Monthly Archives: September 2011

Live

Enter thoughts here:

I have been able to reinforce my belief that regardless of who you encounter and what their relation to you is, everyone is capable of teaching you things you did not know or fully understand before. This means that it does not matter if a person is one you dislike, like, or love. The potential for learning is always there.

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She breathes

Portrait of Mukhtar Mai, Education and Women's...

Image by United Nations Photo via Flickr

She must be allowed to be who she truly is and not be defined by labels awarded to her.

I speak of this having seen patriarchal Pakistan and other Middle Eastern-esque social systems such as Afghanistan dealing with their women differently. I do know that culturally Middle Eastern countries like to label their women and have strictly defined roles for every woman to fill, regardless of her personality and need to be who she really is. Should she dare try to define any given role in terms of her individuality, she runs the risk of being called a whore, which she is anyway since she is a woman,  but you know it becomes official once she takes the initiative to do things her way.

I must make myself clear that I am differentiating between all women, from women living in Middle Eastern-esque societies. Because it means different things to be treated unfairly in the United States. Here, unfair treatment would mean things like not being paid as much as a man would be paid for doing the same work or not being able to move as far along a career path as a man would, in the same line of work.  Which granted, is unfair to women in the United States, but quite honestly not of my primary concern here. Because I do believe things are changing for women in the US, and I think women do what they want, and achieve as much as men do. Which is great. They can do whatever they want, with whomever they want to, whenever they want. Awesome, it should be that way. It makes me happy that it is so, since a woman is essentially as willed of a human being as a man is.

Thus I do not count women in the United States as being particularly prevented from being who they want to be. Going back to my concern for women from Middle Eastern cultures. The disparity in the attitude towards a woman varies between subcultures within a culture too. All women are not underprivileged the same way. Some experience a more relaxed social atmosphere and much more acceptance for being who she is, while others can find themselves dealing with harsh punishments for things she has no idea she has done wrong.

For example, while living in Pakistan, the subculture that I lived in was breathable in comparison to what the Pakistani woman living in rural Punjab could experience. Think Mukhtar Mai, who was gang raped and marched around the village naked for a social misappropriation she did not commit.

Within the same country, the overall attitude towards women, mildly put, is quite impaired. It bothers me, this unevenness. I wish something would be done. I’d like to magically wipe away the spots.

I don’t believe in fighting or violence. Those things produce unfruitful results and consequences that are far worse than the root issue. I think the most effective and most needed form of change must be achieved within a woman’s head.

Just like right here, I’m saying I want to think about being a Pakistani woman in a positive, liberated way, so that no matter what my situation may be, I perform exactly as I wish, within my own capacity. I will define how to play a role I choose for myself, not you. If I’m a mother, I’ll decide how to raise my children (I’m not a mother, but if/when I am, this shall apply). As a daughter I already choose what I want to do with myself, taking in to consideration my parents loving advice, but choosing  for myself ultimately what I know I most need to do to be who I am.

It is important to make sure that as a woman I recognize, cultivate and foster my individuality since the sum of all of the above is who I will always be regardless of country of origin. Yes, I am a Pakistani woman, but I cant let my Pakistani-ness alone by my only identity; as it can either translate as an oppressed woman, or a woman fighting oppression. I am both and I’m neither of the two at once.

Although I can not run away from who I am and what I have seen of Pakistani women living lives chosen not for themselves. I can know that I am someone more than a statistic, or a news piece. I choose to be known for my works, my thoughts, my words, my decisions, my views and my desires for myself. I want to give expression to who I really am. I want to be happy just like any other living person, and I want to do it my way, because that is what I most desire to do.

Every woman must choose the same for herself, being honest and truthful to who she really is, and conducting her life making sure she is picking out and playing the roles she knows she is meant to play. And choosing how she wants to play them. That, in my opinion is true liberation.

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P.S: I’m writing this because I had a dream this morning concerning Pakistani and Afghani women. It had to do with what I just wrote.

Interesting thoughts

I caught them flying through my head September 4-6:

Consuming junk leads to nothing less than junk in your belly.

The human skull is nothing to fear. It was once inhabited by a brain much like yours. Only in an empty skull the brain doesn’t exist anymore.

Speak softly or with haste, you will be heard either way. Your chances of being understood will be higher if spoken with love.

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Say hi to the dogs

Since it was so much cooler yesterday, September 5th 2011, I was especially excited to go out for a long walk. I enjoyed it a lot. I could tell my brain was especially loving it, judging by the kind of ideas I was getting.

I was quite aware of each thought and feeling I was experiencing each step I’d take. It was one of those days. I was feeling a little low before I’d started, but then quickly, as I walked more in the gorgeous weather, my entire state of mind changed. It was really fun! I was quite literally smiling to myself half the way.

Thinking intensely, I avoided saying hi to passerby’s. I wanted to enjoy the weather by myself. With myself. Talking to anyone would be an impediment to the mission.  So I altogether did not make eye contact with anyone. I’d strut staring at the trees and catching glances at wild rabbits. The one thing I did do, strangely, was making eye contact with the dogs whose owners I was not saying hi to. As I was doing this, I realized it was quite ridiculous, and I started to come up with an explanatory reason.

The reason: Dogs don’t require me to speak to them. They are interested in me, just as I am in them, as a passerby. Yes, they want to explore, and the desire to do so is very genuine and honest for a dog. So I awarded them with eye contact, acknowledging their need for a connection. They don’t need words. I realized they act to satisfy no cultural custom. They sniff and wag in pure excitement that comes to them from within. I did notice that just making eye contact with the creatures elicited both tail wagging and excited trembling of their bodies. Pretty awesome?

Compare that, in contrast, with me saying hi to another walker just for the sake of it. It would either bring forth a plain hello, or a cursory smile. The dogs, on the other hand, genuinely smile with their entire being. I decided I liked this far better.

So, from now on I’ll say hi to the dogs instead. Since it is much more fun to connect with the dogs that accompany walkers who are mostly on their cell phones complaining about this and that anyway.

Bibi

Weeds

brain

Image by TZA via Flickr

My brain is dry and blank. It needs to rain inside my brain now. I’d love a mini thunderstorm and lots of wind followed by crazy, crazy rain. Poor little seeds buried deep inside my brain can’t begin to grow, they need to be fed urgently.

Even the weeds aren’t too happy with the dryness. I don’t mind them though. They fill up the brain when it’s too dry for other plants to grow. They make the space look occupied. I will do with the weeds for now gladly. Why not accept what I  have? It gives the brain something to work with until I become healthier and able to produce more of what is buried deep inside as seeds.

Blank and dry isn’t too bad. As long as I can keep myself occupied with weeds. Sometimes weeds are all you need to kick-start your creative juices. Weeds, that do not fail to grow and are present in the toughest of vegetative environments help the area by just being there. The brain will just cleanse itself of weeds when it is ready, and over time give rise to a terrific storm with splendid rain and make way for fresh green. But we do not entirely need to pull out the weeds after, because they lead to brainstorming. And each time we are in a rut, they help. Lovingly.

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