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There will be many hurdles in your way, and trauma, gaslighting, and blame, as you grow up, but you’ll still rise above that – so cherish yourself, says Anushree, to her younger self.
The Indian girl child is told often enough that she doesn’t deserve better. That she’s nothing more than a womb. That she can’t possibly ask for more. Yet, women refuse to give up on the dream of equality, of seizing their place in the sun. Starting 6th October 2018, as part of the conversations we have at Women’s Web for the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October, we present a special series in which a few of our best authors write about #GirlPower. Some write from their own experience as girls, some about the significant girls in their lives, and some even to future daughters – a rich tapestry of emotions that is woven with love, bravery, inspiration, hope, fear, pain, and so much more.
Today, we bring you Anushree, who speaks to her younger self about the pain that she has experienced growing up, and has risen above.
Here’s some random advice to my younger self, that comes from harrowing and painful experience, hard earned, priceless, that I would have loved to have obtained without the pain.
Greetings to you, my dear.
It’s been a long while and we’ve come afar on a ragged way. From a tantrum-throwing-child to a silently-whining-adult, this has been some incredible journey, if not very fulfilling. But what’s fulfilling anyway! How does one even measure it? By the love you get? Or the people you lose? Or the lessons you learn and never implement? Or by the count of what ifs?
There will always be a ‘what if’. Always.
And there will always be the ‘they’. They who will shame you for being too ‘girly’ and when you start shunning the ‘girly’ things, they will guilt you for not being ‘girly’ enough. You will see them tell your brother what a loser he is whenever he’d cry and you will make up your mind that boys aren’t supposed to cry.
And then they will say you don’t adjust enough. You aren’t woman enough. When you’d have cracked heels, they’d say you aren’t Ghar ki Lakshmi, because a woman should have smooth feet, so her home remains happy. No one would see through the cracks as they fester and throb.
They’d say you don’t laugh enough, don’t smile enough, because the world wouldn’t be ready yet for grumpy, angry women. You could not be one of those who can ‘please your tired man with a refreshing smile’ because you would have darkness of your own to deal with. Your mum never taught you that, did she? But she was a wilted rose herself in a society willing to crush anyone in their first blossom. So you’d forgive her, I hope.
You will love your brother with all the affection of an 8-year old only to find out that there are monsters hidden everywhere. You will try to understand your losses through glasses of innocence, and as you unveil the frames one by one, they will shatter to the point of ruin.
You would rebel at the slightest oppression, but then you would also submit to the whims of others till you almost lose your own voice. They will say it is your fault. They will say it so many times you will start believing it like second skin and its torment will consume you. They will sting you with their barbs and make you cringe at your own self.
You would stop looking into the mirror, for there will be someone ugly there. No longer you.
They will judge you at every step, when you talk out loud, or when you keep quiet, when you take care of yourself or when you are self-destructive, when you are thin and when you are fat, when you’d have a clear face and when you’d have acne bursting all over, when you’d have a boyfriend and when you’d be all alone – they will judge you, honey, notwithstanding the situation. They’d be there all the time. Even when you grow old and stop giving too many damns, they’d still hover over.
We create good memories to reminisce about them at a later point. Sorry, you will not get too many of them. You will blame yourself and others for the longest while – out of guilt of not being enough, of not understanding what is missing. And that guilt would one day manifest into self-hatred.
You will struggle to be kind to yourself! All those idiots who keep saying, “You cannot love someone else until you love yourself”, should go get some coffee, for you will hate yourself and bare your soul to another. Sometimes they will disappoint you, and sometimes you, and sometimes you will disappoint yourself, for that matter. And it will still be fine.
Because no matter how many times you smash everything around and inside you, you will do it again and again and again. I know it will ache then. It will pain while you stand there looking at your heart breaking into pieces everytime, but then you will think it’s normal. You will think like that because you only saw broken people all your life. You only saw people holding on to relations like a drop of water in a desert, as if throttling themselves will keep them alive.
And while you shower your indomitable love on the wrong ones, there will come a day, when you’ve burnt and bruised and cut and honed yourself at uneven places. And you will finally find yourself. You will finally make peace with your own existence.
And then if there comes a person who would bare their soul to you, you’d want to mess it up yet again but you won’t. You will cherish it. Like you will cherish yourself. Because in there inside you lies a little girl who still dreams of a forever. Despite everything, you will learn to smile and laugh and giggle and sway and sing, again and again and yet again…
Read all the #GirlPower posts in this series here.
Image source: videoblocks
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Writes about feminism, books, food and social issues !
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