I was just 12-year-old when I was first molested. I was coming back home from dance class at 8 pm on my cycle. Suddenly a guy came from the opposite direction and molested me. I was not sure how to react to it. I did not tell this to my parents because I was scared about their reaction.
Exactly after two months, I was blackmailed by my neighbour who happened to be the father of my friend to meet him at a hotel as he has the video of me bathing. I went there to my friend's house, and as soon as I saw the phone, I silently took it and smashed it.
But that incident changed me, and I became a different person. I stopped coming out of the house or would rarely come out of the room, and it took almost a year for me to forget those incidents.
Upon that, I started blaming myself for all these incidents as I was told by my grandmother that I was fat, and it killed the self-esteem that I had. She would often ask me to stop laughing as my body parts mostly my breasts would move while I laugh and she asked me to wear a dupatta even when it is not necessary, and I did everything that she asked but never realised that it would kill my self-esteem and confidence that I have in me.
When I was 13 years old, I was molested by my dance teacher's father, and it shook my world. That is when I started considering suicide as an option. I still remember the question I asked in school " How to become ugly mam?" sadly enough, my class laughed out loud and just forgot my question.
It was easy for them to forget and move on with life, but to me it took a lot from my side to wake up every day in the morning, fighting with myself and trying to step into the same dance class every day and maintain a smile on my face.
After class 10, I moved to Vijayawada for my +2. I thought everything will be fine now but worst was yet to come.
Being molested by my uncle or being blamed by my grandmother that it was all my mistake and I was asking for it as I have a curvy body? I couldn't choose one because both were things I never wanted nor did I choose. I went numb when I woke up to my uncle next to me. I kicked him and slept on the stairs all night, and I came back to my hometown for my +2.
I tried to survive every single day, fighting with my self and the thought of not killing my self and I found a ray of hope when I decided to start a new life in Bhavan's Vivekananda Degree College, Hyderabad for my UG but little did I know that destiny had different plans for me, and this time it threw a makeup man to me who walked into my dressing room, and I somehow escaped from his hands.
I tried talking to the guy I was in a relationship, but he ended up blaming me that it was my mistake and told me that I was not careful enough. Since then, his behaviour changed, he started ignoring me, body-shamed me, and I ended it when I found out he was cheating on me.
One day when I had a panic attack while performing, that is when I realised that things are going out of my hand and I have to do something to be able to live at least.
I sat with myself and analysed every single situation that happened to me. I realised that nothing was my mistake and I did nothing to deserve such bad things in life. That is when it hit me that all I had was me and I tried to leave the dance for something which I was not responsible for.
I realised that the girl who could dance for 5 hours straight, the girl who googled herself to find her dance photos, the girl who won many awards, the girl who is a national level dancer and who performed in international dance festivals is fading away slowly for nothing.
I was already seeing a therapist by then, and I tried to concentrate more on my studies, and I joined Masters in Hospital Administration. Though it was in the distance, I was happy and while I was doing my internship in Fortis Hospital ( Bangalore ) I realised that I was more into psychology. One question that hit me then was, "If not with or for passion, then why?"
Maybe this is the question that can make most of us drift away or at least that is what has happened to me. For me, my career choice is intimately tied to my past and the incidents that were rooted in my mind.
I remember that it was in my high school that I told one of my classmates that I would be a psychologist and forgot about it after that conversation. I guess the child in me never forgot and brought me back to the same career that I wanted.
I believe that it is scarce to peak into and travel the road that you have not taken, and I consider myself lucky to have gotten that opportunity. I have a degree with genetics as my primary, and a master's in hospital administration along with six sigma green and black belt, but now here I am doing the one thing that I love and brings extreme happiness to me.
And in the meanwhile, I got a call from my gurus' friend asking me to perform, and he insisted that it was urgent. I obeyed the orders and right before entering the stage, I broke down realising that it has been more than a year that I danced and there is no turn back after that.
I have seen the worst things in my life, and if I ever had a chance to be someone else, I would choose me and my life without giving a second thought, and if I had to go through everything all over again to be where I am now, I would do that without any doubt.
I have never deserved the abuse or hurt or the heartbreaks I got, and I did nothing to perpetuate it or as you would say "ask for it". It's not my fault when people do not treat me the way I deserved to be treated. It's not my fault when the so-called men who were supposed to be human enough to their species behaved ruthlessly with me.
I'm proud of who I'm becoming, a healing survivor. So, I am a dancing psychologist, and I am a cockroach. Confused? Remember how in the movie "Wall-E" when the entire planet turned to waste, and it was only the cockroach that survived. I am a cockroach that survived. You are too. We all are. We will all survive. You have to hang on there and let the storm pass.
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