“Everything you’re sure is right can be wrong in another place.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
I’m Aisha Ashraf, a freelance writer, cultural chameleon and incidental expat. Currently in Canada with my husband and three children, I’ve crossed geographical, cultural & religious borders in a life that reads like an Amazon bestseller. I give a candid account of the journey here on my award-winning blog, sharing experiences as diverse as censorship in Islam, mental health taboos and inter-cultural marriage.
A perennial misfit, I first emigrated aged eight and went on to overcome an abusive upbringing and manage a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Marriage into a different culture gave me a taste of the richness of other traditions and the bitter tang of racism. Writing has always helped me process my experiences, particularly the BPD, and what began as a creative outlet for my most recent expat adventures grew to encompass other areas of interest. When I started getting published I realised the realms of floristry, teaching and cinema usheretting would just have to manage without me.
I now write for mainstream print publications and online media. I’ve penned articles for UK newspapers, high-end glossies and various travel & expat websites. My series “Breaking the Code of Silence” – about stigma and mental illness – led me to participate in a research study for CAMH (Canada’s leading mental health research facility and one of the world’s largest) documenting the use of mindfulness in depression relapse prevention and helping refine an online programme to increase treatment accessibility. I’ve also written for Mind and Black Dog Tribe, two prominent UK mental health organisations.
In between being ruthlessly managed by three small kids, I also sneak in time to write a monthly column for Expat Focus, an established online expat resource. You can view more details on my LinkedIn profile or find me on Twitter and Google+