Updated: Jun 29
Narrated by Anonymous
Written by Anusha
The first eighteen years of my life were spent in complete misery. Being adopted by my aunt and uncle came with severe abuse and neglect; limiting my ability to grow. Deciding to move out of the city for higher education just after school, to start afresh, was a daring act I undertook.
It made me realize I had grown out of my childhood and that becoming an adult gave me the opportunity to make choices for myself. As exciting as the idea was, it was equally dangerous since I had barely travelled or knew my way around people.
I knew I wouldn't be given money for travel, education; so, my cousin and I decided to take tuitions for the younger kids. They would be from different localities so that my aunt and uncle won’t get to know about it.
All the application procedures and submissions were done in secret and only in the last few days, before leaving did I tell them about it. Although they were very furious, I refused to back down. My cousins sister supported me this time.
As expected, I wasn't given any money and was told to not consider them family anymore. Both my cousin sisters were told not to talk to me and I was not supposed to come back to them at all.
As heart-breaking as it sounded, it was my golden ticket. I left with all my savings and started my Bachelors. Since medicine was no longer an option, I chose Gender and Cultural studies. The disparity and ill-treatment made me realise I was not the only one suffering through situations like these. I wanted to help young girls like me.
My undergraduate days were thrilling, as I learnt so much. Not just in academics but about life and people in general. I was able to restore my belief that there are people who are kind-hearted and caring in a scary, gloomy world.
But these were also days were I would very often find myself running out of money and had to pick up odd jobs to ensure I could still afford my education. My cousin sister never lost touch with me during all this. She would help me with my finances and savings and taught me all things required for a budgeted living.
I’m doing my Masters now. I share a flat with some of my friends and do a part-time job. I also go for therapy sessions and am still in touch with my cousin sister. I barely contact my aunt and uncle anymore. I sometimes get calls demanding to transfer them money, and my guilt and shame very often convince me to do so. Other times, they try to manipulate me into coming back or threaten me with insults, like, who would care for me apart from them; or who would marry me now that I’ve ‘disgraced’ myself.
It’s moments like these where I find myself curled up missing my real parents, looking at the few photographs I have of my mother, wishing she was here. But then I remind myself of what my younger self had to go through and promise myself to build a healthy, loving home for myself. Even though I wasn’t given a safe environment to grow up in, I can choose my own path now and have the control of making decisions for myself.
When you tell a child, they don’t deserve care and love, they become an adult believing that, throughout their life. I find unlearning this to be the hardest goal to achieve and hope all those struggling with this see that the problem is not with them, but with the people saying these things to them.