Things that made me, me

I’ve been doing a lot of lists lately, I know, but – maybe this is a side effect of studying and exam time – but I feel the need to organize my thoughts. I promise, this site won’t become neihaliststhis!

I’ve been meaning to make a post about this, actually, but I never really knew how. That’s my issue with things that have had a profound impact on me: how do you find the right words? Which is why I couldn’t talk about TEDxWinchester or graduation. I feel like no matter what I write, it won’t do my actual feelings justice. But, well, without further ado, a list of books, TV shows, bands etc that made me who I am today!

  • The Powerpuff Girls. Really, what more do I need to say? Bubbles was my favorite and she still is, but I’ve grown to have a strong appreciation of all three girls. Sure, they all had distinctly different personalities that fit certain tropes (the blonde, the bossy smart leader, the tough girl) but they functioned as a team. But mostly Bubbles.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess. The funniest part is, I don’t remember watching the show. I was a little thing back then, but I know how obsessed I was with Xena and Gabrielle and how I pretended to be Xena myself. Back then, my feminism was pretty much “GIRL POWER!” and YEAH, SWORDS, FIGHTING, KARATE, I’M TOUGH AND I LIKE PINK and- …yeah, it’s pretty much the same still, but with additional marxism. Anyway, yeah, Xena. 
  • Digimon: The amount of tears I have shed over this show. Nothing more needs to be said.
  • Growing up in Lahore but, like, that takes up a post of its own.
  • …I don’t know when I started loving the color pink. All I know is there was never a time I didn’t love it, never a time where I liked a color more than pink. I was always proud about it too. And I still am. And I can, with confidence, say that the color pink itself made me the person I am today. 
  • The Cranberries! Man, I grew up listening to this band, singing Delilah at the top of my lungs, trying to match Dolores’ intensity – even now, I’m not tired of this band. Just a couple hours ago I was listening to all the music I haven’t heard in years and wanted to cry from the sheer nostalgia I felt. I remembered each and every song and it was such a good feeling.
  • Meg Cabot books! Especially The Princess Diaries and the Mediator series. I think reading these books during my preteen years made all the difference – they’re the reason I have such a self-deprecating sense of humor and why I don’t take myself seriously. Hell, Meg Cabot is the reason my writing style is the way it is – personal and feminine and pretty unapologetic, if I do say so myself.
  • Tamora Pierce. Specifically, the Song of the Lioness quartet. To be honest, this deserves a post of its own but I remember when I was studying in Pakistan, my school held a massive annual book fair. My mother – as the woman who helped turn me into the avid reader that I am today – would take breaks out of her busy schedule as a teacher in the same school to sift through the books (with the trained eye of an expert reader). Invariably, by the time she was done, she would have more books than her arms could support, but the beam on her face was worth the strain on her arms.

    In the car ride back home, she and I would pour over the books she had bought. She always bought separate books for me as well, but I was interested in hers too. One of the books she got had a beautiful sword printed across the cover; the other – from the same series, I gathered – had the face of a black cat.

    I don’t remember when I decided to pick up the first book, but I did. And I was in love instantly. Probably the most formative series of my childhood, and definitely the most read. I was always a very “girl power!” kind of kid, as I said before, and I think I often felt a void in my life when it came to finding strong, female protagonists that weren’t just obsessed with romance. Don’t get me wrong – I love romance! I’m hopeless when it comes to it. But there was something to be said about a woman who could handle a sword or a gun with ease. I immediately fell in love with Alanna, all her flaws, her stubborn tenacity, the tenderness she fought so hard to hide… Interestingly, all it did was encourage me not to stifle myself. And it motivated me to defy every single stereotype. I’m proud to say that I haven’t changed that mentality to date.

There’s so much more I could talk about. Frankly, I’m amazed I managed to articulate what I have so far. Of course, this isn’t all that has influenced me but at 3am, it’s all I can come up where. I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a part 2, but we’ll see.

Wow. This post is huge. I apologize.

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