Shazia Mirza: Diary of a disappointing daughter

People often ask me, “Are your parents proud of you?” I always reply, “I’m sure they are.” But I don’t know for sure because they’re not ones to lavish praise on us, and they never say anything directly to me.

I went home a few days ago andwhile parking my car, our neighbour came running out to say hello. Mid-conversation he said, “Your dad is very proud of you. He’s always talking about you and what you’ve been up to.” It sounded strange to hear that. To my face I only ever hear about how useless I am. My dad never expresses any pride to me, and even in the house my profession is never discussed. My parents can’t even say the word “comedian”. Last night watching TV, Larry Grayson appeared and instead of saying, “Oh, he’s a comedian” my mum said, “That’s one of your friends.”

Recently I met the Queen and I’d just had the photos back. I gave one to my parents. When I left the kitchen I turned round to see my dad jumping in the air shouting to the picture saying, “Wow! Great shot! Wonderful! Smashing! Congratulations!” I wasn’t even in the room. He was talking to himself.

It’s a mystery why parents can’t praise their children to their faces. It would change the world if they would. I suppose it’s the same as me writing this column about them, but never saying to their face half the things I write about them.

It’s called shame, pride and silliness.