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Episode one: SAMIRA

One night I had a feeling that I cannot go on with him anymore! At the same time, I felt like living without him is so meaningless to me! The only option left for me was to end my own life! So,I went to the shower and tried to cut my wrist!

I was born 35 years ago in Esfahan. You might be wondering why this picture is blurry?! It’s cause my family didn’t want me to show their faces for this project and this applies to all the other pictures as well.

This is my mom. She had a dual personlity. Sometimes she was nowhere to be found in my life and other times she was way too controlling, especially when it comes to religious affairs.

This is my dad. He always wanted me to be independent and strong.

Here I am at 10 years old. I can remember that my grandma used to wake me up so early in the morning to pray with her, then she would give me a reward.

When I was in school, I would participate in any kind of activity such as making a wall newspaper, joining a vocal group, acting in a play, working in the library, coaching a basketball team, playing on the volleyball team, purchasing the team jerseys, …anything, anything you can think of.

These days I’ve been overcome by despair and when melancholy pierces through the soul, it penetrates every fiber of one’s being, as if claiming every summit and sweeping each valley.

When I was a teenager, I thought I was so ugly. I spent a lot of time looking at myself in the mirror in all different angles to find out how I could look more beautiful! I lived really close to my school and there were only a few boys that I’d see on my way, so I hardly ever had a chance to talk to boys! My friends had a lot more experience when it came to talking to boys. I was extremely upset, and I thought I was so ugly and nobody wants me. I thought if I want to attract anyone it should be with my wisdom and intelligence and definitely not with my appearance.

I have always loved reading, I have always had a library card, I also used to buy lots of books! As soon as I went to college, I became a member of a social student club and then I found out that he is the leader of that club. We started exchanging books. I loved him from the very beginning. He looked so innocent which gave me kind of a spiritual sense. He also loved reading and thinking deeply about what he reads. He was a religious person just like me.

We had been dating for 4 years. We didn’t let our families know about it because this kind of relationship was not acceptable by them. The time we spent together was mainly limited to going to the movies , parks, festivals, or for more “private” together we‘d go to coffee shops! Finally, we told our families about the feeling we had for each other and the desire we had to spend the rest of our lives together. His parent suggested that we would better get married sooner than later, however my parents did not agree because he was still in school and he did not have a job! Eventually, we got married happily. I was 23, he was 24!

When you’re young, you are full of energy and so optimistic! You have big dreams, but then as you get older, sometimes life gives you a big reality check and dashes those dreams or at the very least, makes you reassess all those dreams you had.

As soon as we got married, I started hand printing and painting on cloths and fabrics! we quickly found and rented a place to sell my painted cloths and handmade accessories. We called the store “Banooji”! I have always wanted to have a very big office with lots of people working for me and be so busy! To fulfill my dream, I also rented a shop beside the store and I hired some tailors and assistants to ensure I can handle everything!

For me, work was a refuge. I needed a place to find shelter and that was my work place!

Books connected us, as we both liked reading. But, I believe reading alone is not enough to grow. We also need to think about what we read. This is what I didn’t have and he taught me. I think this was a valuable achievement for me and it worth our relationship difficulties. We used to always have deep, religious discussions! He would analyze all the religious concepts and share the result of his thought with me! I would accept all his beliefs immediately as I loved him and they would never change for me even if he had a second thoughts about those beliefs!

As a result my religious beliefs faded. I can say this was the biggest crisis of my life, which took me over about six to seven years.

All my life, those beliefs gave me a calm and peacefulness as I was raised in a religious family.

Our relationship is full of challenges, on the other hand, this is one of the reasons that our relationship is more attractive to me! He always keeps changing the types of these challenges.

After some point, he stopped writing notes in the books he was giving me. After that it got even worse because he started buying me trashy books, and finally after some points he stopped giving me any books!

I always wanted my life to be filled with creative and artistic outlets. That’s what fulfills me. The economic situation was getting worse while I was only focusing on creating new products. I totally forgot about focusing on how to commercialize my product better and increase my sales. The truth is I did not forget, but it was not important to me at all! eventually I could not compete in the market that I had created; however, for my customers, “Banooji” turned out to be a very well-known brand which always have introduced unique and innovative products with best quality. This image of my brand was so valuable to me.

I do not feel lonely. I think a woman might be able to fulfill a man‘s loneliness, but a man cannot fulfill a women’s! The feelings and the energy that a woman needs to be fulfilled cannot be delivered by a man! It comes from her friends, her family, and in one word it comes from a female community! A man does not have that much to begin with.

I am the main source of my own energy and happiness. Indeed, I am so satisfied with myself.

We’ve been together for 16 years! I fell in love with him when I was 18! 9 years of this 16 years was so romantic and lovely. 9 years is a very long time for a romantic relationship to last with the same quality considering ups and downs that each relationship inherently has! It is very hard to forget about! We are wrong if we think that this relationship is based on just immature, shallow feelings! No, it was not…. we experienced very unique and special feelings together! If someone hasn’t experienced love, they cannot understand what I am talking about! Others think these feelings are bullshit, but they are not!

When I think back about my life, I can see now that I’ve been fighting with myself every step of the way to not live a traditional life! I even rejected things that I liked just because I thought they were the “normal” choices in life that everybody else chose! This has been a terrible thing to do to myself because when you refuse to do the things that match you and your personality, you start turning into another person! You’re not even yourself anymore! I was choosing the other path, not because I enjoyed where it took me but because it was the path nobody else was taking!! I just wanted to be different!

PRODUCER Sara Abasnejad
Sara Abasnejad
Ali Kaveh
Behnaz Goodarzi
Bill Beck
Mahdi Amini