My name is Japneet Sodhi and I am 21 years old. I was born in Long Island, New York and have been residing there ever since. My story can be understood with multiple brown males and females as it seems like it’s 2018 and the rate of heartbreak has been rising ever since. “Love”- many of you probably thinking that I am quite young (which you guys are right) to love. Honestly I feel like love is developed over time and with a company that make you feel very comfortable about yourself when your around them.
Being born as a brown girl in a brown family, growing up in a brown community, is quite a challenge. Why? Because people will have to make sure their children are living under their expectations. As you know, expectations can hurt or even kill a lot. I love my parents because they were always quite supportive with what I do and what I have become as a young lady. They love me and always have my back. But one major event completely changed the person I was to the person I am today.
Being the “idol” girl in the brown community around me, pressure continued to build before I knew it. I would interact with everyone because my parents upbringing taught me to respect everyone and anyone, no matter what their age is, colors and gender. Little did I know, being in my teenage years, everyone wasn’t like that. That didn’t really change my perspective on others. I was known as the “perfect gurdwara” girl. Everything seemed nice and calm, until I met someone that stole my heart. And that was when everything changed.
Love is something that can’t be made, but is felt with the most delicate organ within ourselves which we label as the Heart. Feelings develop and it can be love at first sight or it can be developed while talking to a certain person or merely hanging out with them. Love in 2018 has been labelled as a joke because people these days think it's all fun and games with no commitment. But this love, it was amazing. Everything seemed to be so perfect. But honestly, was it perfect? Being in a 5 years long relationship, has changed me a lot. I have lost myself and it was all about him, his family, his happiness. Whatever I did, I wanted to make sure whatever it was, it wouldn’t messed up his mood. His happiness was worth more than mine. His dreams meant way more than mine. His smile, his everything, was too perfect. Five years later, everything changed. When my ex saw me talking to other guys, he would not only get mad at them, but I would get into trouble as well, for allowing them to talk to me. I would get cursed at for it and yet if he talked to other girls or bought them a drink it was completely fine.... and in turn, that made me more insecure than I already was. It wasn’t that every moment and memory was terrible- it was just that I was constantly trying so hard to be what he wanted that I felt like it was never enough. I was dating someone who I was more afraid of than my own father. The more I saw the high-end luxurious lifestyle he had, the more I hated money-oriented guys. Money is great, but it shouldn’t take your humbleness away from you. It was so much about showing off and what they have to offer and that really bothered me.
If you can’t stimulate my mind, boy you ain’t stimulating anything else. When I met him we were young and silly and our love was born like igniting a fire. Things were truly perfect and I really didn’t mind doing as he said, until I was literally asking permission to have sleepovers with my girlfriends because of him. I feel that dating someone from 15-20 isn’t the right time now, because you both have to grow into your own person first. It got to a point where i would lie about chilling with my friends and if he found out it looked so much worse and things would get worse. You have to learn to love yourself before anyone can love you. All this sounds so cliche, but I would not be all that I am if I didn’t experience all that I did then. I learned what it’s like to love, and those 5 years were more addicting and intoxicating than any drug I’ve ever come across. I couldn’t leave him because I was so obsessed with loving him.
His presence, his face, when he walks into a room- till this day, it makes my heart skip a beat. His name popping up on my screen was what I looked forward to every morning when I woke up. However, his lifestyle as we grew is what (mostly) changed him. When he was mad his temper was scary and he was very aggressive and assertive. Sometimes when I’m mad, I hear him in myself and it sort of scares me and sort of makes me laugh. I carry parts of him with me. And that is okay, because I never loved and will never love the way I did for him. I was not perfect at all. But I know I loved him more purely than anyone else. Plus, him being a sardar only made it that much more perfect in my eyes. So when things did get nasty, and at times even physical later on in our years, it completely made me lose myself and it turned into self-hate for just never being good enough for someone.
For a while after we broke up, things were a mess. It’s hard to find yourself after being so broken down. It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and look at what you were and what you are now. I tried to change everything. He hated tattoos so I went and got them. He loved my natural hair, so I dyed it blonde. I wanted him to hate me. I wanted him to stay away from me And I wanted to be someone I loved first, not someone I tried to be to please someone else. I wanted to block him out of my life in every way possible. I stopped hanging out with the “brownies” because I didn’t want to be near anyone or anything that reminded me of him. I blocked him off of everything so I couldn’t contact him. I was the crazy girl who would be chasing him and begging him not to leave me. It disgusts me that I let myself get to such a low level where my self respect literally didn’t matter, nor did my own life.
I even distanced myself from my family, because they were constantly bringing him up to me and seeing how I was doing and that didn’t help me either. I started smoking weed until I couldn’t think anymore because that was the only thing that actually calmed my nerves and brought my stress levels down. I always smoked because I can’t handle alcohol for my life, and weed is the one drug that can’t kill you, so I enjoyed it as much as I wanted to. During the post-break up period, I smoked way more because of what I was dealing with emotionally. The day him and I really broke up, I was ready to finally live a little. Not worry about having to answer to someone or check my phone to make sure I didn’t miss a phone call. I was scared. I didn’t know what it was like to be on my own, to party on my own or to even just make plans all week with friends. I really had to make huge adjustments because he became a routine in my life that I now had to learn to live without. I took my baby steps and honestly kept faking a smile until I didn’t have to anymore. I learned to accept that I’ll always have a hole in my heart without him and there will forever be a piece of me missing.
I live with it though, and I’m proud of myself for knowing I’m capable of loving someone so hard and so truly. I’m okay with the hole in my heart because I know that no matter what, I will never love like that again because that was my first and most purest love. I don’t regret that time at all. It shaped me into the Bani I am now and honestly I have a lot of work to do but I do love myself. I’m proud of myself and that’s what matters more than anything. How can you love another when you don’t know how to appreciate the smile that’s on your own face? He is a great person. We just didn’t work together and to this day, I still wish things were different. Life is not that easy though, unfortunately, and we change so much as we grow and as we meet new people. It has affected myself and even my family a lot. A lot went on after I broke up with him. Dad’s accident, trying to find myself after losing myself in such young age as well, brothers were scared to talk to me after what I have been through and what I had become. Everything was hell and I didn’t know what to do. I would just take it all one day at a time and just learn from my mistakes.
After multiple incidents similar to that, I stood my ground and left. I honestly couldn’t handle it anymore. After leaving, I knew that I was going through the rock bottom phase. Where I had to teach myself to love myself and self care about myself. I know that I am crazy, I have messed up a lot and I smoke a lot of weed. This is who I am and I don’t care if people want to judge me based on that. "You still got a whole lot to see, if you think it's bad now, life has so much more to throw at you. just grow with everything that is being thrown at you."
You got to learn how to do you and focus on putting yourself first. These days after getting out of an abusive relationship, it would be so tough that sometimes it can lead to suicidal thoughts, or even attempt. You may hit rock bottom and struggle, but you must get through it. Look at my mistakes and learn from it. Everyone around you isn’t perfect. Don’t let your flaws define who you are. Don’t let your past define who you are today. No one has the right to judge you for who you are today. People will talk. You have to train yourselves on how to look past the negativity and continue living with a positive mindset. You wake up by yourself and you go to sleep by yourself. What you do in between, is who you are, not anyone else. Don’t let the past get to you. Learn from your mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes because how else do you expect to grow. Don’t be hard on yourselves. Make your parents happy, make your siblings happy and most importantly, make yourself happy and put yourself first. You can’t make others happy if you don’t put yourself first.
My name is Japneet Sodhi and this is my Project Why.