All my life through the words and actions of everyone around I have heard “you don’t matter” – now is the time for me to return the favour!
Today, I am thankful for all of it
Everything that shook me
Everything that broke me
Because today, I know better
Because today, I see the purpose of it all.
I was told – girl, dim it down
Don’t take up space
Don’t do anything that draws attention
Try and stay invisible
Lower your voice
No one likes a loud girl!
Don’t wear that
Don’t walk like that
Don’t talk like that
Put your head down and
Tolerate, accommodate – they said
Have opinions? Well, keep it to yourself
No one needs to hear that
Said the well-wishers quite lovingly
But all I heard in that was
“You Don’t Matter”
You are not welcome as you are!
So, I followed the advice-
In hopes of acceptance,
In hopes to fit in.
I quietened myself
I became subdued
I questioned my thoughts,
I toned down my voice
I over-analyzed everything
Thought through a million times before I spoke
Oh, I didn’t want to rock the boat, you see
I am the peace-keeper, they said
Oh what an honor!
When did I get that title? I wondered
Despite all the adjustments
Cutting off my edges
Making myself palatable for others
Blending into oblivion
Doing all of it and more
Diligently in hopes
To be seen and to be heard
As one of them
And it still wasn’t enough
You still are a nobody
You still don’t belong
That last straw,
When your self-respect takes the hit
Your values take a beating
That moment when you realize
You don’t recognize yourself
Of who you have become
In all this process of fitting in.
You have lost yourself
Done with the adjustments
Here, I am giving back the invisibility cloak
That you gifted me, so lovingly
Let me tell you
It didn’t protect me; I still got hurt
I don’t need it anymore
I am going be my unaltered self
Oh, does that make you uncomfortable?
Am I being too loud for you?
Is my light blinding you?
Guess what? I don’t care
You try damage control
And so you try “othering”
Play the victim card
Then bring out the Guilt Tripping
Throw in insults
Call me names
Well, carry on,
You can keep playing alone
‘Cos I am not playing that game
I bring out my whole self
Whether you like it or not
I bring my opinions to the table
Whether you want to hear it or not
I don’t need your acceptance
Hell, I don’t even want to belong to your club!
I am me
I am free
As Raw and Real as I can be!
Image source: a still from the Hindi short film Juice
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A mother of two amazing kids and a teacher by profession, I have varied interests.
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