Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

I am performing my new show at the moment. Every night someone will come up to me afterwards and say, “Have your parents been to see you, or your brothers and sisters? What do they think?”

My brothers and sister have been to see me many times, and love it. They know that I’m mostly telling the truth, and they’ve seen it all in real life in one form or another.

My parents have never been to see me. Partly they’re scared, in case they hear things they don’t want to, and also I don’t want them to come because they will see a side of me I don’t want them to see.

It’s important to have some kind of mystery between parents and children. I don’t want them to know all my thoughts and feelings about them. I want a room full of strangers to know, but not them.

They’re aware I make jokes about them but they don’t know exactly what I’m saying. They are partly flattered, partly mystified but would rather not know the exact truth.

And that’s how I feel about them. I don’t want to know all their thoughts about us. If we all knew each other inside out, there’d be no struggle to understand one another – it would be boring.

They have an image of their children and although they know we are not perfect, I am sure they don’t want to see what we are really like. I’m sure they’d be shocked if they heard me on stage joking about their marriage, my dad’s piles problem and my mum’s false teeth.