A Journey of Rediscovering Myself

Tilyan Aslam
Hi everyone reading this,
Before you all start reading, let me ask you one quick question: How many of you are familiar with the word “existential crisis”? Alright! Many of you I see. Well, this little story of mine will cover it up for you and share the deepest secrets related to it as well, so continue with reading.
I am Tilyan Aslam, a teenage girl with big dreams and great visions to contribute to making this world a better and more peaceful place to live. All I think is ways of playing my part in spreading joys and love through my small acts of giving back. I want to be an inspiring next generation leader and work on making this beautiful world even more beautiful with the principles of love and harmony.
How many of you think the way I do? Many of you, I am pretty sure.
But have you all ever realized that during all this hustle and bustle of being there for everyone, and working on making everything perfect, we sometimes lose ourselves, our very own selves that owe so much to. I am again with you all in this. For the past seven to six months my journey has been one of the most challenging ones as a teenager. I was tested in ways one can barely imagine and today I am taking courage and sharing it with everyone because I believe our stories have the power to change the world and owning them is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.
Read Also: Why Do I Dream So Much?
I am an alumna of the Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program. I returned back to Pakistan eight months ago with so many dreams and they aim to give back to my community as much as I can and inspire everyone with my story. When I was in the USA, I had already started making youtube videos so I thought it will be amazing to continue with Youtube and show the world the beauty of my place – Balochistan.
My return home was one of the most exciting yet the hardest moments in my life. I was happy and determined to share my experiences and lessons I had learned during my stay in the USA, but sad and nervous at the same time since I had to adjust and adapt back to life in Pakistan with every day having a new reverse cultural shock. The problems that were affecting me mentally seemed very minor and normal to everyone else because again this was a battle I had to fight on my own. For instance, the loss of appetite as soon as I got back home due to the differences in American and Pakistani food was a huge reverse cultural shock for me, but this seemed quite normal to everyone else. The lifestyle, switching back to my native language after a year of speaking a whole new language, my changed perspective about the world, and independence were things that dealt with most of the shocks, but I had to be flexible and give time to myself to adapt back to my niche and I did it pretty bravely with a wide and bright smile on my face!
As the months passed by I thought I had adapted to my everyday life, maybe at that time I just tried to convince myself that nothing was impacting me mentally although deep down I knew that everything was getting overwhelming for me, every single thing.
The social anxiety of being a Baloch girl and a so-called public figure added to my mental instability. I couldn’t go out the way I used to because a lot of people in my community now know me. This was where I started feeling low on things and doubting myself and about the decisions, I have taken to continue making videos on Youtube.
There are these moments in our lives where we cannot process mentally, but we pretend as we do, so I continued making videos on Youtube being aware of the fact that things with youtube might be different for me now; it is harder to make videos in Balochistan as a girl compared to the USA. I was conscious of the fact that I will receive both – hate and love, but all I have to do is continue what I am doing with love and positivity.
On the other hand, I had my classes so I had to continue with them as well. One of the biggest hurdles for me was adjusting back to my traditional Pakistani education system. In the USA, education is easier and more fun with different elective subjects and interesting ways of learning whereas in Pakistan we don’t have electives so we have to forcibly study subjects that we don’t enjoy.  Although I successfully have fitted in well with the system by now, but during all these months of studying I often felt lost. My friends knew what they wanted to do in their lives and what they wanted to pursue in their careers.  I was the only one lost among.I was still figuring out my choices and my career pathway. I remember crying one day alone because I thought I don’t belong anywhere because my choices differ from everyone around me, I thought maybe my dreams are too big to achieve or are they even acceptable in my society, but all this taught me the power of standing up for my dreams and passion.
I never said any of that out until now. At times when I went through this phase of existential crisis, I thought of the beautiful messages and notes my well-wishers send me. I revisited all the great things I have done, the achievements, the highs than for that while I would feel a little better.
The social media, the love and hate, negativity, and everything in-between started overwhelming me at times so I decided not to use it much. I limited my screen time and usage. Sometimes when girls would send me texts asking for advice, I would send them these long paragraphs of positivity and strengths ironically myself being at the lowest at the very moment.
I was the happiest when I did community service projects as a YES alumna and when I couldn’t sometimes because of my strict schedule, I would start doubting myself again that I am not being enough for my community and my people.
For me, my life these past months has been like a rollercoaster of emotions, but a journey that has helped me grow beautifully as a person and reinvent myself in a different way. I have learned that it is okay if we all feel lost sometimes, it is okay if we are still figuring out our careers, great things take time, tears, and energy. It is totally fine if we might not be able to make everyone happy and we are not supposed to either. It is okay if we want an escape from people. We deserve to take time for ourselves to rebuild and redefine ourselves. We don’t always have to do amazing and extraordinary achievements to feel good about ourselves. If anything affects our mental health, such as in my case it was social media we need to stay away from it because our inner peace is more important.
All I want to convey is that it is never too late to reinvent yourself. Sometimes when our world seems like falling apart and life doesn’t go as planned, all we need to do is take a step back and do things that bring us inner peace and give a deeper meaning to our lives. Everything takes time, so does our growth. We need to give time to ourselves and trust the process. When we feel low on things, we should share them with a dear one because together we can move mountains. Whenever anyone feels down for any reason just remember we are all in this together and after every sunset there comes a sunrise with hopes and light. Life is unpredictable and not in our control, but how we respond to it is definitely under our control. So we need to be kind to ourselves and patient about all the beautiful things coming our way in the future.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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