I used to steal when I was in high school. I was caught red-handed and my mother was called to school. My father was not in town. My mother told the teacher she couldn’t understand why I would do that as they fulfilled most of my demands. AND THAT WAS THE TRUTH. I used to steal small stuff like one pen or 50 rupees or a pencil pouch. My family could afford that. Now that I think of it, I think I ‘thought’ my family was poor. It was a cognitive distortion. A small girl, coming from a very humble background believing she shouldn’t disturb her parents for things because: first, she thought she was poor, and second, she was always the ‘good’ child who never asked for anything. So she started stealing.
I still remember how it started: in the school before this one- I once lost a scarf that was part of the school uniform. I didn’t wasn’t to tell my parents that it was lost. So I stole it from some other girl. I sometimes empathize with myself, and sometimes feel shame.
More often than not though, I feel SCARED. Because a classmate who caught me along with the teacher knows. The teacher made the classmate promise to never tell anyone. I hope he didn’t. He left school. I was so happy. I met him once and couldn’t meet his eyes. Till now, it sends a shiver down my spine that he might tell someone from my class. I am in college now. It has been 11 freaking years. And I live with this fear and partial shame.

Getting this out of the system was important. Dear 5th class old me, I have forgiven you but I am sorry that this fear doesn’t go away. I know you were a sweetheart and just thought you shouldn’t be bothering your family because you were always called a ‘good girl’. You went off the path but when you were made to understand– you did. I am proud of you. But I am also scared. I am also ashamed. I am so sorry that I am. I am sorry.

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