Letters sent home

I grew up like any normal teenager. Like most Harry Potter fans, I wished, hoped, and prayed to receive a letter home, that would change my life. A letter admitting me to Hogwarts, of course. While obviously that never happened, I did receive home a ton of letters that ended up changing my life for good or bad.

The first of those letters were addressed to Dad and it happened to be an anonymous note, which tried to slander me from the word go. I remember there being a mention of me being characterless; and that I should be taught some lessons on moral values. It also took a dig at my Dad, and urged him to raise me better, at least going forward. It was signed as RV, and though it sounded very vague, it horrified us beyond measure. That was the first of several terrible letters that came our way, and in a way, mentally prepared us for the onslaught of the more horrifying ones that we received after that. Those that trashed my reputation to shreds and had a mention of all possible expletives directed at me. They came not so anonymously, though, from my then ex boyfriend as ‘last notes’ before his suicide.

His notes were obviously much more colorful than the one by ‘RV’, and upon reading and re-reading them, before I went ahead and burnt them to ashes, I realized I can’t be a normal teenager with normal wishes anymore, for unlike most, I was forced to grow up overnight, having just learnt some very painful lessons. His words clearly showed that he had no love nor kindness for me, someone he declared so much love for, that he wanted to take his life away when I wasn’t in picture anymore. True love would never shame, true love would never blame, and, most importantly, true love would never play any sort of game, especially dangerous ones like killing oneself for the sake of teaching others lessons. These are commonsensical things and very apparent to logical minds, I believed. But the outside world, unfortunately, did not see it that way. He died, leaving behind countless letters and emails pointing fingers at me and our breakup for his decision, and that was enough for me to be blamed for his death.

Life was tough then and there were times I gave in to the toxicity around, as expletives easily poured in my way, and walked away accepting defeat, with my head hung in shame, even moments before important tests (thank God for retakes that were possible then). I just couldn’t take those harsh criticisms, expletives, and blames that came from known and unknown voices. And I couldn’t pretend to be deaf (or blind) beyond a point. During several such times, I cried the whole way from college to home, both while traveling in public transport, with strangers around watching me with pity; and while riding on my two wheeler, after covering my face with my helmet. It’s a miracle that I am alive to tell this story today, and wasn’t hit by a car or bus or something during one of those blurry rides home.

Today, when people, even well-meaning ones, tell me to forget, forgive and let go, I just can’t fathom how to go about doing that. For starters, it’s not easy to forget those words, many of which still haunt me today. I am working on the forgiving part, through therapies and through positive meditations, but forgetting those atrocities is going to be very difficult, impossible even. I would admit, I have felt guilty about not being able to let go, even after many years. Recently, I found this quote, which seemed like an answer to my agony. It not just deeply resonated with me, but also made me feel less alone, for clearly, many feel the same way as me, about past hurts.

If there is one thing those horrible days taught me is the need to be mindful with the words uttered, especially in face of hearsays, when we are provoked to be mean. No offender would realize how long some of those harsh words, said so nonchalantly, could last. If they would, perhaps, they would be kinder, or stay quiet at the very least? Some of their not so kind words still hurts even after 12+ years. I am working on healing from them and I would be alright soon, but I want to do my bit to normalize open conversations and writings like this one, so that, more people are mindful about what they say and do, especially after hearing baseless rumors. I guess even if one person after reading my blog decides to be less responsive to negative things being said about others, my efforts and sharing would be worth it.

For a long time, any letter addressed to me that were sent my parents’ way, even silly promotional mailers, was a huge trigger for me and for my parents, for they brought back memories of some really distressing times. While I’m grateful to have had my parents backing when I went through a trauma of unmeasurable proportions, I, sometimes, couldn’t help but feel regretful about dragging them into my mess. A few years back, as though to ease our collective distress and triggers, a nice letter about me was sent home, addressed to Dad. Let’s just say, this one letter made up for all the bad ones that came his way during my college days. This one was sent by a Director at Deloitte, when I happened to do well at work. For this one sweet gesture, I would be eternally grateful to Deloitte and to all the circumstances that got me there. It was during the time I started to work on a lot of US projects and my self-confidence was at it’s best (up until that point, that is). This letter, and every word in there moved my parents (and me) to happy tears.

It was a beautiful gesture by D, and I don’t think they realized how much it really meant to us. To them, perhaps, it was a small deed to acknowledge one of their good employees, but to me and to our family, it was a great start to the much needed healing, that we all had to go through together. It was a in a way, a miracle, for it gave me a new perspective about my life, and made me look back and mindfully revel in the blessings, like that letter from Deloitte, that have come my way. Maybe, I couldn’t be a normal teenager, but as an adult, looking back I realize, my life, ain’t all that bad – I am made up of both sad moments AND happy moments… aren’t we all ?

Featured image courtesy : https://unsplash.com/photos/86rFYHziFi4

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