You learnt to ride a bicycle at your own. No one stood at the corner to catch you if you were to fall. While cutting cakes and blowing candles on all your birthday parties, you always cut a really small piece of cake just for one. You only ever heard one voice of praise in that crowd that wasn’t cheering for you on days of your achievements, moments of brilliance and awe-inspiring talents. You thought your brother could fill the missing presence in your convocation photos but he couldn’t. It just wasn’t for him to bear the responsibility of blessing a child on her big day, but he gladly tried.
He wasn’t there when you first fell sick and were taken to hospital where you stayed for days in a row and wondered who those grown up men were with kids… the kids who were just like you. Were they their grandpas, just like yours? But it just didn’t make sense to you, as they didn’t look that old. So who were they? There were no flowers in your hospital room. Guess they would’ve withered away anyway, just like you slowly did all your life, but never completely. Maybe ‘withering’ was also only half there for you, just like other realities of your life including the half of a strangely comforting puzzle called ‘parents’.
He wasn’t there to help you decide a career, to help you fill out your college forms, to drive you to your hostel, to plan your life, to tell you what’s important in life and what is just plain crap! You had to differentiate the important from the crap on your own, but failed to do that at such a tender age and hence ended up living with so much crap labeled as ‘important’ for most part of your life. Until you figured it out…yourself obviously.
You know how there’s a certain comfort in the knowledge that someone’s out there for you in case you ever mess up and need to be bailed out of any situation; sadly you never had that. You always lived with an anxious heart and an always-in-mind question; will I be okay on my own? And the answer was always ‘yes’ because you had no other choice but to be okay… at your own.
When you were little, you didn’t know what the word ‘father’ meant because no one told you he just left. Everyone was so scared not to mess up with your little innocent head that they actually did end up messing with it big time by not telling you what a ‘father’ was and why you didn’t have one. But one day, there he was. Standing right in front of you out of the blue and telling you that he has always loved you. And you, without a single idea of how this newly found love was supposed to be, just went on a journey to explore all his love for you. But a child, no matter how clueless about gauging a father’s love, can still tell whether it even fulfills the basic prerequisites of simple love or not. And sadly, it did not.
And so you cried, for days, or maybe months because to you it felt like an eternity of staring into abyss and trying to figure out the answers to a million questions you kept asking your soul in a marathon of self loathing. Was it you? Was it something you did that made him not feel any heart-warming affection for you? Maybe you’re just as empty as the love he said he has for you in that special corner of his heart that he never had. Maybe it’s the universe’s way of warning you of your meaningless, imperceptible, sad existence which made him decide to invest his time in something that could qualify as love-worthy but that obviously was not you. And how you let all these doubts sink your sanity in the deepest pits of melancholy’s ocean and there you sat on the shore looking at your soul take a deep plunge along with all broken pieces of your self-love.
Hence, without a single bit of self-love, you set out on an endless journey to seek love in the eyes of other men. In an attempt to find the one who can’t look through those layers of beauty you wear on the outside to compensate for the sadness that scratches on those layers from the inside, just to get heard and be acknowledged once. But you cut all the supplies to this ugly little friend of yours called ‘sadness’ and you hid it deep within you, putting on display only those perfectly mastered acts of pretty smiles and mesmerizing gestures; the kind of gestures that were often mistaken for a joyful personality. And how you lost sleep out of the fear that if someday you were to mistakenly let your friend sadness out in the sun, she could definitely destroy all your chances of finding love.
And just like that, one day you grew tired of trying to find the love you’ve been looking for in what seemed like an eternity; the ‘love’ that could finally replace your ugly friend ‘sadness’ with new friends ‘bliss’ and ‘joy’. But little girl, you forgot what you needed was never out there in the sun, never in the hearts of all those men on the streets you would so obsessively stare at asking yourself; “Is he the answer to all the questions tormenting my soul?”.
The answers were always hiding in those darkest pits of the ocean where your sanity committed suicide. You never bothered to go look for it, instead you lost track of time searching for something that could never make you whole; something that only served as sands of time that was never in your favor. How can you expect people to love you when you couldn’t do that for yourself? How can you expect someone to save you from yourself when you couldn’t even find the shattered pieces of your self-love in the ocean of pity? How can you expect someone to grow seeds of bliss where your already tall self-loathing trees give shade to your ugly friend sadness?
Little girl, you just weren’t supposed to spend the rest of your life finding the missing pieces of your life’s puzzle. You weren’t supposed to doubt yourself and reduce your worth to nothing. You weren’t supposed to look for replacements of what you never received from a father in the hearts of men who only served as reminders of all the pain you inflicted upon yourself as a result of someone else’s mistakes. You aren’t half empty like the love you received. Instead you turned out twice as strong.
You’re twice as courageous as the girls your age because guess who did twice the effort to make it through even the simplest steps of life? Who developed a strong self-love with nothing but fragments of love received from inconsistent supplies? Who fostered the love for self that grows anew even when some of it is lost to the coarseness of circumstances again and again with little or no reassurance from outside? You did! And in that entire struggle, a ‘nobody’s little girl’ grew up…