Mehak Hafeez: Women

Mehak Hafeez is an aspiring psychotherapist, mental health advocate, devoted feminist, and young leader in Chicago land area. In May 2017, Mehak finished her Bachelors of science in psychology with a specialization in rehabilitation services at Illinois Institute of Technology. Currently, she is on the edge of completing her graduate studies in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at Illinois Institute of Technology.

At age 9, i learned to fear men.
Right out of trauma,
I learned to fear life.
If living life wasn’t enough,
I learned to fear myself.
“What do i do”
“Why me”
“What did I do”
My mind turned into a brick room filled with fear.

I can’t breathe, I’d feel.
I couldn’t see the straight path.
My body ached from strangle,
My ears were filled with blurred noises.
I held to the rope of hope?
“Let go,” became a constant struggle
My hands bled from holding on for far too long,
But my instinct told me I could do a bit more.

At age 11, I arrived to the land of opportunities.
“Tone it down,”
“Your accent is interesting.”
Constant attempt to mold me into the societal norms.
Pushed against the gym’s brick wall,
“Take that off, terrorist!”
Hijab- my shield of culture was off.
“But you can’t apply to universities with that status”
She’d say every time I asked for transcripts.
But i wondered, “what does my status has to do with what’s in my brain?”
“Oh, nothing”,
“You are undocumented that’s why”.

At age 18, I was saved by women.
Who shared the key to higher education.
Who welcomed me into her office and let me speak.
Who cared to as, “what do you want to do moving forward?”
Who noticed my silent cries for help.
Who heard my project share my ideas.
Who told me I can go further if I want to.
Who broke her bread with me when I was empty stomach.
Who shared her scarf to cover me when I felt unsafe.
These are the women who ignited the light in my life
And told me,
“We are in this together”.
Now I am one of them.

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