“I am Caged by My Body But My Mind is Free, So is My Spirit and Soul” Wheel Chair Bound Muniba Mazari, The Iron Lady of Pakistan
I was 18 years old when I got married. I belonged to a very conservative family. A family where good daughters never say “no” to their parents. My father wanted me to get married and all I said was if that makes you happy, I’ll say yes. And of course, it was never a happy marriage.
Just about after two years of getting married, about 9 years ago, I met a car accident. Somehow, my husband fell asleep and the car fell in the ditch. He managed to jump out, saved himself, I’m happy for him but I stayed inside the car. And I sustained a lot of injuries, list that is a bit long. The radius ulna of my right arm were fractured, the wrist was fractured. Shoulder bone, collarbone were fractured. My whole ribcage got fractured.
But that injury that changed me and my life completely was the spine injury. Many people came to rescue, they gave me CPR. They dragged me out of the car and while they were dragging me out, I got the complete disconnection of my spinal cord.
Those two and a half months in the hospital were dreadful. I was at the verge of despair. One day, doctor came to me and he said, “well, I heard that you wanted to be an artist but you ended up being a housewife. I have a bad news for you. You won’t be able to paint again.” Next day, doctor came to me and said “your spine injury is so bad, you won’t be able to walk again.”
I took a deep breath and decided it’s alright. Next day, doctor came to me and said “because of your spine injury, and the fixation that you have in your back, you won’t be able to give birth to a child again.” That day, I was devastated. I started to question my existence that why am I even alive? Read:“The Sky Is Not My Limit, I Have No Boundaries” – #MCM Idris Elba
So what kept me going was, one day I asked my brothers “I know I have a deformed hand, but I’m tired of looking at these white walls in the hospital and wearing these white scrubs. Bring me some colours, bring me some small canvas, I want to paint.” So the very first painting I made was on my deathbed. Where I painted for the very first time. What an amazing therapy it was. Without uttering a single word, I could paint my heart out. I could share my story. People used to come and say “what lovely painting. So much colour.” Nobody could see the grief in it. Only I could. And that day I decided that I’m going to live life for myself.
I am not going to be that perfect person for someone. I am just going to take this moment and I will make it perfect for myself. That I’m going to fight my fears. So I wrote down, one by one, all those fears and I decided that I’m going to overcome these fears one at a time. You know what was my biggest fear? Divorce. But the day I decided that this is nothing but my fear, I liberated myself by setting him free. And I made myself emotionally so strong that the day I got the news that he’s getting married, I sent him a text that “I’m so happy for you and I wish you all the best.” And he knows that I pray for him today.
Number two was I won’t be able to be a mother again and that was quite devastating for me. But then I realized, there are so many children in the world, all they want is acceptance. So there is no point of crying. Just go and adopt one and that’s what I did. I gave my name in different organizations, different orphanages and I waited patiently. Two years later, I got this call from a very small city in Pakistan. They said, “are you Muniba Mazari? There is a baby boy and would you like to adopt?” I could literally feel the labor pain. I said, “Yes. Yes, I am going to adopt him. I am coming to take him home.” And that day, he was two days old and today he is six.
You know when you end up being on the wheelchair, what’s the most painful thing? People think that they will not be accepted by other people because we, in the world of perfect people are imperfect. So I decided to appear more in public. I started to paint. I have done a lot of modelling campaigns. I decided that I’m going to join the National T.V of Pakistan as an anchor person. I became the National goodwill ambassador for UN women Pakistan and now I speak for the rights of women and children. I was featured in BBC 100 women for 2015. I’m one of Forbes 30 under 30 for 2016. So when you accept yourself the way you are, the world recognizes you. It all starts from within
We have this amazing fantasy about life. “This is how things should work. This is my plan, it should go as per my plan.” If that doesn’t happen, we give up. I never wanted to be on the wheelchair, never thought of being on the wheelchair. This life is a test and a trial and tests are never supposed to be easy. So when you are expecting ease from life, and life gives you lemons. Then you make the lemonade and then do not blame life for that.
It is okay to be scared. It is okay to cry. Everything is okay. But giving up should not be an option. When you fail, you get up. And then you fail and then you get up and that keeps you going. Embrace each and every breath that you are taking. Celebrate your life. Live it. Don’t die before your death. Real happiness lies in gratitude. So be grateful, be alive and live every moment.
Trancribed from Muniba Mazari ‘s narrative with Goal Cast