Mother, I feel like I’m in your womb again now that I’m 23

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Looking back at the blurry recollections of my teenage years, I see a rage burning so red it was blue. I see juvenile hurt – losing its way to becoming deformed and showing up in the jokes I cracked, in my Lana Del Rey playlists, and in the way I spewed words on all those who did not get me. I see heartbreak – of a heart that didn’t have enough space for itself, and I see the pain of half-love where I was unsure what I was asking or looking for. I also see longing – to be bigger than what I was, larger than the dreams of those around me – something, anything but you

I remember feeling invisible to my mother and, along with me, my half-born dreams, my unworn fashion style, my untouched body, my unloved heart, and my unmade bed. But now that I’m 23, I feel like I’m in your womb again. Now that I have swallowed so many bits of you over the years, I feel your pain so profoundly it stings. 

Now that I have loved, I know how you always confused it for sacrifice. You saw love only as a give-and-take. “You get as much as you give”, you would say as we played Monopoly with your words strung together like a lullaby, only jerking me out of the childish, romantic slumber I was in. But I do not blame you anymore. You were taught love differently as you always tried to make yourself useful to be worthy of it – from waking up at six and cooking till your legs gave in to promising to take care of our children so we wouldn’t leave you alone as the colour silver takes over your head. 

Now that I’ve seen death, I know why you didn’t let me see it up close. You would lie, ironically clothed in white, that you were going out to see our aunt and come back after hours with eyes puffed up from all the crying at the funeral. You skipped the part where Aman died in ‘Kal Na Ho Ka’ and left me hating Naina for the entirety of it. I despised you for it because I would never know what to say to a mourning friend who had only ever known grief. But I do not blame you anymore. You saw death way too early, as my grandmother left you sooner than she had promised, leaving you with the weight of being a full-time mother when you weren’t even whole yet. I’d like to be shielded once again from the reality of it all now that I’ve seen the end of ‘Kal Ho Na Ho.’ 

Now that I’ve made my entire universe around external validation, I see why you warned me to keep my mouth full and not half-open, waiting to be filled. Because you lived it. After fifty-one years of trying to fill a cup with a hole in it, you’d tell me to first see my trophy myself before running to show it to my friends. I thought you hated my friends and the trophy that I won, but it turns out it was only my direction of running that you had a problem with. 

Now that I’ve seen people, I see why you were angry all the time. You’d vehemently voice your dislike of my string of past friends because you’d read their eyes even with hypermetropia. The hidden cries that you suffocated with your pillow at night are now acquaintances who tell me why you shouted at me that night for breaking an unloved glass cup. I thought you were bitter, but it turns out those around you were sour.

Now that I’m 23, I know that while I could’ve learned all this on my own, I did not have to hate you for trying to drill it in me before. Because now that I am a woman myself, I can feel your pain, your joys, your disgusts, your mourns, your fatigue, and your restlessness to teach me all that you weren’t taught. 

Now that I am a woman, I feel myself back in your womb, and this time, it’s not the pounds of flesh staring up; it’s a fully-grown daughter of yours looking up to you.


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Priyal Verma

Priyal loves daydreaming and making things (read: words and ideas) up in her head. She is creative, nurturing her love affairs with writing, advertising, and fashion every day (mostly) while juicing out whatever beauty she can from the world and people around her. In her own words, this is what makes her a blahcksheep:

“I have never liked boxing myself and narrowing down my “niche”… As a writer, I have been told multiple things – one of them being that my prose is “too abstract” to be featured in mainstream magazines. But, I continue to write the way I do for my Instagram audience, which is continually growing, and I know that I will find my people. Even though I do not conform to any writing style and the writer’s brevity is absolutely lost on me (I love complex sentences, sue me), I am glad that I let my thoughts run free because they end up resonating with the general stream of consciousness and in turn, the people that suffer from it.”

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