Sara’s Story of Self love and Courage

Sara broke her cocoon today, the cocoon that she built around herself with the threads of fear – the fear of abandonment and rejection. The emotional stress she felt for years, now became a pathway to a brighter and more positive world. She climbed the steps – one, two, three. Two more steps to go and she will be there where she never thought she could ever be.

Life wasn’t the same until two days ago to this thirteen year old school girl. She had a house to live in, she had warm food served on her table three times a day, she had a cosy bed in her room and colourful clothes in her wardrobe. But none of these could give her a sense of security, love, assurance and comfort. The songs of violence would ring in her ears, the waters of salt would wet her cheeks and lumps of fear would block her throat. She lived alone in a house of comfort often poked by the thorns of loneliness.

Sara was 9 when her parents finally decided to part ways. She was asked who she would live with. She deliberately chose her mother. Ever since then, she would find just two people in her house – her mother and herself. Her mother would give her everything she needed but the girl of 9 wanted something else which she didn’t know what. The girl spent time with books, papers and pens. She wrote what she felt. She cried into her books, wrote with the ink of her emotions, sang poems and stories into vaccum. Her mother worked tirelessly with no clue of day and night to provide for them. Sara watched her mother run faster than the clock everyday. She longed to spend time, play and share jokes with her mother but she also knew her mother’s busy schedules. She came to terms with lonely vacations and silent weekends. Inspite of her busy schedules, her mother made it a point to speak to Sara everyday at least for a few minutes and know about how her day went. Sara would also share everything with her mother as she cooked in the kitchen. But once those few golden minutes were over, Sara felt lonely again. She always longed for emotional support and the longing begin to shoot up as she entered her teens.

Sara trusted her father. She took joy in his company. When she wanted to escape school, her father was her crime partner. When she needed help in math, her father was there. When she had to watch movies and play in the park, her father walked her with a popcorn. The person in whose eyes she saw only love for her, turned up to be the one who wanted to get rid of her. As years passed, Sara learnt that her father never liked her as he always perceived that it was Sara’s birth that led to the death of his mother – thanks to the family astrologer for connecting Sara’s birth timing to an old woman’s death. Though Sara’s mother tried for years to change her husband’s mindset, she couldn’t succeed. He behaved well with Sara but pestered his wife to abandon her. He always fought with his wife and insisted that they should leave Sara in a foster home. He strongly believed that Sara would bring them immense bad luck and would also be a threat to their lives. He repeatedly emphasised that Sara’s bad luck killed his mother and it would separate them too.

One day, Sara learnt about her father’s intentions and felt a jerk of shock in her nerves. She couldn’t believe that her father hated her so much. Sara hates the day when she overheard her parents’ arguement about abandoning her. She heard her father screaming on top of his voice that she was a sheer bad luck and must be gotten rid of as quickly as possible. Sara even heard her father cry in anger that she shouldn’t be living at all. That day, Sara felt a lump in her throat and the images of her father pouring love for her flashed infront of her eyes. She couldn’t unwrap her head to the fact that all his love was just a Shakespearean drama.
His madness for his belief increased to such an extent that he even wanted to end Sara’s life to get rid of her. And that became the point of threshold for Sara’s mother to take a decision. After 9 long years of futile efforts to change his mind, Sara’s mother decided to choose between her husband and her daughter. She chose her daughter. She resolved to raise her daughter by giving everything she can. She walked out of the house with her daughter and strong willpower. She fixed her mind on empowering her daughter and giving her a life she deserved. Little did she think on that day, the kind of impact the series of incidents would have had on the 9-year-old. Sara’s mother had no clue that the little girl overheard her parent’s conversation. Mother thought that discussing those issues would do nothing but pollute the young girl’s mind and so she neither spoke to the girl about the on-goings nor tried to trace down her feelings. Her troubled relationship with her husband changed Sara’s mother and her attitude towards life. Rather than smiling and kidding around like before, she turned into a bold and tough woman. It’s only how, she thought, that she would be able to keep people away from taking advantage of their situation. Unfortunately, the mother failed to realise that she has been directing the same attitude of toughness towards her little girl. Sara saw a mother who could only be as hard as a stone, with barely any emotional bonding. She wanted to enjoy with a fun and frolic mother but most of the times, it hasn’t come true.

Sara began to believe that she was ‘bad luck’. She believed that her ill fate was powerful enough to kill people. She suffered severe self doubt and lack of confidence. She concluded to herself that she was the reason that her parents parted ways. She felt anxious that people would judge her for separating her parents. Her feet backed from going out and playing with kids of her age. She began living with a sense of guilt and hasn’t ever understood how she could correct anything that’s beyond her capacity.
Additionally, after coming face to face with her father’s true colours, Sara stopped believing in everything and everyone. She stopped appreciating her mother’s occasional smiles. She stopped believing in the closeness of friends. She stopped acknowledging the acts of random kindness and gestures of humanity. She assumed that every smile had a selfish motive and every act of love was a danger in disguise. Basically, she started developing serious trust issues. She feared that people were talking behind her back about her broken family. She assumed that her friends laughed at her. She began suffering from severe inferiority complex and was always reluctant to socialize. However, she never portrayed her insecurities publicly. She put a brave face and portrayed herself strong. She suppressed her feelings and buried her fears deep beneath her nerves to display a cheerful face – something she never understood why. To portray herself as “not weak”, Sara posed a long nose, a serious face and a bold tone infront of others. She never smiled or spoke softly to anyone. She decided that she shouldn’t let anyone cheat her with words or actions any further. She ensured that no one pointed her out and discovered the only way to it – to excel in academics. She thought that if she were the topper, she would receive respect and no one would dare to speak low of her. For this reason, she ensured that she stood first in every class test. Though she portrayed herself as a stubborn girl, deep inside, her insecurities shook her in the worst possible way. She never opened up to her mother about how she felt because she knew that her mother was a strong woman who wanted to see her daughter stronger than she was. She would dismiss her being weak and crying and cribbing.

Sara loved playing the flute. She always wanted to participate in stage shows and showcase her talent. But for two reasons, she never participated in any of the extra curricular activities in school. One was her insecurity – she believed that as she couldn’t even gain the confidence and love of her father, she wouldn’t be able to please anyone else either. The other was that she wouldn’t have anyone from her family to drop in at the event to cheer for her. She hated going alone to the school functions. She hated to perform on stage knowing that none of her family members would physically be present there to clap and shout for her. She would always see her friends’ parents sit in the audience and cheer for them. But to call out her name and cheer her up, she had no one ever. After the event was over, while all her friends would be picked up by their parents or siblings or grandparents, she would have to walk alone to the bus bay and travel home all by herself. She wouldn’t be able to share the excitement she felt in the event like her friends did. Her lonely commute in the bus would only have never ending questions with answers coming from nowhere. Alongside these main reasons, she was also terribly afraid of what people would comment. She felt that they would make fun of her .
“Our annual fest is going to be on 5th December and I want students who haven’t participated thus far to take the lead this time” announced Ms. Sally, Sara’s class teacher. While Sara was still digesting the announcement, Ms. Sally declared that Sara would put up a solo performance on the stellar night.

Mother noticed something unusual about Sara’s behaviour that evening. She went up to her and asked what was going on in her mind. Sara opened up to her mother about her insecurities. Sara’s mother was able to feel what Sara was going through. She said “Your worth is not defined by the presence or absence of a second parent”. She then walked into her room and got a box filled with her old memories. Sara looked closely into the box and found her mother’s photo albums, letters and a collection of her achievements. Her mother, who she knew as a bold, independent woman, had been an active participant in a multitude of stage shows, NCC and public speaking events during her teenage years. She saw the photographs of her mother receiving trophies from some of the big heads of music industry. She was captivated by her mother’s charm and poise. As she read the letters, she was spellbound by the words that commended her mother’s eloquence. She just saw the side of her mother that she had never thought of. Her mother was cheerful, confident and outwardly, unlike what she thought – strict and serious. Her mother also told Sara about how she had overcome the nerves and insecurities to embrace courage. Sara found solace in the shared experiences and understood that fear is not a weakness but a challenge to be conquered.

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As she unwrapped every phase of her mother’s past life, Sara unveiled a newfound confidence in her. Glimpses of her mother’s past inspired Sara and she resolved to confront her fears. She took the flute into her hands and started rehearsing for the show. As she breathed her confidence through the long bar of melody, she heard tunes of rejoice fill the air of her room. She played the flute several times in the past but hasn’t ever felt so liberated as she did then. Her eyes twinkled with the joy that smooched her heart. That day, as she filled her nerves with the words of motivation from her mother, Sara said to herself  “I too have a family who cheer for me”. For the first time ever, she played the flute because she loved it but not because she wanted to paint herself what she was not. Like a caged bird that escaped to eternal freedom, Sara freed herself from the shackles of self doubt and spread her wings to breathe the air of self love.

As the most awaited night approached, Sara stepped onto the stage with a lion-like attitude. She began to climb the steps of the dais to see everyone from a height that she never ascended until then. She felt her mother’s presence on the front row. The mic is placed on the centre of the stage and a chair is awaiting Sara\\\’s arrival. Sara stepped on to the stage leaving her insecurities behind.
“You are what you think” mother’s words reverberated in Sara’s mind.  “I am the rockstar of the night” Sara thought to herself.
As the lights focused her persona, she felt a mix of nerves and excitement. She adjusted the mic and took her seat. She held the flute with an unexplained elegance, like a queen held her sword. She played and sang and played and sang, her eyes being closed, her heart exploding with happiness, her mind being decluttered and her soul being awakened. As she blew her breath into a final note, applause poured in from the audience like rain in summer. The applause is a celebration of her triumph over her fears and insecurities. Her eyes teared happiness, her cheeks blushed triumph and her skin goose bumped pride. She said to herself  “My worth is not defined by the presence or absence of a second parent”.

That night, Sara received a standing ovation for the kind of show she put. The auditorium pulsated with a huge round of applause that continued for not less than 2 minutes. Sara stood there, right on the center of the stage, like a North Star in the early morning sky. The audience expressed their amusement while Sara was still living her moment holding the flute close to her heart unable to believe what was happening. For the first time ever, Sara saw love in people’s eyes for her. She always thought that every third eye was judging her but it was not true.
“No one judged me for being a single parent child. No one really thought that I was the reason for the separation of my parents. It was me who assumed everything” she thought to herself.

She saw how people welcomed her, how they loved her performance, how they appreciated her. She realised that one receives what one sends out. She thought that people wouldn’t love or respect her for her broken family but when she experienced their warmth, she realised that what she gets from the outside world has nothing to do with her being a single parent child.

“If I smile at people, they would smile back.
If I help and uplift others, they would appreciate it.
If I work hard and succeed, they would encourage.
If I doubt them and keep them at a distance, they would behave as strangers”

A wave of realisation hit Sara that night and that awakening changed her whole perspective towards life. She felt accepted, appreciated and loved. Her mother didn’t turn up to the show to raise her spirits that night but the whole auditorium did. Sara silently thanked her mother for teaching her the most valuable lesson – “You are never abandoned by those who know your value”. Sara realised her worth, her value. She is never going to lose her valuable ‘self’ for insecurities anymore.

Sara walked out of the auditorium, alone, as usual. There was no one to pick her up like every time. She walked to the nearest bus bay and boarded the last bus. Though things were happening just like they happened before, Sara didn’t feel lonely that night. She no more had the thoughts that she once had. She didn’t feel bad that no one from her family accompanied her. She didn’t crib about not being able to jump into her parents’ arms after the program. She opened the window and let the cool air kiss her forehead and cheeks. She felt the love of the gentle breeze. She felt the hugs of the tiny raindrops. She allowed the thunders strike her ears and smiled at the moon that was running away from the dark clouds. She felt as if the whole universe loved her and that it’s she who never appreciated it. She thought to herself that she wasted a lot of her time thinking about those who never wanted her and turned blind to those who are showering love upon her. The sun brightened up her days, the stars invited her for a splendid stargazing fun, the trees in her garden pampered her with juicy fruits, the rain came to visit her quite often calling her to dance and sing, the birds woke her up every morning, the air tickled her to laugh. But it was she who didn’t realise the love that kept flowing from all the directions. She went blind to everyone who loved her, including her mother. She failed to understand that being left by one person wouldn’t make her unloved. While Sara was lost in her thoughts, she missed getting down the bus at her stop. As she sensed someone tap her shoulder, she turned to see who it was. It was the bus conductor reminding her of her destination.

He stopped the bus noticing that Sara was lost in thoughts and was about to pass her stop. Sara smiled at him and said “Thank you”. That gesture from Sara came as a surprise to the bus conductor. Sara had been travelling in the same bus twice a day for the past two years but never had she smiled at anyone, let alone talking. The conductor usually spoke in a friendly tone to everyone who regularly boarded the bus – be it school and college going students or working men and women. Everyone was equally friendly to him but Sara. Sara never smiled at him in two years. The conductor was surprised to see Sara smile at him that night. While getting down the bus Sara said “Good night”. Both the driver and the conductor of the bus looked at each other in awe.

Sara reached home and spoke nothing. She walked to her mother and hugged her. Her mother read Sara’s silent language. Sara suddenly started loving her home. She looked around the house and how her bed was always ready to hug and tuck her in. She adored the plants and trees in her backyard for they were always ready to rejoice her with their shade, fruits, flowers, smell, butterflies and more. She acknowledged how the terrace comforted her by giving her space to think, reflect, speak to the stars and the moon, walk around and look at the distant hills and green fields. Her summer vacation started from the following day and Sara no longer hated vacations. She didn’t feel alone in the house. She didn’t feel abandoned and left out anymore. She realised that everything and everyone around her can share love, provided she was open to receive. Sara said to herself that she would be cautious about not falling for every smile but at the same time, she would also appreciate every act of genuine love showered upon her.

Sara’s mother felt very happy that her daughter figured out what love is. The change in Sara’s behaviour said it all. At times, she thought how would it be if Sara’s father would have seen her grow into a talented, sensible and compassionate woman. What answer would he give for all the words he threw like pots and pans against the innocent little girl? The little girl who he called was bad luck, had been molding herself into a strong, resilient, helpful person. Sara’s mother felt that she should take Sara to him one day and show him that he was not just wrong but was insane to the girl. She wanted to show him how the little girl that he foolishly blamed for his mother’s death had been growing up day by day fighting all odds. However, the next moment she felt pity for him for not being able to experience the pure love of his daughter. She thought that he missed his daughter’s affection and that itself was a penalty for his wrong thoughts and deeds. She felt euphoric as Sara eventually embraced self love. She felt pleased as Sara began to become courageous and outspoken. Above all, as Sara had been turning sensible to others’ needs and emotions, she felt proud as a mother.

Sara no longer craved for what was not right for her. She knew what was right was already hers.

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About the Author

Swetha Vangaveti

The Master's holder in English Literature from the English and Foreign Languages University, Swetha is a Content Producer and an author. Her "Letters to touch the petals of your heart" was published in 2019. read more...

7 Posts | 13,400 Views

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