Dear person who is reading this,
You know how some days are worse than the others? You have good days and bad days, and then there are some days that are a struggle to get through. When there is a certain melancholic quality in the air that you breathe and feel. You feel it wrapping its arms around you as it cradles you and whispers tales of could-have-beens and should-have-beens in your ear. It breaks you. This is one of those days.
I moved here almost 2 years ago, and when I initially got here, I was not a happy camper. I mean, moving to the U.S. from Pakistan was such a drastic change. I didn’t think it’d be this hard because I had lived here as a kid. I was wrong. But this was only normal. My parents told me that I would start like living here once I fall into a routine. That I should give it time, that this new city, new country would feel like me own. And then I gave it time. And some. I gave it weeks and months and years. But that feeling of loneliness only continues to grow fervently.
A part of me fears that the universe is going to get back at me for being ungrateful. I have been given the opportunity that so many people can only dream of. I have a family to support me, a career that I can make, the chance to get the best education there is and yet, I can’t find it in me to be happy. How do I manipulate my feelings? How do I convince myself that this is what I should want! That this is the best of the best. That I would never be able to get this quality of education back home.
That this is my new home and home is where the heart is. But my heart beats in the narrow streets bustling with traffic in Pakistan, it beats around the corner shop in Sadar, it beats in the vacant cricket stadium that nobody uses, it beats and lives in the city of Sialkot, that is my home. My home.
I picture myself sleeping in my old bedroom as I go to sleep every night. I trick myself into thinking that it’s the warm, baby pink walls that surround me, instead of cold, off-white as I place my head on the pillow. I picture my parrot sleeping next to me in his cage beside my bed, instead of the empty air that surrounds me. I imagine tucking myself into my bright pink, fleece blanket that I got when I was 11, instead of the dull grey that I sleep in.
I picture myself living in the past, in the life that no longer exists. I am homesick for the familiarity that was Pakistan. I miss the energy, the people, everything. From the friends I took for granted to the teachers that annoyed me. From the culture that suffocated me to the food I disliked. From the privilege I thought didn’t exist to the sheltered life I wanted to get away from. Every-freaking-thing.
The slightest notion of a probability that I could go back brings me immense joy. It makes me feel safe and warm. It makes me happy. I don’t remember being happy since I have gotten here. I feel grateful. I feel hopeful. I feel a lot of things but happy. I miss feeling content with my life. The thought of making a life here depresses me. I have missed out on so many things, things that I never thought I wouldn’t be a part of. My loved ones have these amazing stories to tell and I’m not a part of them. I feel like I’ll be a distant memory to them. I’ll be that girl who moved and never came back.
But I will come back. I will. Today, tomorrow, a month from now, a year from now, a decade from now. I only fear I’ll be too late and everyone would have moved on. That I’ll be someone they don’t recognize anymore. Pakistan made me who I am, it gave me all I have. My morals, my culture, my religion, my family, my friends, me. It’s only fair that I give it something, too. We’re a third-world country, and knowing our nation, it will take us a long time until we get to a place that we deserve. I will be long gone when that time comes. But I hope to die knowing that at least I did something. That I didn’t turn my back and never looked back. That I came back and gave it all I had, too.
For now, I dream. And if you’re a frequent reader of this blog then you would know that I’m a dreamer. And I won’t stop. It keeps me going. If I can give something to my country thats equivalent to even a tiny fraction of what she has given me, I’ll be a happy person. It’s all I want.
A Desolate Pakistani