American – as my passport states
Afghan – as my parents reiterate

Growing up, in-between
In a state of red, and black, green
With white skin, but feeling blue

What White?
The narrow American description?
Or my Panjsheri porcelain representation?
Which White do I check in the application?
Wait – aren’t I technically Asian?
But not Caucasian. Further complications.

In younger years, the deep Atlantic Ocean
Tried to swallow my soul whole,
As I struggled whether to swim towards
The right or left, in search of a security net.

Eventually, I floated on until an island took me in.
There, I embraced both cultures and nationalities.
Creating an identity where I could represent a blend,
Finally, free to be as I please.

Written by: Pary Shuaib

Pary Shuaib

Pary Shuaib

Pary Shuaib is a Free Women Writers member with a relentless passion for gender equality. She has a BA in Communication from George Mason University and sometimes does yoga to soothe her soul.
Pary Shuaib

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Daughters of Rabia is a collection of Afghan women's writings in defense of their human rights. The book was published by two Afghan activists, Noorjahan Akbar and Batul Muradi, in 2013. Following the book's success and distribution in six provinces in Afghanistan, Noorjahan Akbar created the Free Women Writers blog to continue publishing women's writings in Persian, Pashtu and Uzbeki. Since then, the blog has expanded to include hundreds of articles, poems, narratives, essays and paintings about gender equality, environmental concerns, economic inequality, democracy and other social justice issues. With a weekly readership of more than thirty thousand, the blog has reached tens of thousands of Afghans. This website is the English translation of these writings. Read the Persian book here: