Subodhini Vignesh - Non-Fiction

They Told Me Who I Am

by Subodhini Vignesh

 Every day of my life I meet people, young and old, familiar and foreign, who, knowingly or unknowingly, are hooked to every move I make — the tone of my voice, my body language, the way I dress — to sculpt in their mind who I am. The people who surround me draft my ‘Rules and Regulations’ for the game you call Life. These boundaries and expectations they only hold me back. They prevent a butterfly from fighting out of its cocoon.

They tell me if I’m shy or bold. They tell me if I’m humble or proud. They tell me if I’m kind or cruel. They tell me who I am. They shackle me from witnessing who I can be. I listen to them. I am who they say. I fall into the pit and know there is no return. Now it's my turn.

I became one of them. I manipulate people to veer away from who they are. I tie them with the grips of society, steering them into endless dissatisfaction. I make their choices and steal their opinion. No longer are they individuals but are a mere segment of society. Just like me. Just like how it should be.

Then I stop.

I think. I think for myself.

Sometimes I’m shy, Sometimes I’m confident. Who are they to tell me who I am?

Sometimes I’m proud, Sometimes I’m shy. Who are they to tell me who I am?

Sometimes I’m kind, Sometimes I’m cruel. Who are they to tell me who I am?

I am me and I always shall be. Say what you want to...

Build your walls strong and make the ocean harder to cross, but in the end, I shall conquer it all. Do what you want and what you can but never forget —

I am limitless.

*I am an Indian teenager who has witnessed her sisters oppressed by the chains and expectations set by society. This essay is dedicated to all those brave women who have broken free to reveal to the world who they are.