I am an entrepreneur; I sell things. At a very young age, my whole family perished in a fire; leaving me with quite a bit of money. Being the sole heir to it all, I decided to start a business. It didn’t flourish immediately, but slowly it progressed into something respectable. A close acquaintance of mine had a business proposal for me. He wanted to be my business partner and I needed all the help I could get. So, I agreed.
Within six months, my whole business was in shambles. I still don’t know what had happened. All I know is that I was knee deep in debt. My ‘so called business partner’ had cheated me and left me a fugitive from law.
I ran away from it all, changed my name and tried to start over. But I had no money and no one was willing to give me a job.
One night, I stood in the railway station alone. I was broke and had no place to stay the night. I stood for a long time wondering what to do. And that is when I saw him, my first customer in my new avatar. He came close and checked me out from top to bottom. He gave me a sleazy smile and asked, “How much?” I was confused and I asked,” For what, sir?” He laughed and said, “For you, of course. I’ll even buy you dinner if you want. Come on.” I was so hungry, I hadn’t eaten in days. I agreed. In the hotel, his hand slid under the table and groped my leg. In that moment I gave into my new avatar.
I slapped his hand away and said, “Your hour is not started yet and I’m a hot commodity; people pay as much as ten thousand for a couple of hours with me. How much do you have?” We haggled for a while and decided on eight.
From that day on, I was an entrepreneur again. Only this time around I wasn’t selling things, I was selling myself. I sold a part of myself every day; my dignity, my self-esteem, my integrity, my pride, my ego and everything in between. I was hollow inside; the only thing keeping me alive was my faith in God. I prayed every day for a miracle, to get me out of this living hell. I never lost hope.
As always, I stood at the edge of the road, waiting. A man came forward and he said, “Mam, you know this is illegal. If you don’t leave now, I have to arrest you.”
With tears in my eyes, I told him “Sir, it’s been so long since anyone respected me enough to call me’ ma’am’. If I don’t work today, how will I pay for my food and a place to stay? No one will hire me. All they want from me is my body. I don’t have a choice. I’d gladly be arrested. At least in jail, I have a place to stay, have food to eat and won’t be harassed. Please arrest me, officer.”
He looked at me, not with disgust but with compassion. He said, “I would like to offer you a job. My wife passed away a year ago. I have a three-year-old son and six a year old daughter. I need a full-time nanny. Would you like to be my nanny?”
I thought to myself, “Has God finally answered my prayers? Is this my miracle?”
I was hesitant in the beginning, fearing that one night he would take advantage of my presence and my past. My fears never materialized into anything dangerous. I was respected, loved and no one touched me without my approval.
-5 years later-
Each day I had retained a piece of myself, a little bit of self-esteem on some days, a pinch of dignity on others and now I’m whole. I’m a wife of a police officer, mother of two kids and pregnant with another child; this is my final avatar. I am proud of myself, my new avatar. I’m living in my own little heaven; a heaven called home. I am no longer an entrepreneur, but now I am a sustainer.
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