You have been dictating my life from the moment I opened my eyes. Your first words to me were: larki hai, koi nai agli dafa larka ho jaye ga.Even though my parents could not be happier, you were always there in the shadows calculating and undermining. You were there affecting my first friendships in preschool. While my friends prepared and went to Aitchison (boys’ school), I was left behind without an equal opportunity or equal ground to compete on. You were there right behind the parents group advocating for a girls’ section so we could be safer or protected. You were protecting yourself!
You made many of my friends leave my co-ed school to go to all girls’ school and I cried every year on losing my best friend. You were so over-powering; I did not even know it was your doing. You dictated my dressing, my outings, my basic liberties. You made me afraid to be a girl!
I write to you today to say I refuse to let you run my life anymore. I am ending the dark shadow hovering in the corner all the time. I will fight you and earn the respect I deserve as a human being, not be judged because of my gender. Today I refuse to be showed down and dictated. Today I will embrace my own power and I refuse to bow down.
Today we say goodbye. I will expose you and fight your complex social structures whenever I can. I recognize you now and I will not be held back and pulled down by your cruel invisible strings. Today I fly free.