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January 14, 2018


Dear Auntie,

I am a 21-year-old Pakhtun girl and I have a messed up life. I am the eldest child. I have seen my parents fight all the time. My father is a drug addict and my mother takes out her frustration on me and my siblings. Both of them have been keen on our education and provided us with everything, but they never realised that it was not enough.

I love to read and am an athlete. These two things pretty much define me.

The problem is that I have become impulsive and sarcastic. I am short-tempered and get mad about the tiniest of things real quick. My sisters accuse me of being cold and emotionally dead. I am a misfit and have always been this way. I hate talking about clothes and guys which girls mostly love to do. There are just a handful of people who like the two things that I am passionate about. I have friends, but don’t have a best friend. I’ve never let myself get attached to someone. I am aware that this is a choice I have made myself and that I should be happy living with it. But sometimes I need someone I can talk to about the small things. I’ve been an extremely confident, competitive and sanguine person but the past year has been the worst year of my life and my grades have fallen. People come to me and say that they wish they were like me, and I find myself thinking, “Oh honey, trust me, you don’t!” I used to be proud of my individuality but now I feel so odd. Why can’t I be like normal people? I feel worthless, a failure and feel like dying.


Being different is not easy, especially for girls in a society like ours. Being the odd-one-out means that you don’t blend in easily and what works for you, doesn’t work for others. Your interests may not be regular, but they are as valid as of those girls who are interested in boys and clothes. You say that there are a handful of people who are like you, why don’t you seek them out and cultivate them?

If you can’t find such people around you, Auntie can bet that there is a virtual group that is interested in the things you are interested in. You can read their stories, learn about their problems and their successes.

I would suggest you should start appreciating the traits which make you, you. Think long and hard about what you want to achieve. Don’t let anyone make you feel that your natural inclinations are not worthy or that you are lesser than them. There is nothing wrong with you. In fact, when anyone admires you or gives you a compliment, don’t instantly turn your focus on what’s not going right in your life. Accept the compliment, because that is how people see you. It is a blessing and you should appreciate it. Think about your skills and talents and use them as the fuel to power your dreams.

It is inevitable that while you pursue your dreams, you will encounter both good and bad times along the way. There will be times when it will be easy to move ahead and times when it may be difficult to do so. Remind yourself that failure is part of the journey, then get up and continue on your path. The whole idea is to stay positive and keep moving in the direction that feels right for you.

Once you are more confident about yourself, it will become easier to make friends. The key to having a deep and lasting relationship is to lower expectations (at least in the beginning) and take it slow. Get to know your new friend and open up slowly when you like someone and want to make him/her a friend.

 Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to:

Published in Dawn, EOS, January 14th, 2018

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