Vulnerability Is Strength Itself, You Just Need To Accept Who You Are: Amna Raheel
- IWB Post
- June 7, 2019
Our first reaction to anything unusual is either to be scared or to laugh at it. Differences in our society aren’t accepted at all and it’s ironic that ‘out of the box’ thinking is encouraged to specifically be that – different and unique. We don’t know how to react in the presence of individuals who are different and an eternity of such thinking has alienated those that don’t have a choice in this matter. People with disabilities are treated either with disdain or pity and neither of those emotions is comforting or welcoming.
Disability isn’t a widely discussed issue in the South Asian region and this lack of discussion has had damaging consequences. Society’s unreceptive behaviour towards disabilities isn’t just limited to our behaviour, apart from judgment and prejudice, differently-abled people also have to deal with inaccessible infrastructure, lack of affordable healthcare and non-inclusive social systems.
Despite facing hurdles, someone who hasn’t let her vulnerability prevent her from achieving her goals is 27-year-old Karachi-based Amna. “I think that vulnerability is strength itself. Once you know what your vulnerabilities are, you can use them to discover your strengths. You just need to accept yourself the way you are. And you’ll realize you have the power to do anything. Also, someone once told me that no matter how big a disease or a problem is, if you can fight it in your mind you can win. It’s all about positive thinking,” is what she believes.
In a recent chat with IWB, Amna spoke about differently-abled people in South Asia and nurturing acceptance and compassion.
On her journey and struggles
@indianwomenblog I believe struggles are a part of everyone’s lives. We all fall down but strength lies in how you get up. My struggles might be bigger than others but I believe my strength is bigger than anything.
@indianwomenblog I’ll stop going to places with stairs? NO. It means I’ll fight my way through it and figure out how to get where I want to.
On the world she envisions
@indianwomenblog I wish to live in a world with no labels. I hate how we put labels on people. We are human beings, we are not boxes that you can label. We feel, we think, we breathe and mostly we want to be accepted.
@indianwomenblog different and it’s okay for them to be that way. For example when you’re in school you’re either defined as popular or a loner. Why do we do that? It would such a beautiful world if we’ve just let people live without dividing them into labels.
On nurturing acceptance and compassion
@indianwomenblog By being more emphatic rather than sympathetic. We just want to help people because we feel sorry for them. The day we will realise that people shouldn’t be felt sorry for because it’s they are struggling today, tomorrow it can be us then they would think much differently.
On supporting people with disabilities
@indianwomenblog People just want to be heard. Once they know that you are someone who is willing to hear them and will try to help them they will reach out to you themselves. My inbox is usually filled with people sharing their stories with me and asking for help.
On how she fights patriarchy
@indianwomenblog I believe that men and women should be given equal working rights and equal pay. They are no lesser than them. Women need to understand they don’t need a man to make them feel complete or make their dreams come true. They can do it on their own.
Her message for South Asian women
@indianwomenblog Learn to love yourself. Believe that if you’re determined to rise then no one can stop you from achieving your dreams. Don’t limit yourself and don’t let the world limit you. Be the captain of your life. Don’t become the passenger.
Owing to the diverse albeit rich cultural backdrop of the region, South Asian geopolitics remains unique in its own way. The culture, the religion, and the confusing international narratives have all amalgamated together to give birth to a politics unlike any other in South Asia.
While the social and political movements in the West might inspire us, we need a system of our own to incorporate them as per our surroundings. Our triggers are different, our catalysts are different, our methods are different, and therefore it becomes imperative that our understanding of it must be different too. We cannot see ourselves from the lens of the outsider like a narrative developed with only half-hearted efforts.
IWB recognises that the need right now is to take charge of the situation and facilitate a dialogue among women representatives from South Asian nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and Sri Lanka.
We have thus initiated a series of Twitter chats with women representatives from the South Asian countries mentioned above.