Dear Me, You are Enough

Kirthi Jayakumar
Posted July 25, 2019 from India

Dear me,

This is you. This is me. This is time separating the two of us talking, but what I have to tell you is timeless. Hindsight is always six-by-six, but I’ll still ask you to take what I say without a pinch of salt. Because, exactly like you, this morsel is enough.

You were the happy toddler that a family friend looked at, as she remarked to your mother that she would never have to pay a high dowry because her daughter was fair. You were the unassuming little toddler that your mother defended, being ignored while doing so. You were the happy-go-lucky noisemaker who had a dozen ideas to set in motion, but were judged because of your complexion right from the word go. You were enough, then. You are enough, now.

You were once the little girl who looked up innocently, hand outstretched, receiving the gift your grandfather brought you home. A gift called a fairness cream. You were once the cheeky little girl who took that very tube of fairness cream into the backyard, and doodled with the pasty white cream that smelled like a meadow of flowers and promised whiteness. You were enough, then. You are enough now.

You were once the pre-teen who sat in class as two teachers compared your complexion to that of someone they knew, so that they could swap “daadima-ke-nushke” to “cure” the other person of darkness. You were the girl who looked on quietly as they rubbed your cheek with an index finger, and asked you to look up and down, and show them your hands so they could judge your skin tone. You were the girl who received unsolicited advice about how you should use besan and chandan on your skin, because you were too dark. You were enough, then. You are enough, now.

You were once the teenager who was never selected in the school play because you were “fat” (by the way, fat is a shape, not a feeling, not an emotion, and does not entitle anyone to use as a basis discriminate against you). You were the girl who practiced lines in front of the mirror for nine auditions, sure you’d win the part each time. You were also the girl who gave into the wrong message others sent you about your size when you looked in the mirror the tenth time. You were enough, then. You are enough, now.

You were the girl who went to college dressed in a crisp white uniform only to be told by a nosy neighbor that white is not your colour. You were also the girl who wore a beautifully cut suit to argue a case at a moot court competition to be told that your build doesn’t go well with a suit. You were also the girl who was told to take pretty pills to be good looking, to use face powder to try to be white. You were the girl who was asked if you were “terminally ill” when you lost weight. You were enough, then. You are enough, now.

You were the girl who was poked fun of for eating funny because your jaw would open with a slant. You were the girl who had to use your hands to help ease food into your mouth when you ate. You were also the girl who sat through quietly, watching your friends imitate you accidentally-on-purpose. You were the girl who sat through four years of painful jaw treatment to heal the pain from TMJ. You were enough then. You are enough, now.

You were the little girl who was made fun of for running funny. You were the little girl who went three years of her days as an infant and toddler, strapped with a brace so your club foot would be set right. You were the little girl who ran races with those feet, winning some, no less. You were also the little girl who danced, with abandon, no matter that those feet hurt. You are now the woman who chooses to dance through life, though it hurts sometimes, because you’re more than your disability. You were enough then. You are enough, now.

Today, as these little monsters try to claw at you every now and then; when someone ruthlessly used the N-word at you, when you use filter after filter after filter on Instagram to get the perfect mix for your photograph — so you have no zits and a pearly complexion at least in the photograph; when you think you are not good enough… You were enough, then. You are enough, now.

And you will always be. Try that on for size. Try that on for colour. Try that on for the right mould. It fits, perfectly. It blends, perfectly. It shapes up, perfectly.

All my love,


(Me, actually.)

This story was submitted in response to The Real Me.

Comments 9

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Jill Langhus
Jul 26, 2019
Jul 26, 2019

Hello dear and lovely Kirthi,

Thanks for sharing this sad, but very real, account of what girls have to go through. When will enough be enough for society? When will girls and women stop perpetuating the cycle of body shaming, and other shaming? How have these experienced shaped who you are today? And do you see the same cycle being perpetuated for girls in school now, or is the cycle loosening, and being freed? I do hope so...

Hope you're having a great Friday, and that your presentation went very well!


P.S. My you were a cute child:-)

Beth Lacey
Jul 26, 2019
Jul 26, 2019

This story made me cry for all of us who have been through these hurtful, demoralizing experiences. But, as you say, we are always enough

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Jul 31, 2019
Jul 31, 2019

Hello, Kirthi,

What a gifted woman you are! You write from the heart and your words pierces mine because it was as if you were writing to my younger self, too. How powerful and how liberating to be able to state “You were enough then. You are enough now”.

What a harsh society we live in to put us through all those comparisons and judgments and even mockery.

But look who are now, the creator of Saahas, a runner up at the Sandvik Gender Awards 2019, and no less than the UN Global Compact India has pledged support for you!

You are enough, dear! In fact, you are more than enough! Thank you for rising above and creating tools to make this world a better place.

We’re so proud of you, dear Sister! Be you. Stay you!

Aug 09, 2019
Aug 09, 2019

Your story is the story of so many women in so many parts of the world. It touches like a laser on how girls and women are constantly judged for how we look, dress, walk, talk, and exist. You are right. You were enough then. You are enough now. More than enough! We all are.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Aug 12, 2019
Aug 12, 2019

Hi Kirthi,
Thank you for sharing the real you. This is sad but also very inspirational for every one who has gone through something similar in their past. We really never think we are ever enough but we truly are enough and we should always be grateful for what we are and who we are.
Have a great day my dearest sister.

Satyawathi Yadav
Aug 17, 2019
Aug 17, 2019

This is a letter to every woman and every girl. Society is quick to judge us, compare us, blame us and undermine our abilities.

This made me tear. Yet it gave me inspiration, I was enough then I am enough now. Thank you, thank you for such a wonderful share!

Dawn Arteaga
Aug 27, 2019
Aug 27, 2019

This post makes me teary. Yes to it all! Your strength and inner beauty shine so strongly and lift so many up. Thank you for courageously sharing your story. I am so grateful for your light!

Anita Shrestha
Oct 09, 2019
Oct 09, 2019

Thank you for sharing

Oct 18, 2019
Oct 18, 2019

You touched my heart. You are enough. You are more than enough. Sending you a hug.