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 into 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, the list that is a bit long. The radius ulna of my right arm was fractured, the wrist was fractured. Shoulder bone, collarbone was fractured. My whole ribcage got fractured.
But that injury that changed me and my life completely was the spine injury as a person and the perception towards living my life 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 on the verge of despair. One day, a 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, a 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, a 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?
We all like to chase this tunnel, we all do this because we see light at the end of the tunnel which keeps us going. In my situation, there was a tunnel I had to roll on and there was no light. And that is, I realized that words have the power to heal the soul.
My mother said to me, that it will be pass and God has a greater plan for me even if she didn’t know what it was but He sure has. I was trying to put a smile on my face all the time but it was so hard to hide the pain but she was there. All I knew was if I will give up; my mother and brothers would give up too and I can not see them crying with me.
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 colors, 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 color.” Nobody could see the grief in it. Only I could.
So I spent two and half months in the hospital, never complaining or whining but painting. And then I was discharged and went back home, when I went back home I realized there were a lot of infections on my back and hip bone and I was unable to sit. So doctors wanted me to lie down on the bed straight for not six months, 1-year but for 2 years confined in that one room looking outside the window, listening to the birds chirping and thinking there would be a time I’ll be going out with the family and enjoying the nature. That was the time I realized how lucky people are but they don’t realize.
There are always turning points in your life, there was a rebirth day I celebrated. After two years and two and half months, when I was able to sit in a wheelchair, that was the day I had a rebirth. I was a completely different person.
I saw myself in the mirror and I talked to myself “I can not wait for a miracle to make me walk, I can not sit in the corner of the room begging for mercy because of nobody as time. So I have to accept myself the way I am, the sooner the better, so I applied lip color for the first time. Then I erased it, then I cried and I said: “what am I doing?, A person in a wheelchair should not do this, what will people say”.
Then I put it again but this time, I put it for myself because I want to feel perfect from within. That day, I decided 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.
My biggest fear 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 to 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 in the wheelchair, what’s the most painful thing? People think that they will not be accepted by other people because of 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 modeling 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 in 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 in the wheelchair, never thought of being in 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.”
- If you don’t accept yourself the way you are, nobody would.
- You can’t expect a miracle to happen if you keep giving yourself excuses. Never give room for excuses.
- It doesn’t matter any kind of situation you find yourself, God surely has a plan and reason for it.
- Your biggest fears are there to push you to where you are meant to be not to dissuade you.
- Never let your situation define you, there is so much to you than whatever challenges you are faced with.
I hope this inspires someone because I was greatly inspired.
Over to you, what lessons were you able to pick from Muniba’s story? Were you inspired? I would love to hear from you in the comment section.
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PS: Below is the link to the video if you want to see more.