At 10 years old, it took me 3 weeks. 3 weeks of being a 10 year old to feel the first flutters in my stomach.
It took me 3 weeks of summer to run out at every opportunity just so I could see, talk, play with this new friend.
How was I at 10 years supposed to know what a flutter was? He made me as happy as candy did, and so I chased my candy.
I turned 11 the same summer.
It took me an entire year of being 11 and an entire of being 12. 104 weeks to realize that this flutter was very very different from candy flutters.
Candy was easy. No tears. And guess what? It didn’t matter how stupid you were in trying to get candy, you won’t regret that even when you’re 20. Or 80.
Once this had been identified, we became best friends (or so we named each other)
We spent hours on our respective balconies to get a glimpse of one another. Weeks consoling each other when something went wrong and months fighting for nothing at all or memorizing clothing patterns off by heart. Friends always did this stuff for each other, right?
Then, he introduced me to this emotion/word called love.
And I ran, as far as I could and as long as my feet would go on from away from this.
It was such a big word and with big words came big responsibilities and my arms and hands were too small for such big words. I couldn’t possibly imagine holding them safely.
I spent all of being 13 to 16, running away and towards the same thing I was running away from because it was inside me. And the more I tried to destroy it, it came stronger destroying me in turn.
I’m 20 today, believe me, you don’t have to hold it, it’s an experience and you cannot stay away from it.
So experience it, but not so much that it destroys you. Scars are stories. Destructions smell like gun powder and bullets that don’t do any good only take lives away.
Someone that loves you immensely.
Tuesday | 11:55 PM | Blue Car | Bangalore, India
2 Girls | Loud Music
Really loud singing
Happy. Enjoying themselves.
How dare we sing so loud?
How dare we be out so late?
How dare we drive ourselves and be so independent?
We definitely wanted attention. Like duh.
Two boys. Following us.
Music turned down.
No more singing.
Scared, Worried, Irritated.
Driving away, trying to get away from chasers.
I swear, we didn’t want any attention. We wanted to just be. But, how dare we, right?
Wednesday | 7:30 PM | White Gates | Bangalore, India
1 Girl | Pink and Blue Chudidar | White Earphones
Out for a walk. Needs a breathe of fresh air.
A bunch of young 20 something boys in the opposite direction.
How dare I want to be out past sunset?
How dare I want a breathe of air?
How dare I have a Vagina?
‘Hey look, Girl.’
Wide leering smiles
I go back inside, disgusted.
Fresh air felt like breathing in Gun powder.
But, what could I do? Boys are like that.
Thursday | 1:30 PM | Bungee Jump Bridge | Knysna, South Africa
A group of people, girls, boys, men and women. 20 People.
1 Girl. Red Crop top, Black High waist pants.
His hands dig into my waist and I say nothing.
I say nothing because I did not want to create a scene.
I say nothing because it’s common for boys to that right?
And I say nothing because God dammit all I want in that moment is to vanish into nothing. Evaporate.
That would be a way to pick me up. How else would he do it?
And if I could dare to wear a crop top, he could obviously touch my waist and ask me if I wanted to sleep with him, right?
It has been a quick blur of things I’m so used to.
Ogle. Ogle. Ogle.
Leering. Cat calling.
Been judged by aunties for just existing, for being the the same damn sex as them.
No, not because I did anything provocative.
And even if I did, SO WHAT?
Oh thank God.
Finally, I’m going to stay at home, it’s a holiday. Nothing will happen today.
Mom: Why do you not help me with any work in the house? Is this how you will be at your in laws place? Ruining our names. You are going to get nothing out of studying. Help us. Be a girl. Contribute to the family. It’s your job. Look at your sister, look how she’s struggling because she works. Don’t be her.
FUCK YOU, MOM. I can’t believe you’re saying this.
Dad: She’s right, you were not brought up to sit around and work like the boys all day. You must learn to manage both things.
Me: Okay, I understand.
Pondicherry, India | 5 girls | An Island | Shorts and crop tops
I’m having trouble writing this, because, my brain is screaming out to me to not recall it.
Bro that’s great food, let’s pack some.
On a boat
They keep ogling at us, a discussion about how we should stare back, so they look away.
Omg, let’s ride yellow Vespas, so much fun
They won’t stop following us
Omg, please stop crying, we love you, they don’t deserve tears
‘It’s our mistake, we are dressed badly’
‘I thought we were stronger than running away from them’
Claps at us, takes our photos. We run terrified. They run behind. It’s a chase, and they love us being so terrified. It’s turning them on.
Friend 1: I wish we had dressed more decently
Friend 2: I was easily the worst dressed
A french lady and her husband
Thank God our friend knew french, will you please help us?
But nobody helped us when we were trying to run, why not?
Let’s not wear anything provocative to this party, I don’t think it’s safe
The husband and lady waits by while we have fun collecting shells
We can’t collect shells on a beach without the presence of a foreign man.
Full sleeves jackets and pants to a party we had planned days ago
Extra careful, Swiss knife and all, so we don’t die.
I wish I’d slept that night or on any day rested without being so scared after that day.
But they won. They won.
I was afraid to be a woman.
And I was afraid of men and all my boiling blood had been trapped in my body feeling like a little insect inside a car, helpless and alone.
Easily the worst day of the week right?
It has been 21 odd years.
I’ve had enough.
I want to stop feeling like I’m the trash stuck in the cars’ carburetor.
You cannot take it out, I’m the God damn engine and you will not survive without me.
I’m not fucking disposable.
I will burn you.
Someone said I will get over it, No I fucking will not, because I do not want to. Because it is NOT okay to get over it.
Someone else said, Boys need to learn how to pick up girls better.
NO, FUCK YOU.
I’m not God damn trash or an object, you CANNOT pick me up.
I swear, if you met the anger inside me, you could destroy half this planet, but no one would notice, because no one ever does, we have all been burning with the same rage for 2000 odd years and no one fucking notices.
Screw you, 2016.
You become half the people that you fall in love with. And if you love too much, halves of these people is all that is left of you.
Fall so quick that your brain barely registers it.
Fall in love.
Passionately and madly.
Be a bit too much for him.
Don’t hold yourself back.
Just do it.
Fall in love.
Fall so hard that you’re left with one too many scars.
Fall in love.
Fall for someone that doesn’t understand you.
But, someone whose fingers can trace the scars on your body and make them feel better.
Someone that will kiss you in public places.
Someone that will make your heart beat incredibly wildly.
Someone that’s so wrong that it takes your breathe away.
Someone that makes you so mad that you would tear them apart but also want to put them back together by just holding them.
Fall for someone that isn’t meant for you.
Fall in love.
Fall in love.
Fall in love with someone that will break your heart and won’t try to fix it.
Don’t try to glorify it.
Fall in love like that, do it more than once
Cause God dammit, even though it’ll rip you into a thousand pieces, it’s the most beautiful thing that will happen to you.
Fall in love, just fall.
If something is troubling you or making so much noise in your head that you can barely breathe, it’s time to get up and face it.
It is time to stop running away from it.
Don’t drown out the noise in scrolling through a billion meaningless social media posts or by sleeping on it.
If it’s making that much God darn noise and you can’t breathe, it’s important. Very very important.
So get up and do what you gotta do about it, even if there’s very very little you can do.
Thank you for buying me that box of color pencils.
Thank you for buying me that story book.
Thank you for that new pink top.
Thank you for letting me wear your perfume and shirts.
Thank you for that new phone.
Thank you for everything you bought for me.
Thank you for all those things I’ve never said said thank you for.
Thank you for teaching me to wish the best even for people that broke Me.
But, also for teaching me to not go back.
Thank you for teaching me to love so sincerely and purely.
But, also for teaching me to never ask for it, only give.
Thank you for teaching me to do so much good.
Thank you for teaching me that you can never stop learning.
Thank you for making me like you, my super hero.
Thank you for teaching me to wish the best even for the people that ruin you.
Thank you for teaching me that love is the only way.
Thank you for teaching me to never hate.
Thank you for teaching me that super heroes are flawed too, nothing is perfect.
Thank you for teaching me to be our super hero, when you couldn’t.
Thank you for being so brutally honest.
Thank you for letting me see you be so kind, and learn from it. Learn that kindness could break and build castles.
Thank you for teaching me to be so down to earth.
Thank you for teaching me that respecting other people never goes out of fashion.
Thank you for letting me know that no emotions are invalid.
Thank you for making me the person I am today.
You have been my strength and weakness.
And will continue to be.
Thank you, mostly for loving me so much, that my bones can feel it and my soul feels the calm around you.