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Even today, many women have a fear of staying alone at night. Not just for practical reasons, but if we want to claim our independence, we have to face our fears.
“She is a woman but she is brave enough to stay alone…at night in her home”. I have heard people say that a lot, as if bravery and womanhood are two very incompatible terms. My mother panics when she thinks of staying home and she never had to because my grandparents stay with her. She has never had to face the fear of staying alone and thus has not been able to overcome that fear.
Today, I still find many women who have the same fear and they suffer miserably. Times have changed. Today, after marriage, many couples shift to new cities or states and the woman finds herself all alone, in an unknown city. This is particularly true for women who are home-makers or are staying away from their families for the first time. But I cannot deny that even working women who have stayed away from their families, still have the fear of living alone. Many of us who are away from our families, have always stayed with friends or roommates.
Women (who have a fear psychosis of staying alone in a house) today have to overcome that fear because not only have our social conditions changed but now it is time for women to be independent. Independence also means not being this dependent on others.
I understand that the fear of being alone for a night can be very stressful for many women and even men. When I stayed with my family, I was scared to sleep alone in a room, even though five other people were always there at our house. The darkness of the room and the stillness made me scared. The sound of wind and shadows never let me sleep. I would only sleep with my grandmother and sister.
When I left home and went to a new state I stayed with a roommate but one day, she had to go somewhere for a week and that week was a blessing in disguise. I overcome my fear out of sheer will. I did it for myself because I wanted to be brave for myself.
I slept in darkness, all alone, with just a thought in my mind: What am I afraid of? The hostel was inside a huge university campus and the security guards are alert. I am past the age of being scared of ghosts. I understood that like most fears, it was the fear of nothing or the fear of uncertainty. I did not call any other friend to spent the night in my room. I could have easily done that, but I was ‘too proud’ to show that I was scared.
That night, I had prayed and had tightly shut my eyes, believing in myself that nothing would go wrong because I am in a very safe place. I fell asleep within minutes and the next morning, I was a different person. The week passed too soon and after that, I was never scared of darkness or loneliness.
For those who fear the ‘ghosts’ just think, what can it do? Do you believe they can kill? Yes, but we all have to die one day, right?
We, the women of today cannot afford to be ‘damsels in distress.’ We move away from our family and in-laws, we change cities, we dream of roaming around the world; we have to stay in a two-member household and may be one day, with little kids too. We need to shoulder responsibility as much as our husbands/partners do. We need to be brave not just for all these reasons but also for ourselves. We need to face our fears.
Image of scared woman via Shutterstock
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