My dad has been my inspiration. He’s believed in me more than I’ve ever believed in myself. Yes we have our moments, but even those moments carry love and understanding. My dad is a very patient man. He’s had to deal with me, my tantrums, and my anxiety.
I remember how badly I cried because I didn’t want to go see a psychologist, but he wiped my tears and told me that seeing a psychologist didn’t mean there was something wrong with me. At that point he didn’t know what anxiety was. But he still handled it well for someone who doesn’t know what mental crises or mental fatigue is. In Pakistan no one really talks about these issues and they’re still considered taboo. It’s a shame to tell someone you go to the psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist.
I remember how offended one of my cousins got when I told her she should go for therapy. Her father is an asshole who beats up his wife and once he hit my cousins too. I don’t want to put her on the spot. I love her. She’s my younger sister and I care for her. That’s what I would tell my own sister and that’s what I told her. (I know many of you would say, tell your cousins and your aunt to leave, but you need to understand how the Pakistani culture and society works. They don’t have the resources we do. I’ve tried though).
But my dad is very understanding… well sometimes. I think we have a generation gap and a cultural gap. There are things he doesn’t understand and likewise there are things that I don’t understand. It’s so hard to explain to my dad what dyslexia is or how depression doesn’t just mean you’re sad and it’s not a one day thing. I don’t understand why I have to be respectful to relatives who talk trash about me. These barriers sometimes put a strain on our relationship. We argue over the dishes, over his taxi, over my studies, over sibling rivalry and even over chess (he’s the one who taught me how to play). We bond over food, over politics and him telling me that I look beautiful even without makeup.
But seeing my cousin and her strained relationship with her dad makes me sad and anxious. Her dad is supposed to be her protector, and her guide not someone she fears and despises. He’s supposed to be her shield, but instead he’s her barrier. I wouldn’t be surprised if he forced her into marriage. I know I would fight for her with every last breath I have. Even her brothers are tired. I can sense the unease in my other cousin. He’s seventeen now but he always seems off. The little one is doing better. But my aunt is a mess. Do people not understand the consequences of their actions? We live and we learn. My dad hasn’t always been perfect, but he’s tried his best to adopt and change. Sometimes I don’t even know what to say to my cousins when I talk to them. What advice can I possibly give them?
I don’t like writing personal blogs. I feel like I’m giving myself away to people who don’t care, but sometimes you learn things in the weirdest ways. If you’re a father know how important you are to you children especially to your daughters. You don’t even have to do something extra ordinary. Just sit with your children and ask them if they’re okay and if they need help with anything. You might not know what mountains they’re climbing or what graves they’ve dug in their souls. Have a simple meal with them, tell them how much you mean to them. I know sometimes it can get hard, but it’s the moments that matter not the materialistic things. And if you’re a child, tell your parents how grateful you are. Sometimes we’re too busy fighting our own battles that we fail to see our parents are human too and they have their own battles to fight.
Follow my dad here: Tales of a taxi-driver