My Immigrant Pashtun Parents and Me: On Love, Sacrifices, and Change

This was originally published over at the The Thrival Room and titled On Immigrating and Parents’ Love.

My family and I immigrated to the U.S. from Swat, Pakistan, some fifteen years ago when I was twelve years old. Continue reading

Doing Feminism: on self love and raising a feminist niece

Here’s how a conversation between me and 5-year-old Kashmala, my niece, went a few weeks ago.


Kashmala ❤

Kashmala, as we were face-timing: Let’s watch Youtube songs! Can you pleeeeeeeeeeeeease put on that song “Beautiful”? It’s my faaaaaaveeerite!

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Wise words from 5-year-old Kashmala

The Kashmala – I THINK in Apr 2013?

For the past several months, I’ve been going through some shit. That includes losing people/friends that I regret losing (no, don’t be like, “Well, they weren’t worth your friendship in the first place if they had to choose to get out of your life,” or, “Oh, well – their loss!” No, it’s their loss, maybe, but it’s my loss, too, and I’m not okay with that), and some other stuff. I share these things with Kashmala because I love her opinions, I love her reminders to me that “It’s okay, I’m here for you. You want me to do your make-up? Let me do your make-up and then you’ll feel sooooo good.” I share stories and anecdotes of my friends with Kashmala, and she knows the names of some of my closest friends and has even talked with some of them through Skype, Whatsapp, gchat, Facebook, etc. She’s loveable, and she’s easy to talk to and have fun with.

So, as I lose people that Kashmala has come to know about or interacted with before, she goes, “I hate her; don’t ever, ever talk to her again” (I love that she takes my side – loyalty FTW, ai). I told her of two people I’d briefly been close to this summer in Oman who stopped talking to me without at all communicating their feelings to me about whatever problem we were having and who denied any tension when I went up to try to talk to them about it; I told her about this other friend I lost whom she adored; she saw pictures of my friends on FB who are no longer in my life, and I told her that, na, I didn’t know them anymore, etc., etc. And finally came her wise words:

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Nail Polish and Make-Up Daddies and Granddaddies


This topic has come up a couple of times in the past week or so. Especially because I would agree with anyone who says we need to see more men like this in the media; it needs to be pointed out more publicly and widely that nail polish and make-up daddies (or, heck, non-parents, too!) are totally cool, and that their masculinity is not so delicate as to be annihilated through this “feminine” act. Especially when it’s for the love of their daughters or granddaughters. (Okay, for simplicity’s sake, I am going to just use “daddies” instead of both “daddies and granddaddies.”)

Now, I think a new criterion needs to be set for all husbands/potential fathers: That they be willing to be nail-polish and make-up daddies (and/or husbands – but let’s focus for now)

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