Can I Hide?
Curtains went up artists took their place one after the other, each moving to express their agony and ecstasy through movements. Naini sat in the audience watching the performance and noting the errors not in the performance of the artists but in the design she had created for them to perform.
The overwhelming emotion was a need to hide, she knew now people would recognize her for who she was a fraud, as child she used to wear her aunt Meena’s footwear (which was classy unlike anything her mother wore, or her mother allowed her wear.) and pretend to be trendy, so when the campus went a buzz about how Naini was fashionable, (wearing Aunt Meena’s discarded clothes or sister Jyothi’s hand-me-downs, or sister Babli’s rejects) she used to be bewildered. Sometimes looking back Naini felt, for whatever reason when she wore those hand-me-downs, she emotion that they discarded with the clothes got imbibed in her. a sense of being second class, a sense that she was encroaching an actual feeling of being a refuse bin.
She remembered wearing her father’s surgery dress and pretending to perform surgery, the feeling of play acting stayed with Naini through the med-school, even as she practised. She lived with the mortal fear of being discovered for who she is a fake.
The thundering claps jolted Naini out of her cocoon of fear, it was show time she would have to face the audience…
”Ma’m did you do the choreography?” that was Bharati Gaoncar from The Goan, it was amazing I did not want the dancers to stop.
“Phew doctor, that was brilliant”
All Naini could do was to keep the plastic smile on, and look for the nearest exit. Out of the confines of the theatre, she called up her coach and buddy,
This happened in her work place too, each time her patient thanked her profusely for the relief they experienced, she would think what rubbish.
“how can I have low self esteem” she had asked Venugopal her friend and practising life coach, ”You see the work I did this morning with Nachiket, that spirit release was not easy, neither was this movement design, how would I do it if I did not have the confidence to pull it off.”
“Remember the awareness of abundance” asked venugopal.
“Your self esteem is like that, it is powerful, you did a brilliant job tonight, but what were you telling yourself through the performance…This is not done right, that ought to be done differently, you sat through the performance keeping a watch for that.”
“But I have to improve,”
“That’s not the issue, through the performance did you laud yourself for brilliancy, and even now you do not own your brilliance you are trying to placate yourself.”
Actually it was right, she had done it to herself each time, the innovative lunch boxes, the clothes stitched for the kids, between patients, ferrying the kids, sweeping, dishwashing and laundry she never acknowledged, she beat herself for the dust-bunnies that refused to leave.
Naini sighed, accomplishments don’t erase shame, by not standing for herself when it was appropriate, she had damaged her self-esteem. She was angry and ashamed of herself for putting up with the unfair behaviour at home, the more she put up the worse she felt. Until somewhere she felt she had no right to complain about receiving hand me down, she had to be thankful for the crumbs she received, she was being greedy and making a big thing out of nothing.
Accomplishments did not erase hatred, cruelty, silence, ignorance, discrimination it only covered it up creating a new version of pride and ego. She wondered what was the way out… may be forgiving herself and others, maybe compassion, repentance and living with dignity could help.
For the time being she would start her healing journey with writing three things she achieved each day, maybe she would truly earn her self-respect somewhere.
Muse of the month –Oct.2016