Growing Up in a Small Village
by Kumuda Kamm
Growing up in a small village, there is just a way of doing things. There are the things that we talk about and there are the things that we never talk about. There are acceptable coping mechanisms and there are the ones that we keep in the closet. My acceptable coping mechanism was alcohol. I drank from the age of sixteen. My closeted mechanism was bulimia.
My mom always wanted a slim child. From my childhood onwards she was always putting me on diets. She took me to the doctors and told them that I was too fat and that I needed help. Because of her encouragement I started eating less and less. I developed into an anorexic. I became addicted to not eating to the point that my mother started scolding me for not eating. One day she scolded me so badly that I said, fine I’ll eat everything. I ate it all. And then I went to my room and vomited it out.
I found an easy solution. They decided they would force me to eat so I found a way to make everyone’s desires met. This went on for years. They knew that it was going on. They scolded me, but not about the specifics. This was not the kind of thing that we talked about in public. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that I did it. I didn’t feel good about myself. But it became a habit.
I settled into this routine. It became a part of me. I had a boyfriend. I had a job. I could drink the depression away and I could vomit the fat out. Until one day I couldn’t do it anymore. I became so fed up with everything that I just moved away. I broke up with my boyfriend. I quit me job. And I moved to another city. I knew that there had to be a better way. I felt so empty. I knew that I couldn’t live like this anymore.
I started seeking help wherever I could find it. I wanted to become better so I started looking for other ways out. I found a meditation group that met three times a week and for the first time my focus started to change. I was slowly able to let go of more and more of the pain that I had been holding on to. During this time I traveled to many healers and many different healing methods. Through every healer I was able to claim more and more of my independence and let go of that need to be the perfect girl my mother had wanted. In time my bulimia fell away.
One thing I wasn’t able to let go of was my drinking. When you grow up with drinking so engrained into your family culture you don’t even think about dropping it. But deep inside, it was nagging on me that this was not the way to live.
Around this time, random people that I met would tell me about this little Indian woman, Amma that traveled the world hugging people. At first, I thought it was just another healer that I would be happy to meet. But as the days passed, two, then three, then four different people told, you have to meet Amma. Because these people didn’t have any relationship with each other, other than their knowledge of this being, Amma, I decided that it must be a message from the universe.
Eventually one of my friends handed me the dates to her program in Germany. I set my calendar to be sure and attend her programs.
When the moment came that I finally melted into her arms, the arms of this saint whose duty was to hug the world, I finally felt complete. All of the love and acceptance that I had spent a lifetime searching for was suddenly holding me. From that moment I knew that I would not take another drink of alcohol. My attachments to my old ways of living and thinking just melted away, as new goals took there place. My new endeavor would be to play whatever small part I could in Amma’s mission of serving humanity.
I experienced a lot of hardships throughout my life. But I hold no regret. The struggles that I dealt with growing up led me straight to the path of love that I find myself on today. For that I am grateful.
From one small village to another. But I’m now living the dream at Amma’s ashram, Amritapuri. I couldn’t ask for anything more.