Ever since I was young, I have had these heavy expectations weighing on my shoulders. Go to school, obey God, listen to your parents. I did just that. I was a good Muslim girl. I didn't talk to boys, I prayed 5 times a day, I listened to my parents because after all, heaven was under the feet of my mother. Now I'm in my early twenties. I still pray 5 times a day, I obey God, I get my school work done, I work extra hard, I listen to my parents, but it's time to leave. It's time to pack my bags, apply for loans, and leave. This wasn't a quick decision I've made, I'm not being impulsive or irrational. I'm doing exactly what I should have done before the weight of expectations took my life from me, I'm taking care of myself. I'm being very vague because it's so much to go through. In short, I'm not valued where I am. I'm not valued at work, at school, in life. I deal with misogyny on the daily, xenophobia, islamophobia, I hear micro-aggressions in class, at work. But these were always expected to me. These things happen, they are not safe spaces. But the one safe space I did have, my home, is no longer safe for me. It took me a while to finally sit myself down and ask myself if I'm happy. Does anyone ever ask them self that? Am I happy? I asked myself that when I was sitting in the car after a huge argument with my mom. Am I happy? I've always known the answer, I'm not, but it wasn't until I explored that unhappiness that I realized it was time. Time to finally hold my life in my hands, time to stop listening to rules that they said would be good for me, I'm a good Muslim girl, I follow the rules, I respect my parents and give money to the poor and pray 5 times a day but what did these things mean for me? They told me to do these things, told me I'll become well rounded and well mannered, but what they really wanted was to control me. I love God, I love Islam and I love praying and I love giving to the poor. What I didn't love was being told to do these things. My own home where I was learning how to be well mannered and I am and where I learned to be grounded and I am, where I learned to obey and listen and become a person who wasn't happy. I wasn't happy with myself. Will leaving make me happy? I don't know. Will it help me value myself? I don't know. I need me, for once in my life I need me. I need to do this. The first step is leaving.

Published by Zeina Beena