I have been failed. A lot. I wanted someone to understand me and to take the pain away. A lap, a soft hand, gentle words. Something. Anything. Nothing was enough. It wasn’t possible to live like this. I needed a crutch to sleep, to wake up, to breathe. It was no life to live. And so, when I let go of my crutch, I died.
We expect the world to save us from this death. To live without anything and still be able to breathe. This is what happens when we walk into the world empty-handed, bereft of nurture, to cushion life’s blows. The soft fat that keeps the blows away, and that coats our insides, is made of love. When we haven’t been fattened with an overindulgent set of parents, we are emaciated. The slightest graze against the softest wall, is torture. Our defenses so easily fall away. We so easily destruct. We are fragile.
I was fragile; a child in an adult’s body. I was an adult physically, but if you looked a little closer, my clothes were inside out, my eyes had day old make-up that wasn’t completely removed; I had somehow been magically dropped into an adult’s body without the skills to care for it.
I didn’t know how to save for a rainy day. Every day was a storm.
I didn’t know how to make sure my credit card was paid on time. I was running on empty.
I didn’t know how to go to the gym. My legs were tired of running.
I just wanted to stay, cowered in a corner till someone peeked under the table, beneath the cobwebs I had wound myself in, to rescue me.
I wanted someone to make my bed, wipe my face, cut the tags off my clothes and put me to bed.
Someone to make sure I didn’t break.
It never happened. Nothing was enough. I had to die the death that was coming, so I could learn to live again. We have to fall to learn to stand up. We have to break to learn the art of coming together. And so, I died.
But I came back to life with a start. Suddenly everything was clear. How could I know how to bathe, eat, move, save and live, when I didn’t know how? No one showed me. There was no one there. When they appeared again, my subconscious had solidified into survivor mode. Who was I to thrive?
When my parents left me in a boarding school at the age of six-and-a-half, they did the best they could with the resources they had at the time. Everything comes from love. I am allowed to mourn that. I am allowed to be angry… so I can forgive. So I can rise. I love them. Profoundly, deeply. My anger doesn’t take away from the love. But to feel the love, there has to be anger.
I kept looking for arms to hold me. I wanted everything I never got. And I kept expecting someone to give it to me. Give me what? Everything. I wanted so much I ended up with nothing. My heart was empty. My body, spent.
And so I learned it all from scratch. I’m still learning. Taking care of myself… it’s a job bigger than any I’ve ever had. And every time I look for someone to lend me a helping hand I know I’m failing myself. It is no one’s job to help me. That little girl whose innocent face lives in my heart… she is mine.
“Kavita,” I tell her. “You are mine. And I will never leave you.”
“Kavita,” I soothe her. “I am getting stronger everyday. For you.”
“Kavita,” I remind her. “We have no boundaries, you and I. I am yours. You are mine.”
My expectations of the other have dissolved. It is the mid-life. It is unbecoming to become. I have, as I entered the fourth decade of my life, learned what it is to be reborn and cherished through every growing pain. I am a child first and then a mother. This is my truth.
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