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.

18342743_10155734273305730_7967176114701680864_n

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.

The story of every Asian: you have to get married

Hindu wedding couple

When it comes to graduation for many of us Asian girls it’s both a blessing and a curse. Our three-six years of hard work and labour are finally paying off, we no longer have to write another exam, we can finally find a job and start earning money instead of waiting every semester for our loans to drops. But, it also means that we are to brace ourselves for the inevitable: our parent’s trying to get us married.

I was rather fortunate in this sense; questions of my marriage did not come forth until I actually had a job. Some of my friends were not so fortunate; some were getting pressured to accept or consider proposals before they even finished their final year. Girls seem to reach a particular age after which they are constantly bombarded with questions from aunties about the absence of a Thaali around their neck/ ring on their fingers.

I understand that for some people the next step after education is getting married and that’s fine. It’s what they want. But, I finished university when I was 23 years and I already felt that I was ‘behind’ with my ambitions. Marriage wasn’t really on my list. Even now, I’m not ready: I am not financially secure, I can barely cook and I love food (so that’s a problem).

Truthfully though the proposals and questions about getting married aren’t really what make me angry. It is this: as an Asian girl I am often told that I have to get married because I can’t live alone. I feel that as a women I am undermined. I am told that I am unable to be happy or secure on my own. I am told that marriage is a necessity. But what I fail to understand is why?

Is it because marriage provides financial security?
Yes, perhaps when my parents were younger women were dependent on others and a marriage provided them with security as many of them didn’t work. But now things have changed, we are educated to be independent. We are encouraged to learn to support ourselves and stand on our own feet.

Is it to have children?
There’s adoptions and even IVF, you no longer need a partner to have a child.

What exactly is the reason that I must get married? We need to stop forcing the idea of marriage as a necessity. We need to stop pressuring people to get married like they have an expiry date to get hitched and be happy.

One day I would like to get married, for love. I mean I’ve been planning my wedding since I was 13 – I’m not really against it. I’ll get married because I want to, not because I have to, and I’m sure that most of Asian girls who are often pressured with married feel the same.