I want to share with you dear Blue Abaya reader an incredible story of courage and inspiration. A while ago a young Saudi woman, with whom I had exchanged emails with a few years ago, contacted me again with some really great news. I had never forgotten about her and the dilemma she was facing in her personal life, being stuck in a forced marriage. She wrote me a very touching message which actually made me cry, I was so glad and relieved to hear she had managed to get out of that situation.
It amazed me how something I wrote here in my own little corner of the internet, could have such a huge impact on someone’s life.
So with the permission of the young Saudi lady ‘D’, I will share her story with you. I want to keep the good karma flowing, by sharing her inspirational story which will hopefully then inspire someone else..and the circle goes on! So please do share her story with your circles too and let the good karma spread :)
I especially hope that those people read this who say they hate my blog and claim that it spreads negativity and a bad image of Saudi Arabia. They could not be more wrong. I’ve come to realize that those people are in fact projecting their own negative feelings and failures in life.
Without further ado, here is the letter…
Not sure if you’d remember me but almost 2 years ago we emailed back and forth. I vented to you about me being stuck in a forced marriage. Your blog has helped me become my own hero and change my life for the better.
I got a divorce and I’m finally getting a chance to pursue me dream of earning a master’s degree. I wouldn’t be able to tell my story without mentioning how your blog has helped me find the strength necessary to stand up to all of society and demand my god given right to chose my own path.
You know, at some point a person reaches his or her breaking point and they decide they’ve had enough of living in fear. That is what happened with me, I was weak, had no alliances, or like minded people in my life. So I looked at your blog like a sort of motivational speaker. I had always known I’ve been wronged so many times in my life but could never find the right words to fend for myself. Your blog charged me with both sheer fury and stealth determination. Long story short, I maintained a firm stand and after 10 months of separation, my divorce was finalized.
None of this would have happened had I not come across your website on one of those nights I was scouring Google looking for answers to my situation. I am a changed person and with a little support and enough determination I have become my own hero.
My reply to her:
Hearing this makes me so happy! I’m immensely proud of you for your strength and courage and choosing your own path in life. I do remember our messages and I often thought of you and how you were doing. You’re an amazing woman!! The sky is the limit for you. Your message has touched me and I found the spark to come out of my blog slumber and back to writing, thank you!
So how about that? Pretty amazing and inspiring isn’t it, considering she’s restricted in so many ways by patriarchal Saudi society and laws, yet managed to turn the tables around. She was able to get out of a seemingly impossible situation and is now in charge of her own life. Thousands of Saudi women face similar problems and dead-ends in their lives, accepting it as their ‘fate’, but D took fate in her own hands.
She fought for what she knew deep inside her was the right thing to do.
She had dreams. She found courage within herself to pursue those dreams and I am so so incredibly happy for her.
I wish her all the best life has to offer and I hope her story will in turn inspire others.
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Hello there! I’m Laura, the founder of Blue Abaya- the first travel blog in Saudi Arabia, established in 2010. Travel has always been my passion- so far I’ve visited 75 countries and I’m always on the lookout for new adventures inside and outside of Saudi Arabia! Follow my adventures in Saudi and beyond on instagram: instagram.com/blueabaya
Such a heartfelt post. I sincerely wish Saudi Arabia would grow some balls and let its women attain their God given potential and dreams! Ahhhh!
Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.
That is the nicest thing I have read for a while!
you go girl, follow those dreams and glad you got out of the forced marriege.
Thank you Layla for sharing!
I am so pleased you shared this correspondence. Layla, you are a bridge to women in the world and help us in the West remember we are so much more alike than different. I would love for you to share a ‘new and good’ each time as well.
While there are many things each society is working on, change often comes slowly. And, at the same time, there are delightful things as well. While Saudi was very difficult for me in many ways there were always positive things as well. You have covered so many on your site. Thank you.
After taste of rebellion is always ‘sweet’.
God given potential to individual is meant to acheive, so that you can use them in the service of ALLAH. How can we start appreciating the hardships & acheivement of individual in their pursuit of excellence, if the very genesis of their acts is in disobedience of ALLAH’s Commands ?
Ofcourse, My question seems to infer that individual’s pursuit of excellence often commences with disobedience to ALLAH. But if somebody has acheived excellence in their lives within the boundaries set by ALLAH, then it is good thing for them.
I am afraid more of the sense of rebellion than the pursuit of excellence itself.
Hey, Layla. I’m also glad you’ve finally posted. I’ve been checking your blog everyday since March 8th, so it was a nice surprise to finally read your thoughts. They are a treasure.
I know you’re busy, but I’m also still waiting to hear about your friend from the Philippines who is obligated to be a caretaker for her sponsor family’s mother. I think and worry about her… I hope she’s able to leave soon, and get back to living life with her own family back home. She deserves to be happy.
Thank you for sharing! You never know how your words or actions can make such a big difference in another’s life. And bravo to J for her courage and determination. She expresses herself so eloquently, I’m sure she will make her dreams come true. :-)
I am so pleased to see you have written again in your blog! I am even more pleased with the good news you posted! As I’ve said before, you are a true inspiration! You don’t only inspire people in Saudi Arabia, you inspire people in other countries too! Me, for instance! Keep up with the good work! Lots of hugs from UK
Please never stop writing! Reading your stories is the last thing I do before I go to bed. I feel I already know you. You are an inspiration to all of us by your positive attitude and your humour. God bless you and your family :). Xoxox from Ottawa
Thank you Lina!! God bless you and your family as well, you have inspired me :)