Growing up as a girl and analysing what all led to her lack of confidence…
I am a student of Literature. Prior to this I was a Science student. When I was in school, no one ever told me how important it was to read books. I was pushed to read course books and not waste time on any other book. Lo and behold, I scored well in every examination.
When I started university, I realised that lack of a reading habit was a serious problem. I discussed this with my teachers who encouraged me to read books of my interest. One of my teachers gave me books from her own library for reading. One sentence of my teacher that helped me resolve a lot was ‘If you are not able to understand the story of the novel, giving up is not a solution. Just keep reading’.
That’s how I started reading novels and plays. Soon, it became apparent that reading books enhanced my knowledge and this gave me confidence.
I feel that confidence is something I have always lacked. There were many things that affected my skills and confidence, not least the aggression of my father that I had to deal with. I was not allowed to pursue any of my own interests and was scolded on little mistakes.
In Pakistan, young girls are afraid of going out alone. I too was afraid of going out of the house, alone. My family would always say "Ask your father or brother to take you where you want to go, if it’s necessary". Every time I asked my father or brother, they would say, "Is it even necessary? Why do you want to go so early? Get ready and remind me after two hours. What is the point of applying makeup? Why do you want to go there; ask your friend to come to your place instead."
These absurd utterances forced me to step forward and become independent. Now I don’t stop myself from apply makeup while going out and I also go independently. While on the roads, some male members of the society feel it is their right to harass me but I have learnt that the only way to handle them is to ignore them.
I would not hesitate to add here that I have been immensely supported by my mother. I know that restrictions should not keep me home bound because you cannot attain success in life without facing hardships.
Read also: A different perspective
Back to growing up problems: choosing subjects is a very important part of the life of a student. In Pakistan, parents take this responsibility upon themselves without asking their children. I, too, faced this. The reason is they don’t trust my abilities.
I think strictness from parents should have some limit. It should be healthy and not create barriers between parents and children.