At 10, I looked like someone who missed childhood and teenage years to go straight into being an adult. I remember vividly, that I used to hear a lot of whispers and feedback that I was “Not a good girl.” At that time when someone is branded as not bring a ‘good girl’ it meant a lot of things that were disparaging to one’s morale, psyche and general well-being. But somehow, I ignored every single soundbite that didn’t make me feel better.
At Twenty, I was way more progressive, aggressive and rebellious than those my age. While I had cautiously cut off ties with anyone who didn’t contribute to my growth, I still heard through my parents that I was branded as, “Wrong kind of girl.” With that kind of image I had a tough time getting matrimonial alliances, attending social events without being rebuked, got snarled at (and I’m not even an animal) and was at the receiving end of pernicious insults. But I had it it me to take that toxicity to turn tangible and evoke immense jealousy.
At Thirty, I had seen it all. There was nothing negative that could sway me from my dreams, ambitions and goals. By that age, I considered myself successful financially, personally, professionally and in ways that I couldn’t be compared. Because I had created my own success, redefined how I was perceived and unperturbed by catabolic narratives. I was all grin when I started hearing that I was a “Transformed Woman.” Just like that the naysayers were reduced to minutiae and as usual I did not deter from what I was set to do.
At Forty, I feel invincible. The affection that I receive from those I’ve impacted surpasses anything else that reduces me. Those that are proud to be associated with me keep building and boosting me up, every day. I feel amazing being a better version of myself than I was yesterday. It feels like the best years of my life. And I have so much to give back. Those that stab have not vanished but I have the ammunition to shut them down. All I hear now is “More power to her.”
For all those girls, young and adult women who are chastised, taunted, tarnished and excluded, pay no heed. It might hurt, make you feel undermined, but keep the fire in you alive. There is only one thing that you must take care of – YOU. Nothing else matters. I put myself first during the darkest, hardest times and continue to do so. To remain unscathed. “I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am. I am. I am.”