The kind of restrictions most brown women face end up impacting us in a unique way. We all know that our restrictions are harsher. Most Indian women are not granted the independence and trust that comes with becoming an adult, and even if we are, there’s always some amount of patriarchy that ends up dictating how we exist in the world. This is why, we’ve curated a list of confessions by women sharing how they were restricted in childhood, and how it left an impact on them.

1. “My mother always told me to keep my gaze on the ground when walking in public spaces. Lest I make someone feel like I was ‘interested in them.’ I am almost 30 now, I still walk with my gaze lowered.”

– Ira

2. “Coming from an orthodox Christian family, everyone was against makeup and it was frowned upon. As I grew up, I found myself to be intrigued and enamoured by makeup. I realized I liked makeup and I ended up rebelling against their views. Now I’m a makeup girlie who enjoys wearing makeup and is always on the lookout for new beauty products.”

– Snigdha Oreya

3. “My parents had their reservations when I told them I wanted to do photography. I mean, being a woman, this wasn’t the ‘best’ career choice. However, I went ahead and did it anyway. I not only became a certified photographer but also received an award from the former chief minister, Sheila Dixit, for my pictures.”

– Aaliyah Jain

4. “I was put under the impression that makeup has a negative connotation – both at school and at home. I didn’t end up using it much, and now every time I WANT to use makeup, I end up second-guessing, and even questioning how to do it. It’s not good for an already underconfident kid.”

– Manya Ailawadi

5. “My family always restricted me from staying out after 8 PM. Now that I am living by myself, if by any chance I’m out later than 8 PM, I start getting anxious. If I decide to step out for a late dinner, at say 10 PM, my mind immediately starts thinking that I am doing something wrong, when I just want to unwind and relax.”

– Snigdha Oreya

6. “As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to come home late at night. You know, that fear Indian parents have about their daughters coming home late at night. I’ve recently started working. I have plans with my friends in the evening. My parents still worry too much if I am out in the night. And that fear is somehow now instilled in me. I avoid making plans late in the night if I don’t have a place to stay. For instance, I am too anxious about travelling alone, especially if I don’t have someone to drop me. I am scared. I get my parent’s fear. I get mine own as well. Don’t blame anyone for it, apart from fucked up men who haunt the streets.”

– Anonymous

7. “I think while growing up, restrictions, particularly in my school impacted the way I saw myself. You always had to look a certain way, your hair should be up, you are supposed to maintain distance from the guys, and the list sadly continues. My whole school life, I thought being any other way was looked down upon. It instilled in me a sense of judgment for other girls! It was much later in life that I realized everyone has the right to be their true selves. Restrictions often kill the scope to learn and grow. When you’re forced to be someone you’re not, you turn out to be someone who isn’t truly you.

– Khushboo Vij

8. “In my childhood, I was not allowed to wear short clothes. Also, I was not allowed to come home late at night nor was I allowed to stay at any friend’s house. However, after growing up and living away from home, I started living my life on my own terms. But even today sometimes I feel uncomfortable wearing short clothes. Perhaps this thought has become internalised in my mind, but I am happy that I no longer let it dominate me.”

– Vidushi Gupta

9. “मैं अपनी पूरी फैमिली में पहली  लड़की हूं, जो पढ़ाई करने और उसके बाद जॉब करने के लिए अकेले कानपुर से दिल्ली आई. पर मेरे लिए ये इतना आसान नहीं था क्योंकि मेरे घर के लोग लड़कियों की जल्दी शादी करने में बिलीव करते हैं, ना कि उनको आगे बढ़ने में सपोर्ट करने में. मगर मैंने उनके खिलाफ जाकर मास कॉम के लिए दिल्ली के कॉलेज का एंट्रेंस एग्जाम दिया और फिर दिल्ली में अकेले रह कर ही पढ़ाई की. उसके बाद जॉब भी यहीं ज्वाइन की और अपनी फ़ैमिली को बता दिया कि कभी न कभी किसी को तो नई शुरुआत करनी पड़ती है. आज मैं इंडिपेंडेंट वर्किंग वुमन हूं.”

(“I’m the first woman in my family who came to Delhi, from Kanpur, to complete higher studies and build a career for herself. But this wasn’t easy for me to do, because rather than supporting a woman’s growth and supporting her, my family believes that women should get married fairly early on in their life. I went against the grain and took an entrance exam for Mass Communication at a college in Delhi and then stayed here alone, independently to pursue my studies. Then I ultimately began working here in Delhi and told my family that everyone deserves a new beginning. Today, I am an independent, working woman.”)

– Rashi Sharma

10. “I was always discouraged from talking to boys. I grew up with many barriers when it came to interacting with men, It was almost as if I was afraid to be seen by them, in any sense. This really hampered my ability to create friendships with men, and somewhere created a self-sabotage mechanism that led to a failure or fizzling out of my relationships with men.”

– Anonymous

11. “I grew up with strict parents who never let my sisters and I wear the kind of clothes we wanted, specifically, short or revealing clothes. Actually, any interest in fashion was shut down then and there. Ultimately my lust for fashion grew so much, that I ended up fighting my way into fashion school. Which led to a strange sense of stubbornness and confidence with the kind of outfits that I wear today.”

– Harshita Singh

12. “Once I got scolded terribly for applying Kajal by a teacher, that incident stayed with me and now the whole idea of applying it is off-putting to me.”

– Nikita Panwar

13. “I was accompanied by my security guard even if I had to go to the nearby store. It was a security thing but only extended to the girls. Even today, I feel incompetent in going about my own small town, even though I feel perfectly comfortable travelling alone outside of India (and have multiple times) and even outside of my home town, I’m independent. But in my own house, I feel incapable of doing things on my own.”

– Srishti Magan

We all have stories like this, do you have something similar to share, if so, tell us in the comments.