I was a chubby kid. I was put on a diet since the age of 11. I was always teased in school and in my family. Once, a family friend told me I was ‘too fat and ugly’ and that I’d never find a husband. I was only 16. My parents didn’t say a word, so I started believing it too. As I grew up, I put up a façade of being confident with my size but in fact, I wasn’t.
I was studying in the US when I got into a serious relationship. I thought I was in love. So much so that because his family insisted that we get engaged quickly,’ and he couldn’t enter the U.S– I agreed to sit by his photo during the rituals! I was so upset, but didn’t say anything…I was too scared.
When he came to visit, I felt great! But within 10 days he slapped me for the first time. It started as a playful pinch and soon turned into slapping and shoving into walls.
Once, I hit him back. But my mother told me girls from respected families don’t do that. So I stopped. But the abuse grew, and every time he promised not to do it again. He’d blame me, ‘Why do you make me do this? Why don’t you just listen to me? I don’t want to hit you.’ So I believed it was my fault and I’d end up apologizing. Somewhere deep down, I was still scared that I wasn’t deserving of love.
The last straw was when we were talking about how many kids we’d have. He wanted 3, I wanted 2 and he just lost it. He pushed me onto the floor. My arm was bruised and my body was in pain. I told my parents I couldn’t do it anymore.
I left him– I felt so lost, because all my life I’d been told that I’d never find anyone and at that point it felt true. That was my lowest point, but it was an experience I had to have. I hadn’t loved the one person who I needed to love more fiercely than anyone else–me. I picked up the pieces. I returned to college to get a degree. I also trained myself in hypnotherapy and tarot card reading. I began to eat healthy, work out and respect myself. I went to a counsellor. I read self help books and practiced affirmations. I blocked out anyone who said things about my broken engagement–I focused on me. With time, I realised how harsh my self talk had been–no wonder, I’d allowed myself to be treated so badly!
And finally, when I became whole again, when I loved myself to the point that no one or nothing could put me down, did it happen. I met the love of my life; my soulmate within 5 years and looking back, I finally know why the journey was so important. I never had to find a ‘better’ half– because I’m not a ‘half’– I’m complete.”
Reproduced from Humans of Bombay