Living Behind a White Lie
I am an Afghan-American Muslim woman. Afghan woman are a minority of a minority. A very small percent of Afghan women have an education and don't get to be successful because the culture discourages independence for women. In fact, this happens not just in Afghanistan, but in the United States as well. In fact, it happens in my own family. My cousin has an arranged marriage and has been denied an education by her husband. In a culture dominated by males, even the women internalize those views. As I have grown up and expressed my desires to get an education and have a career, my grandmother has discouraged me most of my life. My father restricts my comings and goings even now, even during the daytime hours. While my friends are partying, I'm required to be at home.
Being from Afghanistan, I was ashamed to show my true identity, so I assumed a false identity.
I tried to be like the popular people and win their friendship, and telling them where I was from would ruin my chances of being accepted. Life to me depended on conformity and superficiality, which led to others' happiness and not my own. An Afghan friend of mine named Brian overcame his worries about what color pants would match his white shoes, or whether he would dye his hair blond or brown. Seeing him confidently reveal his real self influenced me to give up the conformity and superficiality.
I realized that life isn't about having to impress other people; life isn't about outer beauty. After the September 11th attack, I realized what values are really important in life. All my life I had heard the story's of the horrors of life in Afghanistan, and yet I hadn't really understood them...