The story of how I became the woman that I am today is nothing spectacular. I am the eldest child among three.
Being the eldest, my father always guided and protected me at every step of my life. My siblings, on the other hand, had more freedom.
I still remember how my father used to drop me off and pick me up from school and coaching classes unlike my friends, who had their chauffeurs doing that chore. He would sit in the car outside till my classes ended.
I would often be questioned by my friends on why he would do that. I won’t lie. I felt embarrassed.
Hoping that things would change, I started university. However, things did not change. He would still come to drop me and pick me up. Then, one day, my father fell ill and was bed-ridden for a month.
It was the first time in 21 years that I got the chance to get out of my shell. I realised that I could not even cross a road on my own, let alone use public transport. I missed my father.
I wanted to feel protected by him again. It was then that I realised the value of something which I had detested for so long: His protection. My mother became my support system then. She gave me the courage to face the challenges alone. From being a completely geographically challenged person, I gradually succeeded in travelling alone.
It may seem like a petty matter for others, but for me it was one of the biggest achievements in life. Slowly, I began to do little things on my own that I had never done before. It gave me a different level of self-realisation.
My next achievement was when I started tutoring at a student’s home. My father had always been against the idea of me working outside. However, after some prolonged debates, he finally agreed.
Being financially independent was a much-needed confidence-booster for me.
My second phase of life began when I started my career. There were only two women (including myself) in an office fully dominated by men.
It wasn’t easy coping with the stress of work and the norms of corporate culture but I had, by now, learned to deal with my fears and challenges.
In the midst of tackling challenges, I met my life partner. This man is the complete opposite to my father, yet similar in many ways. He is open-minded and understanding, and yet at the same time, protective. And this is what binds us together.
All my life, I had complained about the protective nature of my father, yet somewhere down the line, I craved it. Luckily, I found that in my husband.
I never knew what I was capable of till I became a mother. I still remember the day when the doctor first put my child in my arms. I could not even hold him properly
Then came the turning point of my life, which changed me completely. I never knew what I was capable of till I became a mother. I still remember the day when the doctor first put my child in my arms. I could not even hold him properly.
He was red and wrinkled, and his cry echoed down the hospital hallways. He was picture-perfect. I looked into his big eyes and I saw the weight of eternity in his delicate being.
What a responsibility, what an honour. I felt blessed. Fear hit, because suddenly I was vulnerable. All of a sudden, my actions mattered. It felt like I had to grow up. I had to know what I did not know. Within the first hours of that twilight zone called motherhood, I realised that my reality had been completely changed.
I was not sure if I had what it took. My biggest fear was that I would make mistakes. I already knew that I would. With so many judgmental eyes around, I feared making mistakes every moment. But still, I knew I had it took.
Every time, I would get up on my feet and look at my child and say: “I will learn this for you. Although I am not perfect, and I was not born with all the skills, I will still show up and give it my all. And I will get better with time.”
I believed in myself. And with the immense love and support of my husband and family, I managed to learn it all.
Today, I am a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter-in-law and, most importantly, a responsible daughter. I take care of my child, fulfill my family duties, and at the same time, meet my job responsibilities.
Now, when my father asks for my advice on the smallest of things, and when I see myself taking care of my child, I realise how a shy, dependent girl has turned into an independent responsible woman.
Today, I cherish every aspect of what I have become.
Farahnaz Zarrin is a freelance contributor.