If a few years ago anyone would have told me that I would be here writing my first blog post, I would have probably rolled my eyes up to the ceiling. But apparently, miracles do happen.
My name is Saira and I am currently studying psychology. Like so many other students, I imagined my studies to be something like a magical wand that would open my eyes to the hidden secrets of life: Who am I? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do with my life?
And it went that way, well, at least kind of. I still don’t know the answers to the big mysteries in the world. And I still don’t know why dinosaurs went extinct. But apart from that, I do have a much clearer picture about myself.
I have changed the way I think about life. Up until two years ago, I followed a very boring and unsatisfying way of living. I was staying on the safe side, had a strict plan for how my studies would go, when and which job I would pursue, and I would punish myself whenever I failed to follow my plan. In short, I tried to live an unremarkable life that would please the people around me. This attitude led to a lot of insecurities, and no personal happiness. But the last two years changed my way of thinking. I definitely needed a push and some major life lessons… But that is a story for another time.
So, who am I today? I have grown into a positive-minded person who wants to pursue her dreams – even if that means going against all odds. Although for someone in my situation, that can be difficult.
Let’s talk about this blog!
The first question popping up in your head after landing on this blog probably was: What the hell does parindah mean? So let’s take care of that question first. Parindah is the Urdu word for bird (For anyone who has no idea what Urdu is: it is one of the official national languages of Pakistan). Next question: Why did I choose bird to be the name of this blog? Well, for two reasons. First of all, since my childhood, my family and friends have been lovingly calling me parindah, and that is because of how my nose is shaped! When I laugh (and I laugh A LOT), my nose bends a little downwards, just like a bird’s beak. Yeah, I have a very funny family…
The second reason for this name is at the same time the reason I started this blog. As I said, I have not always been someone who stands up for herself. On the contrary, I used to bow my head down to what other people told me. In a way, I felt like my culture expected this behavior of me.
But let’s go back in time. My family originally comes from a small village in Pakistan. Since my birth, we have lived in Europe. This makes me someone who stands halfway in two cultures: the Pakistani culture and the western culture. I am extremely grateful to have grown up in both these worlds – both gave me their own valuable norms and traditions. Both have made me the person I am today.
But it was not always easy. In Europe, I saw how women could do basically anything they wanted, from being a singer to being a doctor. Not bound to many expectations, it seemed so easy for them to pursue their personal dreams. (Of course the situation in Europe was or is not that uncomplex – this is just how my young eyes perceived the world.) In my family’s village in Pakistan, the situation was a bit different. There it was more common to stay at home as a woman, with your own happiness being much more intertwined with your family’s happiness. I personally don’t think that this lifestyle made the women in the village less happy, in fact they seemed to be very content with their lives.
But that was not really the life I wanted to have. And at that point in my life, this was a very difficult situation for me.
Who is my rolemodel? Do I have to choose between the two cultures? And if I try both, which values should I pick from each?
Questions over questions. I didn’t know which side to turn to. I still remember so clearly that throughout my youth, I would have phases when I’d feel more western, and phases when I’d feel more Pakistani. But to learn how to get the best out of both worlds, man, that was a long ass way.
My Pakistani background didn’t force me to go a specific direction but still, I personally felt obliged to follow the cultural norms of my village. By now I know that I don’t want to live a life feeling forced to do this or that. I welcome and appreciate both my cultures, but I now want to choose myself which values of each will follow me along the path.
Just like the younger me, I know that so many young girls are in a similar situation – standing between two cultures and not knowing which side to turn to.
And this is why I started this blog.
I’m writing for like-minded people, or people who just want to follow my own journey. A journey of someone who is trying to find her happiness by going out of her way. Breaking free from expectations and conventions, maybe even going unconventional ways? Who knows… Just someone who is trying to spread her wings like a parindah. Among other things, writing this blog is my way of being free.
I want to share my own journey with you guys, and I want to go beyond that. In the following blog posts, I will be travelling to Morocco to talk to other women about their lives, struggles and dreams. This will be the start of a series of posts on women and their role in society.
I have always loved talking to other people about their unique life stories, and this topic in particular intrigues me very much. I have had problems finding my own worth as a woman in the past, and I am very excited to hear other stories about this topic.
So what can you expect from this blog?
A lot of talking about me. My personal life, travel blogs, basically just about anything. And unique life stories of other women around the world!
Are you just as excited as I am? Yes? Then I hope to see you around more often!
All my experiences are completely subjective and do not intend to hurt anyone. I am not talking about the culture as a whole but rather about my very personal situation and experience.