Tanzila & Melvin

My name is Tanzila. I was born in Bangladesh, lived in Saudi Arabia for several years, and moved to Atlanta, Georgia when I was thirteen. Growing up as a female in a South Asian household hasn't been easy. When I was younger, my mother had severe depression, and my father often wasn't around (he was working to provide for the family). I was both sheltered and forced to grow up fast at the same time. I remember that I didn't receive my first phone until I turned 21, and even then — I was forced to hide it.

My mother and my father's extended family were always hard on me, and my father (Abbu) always tried to stick up for me. He would constantly speak about "reputation" and ask, "What would your uncles and aunties think about you?" Reputation became my biggest enemy as I got older.

When my older brother got married, people started talking about how my clock was ticking. I was only 18 years old when people started pushing me towards marriage. All of the potential men they kept on