The Semi – Colon (;)

I’ve often spoken about my anxiety through my blogs which was scary enough but today I’ve decided to openly talk about my depression today. In truth I wrote this ages ago but am only publishing this now. Why?

Well, admitting something like this black and white to everyone that I know is terrifying, but I was inspired by a TED talk that said it’s important to talk about these hard truths for how else will others understand.

So…

I am 25 years old now and I first started getting depression at 15. I have relapsed several times in life and each time it has been harder and harder to work my way through it.

I have a tattoo on my wrist

a semi-colon. The small grammar icon is a symbolisation – it is used when a writer could have ENDED a sentence but they CHOSE to continue. In every one of my relapses into depression I have faced suicidal thoughts, very real ones. It is terrifying and exhausting to talk yourself out of those thoughts on a daily basis and then proceed to go with your day. It is draining and everyday you feel one step closer to giving up. Personally, I have relapsed into severe depression three times. Each time, I have had to really work hard to get myself out of it. Each time, I thought that I would be unable to get through it. Each time, I have had to battle against my demons in a different way. This is why the semi-colon symbolises so much, it is a reminder that at every point that I contemplated giving up, I chose to go on.

Why is it on the wrist?

No,

it’s not a pretty dainty thing for everyone to see nor is it symbol to tell other people what I have gone through. It is for no-one but myself. The reason it is there is because it is placed beside my most recent, and final cut.
Every time I fall into depression I self harm – it has always been an effective deterrent of depressive suicidal thoughts. It was always my temporary solution to stopping my racing thoughts until I could find another way.
The semi-colon not only represents what I have battled and endured but it also serves as a powerful reminder to myself if I were ever to relapse. It is a symbol to remind me to battle anything that may come up. It is a reminder that I am stronger than I believ

e and that I have overcome battles before.

Why am I talking about this? Well, this is for the 16 year old self who was so scared to talk to others, the 19 year old self who thought there was something wrong with me and the 23 year old me wondering why I had not gotten my shit together.

You see, when you self harm you become a master at lying. I got scratched by a fence, I fell over, etc. I was a very clumsy person so I guess it was believable but in truth sometimes I panicked and came up with absolute rubbish. For example, I once had straight hair and claimed that the cut on my arm was due to curlers… and the person I told went on to say ‘ah, I do that all the time, so annoying. Beauty is pain I guess.’

Since getting the semi-colon, I have relapsed once and those real and very scary thoughts did indeed creep back. In these moments though as I looked down to my wrist, the little symbol acted as my reminder that I’d gotten through this once and I could do it again.

You see, at your worst,you feel at your weakest. You feel that you cannot win. So having something to remind you of your strength is a powerful tool. And it has definitely helped me.

Our Asian community confuses me

As kids we are told to study, to become doctors, lawyers /engineers by our parents and relative. We are told to not be involved in relationships.

The very act of hugging or being close to a guy is frowned upon. If the gossip aunties found you with a guy (regardless of if you were in a relationship or not) they would spread the word and twist the story. The Asian society would frown on you.

We grow up constantly being told to focus on our studies and that relationships are bad.

Yet, the minute we graduate the tables turn. The very same people who for the last 20 years or so told you that relationships are bad now ask ‘when are you getting married?’

Our years of studying are no longer relevant in conversations.

We are now told to consider relationships, that they are a necessity, a key step in the security of our future. The gossip aunties who once spoke ill of you for being seen with a boy now speak ill of you for not being married. The Asian society again, frowns on you.

Reflections

It seems not long ago that I posted my blog on my resolution for 2017 to INVEST IN MYSELF. It seems only appropriate that at the end of 2017 that I should reflect back.

This year I have somehow gone from not travelling to any country for the last few years to having traveled to 4 on top have being given the opportunity to travel around England.

I had a small pop up shop and have gained a lot of praise in my clothing venture and have gained more and more opportunities. It’s not been an easy road, I’ve been learning and growing. I’ve invested a lot of time and money into building it’s foundation and I feel I am getting ready to go big.

I’ve started an absolutely brilliant new job where I’ve been given the opportunity to meet famous people, travel, attend award ceremonies and meet a bunch of inspiring people.

I have done more charity this year, giving my time to actually help others. Incredibly rewarding and you get to meet like minded individuals who make you want to be better.

It’s not all been good though.

My grandma who I have known all my life, who has lived with me since I was born passed away this year. She was old but it still came as a surprise since she was so strong and I never imagined the impact that her absence would have on me. I realised, perhaps a bit too late, how precious our time is and how we should be spending more time with those we love. We take for granted the time we are given for our parents, our grandparents and siblings.

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I relapsed this year and had a really rough time coming out of it.  It was emotionally draining and incredibly challenging. But, for the first time in a long time when I relapsed I did not self harm in any way. It seems the tattoo I got actually has helped to deter those habits. Oh add I got a tattoo to the list of things I invested into this year.

My brother got married and we are now much closer. It also means we have a new person in the family to annoy and bully. She is actually quite lovely and puts up with all our nonsense. Hooray!

Overall, there’s been a lot of good and there’s been a lot of bad, as there had been in  every year so far and will be in every year coming. But, I choose to reflect and focus on all the good, something that I’ve never done. I always recall on new years saying it’s been a terrible year, I hope this year is better.

Truth is, you shouldn’t hope that this year is better. You should make the year better. Say “yes!” to more opportunities. Go out of your comfort zone and do things that challenge you physically and intellectually. Volunteer. Travel.

Happy new year Y’all. Here’s to a year of more travelling, doing a triathlon, making more outfit and kicking ass.

Confident in my own skin

In one of my previous blog post I spoke about how conscious I was at showing any amount of leg. For those who haven’t read it – see below; for those who have – skip ahead! 

It’s incredibly rare that I walk around in public showing my bare legs – be that in summer, on holiday or even at the beach.

It’s partly to due with the fact that I am always cold, but mostly because it’s something I am just not comfortable with. I used to run around with shorts as a child, climbing trees – being a monkey – you know the jazz. But, when I got older I became more and more self conscious about my body, and the part that I hated the most were my legs. I have scars from a cat, bruises from my monkey adventures, dry skin and to top it off I’ve forever had this thought that my legs are just too plump.

So, when it came to taking pictures with a dress/ skirt recently – the mere thought of not wearing tights made me not want to do it. I felt a little pressured to have to wear it without tights as there seemed to be no one on social media doing it – and you know conformity.

So I decided to rebel, I wore sheer tights and took the photos anyway. I’m sure there are people who will say it would look better without tights, but the one thing I realised is how much more comfortable I felt with them on. I wasn’t thinking about my scars, my dry skin or my bruises – I was focusing on enjoying myself instead.

I have just returned from my trip to Italy where I roamed the streets of Milan and Venice wearing play-suits and dresses without tights.


And guess what? I did not care about whether my legs looked plumpy or dry. I didn’t care about the scars on my legs or my darkened knee caps. I truthfully couldn’t care what my legs looked like, I was in love with all my summer outfits and having a blast focusing on the cities and not my legs. Yes, I may not YET be comfortable with being barelegged everyday, particular when in England but doing so on holiday is actually a big step for me. Walking around in Milan – taking small steps to the bigger goal 

I have spent a good year consciously making an effort to be more accepting of myself and my flaws. I have slowly pushed my boundaries in this case from thick tights to sheer tights to no tights on holiday. I have surrounded myself with positive people who encourage me to be comfortable in my own skin. Reflecting on this trip I have realised how far I have come and how confident I have grown in being in my skin. It is amazing how a little bit of effort into looking after yourself, focusing on your well being and working on you can actually have such a positive impact. I am actually excited to see where I am a year from now.

Love and light

xo

Getting lost in Venice

After travelling around Milan – very much glued to Google Maps to guide us around, we decided to consciously only use our phones to capture moments in Venice (of which there was plenty – sorry for the spam instagrammers). It made such a huge difference but I’m not sure if that’s also because of the way Venice is laid out, that is easy to manoeuvre.

We spent our entire time walking around on foot, without a map and guided by ‘oo look that way looks interesting’ or ‘something smells good this way’. We did take a Gondola boat with a bunch of lovely strangers who I’m sure thought I was crazy as I started a discussion on whether Venice residents have to pay Canal tax or boat insurance.

Venice is truly an amazing place to wonder. Every road looks interesting, the main tourist areas are flooded with markets and shops and the locals are really friendly. Even as you sit by a quiet canal, you are welcomes by locals passing my in their boats with, ‘Buongiorno’ (Good morning!) or ‘Caio’ (Hello).

So, my main advise for people that are thinking of going to Venice is:

1. Simply wonder.

2. Take a Gondola, they tell you a bit of history about Venice.


3. Visit the Rialto Bridge that is near the Fondaco dei Tedeschi luxury mall. Enter the mall, avoiding eye contact with all the shiny objects and make your way up to the terrace, then simply enjoy the view!


4. Visit the markets, they are filled with goodies

5. Buy take away pizza, crepes or gelato and sit down by a quiet canal and eat

Stepping into the unknown – Milan

I’ve been on holiday before with my family, I’ve travelled across seas to visit friends but this was the first time that I was travelling to a city I had never been to, where I didn’t know the language and I knew absolutely no one. For the first time I was stepping into completely new territory – I was both excited and nervous at the same time. I was travelling with my cousin though so at least if we got horribly lost we were lost together. There’s some comfort in that.

Package essential: phone, portable charger, phone charger, portable devise charger (yes I’m packing for the highly likely case we get absolutely lost) and clothes.

We arrived in Milan early morning and the weather was beautiful. We set off to find our airbnb and guess what we got lost! Thank you Google Maps for being there for me in my desperate times and for bringing me back on track when I stray. You are my saviour!

All in all my fears of being in a new country didn’t last long. Google maps really helped as our tour guide plus in touristic areas restaurants, and train station employees actually understood you but the further you ventured the harder the communication barrier was. But a few words with an Italian accent with hand gestures and people seemed to understand what I wanted. If all else failed there was always Google translator!

In truth what I realised during this trip is how reliant I am on technology and I wonder how difficult I would have found this trip without it. Perhaps in Venice I will set aside my device and simply wonder!

What I learnt about Milan:

1. There are a lot of green doors


2. The buildings are incredibly tall
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Duomo Milano Cathedral. A Gothic Cathedral that’s hard to miss. You can even see it even before you get out of Duomo station.

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Duomo Milano Cathedral door up close. This isn’t even half the door in the picture.

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Galleria Vittoria – right next to the Duomo Cathedral. I swear I spend the whole time facing the sky in here. Bit pricey but worth seeing.

3. Hot water is rarely if ever ordered. I really struggled when trying to communicate what I wanted to them. Often trying various synonyms: boiled water, kettle water, heated water etc Most of the time I was successful, I did give up once though.

4. The coffee, even latte, is tiny. Tiny but strong.

5. The gelato is amazing!


6. Validate your tickets when using a train! We got fined but it’s only £10 so it’s not too bad but you really don’t want to be paying fines on holiday.

Dress for yourself

This Wednesday I had a civil wedding to go to and I had what was a most confusing predicament: I wanted to wear a lengha, but no-one else (that I knew of at the time) was, they were wearing a saree.

When I first considered outfits, the beautiful red lengha sitting in my cupboard seemed like the obvious choice. But when I heard everyone else was wearing a saree, I started to consider other options. I got worried that I would stand out and look odd. I was scared that the aunties would make comments that I was trying to ‘show off’ or that people would think that I was trying too hard.

The night before the wedding I tried on 3 different sarees, none of which I was feeling and let’s not even get into how bad my pleating game was. I’m assuming that this was because my heart wasn’t into wearing a saree. I wanted to wear the lengha, but pressure to look similar to other people was driving me to pick a saree. So I did what any girl would: tried the sarees on, took a picture and sent it to some people on whatsapp to get opinions and then threw the outfits on the bed while they awaited judgement.

I have some pretty awesome people two of whom I’m going to quote – who were real game changers in my choice of outfit.

Shaan: ‘Wear what you want to wear. Don’t look at what other people are wearing.’ 

Suna: ‘Since when does Shiyaa conform to what is ‘supposed’ to be worn?’

They both struck a chord with me and I felt empowered to just halt, breathe, stop caring about what other people MIGHT say or think and just do what I KNEW I wanted to.

The day of the wedding
I threw on my lengha and looked in the mirror. I have not worn a lengha since I was like 8 years old and have always felt self conscious about wearing one (showing stomach, looking like a kid etc), so this was a big deal. But I felt confident with what I was wearing, and I felt bloody happy to be wearing what I wanted.

When I got to the wedding and met other people I wasn’t even thinking about the fact that I was wearing something different. I was so content with what I was wearing and how confident it made me feel I didn’t even wonder what other people could be saying or thinking. Truthfully though, the only only thing that I did hear about my outfit was compliments (yaay)!

So what did I learn: 
a. It’s okay to stand out, it’s not always a bad thing. It’s possible to stand out in a good way.
b. Wearing some thing you feel happy and comfortable with is much more important than trying to dress to fit in


Details are so important. I accessorised with gold and pearl 🙂
Earring: Shriba Creations
Choker: stolen from my Chitthi in Canada
Waistchain: DazzlingDarling
Outfit: ShebyShiyaa

P.S. CONGRATULATIONS THANU AND THUJEEE!!!!!