A letter of gratitude to someone from my past.
I thought of you today.
We are not friends anymore. I was wounded by the way you exited. In some ways it was exactly you, to ghost and escape. But in some other ways, it was not at all like you to be so crass, so messy. Because you always had a taste for taste. Refinement, balance, harmony. I once joked that my very name epitomised your core value, that I was what your Libran self sought. Ramya means harmony. It made me ponder how much I epitomised my own name. I never thought I did.
When we met, I had emerged from the most recent wreckage of my life – abuse & a broken engagement. I was fighting the silencing of the first. And I was hit by the duplicity of vicious judgement as well as minimising the impact of the second. “You’re the kind that likes to break marriages” was hitting me in the same firing squad as “So what? You’re supposed to be an independent woman who doesn’t need a man.” I was always going to survive, I can see that now. But I didn’t need to be a wounded, raggedy mess of scars for the rest of my life. You helped me see that. That saved me in ways no activist or men ever could.
You were in the journey of the tattoo that would become my first performance and then a life philosophy. I wonder if you even knew the backstory before the origin story of this philosophy, the scars under the ink, the wounds before the scarring, the cuts that made those wounds. It doesn’t matter. I had done my healing on my own before we met. But you made my scars beauty.
There was all our culture. Our mutual affections, our shared passions in words, our evolving politics in what we read & watched & discussed. You in my first steps up to the stage. I slipped in music one time, softly singing a line. You paused like the others did out of politeness but then you said, “Wow, what a lovely voice.” I don’t think you knew what a light touch you laid on one of my most sensitive places. And because you did that, it became okay for it to be sensitive and not a secret. I treasure that moment of your empathy that unlocked the door to my vulnerability. It is proving to be such a teacher, such a gift that keeps on giving.
There was the menstrual cup that you gifted/forced on me for a birthday gift. I know most people wouldn’t associate menstrual cups with beauty (if they even knew what the cup was). But the cup brought me understanding of my own body’s resilience. It taught me to be gentle & patient with myself. And the reward for that was the freedom from stains, from edited body language, from limited activity, from being forced into shame & uncertainity, from being trapped in the cages of my gender 5 days a month. That cup led me to freedom & kindness for myself. Thank you friend for making my growth less bloody.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started growing flowers in my window around the time you and I became friends. I’d been a window gardener for years before that. Indeed, my sturdy ajwain, no-nonsense curry leaves and prolific mint were my comrades in the trenches of that abusive relationship. Like me, they are survivors, strong, hard & gritty. But for the first time, I felt like there was room for softness, for the luxury of lives that might fade soon. For the fragility of beauty. My garden has never looked back. A resilient hibiscus cheered me through the most depressive days of the lockdowns, a lone bearer of peace & beauty. It was my teacher in the lessons of gentle, womanly strength, the way the tarot card STRENGTH suggests.
We talked often about sex, me about the violent, gut-tearing, soul-destroying end of it. And you brought love into the equation. Pleasure, laughter, warmth, affection. I couldn’t reconcile the two at the time. But I am a tenacious student and eventually I found you in the form of balance in my life. You really brought harmony to Ramya. Maybe it’s my turn to bring the you to our story.
This is thank you, this is be well and this is peace.