My name is Sahiba Kaur and I am 22 years old. I was born in Manhattan, New York, lived in Queens till the age of 6, and moved to Long Island where I have been residing ever since.
The human race has advanced in the realm of science, technology, math, innovation, music, and entertainment. We live in an ever connected world where at a push of a button we can see the faces of our loved ones who live miles and miles away. However, we have been stunted in the field that matters most: social justice. Now me being a woman, society has not always been on my side. There’s plenty of conversation about females and their “rights,” But conversely there’s plenty of dialogue that judge women for merely living the way they want to live. We talk about how a girl should dress a certain way, a girl should talk a certain way, or judge a girl for partying and living her life a certain way. In the Desi community a girl is required to learn how to cook and clean at a young age so that when the time comes, she’d be a perfect wife for her husband and HIS family. Now many of you might be asking yourself, that these are common stereotypes of the South Asian community and do not actually exist, however all stereotypes have specs of truth, and these specs are largely seen throughout South Asia.
I, on the other hand am immensely grateful that I’ve never had to live under such restrictions, even if my community unknowingly set them. My parents, who heavily identified with the Sikh faith raised me by imbibing its doctrines onto my early life. Sikhi is a very accepting and tolerant philosophy, which pushes for equality between genders. Rather than just be an empowered and powerful female, I’ve learned to become a confident individual.
Have you ever had those days where no matter what you do in life, it will never be enough, or will always be left incomplete? Have you ever had those days where you feel so close to your dreams, yet you are so far? Even though I may feel unaccomplished in life, I always remember that no matter what happens in life, you just have to keep going. In this life, we write a new story each day when we wake up. “Even darkness must pass, a new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer,” to quote Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings, which is one of my favorite books. You must take the onus to be better than who you were yesterday, because if you won’t, then who will.
I have noticed that being a woman in the the field of politics, you need to be 10 notches above your male counterparts, or you will never have your moment to shine. This calls for many of us having to fight for our voices to be heard (equally). Our opinions are irrelevant, our voice and strength is invalid, our fight is irrational; all in all, our existence seems to be worthless. The recent case of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford vs. Judge Brett Kavanaugh is evidence enough, coupled with the #MeToo victims who have come forward and demanded justice; it is about time that women have become the spokespeople for their OWN voice and their OWN body. However women cannot fight this battle alone, it takes two to Tango and once men join the movement, social, economic, and political equality can and will be achieved. That is to say, men aren’t the enemy, they are our allies and we also as women have the duty of accepting these imperfect allies into our struggle, to fight for our freedom. We want to see women in positions of power (e.g. Hillary Clinton as President). If we are never given a chance to show how well we can change institutions and nations for the better, then the world is never going to experience thriving in a new light. It’s time to let the world know that we have an existence, that we will no longer work the background, but rather be front and center because, without us this world can’t run.
Thanks to my family, I flourished to become a sociable and candid one. My parents and brother are my backbone; they’re quite supportive with my actions and words. Although I admire Sikhism and was brought up with its principles, I am still curious about it. It’s not wrong to question what you are being taught, it’s strongly encouraged, rather. Instead of blindly following a religion because you were born into it, make an attempt to learn its philosophies so that you can figure out if it the one you want to subscribe to or not. This may be the reason why I’m not very religious, which is still fine, even if people judge me for it. Thoughts and opinions regarding this, that matter to me, are mine alone. People will consistently judge me for what I say, whether it comes to religion or politics. I know myself the kind of struggle that comes with being a girl, sharing her thoughts and speaking for herself. Knowing what world we live in, I will always stay true to myself. When consoling someone, people tend to go about the usual comforting words of false hope. Personally, I believe in tough love. It’s not something that helps most people because instead of cheering up, it worsens the situation if it is received in the wrong way. Tough love, however, consists of words that give you a sense of strength to do better, to make the best of the situation you’re in. It’s not something you wish to hear, but something that you NEED to, especially from those that you love. With the support of loved ones it’s easier to overcome the worst parts.
A piece of advice to the upcoming generations: blind faith is a trait that you do not want to possess. If something around you doesn’t feel right or doesn’t sound right, it’s okay to question it. Don’t worry about people judging you for your opinions. They need something to talk about because honestly, some people don’t have anything better to do. People will try to tell you how to achieve your dreams. People will try to “guide” you in their ways, just to get your mind off on something you want to do. People will try to take you down while you are finally on the path of what you want to do. People will always tell you the otherwise. Don’t subject yourself to follow the status quo. Call out the bullshit in the religion or faith, or to the culture or family you belong in.
If it doesn’t sit right with you and seems hypocritical, there’s no reason you need to surrender to it. It’s alright to be a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent, or a liberal or a conservative; as long as your views help the betterment of society. Just because John McCain was a Republican, he was also one of the most decent and honorable men in United States’ politics. And although Barack Obama was a Democrat, he still cared more about greater good of society, which is always debated amongst people if it truly is the greater good. At the end of the day, we’re all human and distinct in unique ways.
If people judge you, show them that your views are good that demonstrate an understanding of the world. In all honesty, just believe in yourself. Believe in your hustle. Be humble. Stay true to yourself. Love yourself because if you don’t, no one will. That’s a promise, fam.
My name is Sahiba Kaur and this is my Project Why.