IAI: I Am Impressionable

People have a large impact on me. From strangers to my ‘nearest’ and dearest, I have always found comfort in others. It’s interesting and troubling all in one.

Sadia (left), baby me and Fizza (right) in Karachi, Pakistan (c. 2000)

From the day I was able to walk to the present day, people from all walks of life have made certain marks on me.

They each attach a part of themselves and seamlessly exit that part of my life, not knowing initially the impact they had on me.

While it’s an eye-opening experience to be greeted by countless individuals whom will go on to live their own lives — there is a sinister side to this whole discussion, one that has loomed over me for years now.

But first, the picture above I found today when I was at a low. I haven’t been feeling well for the last few days and my mood hasn’t been as cheerful and motivated as it could’ve been. This picture taken at the start of the 21st Century reminds me of what the possibilities are when you put your mind to it.

Both Sadia and Fizza are my cousins.

Sadia worked in marketing and advertising for Ogilvy and Mather out of education until she gave it up to have two beautiful children. She didn’t take the standard doctor route and I look up to her and her sister Aliya whom both broke away from the mould. They are successful, pioneering and inspiring. Both Sadia and Aliya are two people who had an impression on me for sure.

Fizza, on the other hand, now lives in the USA. She doesn’t live in Pakistan anymore, something that some of the family have done in the past. She’s a doctor. I couldn’t tell you what exactly she does but I know she works very hard. Fizza was one of my favourite growing up, she always had the time for me and I distinctively remember certain times hanging out and discussing the world’s problems. She taught me to dance to ‘Relax, Take it Easy’ by Mika for a wedding and I remember that I considered myself the star of the show.

Two women. Successful in career and family. Role models.

Me wearing UT Top in Sidcup, Kent, UK

These are two examples of positive impressions. I’ve lived a life of turbulence. Little continuity has persisted past joining secondary school. I suppose now is the start of another plateau. As I start to explore myself through writing, expose some insecurities and embrace myself.

I always struggled with social interactions with both sexes in school. It wasn’t something that I was too sure about, the protocol and the norms. It might have come across as me being pushy or persistent in the pursuit for friends.

There’s a reason behind it.

Where I’m an only child, I latch onto other people. I want to spend all my time talking, texting or hanging out. It’s a problem I identified only on my return to the UK.

That unhealthy attachment yearning and necessity has led to friendships breaking down. By no fault of either party, they tend to fail because the dependency fades away and there’s no need to be so connected.

I talk about my anxiety a lot on this blog. I only do so because there are so many factors that I couldn’t all list in one place so I spread them across and when it comes to mind.

Dependency. Attachment. Anxiety.

That seems to fit together perfectly. I’ve discussed this with friends whom I feel this has been the case with and we both agreed that my strategy to approach the friendship was ambitious and weird.

It led me to being anxious, the dependency that is and I don’t think I’ll ever recover fully. It’s a bad habit and you can always rid yourself of bad habits.

Now, I care about myself a lot more. I take my own interests first before anyone else. I’ve realised that the more impressionable you make yourself seem, the more likely you are to become hurt.

I noticed trends with it, if people are extremely complimentary of me then I tend to attach because I’ve lived a life of rejection. It’s a pre-condition that I need to adapt around.

This is why I don’t like when people say that I inspire them. It’s the reverse of the attachment and I feel a lot of pressure to be someone more than myself. It’s something that I’ve never been able to deal with because I was always being impressed by others, now it’s me doing the impressing.

Reflection of my car in Sidcup, Kent, UK

Take this image above. It’s a true reflection of my car. When I look at myself in the mirror, I ask myself if I’m the true reflection of me or if I’m trying to be someone esle.

Everyday, I break down the stereotype and conformity of being like others.

Just as the car is a faded reflection is exactly similar to me and my image and insecurities.

One day I’ll say with confidence — I am my own person.

Joint PhD Candidate Business & Management at Manchester & Melbourne| MSc UCL Science, Technology and Society | BA (Hons) QMUL Human Geography |