Is That All There Is?

so here i am...man, where do i begin....

I was born 21 years ago in an upper middle-class pakistani family. I didn't grow up in Pakistan, my dad came to Dubai just before he got married, that was about 34 years ago. I have three older brothers and a younger sister.

Growing up in Dubai was good, I was surrounded by people of the same race but in a better living environment. Dubai is a modern cosmopolitan town and the standard of living here is pretty high (alot higher than Pakistan). And when I went to visit my relatives in Pakistan, I always came back feeling guilty. They weren't rich there...just ordinary middle class. We were middle-class too, but compared to living condtions in Pakistan, someone who is middle-class in Dubai, is considered very wealthy there. But I digress, the point is I grew up in a modern city with very modern dreams and a diverse set of people.

My parents have controlled every aspect of my life, I can't leave the house to see friends until I have permission to do so. And these friends have to be approved by my parents. In Pakistani culture, the reputation of a girl is evrything. So parents try to keep them as close to the house as possible and under their radar, guys do they please because if guys screw up it's "boys will be boys". The thing Paki parents don't realise is the more strict you are, the more ways kids find to lie to their parents. Then when a girl is of age, she gets married to the guy her parents choose. Growing up I have fought these aspects of my culture, I have always told myself "My life will be different".

I have always been more ambitious than anyone in my family. In Pakistan, a girl will get an undergrad degree and pray to get married. I wanted to be someone who made a difference in the world, still do...

I am Muslim, but not very extreme, I wear what I want (as long as am not revealing too much), I can go anywhere I want, but my parents have to know about it. MY parents have given me everything I ask them for. I had the latest toys when I was little, I had the best b'day parties and the latest gadgets...I knew sometimes money was tight, with five kids, but my father found a way to get whatever I wanted...except that little thing called independence...  

As a teenager, again, I never fit in with my friends. My head was always someplace else. Like I said, paki parents prefer to be conservative, girls and boys are not allowed to date. Go out, have a burger and come back home. By grade nine my friends were sneaking around with their boyfriends behind their prents back. I've never done anything like that. MY parents told me not to and I just didn't. Why? Because I felt like my parents have done so much for me and I just can't betray them like that. So what if i'm not independent, it seems such a small price to pay..I have always wanted the life of an average American teenager...I was hooked to these tv shows and was envious of their lifestyle. Not the drinking and the sex part. But how they were so free and were able to take care of themselves...

I don't even do my own laundry...I have grown up in this sheltered household where I barely lift a finger...just sit around, surf the net, catch up with oprah on the tube and go to the mall....When I turned 18 my mother said it's time I learned how to manage a household. Like that's the most important thing in the world. I wanted to cure cancer!! At 18 I got my driving license and my own car and was about to begin uni.

I never had friends that shared the same ambitions and defiance of paki culture...yeah we met once a month and gossiped about this and that, but I've never had that true friend...I always kept all of this inside me and developed a fantasy world...that i would to go to from time to time...

I'm socially awkward, so at uni I'm not very popular but I;ve made aquaintances...not friends, just people I hang out with and pass the time with...It's impossible for anyone to be popluar at my uni, the students are from over a 108 countries..instead of diversity I see racial separation and the indians rule the social scene...man those indians bug me....I hate bollywood...I only watch Hollywood movies, Pakistani tv shows and listen only to English, European and Pakistani music...

At our uni student lounge, it's only indians every other nationality goes someplace else...like me, I like meeting people from different backgrounds, different stories...But I still have no friends....and feel like the loneliest loser in the planet when I go to uni and see groups of friends so frickin happy...

Then a changing point came in my life, in my fourth semester (this was fall of 2007). I took this course taught by -- let's call her Dr.T -- this young prof about 28-29 years old and she was Australian (I was going to an australian uni in dubai, and she came from the aussie campus of the uni)...simply one of the most fascinating people I have ever met. She was gorgeous had an athlete's body...but that's not why I liked her...to me she had accomplished alot and that's what I wanted to do...she had a phd in engineering and was doing this awesome research and i was enrolled in a  boring business degree. (I know that as soon as I get my under grad degree my mom will push me for marriage my dad will think its the apprpriate thing to do but they can't make me do anything against my will..)

I wanted to be a sugeon when I was in grade 9, but the thought of tedious study made me choose business like my dad, and plus no one is a science student in my family, a couple of my cousins are computer science geeks. But I don't know why Dr. T had that effect on me, I wanted to do more...I wanted to impress her in anyway possible, and I did that by writing a kick-*** essay for the course...The main thing is she revamped my ambition and was ready to take on the long years of study and it would be easy because I want to study..does that make sense?  

Dr.T made me feel like I was wasting my life, of course she is oblivious to this effect she has on me. To me she was this grown up smart woman who was single, loving it and making something of her life. Anyhoo, I became obssessed with her. I too wanted to be involved in some kind of research and become a busy career person. This year (2009) I went out of my business degree to do a computer science course that she was teaching just to be around her again...the semester is still going on and it's great to talk to her again...but I still feel like a loser after we talk...and I don't know why....I feel so small, she's such a sweet person it's not her fault but still....I just want to be around her, I love the way she fuels my ambition...

Because of her, I want to to pursue a biochem degree and study cells at a cellular level and make a difference in the world. But the saddest thing....I don't know if I'll get to do it...not if my parents want to marry me off..I mean I am 22 and coming of age...

But I also know it's up to me to take some action, if I just knew what to do...After this semester Dr. T will be her awesome self, and I will go back to do nothing...and craving more of her effect...

I have these plans in my head, that I'll do my last sem at the aus campus and try to pursue my dreams there, but if I put reality into the scene, I feel .... despair, because there is a chance I won't get to do any of those things....how can I live like that? settle for not only less but much much much more less?!

And all the while my sister and mother talk about fashion and domesticity...and my head is up in the sky thinking , is that all there is ??

sorry for the rant, but I just can't keep this inside me any more......

isthatallthereis isthatallthereis
18-21, F
3 Responses Mar 24, 2009

would you like to be my friend?

I can sort of relate, I grew up in india, under hard parenting, absofuckinglutely hating bollywood, i still hate it, and all the **** they have in the name of culture, traditions etc and had this massive crush on my physics teacher in my 12th, I tried to flunk the year to stay one more year. She wasn't exactly pretty and had a walking problem, that only made her more attractive lol! Luckily I failed to fail the year and passed out, the crush eventually faded but never forgot her.
Don't take things too seriously, there is a LOT to see, your 21, your no loser, give yourself sometime and try taking a macro view of things.

Wow I can't imagine how tough that would be and I can relate only in a different way. It is really frustrating when you know where you belong yet your lifestyle and your family and friends want something different for you. <br />
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You need to stick with your passion and is there a way you could switch into different courses or talk to your parents about your concerns? Is there a way to be able to take courses online so if you have to be at home, you could still get your degree. You may not have the freedom you want but I would use the resouces you have to make the most of it so you can still accomplish your dreams no matter what. <br />
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I am not sure what else to say but life is a test and this is yours so don't give, just know that you are strong enough to have this test in life. Another thing is being single is not all it is cracked up to be. You may be able to go anywhere you want and not be tied down, but when the going gets rough who can you turn to? <br />
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Also you are in control of how she makes you feel and you need to stop evaluating your worth ba<x>sed on what you do or do not acheive or what you can do. You are valuable person and accomplishments do not make who you are. Good luck and enjoy life the best you can cause you only live once. Now if I can only follow my own advice. :)