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  • Writer's picturePooja Bahri

Owning myself

Drum roll please…. A post graduate at 47 years of age! Yes, a very big deal for me.

Yay! I graduate!

The past one year has been quite a revelation for me, for this time, the most unadulterated focus has been on myself! I have been the focal point of all my endeavours- creatively, emotionally and physically.

“Owned” or expected to do what is “normal”, or then conditioned to adapt to the standard out of choice or sometimes left with no choice has been the standard pattern for pretty much a large part of my life.

Why can’t we women just be ourselves before we start positioning ourselves in different roles? Always conforming to a certain role- daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend. In the past, I mostly fell in the guilt trap either by people around me and my wanting to please them or sometimes even by my own low self-regard and fear.

Yes, I am torn between our parents (who become child-like as they grow older) and the kids ( who grow up too soon and start behaving like parents) so the umbilical cord is never really cut in the real sense. My generation is the bond that passes the baton to both the ends learning, unlearning, and teaching to and from both our kids and parents alike.

We all baby each other- with my parents.

Here , Devina, my daughter, comes as a much needed catalyst. She pushed me to complete my Masters in Bournemouth. And while she spent three months with me in my small flat there for her summer vacations, although it felt like treading on thin ice always trying very hard not to get on each other’s nerves, I have finally learnt to stop being the paranoid mom but instead be a friendly parent while retaining my own piece of individuality. With this I have set us both free. I have realised the importance to pass the baton on to her to live as she pleases. To accept or not is her choice too. Seeing her hanging around with my young classmates, carving her own path despite always being introduced around in Uni parties as “Pooja’s daughter” 😂 and also trying, like her mother, to make new friends on Bumble BFF was inspiring along with being quite amusing :)

One thing a 20 year will teach you... always be prepared for a pic!

Ah! Bumble BFF…that my friends was the biggest sanity/survival tool during my time in Uni in Bournemouth. Women from different nationalities, similar age group, all extraordinary, strong women, going through their own journeys but having a similar connect, a bond which irrespective of their social, cultural, economic, geographical differences, remaining the same.… friends who became like family. From clubbing, para boarding, fitness and even menopausal symptoms (damn those hot flushes!) sharing and discussions, my most active and important whatsapp group became the Bumble Bees chat!

My Bumble Bees :)

It’s a month now since I’m back in Delhi (home) after living a student’s life for a year.

The opportunity I have given myself despite coming from a privilege and comfort that most would be envious of was not an easy one to begin with. Doubts, loneliness, and even fear that surrounded me when I got here has turned into shaping me to my best I have ever been. No… not immodest, but I have finally learnt to keep all power to myself. I don’t want to be anyone else, but can maybe hope to be a better person that I was yesterday. “Better” is subjective too, but I’m definitely not adhering to what the society “expects”.

The way to impact the people around me in the best possible way, it’s not by self-absorption, but by being who I truly am. The challenges that life threw at me- and by no means am I trying to say that I had a pathetic life, (I’ve been very blessed to be surrounded by family who love me very much) has made me peel away the layers and conditioning and know my self- worth and my reason to thrive.

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