I’m a Humans of New York fan. It’s hard not to be when you’re a storyteller and genuinely interested in people. The latest post shared via their Facebook page is a whirlwind series—11 posts in total—released in rapid succession throughout the day. Judging by the comments, other followers were as enraptured as I was. If this particular story doesn’t make you believe in the power and resilience of the human spirit, I’m not sure what will.
As people and professionals, the determination and vulnerability from Sidra Qasim and Waqas Ali is inspiring. They faced an unfathomable amount of adversity by most people’s standards, especially Sidra as a woman in Pakistan. We should all strive to be as brave and courageous as Sidra.
From challenging family expectations to clashing cultural beliefs, they persevered. (I want to live in a world where no girl or woman has to think: “I felt cursed. Why hadn’t I been born a boy? I had all these ideas, and all these dreams, but nobody would ever recognize them.”) When dreams were dashed and opportunities were not realized, they regrouped, recalibrated, and began again.
They kept taking risks. They kept trying. In fact, they tried something new. They pivoted. They never gave up.
Without a doubt, the odds were stack against them at nearly every critical juncture. I can’t help but think of a quote that I wrote down as a teenager after watching Mulan: “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
From time to time, I think about how much that quote struck me from the moment I heard it. I sensed recognition in it because I believe it is true.
I’ve always been drawn to stories like Sidra’s. Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of an immigrant. I want people to succeed. It’s hard not to want a happy ending.
The older I get, the prouder I am to be the kind of person who unabashedly cheers on others and feels inspired by them. It’s how I’m wired.
I believe in Sidra because I believe in the power of the human spirit to not only survive, but thrive. It is powerful beyond what seems reasonable and that’s a beautiful paradox.