Resilience means being able to return, recover or withstand. In the specific case of a human being described as resilient, it refers to having the ability to recover from difficult conditions, whatever those conditions may well be.
Let’s just take a few case studies. Without taking names, tell me how is one able to recover from being disfigured from acid? How is one able to return to normal life after being stripped off all their rights? What resilience does a child bride have?
Too clichéd? Heard it all before?
How is a female supposed to ‘return’ to her somewhat normal (let us not forget the Pakistani normal, especially for non-males, is quite abysmal) after having had her private information leaked onto the internet?
How is a female supposed to ‘bounce back’ having been thrashed in front of her children?
And as much as we’d get a thrill from it, a resilient woman cannot be brought back from the grave.
No, the Pakistani woman is not resilient. She’s actually surviving.
In rural areas, it’s common to see women come together to do some form of craftwork. Sounds charming, but the reality is they’re doing it for pennies to make ends meet between crop cycles. Of course climate change doesn’t discriminate but since the nizaam does, they face the effects directly. The development sector has somewhat tried to help with wonderful projects such as digital literacy to enable them to become micro entrepreneurs but limited connectivity means the gap is widening, at a very micro level now.
So those who are seemingly able to earn a few pennies more with the most basic of material are not actually being resilient, but they are trying to survive.
The fragmentation in urban spaces would make a pretty mosaic but unfortunately, it is anything but. Slivers of hope shine through every now and then blinding one with the glaring desperation that NOW things will get better only to see it upped in Yet-Another-Horrible-Incident. No, city girls are not resilient when they carry on the next day, they are surviving.
Whether it’s an artisan putting up photos of her craft on social media in the hope of selling her wares, a student trying to avoid unwanted attention, a professional hoping to get noticed on the basis of merit or just a dog wandering the streets, none of it is resilience but it is in fact, a need to carry on because well, the heart is still beating — isn’t it?
Eyes open up next morning and off we go, yesterday’s trauma embedded deep within – maybe some solace might come by putting up a status on social media – but it’s there growing within, an alternate reality because well, I Can’t Tell My Parents.
And it’s more. Much more than that.
From living it becomes mere survival. From willing to live, it’s existing. And live a Good Life where one doesn’t need to survive on mere crumbs of dignity. And no, it’s not resilience, it’s because we are here and now. Alive.
Education, medicine, MNCs, heck even the literary sector – which is what the ‘L’ in wasteland stands for – has females in it fighting every single day for a life of basic survival. This is not resilience where they bounce back everyday. This is mere endurance.
Resilience is for those who insist on keeping the status quo for whatever reasons. Even after all that they suffer, this desire to mete out the same suffering is what resilience means here. Day after day, in the name of what is a normal life. I did say, our normal is abysmal.
A one week old baby girl was murdered by her father. He had wanted a son. I wonder, what would have he done if he knew the pain of carrying and birthing a life? He’ll be fine, he’ll bounce back. He’ll have more children. Insh’Allah.
But his wife? She’s just going to have to endure it all. And somehow, survive.
And survive she will.