Yes, I was different. Not that I liked different colours or different things. It was much more than that.
Being brought up in a typical Indian society, I was taught to cook and sew from childhood. Many times Sundays were spent in the company of mom learning how to pickle mangoes and how to roll out the perfect round roti. All this was done when I was internally dying to watch my favourite cartoon on TV.
I was even given good education in prestigious convent school. When I was in high school, my parents enrolled me in good tuition classes. They wanted me to score good marks. They wanted me to be perfect. A perfect cook, a perfect scholar, a perfect career woman, a perfect daughter, a perfect wife, and a perfect mother.
But I wasn’t perfect.
I hated cooking. I hated stitching. I hated studies. I hated everything that I was told to do. Period.
I watched TV, read magazines and went out. It was just my way of trying to figure how to fit in. Fit in with my classmates who giggled and blushed when boys were around. Fit in with ‘friends’ who were always showing off what was trendy and what was hot.
I was considered shy. Painfully shy. But I wasn’t. I just didn’t know what to say when somebody asked me what I enjoyed. Because I didn’t know. I didn’t know what to answer my prodding relatives when they asked me what my future plans were. Because I didn’t know.
I tried to hide my confusion. My shortcomings. My lack of ambition. My lack of interest.
I spent years trying to understand and follow the unwritten rules of the society.
Because I wanted to be cared for. To be accepted. To be loved. To receive the warmth of relationships.
Apparently it was too much to ask for.
Silence was becoming my best friend. Smirks from well-wishers was the norm. Being pitied upon a regular occurring.
Every morning I would wake with heavy heart. Each new day signified a new day of trying. Trying to be something I wasn't.
Each evening ended with failure. Failure that pricked my soul because it meant I was getting closer and closer to eternity of unhappiness. Of loneliness. Of being unlovable.
To dread mornings became life. I expected to go through that for eternity. Eternity because somewhere deep down I knew I would never be what my family and friends wanted me to be.
Then came you.
You changed everything without changing me. You became my change.
You didn’t expect me to think like other young women. You didn’t expect me to like the things that the society expected me to like. You didn’t expect me to keep on chattering when all I wanted was silence. You didn’t expect me to be grateful to you for being there for me. You didn't want my body but my soul.
By god, did I try to give you my soul! Aye, I did.
There again started the journey of me trying to be something you could be proud of. Something you could justify falling for. Something deserving of your love.
I ended up giving you my pain. Pain that crippled you. Pain that wounded you. Pain that made you numb.
The very thing that attracted you to me in the first place was now a poison. A deadly poison that could cut your life short. A poison that you had to get rid of before you became poisonous.
Today, again, I'm alone with my soul given back to me. Today, again, I'm apart from everyone. Today, again, I’m on my own.
But there's a difference. Difference between before and after.
After is more beautiful. More enchanting. More mesmerizing.
Because after gave me the strength to stop trying. Because after made me realize going after what I want is not selfishness. Because after taught me to love myself and accept myself.
After gave me myself.
Maybe that's why people say it's better to be loved and lost instead of not being loved at all?