One by one, the bangles come off, the sparkle from the nose stud disappears and the body which once was draped in rich...
I was five years old when my innocence was snatched away from me.
A grown man, clasped the little me, stroked me in places that weren’t even developed, tried to teach me how to kiss and satisfy him… all at the ripe age of five. I wish it stopped there but it didn’t.
It happened to me multiple times with different men in my family from the time I was five until I was about ten.
Once, I mustered up the courage and told one of the predators that I would say something to which he responded, “nobody will believe you”.
At that moment, I felt defeated and quietly accepted my punishment. At that moment and for the majority of my life, I felt like I deserved it. I deserved to be dehumanized.
These horrific years affected my life decisions and perception of the world. I spent most of my childhood living in fear. I learned quickly that showing weakness to the rest of the world was not an option. So, I put on a façade for many years and quietly suffered. I became a great actress in the process. I pushed myself away from the people that brought me into this world. They loved me unconditionally, but the pain I’d been through made me resent them and I lashed out.
Years later, when I started to receive attention for my looks, I found myself in situations that retracted me back to my childhood. I was in countless relationships belittled me, used my shame for their gain, and held it against me. I’ve been cheated on and labeled all sorts of names. Even my own friends were ashamed of me. I always came back to the conclusion that I deserved it because I was not worthy of anyone. I was insecure, depressed, anxious, and kept myself guarded. These thoughts hurt and consumed me. I wanted to halt the pain and started to have thoughts of ending my life. In those deceitful moments, I believed that my absence on Earth would be unnoticed.
According to research from “Barriers to Mental Health Services for Asian Indians in America”, the most prevalent mental health issues relate to somatization, stress, suicide, and denial. Each of these issues are common trends in the South Asian
community. But, they are rarely addressed. How have these issues ignited struggles in our own lives? Each of these issues is a domino effect for other struggles that people encounter; anger, addiction, abuse, and many other underlying problems. Sometimes, they become a part of us, luring us to a path of destruction.
This is why I believe that unveiling vulnerability is a beautiful concept that we must embrace.
Sometimes, I feel like we have lost our ability to empathize with humans. Instead of empathizing, we say or think malicious thoughts that eventually become a part of who we are as a society. Or worse, we believe that ignoring the problem is the solution. We cannot claim to love Christ if we do not love people the way that we should. Imagine how different our society would look if we embraced vulnerability in a Christ like manner.
Unveiling vulnerability will not diminish the sufferings that people endure. But, when we start responding to these issues in a loving manner, I’m beginning to see that it can change our perspective on how we treat one another and the way we perceive vulnerability.
What does unveiling vulnerability look like?
It starts with a seed of an open heart, loving people the way that Jesus called us to love. Instead of rolling your eyes or taking a screenshot of someone to make a joke out of the issue that another person is facing, let us learn how to control our tongues and our thoughts.
Confession, confessing to a friend or accountability partner who is walking with Christ about the struggle is necessary. Too often the enemy will whisper that you are the only one going through this and you will be condemned for the struggle. So we carry this struggle, on our own, without leaning on to the ONE who paid for it all. Take a deep breath, you are not alone in this.
Kindness and compassion will never go out of style. These fruits are essential for your life. How life changing it is once you can convey these emotions to those around you and strangers who don’t know you. Prime example- Mother Teresa. Kindness and compassion allow you to be approachable and put you in a place of love- not judgement.
The most wonderful thing about Jesus is that He pursues and loves us so well. I was at my absolute worst and He picked me up and pieced me back together. It was not an overnight process and all of a sudden I was healed. It took years of building up and me knocking down certain pieces. I fell multiple times.
There were plenty of times I cried, cursed, yelled, and questioned His authority over my life. These problems did not just simply vanish; they are less evident in my life. I write this because it’s my prayer that unveiling vulnerability brings healing and compassion to the people around me.
People are struggling with things that have hindered them in all areas of their life. We must embrace vulnerability as a society to uplift and encourage each other- just like Christ asks us to.