The First One Part 3

Friday, October 30, 2020


**Before I begin, I want to display a warning that I will discuss suicide in this post.**

We talked in secret for three months before we had our first fight. I cannot even remember what the fight was about, but I know I felt very disrespected and I told him I don't think I could be with him if he was going to treat me this way. This is the first time I swore at someone and he replied back in the same manner. I felt he was not giving me enough time or cared enough about me as a person. It was as if he just decided one day that he wanted to give me a try and see how things went. Apparently, he had overheard my grandfather speaking to his father mentioning my name and saying it would make him so happy if our two families joined through the union of marriage with one of his favourite granddaughters. I felt as if he remembered that when he saw me and thought "eh... that'll do" and decided to start speaking to me. It only took us three months to realize we were very different. 

    Despite the warning deep pit in my stomach, I messaged him after not speaking to him for three months. I missed my friend. He replied back as if nothing ever happened and picked up from before the fight. I didn't see anything wrong with this although I should have been warier. How could he just forget about the pain he had caused me and keep moving through with our relationship not having apologized even once. I was the one who desperately wanted to keep him around. Eventually, we fell apart again after another fight and I decided we are unable to make this work and I felt as if I lost a part of me when I said goodbye to him at that time. I was devastated and confused. I did not know how to handle this emotional fury, and the feeling of loss welled up inside me. A short while after this, my parents introduced me to another marriage proposal that occupied my life for two years and ended in disaster when this guy sabotaged my life by interfering and messaging my ex-fiance and spilling the details of my past to strangers he did not know. My world crumbled around me and I was furious, embarrassed, and anxious. The wrath of my family weighed down on me. I messaged him angrily trying to portray my anger in words that would not come out coherently. I told him I would never forgive him. 

Innocence and Cheerful Ignorance

Monday, October 26, 2020


When growing up, I viewed the world through such innocent and ignorant eyes. I was unaware of the immensity of skeletons I was constantly surrounded by and the struggles my parents and other adults around me faced. The world seemed bright and promising despite all the setbacks my parents were shrouded in. Looking back, I did not always realize I grew up in a poor home with struggling parents. I was unaware that my parents were barely making ends meet throwing newspapers, studying, and working other odd jobs they could find. I did not demand much and maybe it was easier where I lived because a lot of the people around me were new immigrant families. We lived in co-op housing for eight years until my father received his first job as a veterinarian after passing his licensing exams. 

    Despite all this, I felt I had it all. I didn't care about clothes, fashion, designer brands. I did pine over the new toys coming out that my parents couldn't always afford like the Tamagotchi or the massive dollhouses at Toys-R-Us but they tried their best to give us not only what we needed but wanted as well. The small space we were confined in did not bother me, it was as much space as I needed. It never occurred to me that we were living in cramped conditions or that we should have more than this. Every year, I would receive a new Barbie for my birthday and other random accessories to adorn her with. My father was always looking for the next magic box that would give us unlimited channels for a cheap price, so we watched a lot of movies and shows at home even if we couldn't afford to go to the movie theaters.

Education, Careers and the Journey of Life

Friday, October 23, 2020


 A girl I knew once was a straight-A student with so much potential for her future. She was doing so amazingly well in high school, especially excellent in math, that I was in awe of her. Where I could barely concentrate on reading my textbook, she would burn through her work with a steady focus and drive. Once she set her mind to something, nothing could stand in the way of her accomplishing her task. She decided she wanted to become an engineer during her IB class years and set her mind to it. In grade twelve, she excitedly told her parents she wanted to attend a prestigious university known for their engineering program. Her father waved her off saying "engineering is a boy's job, pick something else, I don't want my daughter butting heads in a male-dominated career." His decision was final and her world shattered. She was lost. She did not know where to go from there since she was so sure of her purpose and understood where her talents lay. Her parents did not want her to go outside the city for university, so she dismissed her dreams and joined a college near her home. She flitted from one subject to another, distracted by everything around her, slowly losing her confidence, her drive, and her passion. She began focusing her energy on finding something that would make her happy. But there was nothing around her that sparked joy in her heart. Even studying advanced mathematics and calculus became a challenge for her because she knew spending so much effort in learning this subject will not lead her anywhere anymore. Slowly, depression began clouding her journey and she began giving up. The indecision and exhaustion of living a life that was not truly hers broke her down. Fate brought her another chance to delve into a career that she enjoyed, but it was also short-lived because she became pregnant. Once again, she left her interests behind so she could focus on her child and she became an amazing mother but this was not the life she picked for herself. No matter how well she did with what she had, I could not convince her that it was enough. For her, nothing was enough and she continued to feel empty. She began to believe she was never good enough at whatever she did. That beautiful, confident girl became a shell of her previous self as her life became a self-fulfilling prophecy for her of failed attempts at getting back on her feet with all the responsibilities she continued to bear. But I still consider her so strong because she continued to fight despite it all. She stood by her sister's side when she picked a challenging, male-dominated field to study in and make a career from. She fought with her father for his support, and she won that battle. This woman became my greatest supporter and strength during my challenging years when my own mind faltered with all the pushback I would receive in pursuing medicine.

The First One Part 2

Monday, October 19, 2020


After that initial exciting encounter in Pakistan, I flew back home with my heart all aflutter with this new connection I had made. My mind became focused on just him. I couldn't concentrate on my schoolwork or anything else. I began shirking my duties and finding ways to sneak and use the computer at night or very early in the morning because of the time difference. I would be waiting impatiently on MSN Messenger for him to sign in and that we could spend the next few hours talking about anything and everything. I didn't even realize how weird our conversation was back then. I accepted it all without any hesitation when I should have taken the time out to notice the red flags from right in the beginning. 

    Before we started a romantic and exclusive relationship, we became really close friends. In fact, he became my best friend. I only had one other close friend at the time and I would meet her a few times in the year since she went to a different school and lived in a different city. I did not have anyone around who I could confide everything to. Even my other friend, we didn't talk often enough at that stage for me to feel like she was someone I could run to when I was down. There were many things going on within me at that time. My parents were working and unavailable. My mother worked night shifts as a nurse and needed to take care of my youngest sister at the time who was a baby. She was barely sleeping two or three hours during the day so she was eternally exhausted and frustrated. My father didn't make life any easier and he was working during the day. They were having marital problems while trying to raise four children. There was no time for me there. When this boy entered my life, he gave me his full attention and let me share all my woes without complaining. I was so happy and grateful to have someone like that in my life. We shared similar tastes in music and movies and loved to talk about life in general. He appeared as someone very mature for his age in my mind and I looked up to him. I was content with having him just as a friend even because I wanted nothing to ruin the special bond we had built. I needed him in my life with all the teenage angst built up inside me. He had many opinions and a lot to say as well. He was also having his own difficulties in life because he was unsure about his future, where he wanted to go, and what he wanted to do. I would listen to his worries and talk it out with him so that he felt better. In those moments it was as if we had unlimited time to figure things out, and yet we were both so stressed about the future. 


Friday, October 16, 2020

Being alone is both a freeing and slightly terrifying concept. It really depends on an individual's comfort and acceptance of what they are able to do in that situation and their experiences. It can put someone in crippling anxiety or provide a sense of peace and freedom. The only difference between one way or the other is the individual's coping mechanisms. Nevertheless, we are social creatures and at some point in our lives; we do want someone who we can share our experiences with, dote on, be friends with, and feel loved with. Sometimes we may even define our worthiness with who we keep around and how they treat us. This is a very complex behaviour and one with so many factors. 

    Culture can really impact the way we perceive living or being alone. For example, in my culture and even religion, there is a huge emphasis on being married, bearing kids, and having a family. Culturally, in Pakistani and Indian culture, extended families are preferred. This can significantly limit alone time, privacy, and independence. We eat together, relax together, and spend the majority of our time in the company of others in some form or other. Even at work, we are usually surrounded by coworkers. During my childhood, we were a family of four living in a small two-bedroom apartment. There was no escape from my parents who can choose to barge into the bedroom I shared with my sister at any given moment. I found time to be alone when they were at work and I would babysit my sister and brother. You may think living in such a way most would crave their alone time. Yes, this can motivate those living in such conditions to enjoy their alone time but usually, it is for small periods of time. A lot of my friends who have grown in such environments do enjoy their alone time but cannot imagine living on a day to day basis all by themselves even in adulthood. This is true no matter what the situation at home is like and how constricted they may be there. When given the option, they would choose to stay with others over being completely alone. Even when they moved out, there would be constant calls home to the parents because they believe they don't know how to survive without consistent advice from their parents even though they could manage just fine without it. We become conditioned to wanting an elder at home who will continue to guide us in our lives. 

The First One Part 1

Monday, October 12, 2020

When I was fourteen, my mother, my siblings, and I flew to Pakistan to visit family and friends. On the flight there my mother turned towards me with a stern look on her face and said, "we will be visiting a family friend's home and they have a boy who is nothing but trouble so stay away from him okay?" 

    Confused and slightly uncomfortable, I nodded my head while thinking in my head that I had no intention to fall in love right now especially with a boy living in Pakistan. Little did I know these words would haunt me for the rest of my life. We visited my family friends in Lahore and when I saw this particular boy, my heart stopped. His aloof, distant personality drew my imagination and heartbeat into a frenzy I never experienced before in my life. I was shaken to my core and in trouble. I observed him moving around the house and talking to others while I sat stoically in an armchair with my mother and aunts. I wanted to walk over and introduce myself, and I was worried he will notice me blatantly staring at him. I decided I was going to behave as if he did not exist. This was torture for me of course, since I did not want to miss a second of him. Even when he walked by my chair, the air moving around him sent electric currents down my arms from the close proximity. I wished for time to stop right then and there so I could catch my breath and savour this moment just a little while longer. Even though I was ignoring him all evening, I was upset that he did not notice me at all. I became annoyed even though I was doing the exact same thing. My mother's warning dissolved so quickly in my head as if her words were never spoken. 


Friday, October 9, 2020


I am blessed with a few really beautiful and strong friendships over the years. One I have known since I was three years old and some others are newer, but just as precious. But navigating the world of friends can be difficult and testing at times. 

I made my first couple of friends at the age of three or four within the building we first moved into after arriving in Canada. We fought and we played together for several years up until the age of ten. Being in a trio could be a little challenging though because one person ends up taking a side in the fight and it would switch over time creating little rifts. As I mentioned in some previous posts, our parents pitted us against each other competitively from a very early age. This probably did not help the situation either. Our trio broke around grade six when my cousins came in the picture. One of the cousins became closer friends with my one member of the trio and started an all-out war against me. They united and decided it was time for mutiny and disbanding. From this point, we drifted apart, and I moved to a different city. Until the initiation of Facebook, I could not reconnect with any of my friends who weren't in my city. The other third of the trio and I remain close friends to this day. 

The First Proposal

Monday, October 5, 2020


I received my first proposal when I was fifteen years old and did not know who I was or where I wanted to go in life. It was the time I should have spent focusing on what I needed to do to achieve my career goals and dreams, but somehow that fell on the back-burner for a while. My mother walked into my room one evening after a lengthy phone conversation to talk to me. She did not know that I was eavesdropping during her phone call and knew what she came to talk to me about. I was not ready for this conversation. I am too young; I thought. There is no way she would spring this on me before I even graduated from high school. But here she was, standing in my doorway with a slightly sheepish smile on her face, knowing she was throwing me into deep waters with the first sentence she uttered. 

    "There's a marriage proposal for you," she said, grinning. "They want to see a photo of you so we will take one this coming Eid," she mentioned hurriedly. 

    "What do you think?" she asked, slightly concerned with the look of panic on my face. 

    I laughed nervously because I do not know how to handle serious situations without bursting in laughter sometimes. She knew I did not want this, so why ask me about it, I thought. It is not fair to put me on the spot like this, as I have no clue if considering this would be a good idea. I shrugged my shoulders at her, feeling embarrassed and awkward having this conversation with her. I know nothing about these people, who they are, where do they live, and most importantly, why are they interested in me. 

    "At least talk to the guy and see how you feel," murmured my mother before she walked out of the room.


Friday, October 2, 2020


I hate thinking about my flaws or exposing myself and announcing my vulnerability. But here I am creating a space where I discuss those topics in great detail. I hesitate because I am still terrified that someone will recognize me and find out who I am if I reveal too much. However, if I don't show you who I truly am, how can I ensure you this is a safe space for you as well. So with small steps, I continue. I don't have many readers anyway, so it feels like I am writing in a journal that only I will ever read. But that is okay too. Interestingly, I have been more committed to this page I have created than any diary I have ever owned. In some ways, I am still hiding it from the world out of fear of rejection and pain. Although, this time, the worldwide web is hiding it for me amongst the sea of thought and the spoken and written word available. I am not even sure if people enjoy the simple act of reading anymore amidst the sensory involvement now available in the form of video and audio. This is but a simple text.

    I sit here and think about what I offer and it isn't much since I am no expert. Even the fact that I am not a resident doctor inadvertently holds me back from discussing medical subjects with you because the voice in my head reminds me I am not there yet. I am not where I need to be so I should not talk about it. But life doesn't work that way. If I keep waiting for the right moment in time, it will never come because there is no true perfection in this life. At this moment, there are many things I "should" be doing and achieving, such as having a career and producing children. I am doing neither because I am stuck between two countries and distanced from my husband. Not to mention the fact that I have fertility issues that I am trying to deal with at the same time. Sure, there are steps I can take to accomplish my career goals, but I cannot bring myself to. 

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