This is me.

Kirthi
Posted February 21, 2017 from India

Over the past few days, I have posted extensively of the things in my life that I am thankful for. Many of you have been incredibly kind in sharing your appreciation, kind thoughts and good vibes - thank you. But in this post, I am choosing to be vulnerable, and to show you a side of me that I have not showed more than a handful of people. In this piece, I want to show the importance of self-care, a process that centres around respecting yourself by acknowledging your vulnerabilities, and embracing them - a process that has made me the adult that the little girl I was, needed.

Nothing happens easily for anyone. Behind every smile and happy post you see, there are months of pain, days of grief and a LOT of pushing myself. A LOT. Socially visual happiness is not happiness. And life is not one or the other: every face has a story and every smile has a lot behind it. The jealousy of social happiness is tearing us up and making us judge others without a second thought. And that gave birth to this post.

This is me.

I fight depression that comes and goes in bouts. I withdraw into myself and do not like social interaction beyond a certain extent. I am a very loving person but I value my space and have huge trust issues because my past has made me look over my shoulder every single time. I sit under my bed to recharge, I prefer doodling and reading to making small talk that goes nowhere. This is me being vulnerable.

But I love life. I love the sound of the birds chirping. I love the sound of rain on a tin roof. I love the smell of a freshly brewed cup of tea. I love the sound of a babbling brook. I love waking up to the aroma of my mother's cooking. I love the sound of the voices of all the people I love. I love smelling books, I love laughing - laughing so hard that my sides hurt and my breath is knocked out. I love making people laugh, I love smiling, I love making people smile. This is me, caring for myself.

Each morning, it is a great, great struggle to wake up and stand up on my own feet because I was born with a condition called club foot, that has made a recurrence in my life with a force. I never make morning appointments - whether it's breakfast or coffee or even work - earlier than 11:00 AM because it is a huge task to be able to exercise my feet until I can walk. This is me, being vulnerable.

But I love to dance. I can dance a salsa, I can dance a jazz routine. I can do some very basic bharatnatyam, I can do some very rudimentary kathak. I love the feel of pirouetting, I love the fun of twirling and jumping high in the air. I love slapping my feet on the earth and listening to the resonant vibrance. I can do a mean kickboxing routine, I can do yoga and stand on my head. And I do it, because my body is my temple and I will celebrate it with all its imperfections. This is me, caring for myself.

I cannot eat in public except when I am with very, very close friends or family. I have a condition called TMJ and it makes chewing a pain, so I eat differently. Food falls out of my mouth sometimes and I use my hands to put it back in my mouth. After a classmate at school pointedly made fun of the way I eat at school, I stopped eating in public. I have an allergy to chocolate and I sneeze and sneeze and sneeze till I'm out of the space chocolate occupies. This is me, being vulnerable.

But I love food, I love, love food. I enjoy spice, I can eat chilli flakes without a second thought like one eats mouth freshener. I can tuck into a meal any time, and tell you without wasting a second how delicious it is, because food is love. This is me, caring for myself.

I am a survivor of bullying, racial and gender-based violence in my growing years. And the slightest thing can trigger me sometimes, when something intense can firm my resolve - and which one happens when is entirely out of my control. So you can find me raging at a sexist "joke" at one time, or being determined to fight back after reading about a horrific rape. This is me, being vulnerable.

I speak in public, I hold workshops, I run the Red Elephant Foundation, I write, I draw and I denounce violence and try to become non-violent in my words, my thoughts and deed. When I stand up before a bunch of women and tell them that the whole world is in their hands and there is nothing to stop them, I am telling little Kirthi that. I am telling her that it gets better and to hold on. This is me, caring for myself.

Nothing you read above is an in spite of. Nothing you read above is a despite. Nothing you read above is bravery or courage or any of those superlatives that relate.

Every line, every word, every thought is human.

Every line, every word, every thought here is born out of the union of self-compassion and self-care.

This post was submitted in response to Self-Care.

Comments 7

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jlanghus
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017

Hi Kirthi,

Thanks for being courageous and deciding to be vulnerable here. I think you're courageous. You could've decided not to share your story, but you did. And, it's so true. People get a first impression about people they first meet in around the first 7 seconds of meeting someone, and chances are the first impression they got probably is totally inaccurate and they've already made all these assumptions about this person, too. I love the vulnerable you. It's very raw and real. Thanks again for sharing. You've just made it easier for someone else to share their story:-)

Your childhood photo is precious, btw:)

Anne D.
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 21, 2017

Hi Kirthi! Thank you so much for your beautiful, moving post. We women don’t talk about self-care enough. There are so many lines that resonated with me and that’ll sound so familiar to a lot of other women. “Nothing happens easily for anyone.” Thank you for reminding all of us of that. And especially: “Every line, every word, every thought is human.” Sharing your thoughts helps others not be afraid of being vulnerable. I'll carry your words with me today.

Kirthi
Feb 22, 2017
Feb 22, 2017

Thank you dearest sisters <3 You inspire me by being who you are. 

danadabbous
Feb 24, 2017
Feb 24, 2017

Hi Kirthi,

Thank you for sharing, it was very nice reading your heartfelt and thought out words. Yes, it is truly human to feel and speak in that way. I truly believe in self-care to, it is the exact process that you explained. Sometimes it can be tough and I find it hard but the goal is to always remember to care for yourself in anyway possible.

Take Care,

Dana 

Kirthi
Feb 25, 2017
Feb 25, 2017

Thank you dear Dana <3 *HUGS* 

JaniceW
Feb 25, 2017
Feb 25, 2017

My sister. Firstly, you cannot imagine the huge smile that spread over my face when I saw your photo. The gentleness and tranquility of innocence before you learnt that society is not kind to those with TMJ, club feet or even an allergy to chocolate. All of these aspects of your character are bright shining sides of the beautiful prism that is YOU, the prism that shines its light in a ray of rich colours on those it falls upon. 

I love all of those sides of you as they have each contributed to who you are today – the fierce, beautiful changemaker whose every effort makes the world a better and safer place for all of us. As others have said, you are courageous in opening up to the world yet your strength is such a part of you that I don't even think about it as being something to highlight as it is just one of many attributes you possess that collectively make you such an inspiring leader. 

However by opening up, you have given others the window to express their own vulnerabilities and a safe space to join hands with you and others in saying "I am different and that is what makes me wonderfully unique". Thank you for opening the window and for breathing love and light into our lives every day. 

xx

Kirthi
Feb 25, 2017
Feb 25, 2017

Thank you dear Janice... I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Words fail me, for your love and kindness are my strength. *HUGS*