There comes a time in a person’s life when you just have to learn to let go. You have to make that choice, that one decision that turns your life around for the better. You can’t keep holding on to the past, you can’t hold on to that pain. You have got to stop labeling yourself, and not be harsh on yourself.
There was a girl who spent a big part of her life judging herself for things that weren’t even in her control. She was always a shy, docile child. She used to hide behind her mother’s “dupatta” (a scarf worn with eastern apparel in parts of the Sub-Continent) . She covered her eyes whenever she came across strangers or even known family members; cousins and the elderly. She was accused and labeled of being rude, ill mannered, even spoiled for not greeting anyone.
Nobody tried to ask or try to comprehend why she behaved the way she did. She was scorned, scolded by everyone for her misdemeanor. Why didn’t anyone comfort that 6 year old? Why didn’t they realize that they failed to give that little girl the very confidence that they now required from her?
As she grew up, she gradually came out of it and started breaking out of her shell. Her family never believed in her the way others around her did. What they saw was a girl who didn’t know what she wanted out of life and was a failure because she could barely pass Math and Chemistry. She wouldn’t make it to college would she?
Surprisingly, she did make it to college – all on her own. She felt extremely lonely, though. She spent her whole life fighting her lone, isolated self. She had friends, but they were merely a medium to make time go faster. She never had anyone who actually got her. So she hid her true self behind a smile and laughter – laughter that for most part wasn’t even hearfelt. Her emotions were as numb as her surroundings. Her family loved her greatly, still do, but they could never comprehend her. Whatever she said was unheard, nobody gave her that significance that she yearned and craved for.
She had a lot to offer to the world, she had things to talk about, to share, but no one to listen to her. Her friends had no interest in what interested her, so for the most part, she became the listener and the mirror to their actions. Her conversations were mundane for her friends. They made fun of her sensitivity and deep understanding of life. She lost her own identity. She stopped accepting herself for who she was and embraced an alter ego, that agreed with everything the other person had to say, had no voice, no opinion of her own. That scared 6 year old was still inside her, screaming to be heard, too afraid to saying anything, knowing that she will be shunned.
She matured, and became a confident, woman, but to much dismay, craven. She couldn’t stand up for herself, her silence masked all the things she had to say. She let things go by caging them deep inside her. Time went by, she was applauded and appreciated for her academic and professional achievements in life, but she still lagged behind in emotional intelligence.
Her sensitivity had gifted her with the ability to accurately gauge people in social settings. She could tell when someone felt a certain way towards her through the slightest shift in their demeanor and choice of words. She hurt herself immensely over these calculations. She gradually came to terms with the fact that no one was truly interested in her and that it would always be her, by herself.
She graduated, and soon after, got married. She was delighted to have finally gotten that one person whom she could share anything and everything with and he’d understand and listen.
Her transition into marriage changed everything around her. Her anxiety and panic got worse, she became a mess over time. She couldn’t fathom how she managed to become this unruly, distressed individual who had no control over her life. All the hard work she put into building herself in the past few years went down the drain. She couldn’t believe herself; this person that she had become, this wasn’t her at all. So what happened? Why did she get overwhelmed? Was she exhausted of her feeble existence?
Yes. She was finally ready to completely break free from her shell. She wouldn’t take no for an answer anymore, not even from herself. She would embrace herself for who she was and is, she would stop being so critical of herself, she’d quit looking at herself through the stained, cruel eyes of the society she grew up in.
She would be her, uniquely herself and embrace it. This is her letting go of all that was, this is her not seeking approval, no validation, no acceptance from a society that thrives on stereotypes and typecasts. This is her being, herself.