Shutting out years of societal shaming, isn’t easy. Veera Da Gama talks about her choice, and its results.

images (2)Childhood- days of endless innocence, forgivable mistakes and little sense of responsibility. At the age of 11, while all the other children were busy fulfilling these protocols, I was left with a dilemma- dilemma to change.

I vividly remember a girl telling her friend, “I don’t want to play with her. She is not even pretty.” A decade into living, and I was already made to realize that I wasn’t normal enough.

My abnormality was officially certified when the dentist shoved a few petrifying instruments into my mouth only to conclude, “I guess she needs to undergo a surgery.”

I remember my mother’s eye welling up. For her, her daughter was perfect. But I knew I wasn’t. My dad, keeping his calm, nodded and proceeded to ask questions that would have otherwise concerned any other father. “How much would it cost?” The doctor wrote an amount down. “Anything for my daughter.” With that we left the clinic.

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I was young, juvenile, and all I knew now was that I was abnormal.

I battled through school daily only to forget what maybe haunted my conscience ever since.

18. That would be the age when my nightmare would finally come to an end. That would be the age when I would finally look at myself in the mirror and smile, without crying in my heart.

“Why do you need a surgery? I think you are beautiful as you are.” My best friend would relentlessly try convincing me that I was perfect. Nothing was ever wrong with me, or so everyone said. But mind as you know, is a funny thing. It had convinced itself that all this was merely sympathy.

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Teenage marked the beginning of a new era- an era which comprised mainly of boys. While my friends whiled away their time partying and kissing a new guy everyday, I locked myself up in a room only to fall in love with TV shows and books. People labelled me as an introvert, but only I knew the truth that lay behind.

It was a dull Tuesday morning. Lights went on, piercing through my eyes. As I lay there draped in green robes, struggling to battle the extremely bright photons, I felt tears flow into my ears. I was finally crying. All those years of bottled up emotions had finally decided to come out in this gloomy little operation theater. Suddenly I felt an injection prick my vein, and soon enough I lost my consciousness.

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5 hours. I lay there unconscious. Maybe that’s what death feels like. When you lose track of time, of your senses, of your surrounding, of your memories. But I resurrected- resurrected into a new person. Tubes going in through my mouth and nose. Numbness all over my face. But my heart flipped with joy, and my mind finally stopped being judgmental. 17 years of low self-esteem. 17 years of undermining myself. 17 years of self-rejection. Today it was all over.

I had changed. Changed for the good. My mind had finally accepted me. Many ask me even today as to why I went through something which otherwise seems so trivial. I never had the right words for explanation.  To understand this, they would have to witness a battle of the heart and the mind.

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That dull Tuesday morning, was a day of revelation- I realized that I had feared change all through my life. But, I also realized that change is inevitable. I realized that through all these years, I had locked myself up in the room of my conscience, worrying about the judgmental eyes of the world. But I also realized, that it wasn’t the world around me that was at fault. Instead it was my mind that was blinded by my low self-esteem that I continued to reject myself day after day.

More than physically, I had changed as a human that day. And I realized that it wasn’t a short change.

Veera da Gama

All the artwork here is by Leonid Afremov whom we at Earthling, Today admire and thank for his wonderful works. For a link to his other works please visit his website. 

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