Aysh Khan
Mar 07
Mar 07

Thank you so much Jensine for reading and encouragement.
You are a lady who inspires me a lot. You taught the best use of technology to thousands of women in the world.. <3
I will definitely keep writing... :)

Lily Habesha
Mar 08
Mar 08

Aysh,
What are you talking about? I think there are many women who pass through same path in life. It seems sombody's life from Ethiopia which I'm reading here.
Don't allow anybody to take the leadership of your life. match makers everywhere, telling your potential is also others job, who are they? Do they know who they are and what they need in their lives?
I think , they don't. But, they think they know the best for you and me.
Keep walking, and your right man will come out of the blue.
Never ever feel ashamed, abandoned or alone in your community.
I'm here in Addis, The other twin of yours.
Love
From Ethiopia

Lily

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

Dear Lily,
I think this is the problem of every country where men do not believe that women have opinions or they should express it. They want to treat us as commodities. So it will take time and hard work to stand for ourselves. But we have to start it and remain consistent. Thats how we can change future of our next generations so girls after us will not have to face these issues.

Love from Pakistan <3
Aysh
Features Story Teller, Vocal Contributor and Encourager at World Pulse

Lily Habesha
Mar 10
Mar 10

Aysh,
That's the point. To make a better world to the next generation.

if God will, we shall live.

Lily

Aunty Quack
Mar 08
Mar 08

Wow. You are so strong, so determined and so wise. You need no affirmation from us as your own wisdom shines like a beacon of strength and light to illuminate the darkness of traditions that have been holding women down for generations. Good for you, warrior woman goddess. Much love to you.

Aysh Khan
Mar 12
Mar 12

Awww... Love your words.. So so encouraging of you.. thanks a lot.. love you :)

Vivian Emesowum
Mar 08
Mar 08

My sister, you are a strong young woman who is determined to make to change not only your family but the world. Go girl, you are great, doing so much at young.

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

Thanks for encouragement.. Love you
Aysh

Rupal
Mar 08
Mar 08

Dear Aysh, I love you. I love your strength and I am so immensely proud of you.
Thank you for sharing this with us, this will inspire so many including me:)

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

Hey Rupal,
Thats really sweet of you. I really appreciate your kind words.. Love you too.
Sisters like you are my strength. <3

Sister Zeph
Mar 08
Mar 08

This was so powerful Ayesha your question is a question of every other girl in Pakistan but no one else has this much courage to raise her voice as you have , thank you for being who you are

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

Sister Zeph,
Its an honor that you have read it as I know you are always a very busy woman.
Thank you for your words. They matter a lot.

Powerful piece, Aysh! You wrote it exactly how it should be written: FROM THE HEART.

You are Pakistan's Brave Warrior. May all women in your country find the courage you possess so they will be free from other people's control over them.

You are a generous woman for working to help your family. It truly hurts when you are misunderstood as being disrespectful, when all you want is to become the best version of YOU. That is your choice. Be free! Soar high so when the women see you fly, they will also learn to grow their wings and soar with you.

Thank you for sharing your story.

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

Hey Karen,
Thank you so so much for reading this and understanding my feelings.. I truly appreciate your words.
Love

My pleasure, Aysh. Please keep writing!

Leina
Mar 08
Mar 08

Thank you so much for being yourself dear Ayesha.Do you and let their opinions be their problem.I wish all women could have this mindset!You are a beacon!Keep shinning sis!

Aysh Khan
Mar 09
Mar 09

Thank you Liena for reading and appreciating
I second your words. All women should stand for themselves.
You yourself is an inspiration for many.. :)

Tuesday Scott
Mar 12
Mar 12

You are an incredible young woman, Aysh! Please know that millions of people around the world agree with your views on a woman's right to choose her path. Stay strong, stay safe.

Aysh Khan
Mar 12
Mar 12

Thats really encouraging.. Thank you for reading and appreciating.. :)

Adanna
Mar 12
Mar 12

Dear Aysh,

Nice one!

You are a star sister and I love the way you tell your story.

You know who you are and what you want, I admire that!

Please stay strong!

Love,
Adanna

Aysh Khan
Mar 12
Mar 12

Hey Adanna,
I am really thankful that you have read and encouraged my story. People like you are my strength.
Love you

Aysh

soul on fire
Mar 13
Mar 13

Dear Aysh
I can feel your pain, in one way or another my relatives try to put me down, it hurts, you grow up watching them and you consider them family but as you start to become an adult you see the mask they are wearing.
So keep dreaming and keep achieving and most importantly keep fighting and one day some will change and some will vanish from your life as they realize that you are not a force to be played with, and trust me on that. it will take some time but yeah it will happen.

aria_2
Mar 12
Mar 12

Thank you for being so inspiring. You make me want to keep going when times get tough and never give up trying! Sending you lots of love!

Aysh Khan
Mar 12
Mar 12

Wow.. That is the message I want to send everyone in this world.. <3

Cheyenne Summer
Mar 19
Mar 19

Your views on career and marriage remind me so much of myself. My friends in America are so focused on a set time to be married and have children. I feel that if God wants me to be married and/or to have children then I will and it will be on His timing, not my own. Keep getting an education, girls and women in Pakistan are going to notice what you are doing for your family and they are going to want to do the same. Keep making a difference! I pray that your family begins to respect and have love for you. Bless.

Ndimofor Aretas
Apr 08
Apr 08

Dear Aysh,

Thank you for sharing your story.

I was very touched by the part where you said you couldn't fit in or understand your family members though you grew up with them.

I understand what it feels like when people who are supposed to understand you are instead the first to reject you. I have a family member who I grew up with from childhood, but today, we are like strangers because I decided not to think and act like the other members of the family. I have big dreams of impacting my community in a positive way. But they want me to stop dreaming and just be like them with no ambitions.

I support your resolution to wait for God's time to bring you the right partner who will support your work.
I always tell my friends that the problem is not GETTING MARRIED the real challenge is in STAYING MARRIED....
It is better to remain single than to get married to the wrong partner!

I encourage you to live your dreams and "shoot for the moon!". The sky is your starting point!

Anjana Vaidya
Apr 08
Apr 08

My dear Aysh,

What a powerful girl you are. An only request for you to continue your faith and being same always.
My life quite resonates as yours, I had gone through the similar experience as yours……. believe me you will lead a very great life further. So just keep believing on yourself. Choice should be always yours, what type of life you want to lead (single or married, if married, at what age, with whom and when- it’s all your decision only). You will surely find a right person at right time, until then ignore whatever people says, listen to your heart and instinct and follow your dream.

Much more love and best regards,
Anjana

Loreen Meda
Apr 09
Apr 09

My sister you are a marvel, a strength like that only comes from God. You family is just trying to conquer you. Even their choice of a husband is to thaw you and not for you interest.

Salute
In sisterhood