Editor’s Note: Trigger warning for self-harm, physical abuse, and suicidal ideation. Please practice self-care if you choose to read this story.
I am walking back to the door of the parlour. Tears are dripping down and I struggle to hide them from myself and everyone else. Just beyond the corner are a set of glass doors. They open to the four walls within which I lost the last shred of my dignity. I am now drowning in a concoction of salt, humiliation, and anger. I turn around and walk back.
Around February, 2009
My hair is falling into the sink. Parts of it are wet. Some with tears, some just water. My diary lies open beside me. Its salty wet pages and blurred lines form a metaphor for my state of mind. In it I have written poems about my tears, my fears, and my hatred towards my mother. My left arm still stings from the pinches and bits of skin that had peeled off before giving my sorrow company.
Sometime in 1999
I open the door to my home. School was ok. I look inside to see my mother in the kitchen. I unpack my bag to get ready for lunch. My books are out. So is my tiffin box. My umbrella…
I dig deeper… In all the pouches of my bag. My heart is threatening to fracture my ribs. My palms sweat. I hear footsteps.
“Come,” I hear.
I turn around. My eyes betray my scary secret. I don’t have my pencil-case. It is inside my desk at school.
- 2. 3.
And my ears hurt. The skin near my left armpit is on the floor. The salt of my tears sting my wounds. My hunger-less mouth is force-fed by my petrified hands, and I rush to the solitude of the bathroom.
My 6 year-old self finds hope quickly. Unaware of how those wounds and stings and tears will plague me for the next 12 years and beyond.
2009, 2011, 2015, 2016
The blade is in front of me. So is the pulsating vein on my left wrist. My diary, the only company I’ve known, promises to be a worthy witness. The blade draws one itchy line across the wrist. And one more. And one more.
I can’t breathe anymore.
The sound of footsteps, memories of beatings and the conviction of my unworthiness haunt me. But so does my cowardice.
What if I fail here too? If I don’t die, I will be beaten again. My palms sweat. Turn cold.
The blade falls on the floor with a cling.
I shut my eyes and force sleep to come.
Urmila is currently struggling to stand on her own feet. With enough help from anti-depression pills, a new job and a house, she gets by. But after years of struggle, she has been able to produce art that reflects her mind. And she hopes that she will find hope and happiness in the world of paints and colours.