A Girl Can Have Big Dreams

I remember when I was eleven. I wished I could be an astronaut when I grew up. I heard there had never been a woman on the moon and I wanted to be the first woman.

One night I told my father about my wish. As I was telling him what made my head fly, he smiled, wondering if I would reach my goal or if I was dreaming. We had a guest visiting that night, a relative who came from far away, and when he heard us talking, he said to my father: “Would you stop your children from imagining all these impossible things?”

Suddenly all the pictures in my mind disappeared—the moon, space, Fatima in an astronaut suit. They were replaced by a question: “Is being an astronaut impossible?” After that, I stopped wishing my big wish.

I don’t know when I was put down for the first time, but I know how it hurts when there is nobody to support you and give you a smile as you keep moving.

I can list how many times people put me down every day, but this is not such a big deal. I can defend myself. If I want to be a leader, I have to be strong and not worry about those who would like to see me drowning. But what hurts too much is when I realize how often I put others down.

This makes me feel ashamed of myself. When I put others down I am actually learning to put myself down. I am learning how to think negatively, to look for weaknesses and never learning to appreciate, but to lose self-confidence.

I am fifteen now and I know that I won’t put down others as I mend my self-confidence. I know now that our relative is not going to destroy my wishes even if I do not go to the moon. But it is disgusting to be put down by others, and more disgusting is to put others down. I want to say, Just stay strong! In developing countries like Afghanistan, people hate to encourage you, but the thing you have to do is to be strong!  

By Fatima H.

NASA photo, taken by an Apollo 11 astronaut in July, 1969.


  1. Allison Walker says:

    Fatima, we all make mistakes, put others down, and don’t trust the abilities that we have. We need to move past that each day, and I think that so far you sound like you are doing a good job at that. I want to hear more stories from you!

  2. Please continue to be strong and do not put down yourself or others. You are very wise for one of fifteen.

  3. Jessica says:

    It is amazing how you know at such a young age how to treat others and how mature you are. Keep up those thoughts and never let anyone tell you, you can’t. I have faced a lot of dead ends in my life and I could have given up and listen to others put me down, but instead I turned around and found away to continue my journey in life. Sometimes you have to motivate yourself first and with all that positive energy people around you will start to use it to be positive in their own life. Putting others down may not be an intentional thing, but sometimes you do not realize you do it unless it’s too late. I do it but only because a person will ask me to be honest to them and if my honesty is not what they do not want to hear well at that moment I know it was not my fault they asked for my voice. Continue to follow what you want to do in life because in the end it is your life and not everyone else’s.

    – Jessica


  1. […] Another writer, a ninth-grade student named Fatima H., writes about her hopes for the future in her essay, “A Girl Can Have Big Dreams”: […]

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