The Rich Girl Syndrome
Two days ago, a gentleman politely asked me, "why do you need to work? I mean look at you," as he turned his gaze towards my shoes and the outfit that I had effortlessly put on. It wasn't the question that he asked that bothered me but the assumption that a pair of shoes and a single kurta should be reason enough for me to quit my career.
I was dumbfounded. How was I to tell this man to stop, to not judge me? Little did he know, this image that he saw and was quick to judge me based on was a very minute part of the person that I am. How was I to possibly justify that I waited for three whole years till the shoes that I'm wearing went on sale so I could finally afford them or that my carefully styled hair took me just four minutes to make because I learned hair styling when I couldn't afford going to the salon like the rest of my friends.
I wasn't just going to stand there and say nothing either so I did respond a few seconds after and said," buddy, I earn my living and support myself and have been since I was 18."
Though after this comment our conversation ended, it really got me thinking..I am judged based on the clothes that I wear, the shoes that I wear or the hairstyle I make, seriously? And for some reason am also expected to provide justifications to people who are just curious to know the reason behind my work ethic?
I wish I had the guts back then to explain to some people or tell them how wrong they are in judging me and if they spend some time in getting to know me perhaps then they would see beyond all of this, but what is the point? If someone cared enough they should make that effort, right?
No actually it doesn't work that way. We are conditioned to stereotype. We are conditioned to judge. Most of this stems from our own insecurities and in our own belief of ourselves. We ARE right. We have experienced everything - and after all, what does she know?
Here is what she does know. She knows what hard work is. She knows what the value of money is. She knows the importance of savings. She knows what it is like to work three jobs in college yet maintain a 4.0 GPA. She knows what it's like to work a full time job and and a Masters certification on a full scholarship.
She knows that money is a blessing from God and it's not permanent. She knows the value of quality versus quantity. She knows what it feels like to work harder than the rest even when she doesn't want to or need to in fear of losing her job because she absolutely needs the money. She knows what it's like to not go on a vacation because she can't afford it. She knows what's it like to survive for four months on Rs 8,000. She also knows how to spend on herself when she's worked hard and earned it. She knows how to dress well on a budget. She knows how to clean bathrooms better than anyone. She knows how to set tables because she's been a damn good waitress. She knows how to wash dishes because one day a week she worked in the dish room when she was a mere college student. She became financially independent as an adoloscent because she saw her parents make sacrifices for her that she didn't wish to see. She learned to keep her diet simple, her life simple. And she learned all this with amazingly grounded people in her life. So, believe me when I say she knows, she knows.
Two years ago I met someone over dinner who said, "Huma I'm not a rich man" And I had said, "good I'm not a rich woman either." But I was wrong then and I realise that now.
I am rich. I am rich in love. I am rich in affection. I am rich in patience. I am rich in faith. I am rich in friendships. I am rich in health. I am rich in my curiosity and I am rich in giving love. I am very rich in giving love.
So when you see me in my elitist Islamabad club playing squash, I request please take a moment and ask my coach what I'm really like or the man who makes my lemon water or ask the man who makes my chai at the base of trail 5 or ask the woman who cleans my room at the hotel or ask my hairdresser ask or ask my friends who live in mansions or better yet those who live in the slums, ask them before you judge.
I am a complex complicated woman with a passion for fashion, a passion for anything sexy, a passion for spreading love, a passion for my Lord, a passion for knowledge, a passion for creativity. I am a woman who loves to dress up in her heels. I am not Edhi. I am not Mother Teresa. Let's face I can never be that selfless. I am someone who has learned that I can balance my desires with my need to spread His love and kindness. I don't need to showcase this side of me but those that have really cared have taken the time to invest in my soul.
Perhaps that's what we all need to do. Stop judging each other based on looks and material things. Start appreciating each other for the good that lives inside of each of us. Because there is good inside all of us. We each have been dealt a different card. Some are born rich, others aspire to be rich and some of us like myself are content with what is in their kismat.
Amidst judgments we lose relationships, we hurt feelings, we showcase our own insecurities, we make mistakes and ultimately we lose people.
Disclaimer: The opinion, belief and viewpoints expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect the opinion, belief and viewpoints of Hello! Pakistan or official policies of Hello! Pakistan