“Pakistan’s society is very patriarchal. You get defined as somebody’s wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, or mother. Although things are changing, I think it’ll still take more time. Now I live in Japan. When I moved here, my husband told me about this Japanese proverb: Ten people, ten colors, which means ‘we’re all different and that’s okay’. He said I’m allowed to follow whatever dream I have and I shouldn’t let anyone, not even him, stop me from doing what I want to do. I’m thankful he gave me this freedom, which I didn’t have much of for 24 years. But now I’m kind of confused because I don’t really know what I want.
“I’m trying to figure what I want to do with my life now. I majored in literature and in Pakistan, you either go into writing or teaching. Actually, I did both back home. I used to write for a startup. But they shut down their website all of a sudden, and now all my past written work are gone. I have nothing to show prospective employers when they ask me for my sample work because everything was online. I guess I’ll just have to do work for free to build my portfolio, then start getting paid once I have something to show. It’s been a month now since I started looking for a job here and I already got rejected twice so it’s heartbreaking. But I don’t give up that easily. I’m a fighter.”