Instagram influencer Fozia shares her difficult journey to find ultimate happiness
I have always known I was gay, but my strict Muslim upbringing made it extremely difficult for me to accept myself. My family never could.
I met Sammy at work. She was in an arranged marriage with a man from Pakistan, but over time, to my delight, our friendship grew into something wonderfully romantic. I fell completely and utterly in love with her.
We had been dating for six months when my family found out. As you can imagine, they were not happy.
They confiscated my phone and beat me up. I was forbidden from going anywhere, a prisoner in my own home. It was as if my mum thought she could stop me being gay by locking me away from the world. Every day she would curse me. She said she hoped I had a car accident so I’d be disabled. She said death was too light a punishment for the likes of me. I felt like I was trapped in hell.
My mum pushed me to quit my job and then threatened Sammy too. One day, I overheard her talking to her sister about killing me. She was being serious. It was then that I realised I had no choice but to run away. I had to get out of there. Somehow I managed to escape. I didn’t take a single possession with me, not even my passport.
When Sammy found out what I’d done, she told me she couldn’t let me go on alone. Even though we had only been together six months, she came with me. We found a cheap flat in a dodgy area. We had no furniture and slept and ate meals on the floor. But at least we were finally together. We worked hard, saved up and in time managed to move into a better apartment. The future was starting to look a little brighter.
Cut to two years later, 10 April 2015. While on holiday in Paris, I took Sammy to the Eiffel Tower and asked her to marry me. My heart soared when she said yes.
I thought back on everything we had been through – running away from home, being disowned by our parents, struggling to build a new life together. But in that one perfect moment, every drop of blood and tear shed was worth it. We were together. We were happy. And we had the whole world at our feet.
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