“In a world that sparks conversations on female rights and equality, it’s unfortunate that we still have women in many families, unknowingly being the torchbearers of patriarchy. Coming from years of conditioning, I guess there’s a lot of unlearning required right at the grass-root level before we can even think about bridging the gap and achieving a utopian reality for women.
And I’m saying this after being a victim of this regressive outlook, throughout my life- witnessing everything from its subtlest traces to its deepest horrors right in my household. As a daughter and a younger child moreover, the notion was that I’d be married off one day; so my forever home would only be my future husband’s and not where I was born. With this toxic ideology looming around, the demarcation was evident in all aspects, in comparison to my brother.
Every small thing, right from being fed first after a tiring day at school, being given more pocket money given during festive seasons, to even being tucked into bed at night, the preference was only towards my brother. Why? Since he was the offspring expected to take care of the elders when they grow old. Now it might seem silly, but for a little girl, growing up in such a regressive environment, this difference felt bizzare at every step.
What’s worse was the inability to question this mindset, for it was viewed as arrogant and far from the ‘lady-like’ attitude that was expected of me. Elders always reinforced that I willingly ‘adjust’ to situations, without a second thought. So naturally, being curbed from all ends, I started finding my solace in solitude, like a stranger amidst my kin.
Now while people usually resort to time for healing such wounds, it had no effect on the inequality that persisted in my house. From crying on my pillow for years I gradually realized the only way out is acceptance and a shift in my perspective. So, I started making peace with my reality, and focused more on how I can improve the quality of my life outside. Writing and fitness became my major coping mechanisms and I did everything possible to make up for the lost care, outside of my place.
Of course, this is not to state that I’m not grateful for what my family has provided, but material assets without freedom or an equal upbringing definitely affects the children on various levels. Today, even after a whole quarter in my life, I’m still not on the best of terms with my brother.
But regardless of the trauma that exists, I’m in a way, thankful for my experiences for they definitely have made me empathetic as a person, aiding me to see the good in others. Additionally, it’s garnered a close-knit group of friends who truly treat me with respect and the freedom to express myself! Going forward, all I want is to spread the love that my childhood self had long for!”