two girls in redCan I talk?

No.

Can I go to school?
No.

Can I work outside?
No.

Can be myself?
No.

Can I ask why?
You are a girl.

The pain of being a girl comes down as tears on my cheeks. For centuries I have cried for being a girl. They taught me to be silent when I wanted to speak for myself. They taught me to stay in a dark room because I did not deserve the light. They did not let me be myself because I was created to be property. They closed doors that would let me escape and opened only the doors they wanted me to walk through. I cried, nobody heard me. I suffered, nobody cared. I felt lonely, I was too unworthy to be accompanied.

And when I said I want to have the same rights as you, they turned their backs, they hit me, raped me, cut my nose, and stoned me. There must be no independence or happiness for a woman. For centuries they have been happy to use me as a secondary sex. But they do not let me be happy. They do not want me to think that we could be the same.

My heart is full of words they said I’m not worthy to hear. My heart is as big as the universe and full of words I am not allowed to say. I remember the days I watched them going to school and all I could do was look through the window and cry without making a noise. I remember when I asked them to let me go to school too, but they slapped me and reminded me of the sour fact: I am a girl.

I cannot count how many times I have wished I was born somewhere else–or that Afghanistan were something else. I wish I could have the same as they have, just the same, nothing more. Just the same rights as they have. I keep this wish beside the bunch of wishes in the universe of my heart. It is the only thing they cannot grab for themselves.

By Fatima H.

Photo by Nick Dubaz