I’m going to skip out a few months, for two reasons.
1) It was like a blur, like a smudge of colour that went by too fast for my memory to photograph.
2) They were simple months, boring months. Months I didn't pay attention too.
I guess when you don’t pay attention, the real things happen. I guess the most boring things are also the most important sometimes. I didn't know anything had changed, I didn't recognize a change, till he showed me.
"Open" day, as they call it, is when the parents come about to talk to all the teachers and hear comments and complaints about their children. For me, it was the same "Vo tora...alag hai na? Uski didi ki jesi nahi." (She's slightly different...right? Not like her sister) my Hindi teachers would say.
"She's always in a world of her own this one! Nothing like Anya...she's scattered and careless at times, but I guess she is a sweet child, she's not bad in my class.”
And still I never got used to it. My mother claimed to be fine with it, claimed that she was used to her daughter not being the star pupil, but her face always read disappointment.
I walked to my class teacher, report in hand, possibly more agitated than any student in that room, for the simple reason that at the start of the year I was a rude git, he constantly bombarded me for being friendless, and I had the gall to "yell" at him. We sat. He smiled.
My mother greeted him with a shake of the hand, and before he could speek began, "Yes, I know, she's nothing like Anya was." A slight laugh followed.
"Oh now, don't say that Mrs.Billimoria," He dismissed her statement, "it’s true that I too sometimes tend to forget that each child is their own individual, and comparison is my downfall, but I have to say, she's quite a well behaved young lady. Her books are always neat, she's not half bad at my subject, and she has interesting insights. She's very intelligent, and quite talented young woman." My jaw dropped. I couldn't believe it, he thought I was talented? A "good" child? Intelligent...me?
"It is true we had a rough start," he laughed heartily, “but I've seen a confidence emerge in her, and her attitude slowly change. It's true she is distracted, at times I have to fight to grab her interest, but her intelligence shows in her answers. I’m quite happy with her." He smiled. "Keep it up." And we walked away, astounded and baffled. What had he seen in me that I couldn't see in myself? I wanted to see it too. I wanted to be that intellegent, confident young woman.
I looked in the mirror when I came home. It was still the same face, the same body, the same faded slices, the same smudged kajal, the same pained expression, so... Apart from the fact I hadn’t hurt myself in months…what was different...
Tatianna and I first met in kinder garden, as toddlers, playing 'tie the shoelace'. I don’t remember what we spoke about, but we were always punished to the "punishment room" for talking. There we talked even more. We grew up, moved apart, and met again, as little girls in the fifth grade, along with Mary and Kara. We were like two peas in a pod. We grew together, we cried together. Then, I simply got lost. Because she grew up, and I didn't know where to go. I was lost in a woman's world, still the little girl, I was before. I tried to be what I couldn't be, and then, after sometime, I lost who I was as well.
Out of all those plastic girls there, out of all those puffy faced makeup crazy bimbo's, I was the biggest little fake there was. And I hated it, so I hated myself. I loathed everything I did. It was simple, it’s so easy to blame yourself, to hate yourself, to blame everyone else and spit onyour own doorstep.
It’s forgiving yourself that’s difficult, its letting go of the past that can crush you, its admitting that you are the one in the wrong that can kill you…but that also means you can finally make it right.
Now, I was becoming a woman, I was shedding that old skin I hid behind, and blooming. As little girls, we were like a glove in a pair, but as woman, we could only hurt each other. Milk will turn to curd as it matures, and grapes to wine. They're
completely different from their born identities. A little girl turns into a young woman, with a demeanor completely altered from her previous form.
I had decided, its time I grew up. It's time I stopped blaming anyone but myself for merely being an idiot, it was time I looked through the fog and found who I was meant to be, not what I thought I could be. Its time I stood up, and forgave myself for hurting myself. And God only knows, perhaps this time, I could be that happy carefree person I always wanted to be.
Slowly, it stopped mattering, what other thought, what Tatianna thought. They seemed to have come in my life like clockwork, Kiruba, Madhuri, my teacher, the people who looked beyond the coat I hid behind and saw who I was before I could. They had given me the strength to believe in myself, the strength to pull myself up before I drowned in my tears
It is no longer "I was". It became I am.
I am strong
I am intelligent
I am worth something
I have a purpose to find
I will live
I will heal
I will fight
I am no longer a little girl.