My loveliest mum,
A few days ago, someone asked me where I get my strength from. I was surprised because the reason behind the question was that I had made an honest remark out loud, one that everyone else had been thinking anyway. I looked around me and everyone was silent. That’s when it hit me – you taught me to never be afraid of speaking my mind. People were staring at me because they thought that I had been gutsy in voicing my opinions and I stood there, mystified, for you had simplified the notion of being unapologetically myself right from the beginning.
As I am observing the people I’m surrounded with, I’m learning more and more of the confinements they have had to live with. In this process, I’ve noticed something rather strange – people enforce either complete distrust or complete faith in things and are too rigid to have any room for new and liberal ideas. I feel a curious sense of empathy towards these people, for thanks to you, I cannot imagine being forced to remain inert when I want to change something in my life.
Most of my hostel-mates fear going out in the dark, are shy of wearing revealing clothes and are uncomfortable speaking to boys. You know that I’ve always trusted my intuition, after all, you’re the one who encouraged me to seek my own help whenever I needed any advice. So, I trusted my gut and went out with a friend for a fun evening. When we were returning, we reached an unfamiliar location by mistake. But we had Google Maps, so we booked a cab and we waited for it.
You taught me to never be afraid of speaking my mind.
During the wait, I was surprised with myself. Because I was afraid. Afraid of something going terribly wrong, afraid of not making it back home to you, afraid of being taken advantage of, afraid of being treated as less than a human being. I felt caged like I had never felt before, for you and dad had never taught me fear, you guys taught me to be smart, practical and courageous. And here I was, inside a cage in my own mind that I let society create for me. All those news articles I had read about robberies, rapes, murders were flashing through my mind and at that moment, I wasn’t secure even though I wasn’t harmed at all.
I never told you about it until now, because I was afraid. I still wanted to believe in the bravery that you taught me while I was growing up and mostly, I didn’t want you to feel the same fear that I was feeling. I have watched you suffer more than anyone I know and I have watched you conquer every battle that you fought with the world and with yourself and rise stronger than ever. After all that, you still have the softest heart in the whole world. That is why, when that guy asked me where I get my strength from, I replied, “From my mum”.
You haven’t just given me a life, you’ve taught me how to live boldly. Even when I was struggling and failing to achieve my goals, you were the only one who told me to wipe my tears for that was not the time to break down, but to be strong. You’ve always known of the strength I was born with and you’ve nurtured it since my very first day. Now both of us are watching me grow into a mature lady who isn’t afraid of reaching out to take what she wants.
I have watched you conquer every battle that you fought with the world and with yourself and rise stronger than ever.
I am writing this letter to you not simply because I miss you, but because I am learning that you’ve always been my backbone and you’ve taught me to be my own support system for whenever I need it. In our society, where some parents discourage their children’s dreams, stab their hopes and impose their own plans on their kids, you gave me the freedom to choose the life I want to live and the person I want to be.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough or repay you. What I can do is hopefully impact the lives of some parents who set illogical restrictions on their daughters’ lives as they worry about what society might think or say. It should’ve been the other way round from the beginning – we should discourage narrow-minded behaviour and parents should be worried about imposing limits on their children’s lives and wasting their potential.
One thing I promise you, mamma, is that I will continue to make you proud by breaking my own limits and never giving up. Your legacy of strength will be passed on to every single generation to come.
I love you, mamma.
Featured image used for representative purpose only. Image source: Inext Live