I remember the guy who bullied me when I was 10 years old. He was senior, probably in ninth grade at the time and had recently moved to Dubai from India. We lived in the same apartment complex and so went on the same school bus. I don’t know why he decided that he hated me but he did and he made sure I knew just how much. He never did anything while we were actually in school or when we were on the school bus, but the few minutes he had between getting on to the bus and the time between getting off the bus and going up the elevator were horrible. It started with him throwing an entire bottle of water on me just before I got on the bus and then things escalated. One day just as we were nearing our home, he came up to me and said I’m going to kill you filthy lankan. And I didn’t know what to do except to run to hide in the underground car park instead of heading to the elevator. That monster followed me, he chased me around for awhile until I ran into the elevator but I wasn’t fast enough- he got in as well and spat at me and pulled my hair while I crouched in the corner biting my tongue and forcing myself not to cry. When the doors opened on his floor, he just got off very casually and walked off like nothing happened and I went to my house and told no one about it., I was scared because he told me he would kill my mum too. He did this a few times before he got caught by the Manager of our apartment who walked into the elevator and saw him kicking me and spitting at my face. He and his family were kicked out of the apartment complex shortly after and my parents went and complained to the school and he was expelled. I was so scared the whole time because I felt like I had given more reason for him to come kill me and my family.
I had many long conversations after that with my parents, with the school counsellor and the likes who told me all about bullies and how I need to stand up for myself and tell an adult if something like that ever happens again- because hurting another human, bullying is never okay. After awhile, I stopped having nightmares and I stopped crying all the time and I felt safe. I felt like now that I had been through a terrifying bullying experience I would be safe from it and I wouldn’t have to experience it ever again.
Reality had a much different plan, since then I have faced so many bullies in all shapes and forms.
You can’t predict when someone decides that you will be their victim. That you will be the punching bag for all the anger and hate that is obviously gushing through their veins. You can’t predict when people will go out of their way to tear you down to make themselves feel better.
It doesn’t get better with time.
I cried last night because some girl decided that she will take the opportunity to ruin a great moment for me by trying to tear me down – 18 years later bullies still make me feel the same way that boy did back in the elevator. The one thing I have learned through all these experiences is to not let the taunting and hurtful crippling words get the better of me and my spirit and not let that rule my life. It is hard though, so hard.
A few months (?) ago I wrote a post about how blood cancer has affected my life and how it has motivated me to take part in the world’s greatest shave. Since then my local paper published an article to help me raise funds (thanks Maribyrnong Leader!), I was able to raise $1000 thanks to my generous family and friends (donation still open, if you are interested), and on the 11th of March I rocked up to Federation Square, got on a stage and let the volunteers shave off my locks…
Not going to lie, there was a moment during the shave when I actually had tears in my eyes – I loved my long hair and a lot of my confidence came from wearing my long hair out and there I was letting someone just shave it all off. But now (four days after the fact), I love the new me and it feels liberating to just wear my face. So here I am #nofilter
More importantly, the events around Australia raised $10 million – that’s $10 million that will go towards those suffering from blood cancer and their families to aid treatment processes, that’s $10 million that will go to researchers who are in the process of finding a cure. It makes me hopeful, maybe not for my grandmother who’s cancer has worsened over the past month (she is being tested for TB at the moment) but there is hope for others and I think it’s important to be hopeful in this fight for a cure.
So Andres walked into the bathroom while I was having a shower and I had a panic attack because I had left my used pad lying around (not that Andres could care less, God bless him). And it made me realise how embarrassed and ashamed I am of something that I really shouldn’t be. But also made me think about how growing up I had always associated having my period as something that I need to keep private and almost up its existence.
In school we skipped the whole section on reproduction and instead had a presentation on puberty which lacked any sort of real information about puberty and the presenters awkwardly danced around the subject of periods which just made all the boys laugh and all the girls cringe with embarrassment.
At home, I would make sure no one ever caught a whiff of my bloody state – no pads lying around, no stains and definitely no mention of it. I remember once I needed to buy a pack of pads but I didn’t want to tell my dad and I kept asking him to take me to the shops so that I could get chocolates and he kept refusing and I got told off for being silly but even then not a peep about the period – I just waited all day till my mum came home.
I don’t think it’s just me though. I mean look at the commercials for pads – why is the liquid blue?
Remember when that Indian artist took a photo of herself lying on her bed with period stains on the sheet and her pants and the internet went wild calling her disgusting? We are programmed to hide and be ashamed this very natural bodily function because what ?! Because it would perhaps upset the male population?
Judging by Andres reaction, I don’t think Real men are phased by periods and neither should we. I’m all about hygiene don’t get me wrong but how about we don’t get awkward about talking about our flows!
Just a thought
I am trying hard to stick to them, some are harder than others to be honest. I have had a few breakdowns recently and it has been hard to try and see the silver lining but I promise to keep fighting the good fight. But one thing that I have realised from my major vents to my friends is that we all go through shit periods where you feel like you are lost and it is important to start patting yourself in the back for the smallest of accomplishments regardless of how important they may seem in the grand scheme of things.
Which brings me back to a resolution that I made at the start of this year that I have sort of been able to actually start and keep up so far – my morning routine. Last year my morning routine consisted of waking up just in time for the train and frantically pulling my shit together before dashing out of the door and then binge on coffee and ham and cheese sandwiches to get me through my chaotic day. Now, its starting to take a different shape.
I have now started waking up at 7 am (I am slowing going to try and make this 6am so I can go for a morning yoga class – but small steps!). As soon as I wake up, I drink a glass of water and turn my phone off from airplane mode and read some news. Because I am now waking up earlier, I actually have time to make a breakfast smoothie (which is usually all the fruits I can find around the house, some linseeds and fiber supplements)and take time to decide on what I am going to wear (which for me was fairly a foreign concept to me and it also meant I used the other 3/4 of my wardrobe which I hadn’t even touched previously). I manage to do all this and get to work by 9am which means I don’t need to rush through the day and feel like I am constantly playing catch up. This small change for me has meant a lot, mostly because I have become a lot more productive and I have more control over how I spend my time (oh and I have started to really exploit the ical app which I highly recommend!)
Anyway, that is all for now. Before I finish off, i just wanted to share something I read in an article with all of you:
I know that it is disheartening to keep going when you’ve been stuck in the same situation for what feels like thousands of years, but you have to know that most of the time (not even sometimes) the only way way out is through.
I am super excited because I finally finally completed one of my online courses!!
I have been enrolling and un-enrolling in these online courses through edX and Coursera for the longest time but I have never been able to sit down and go through the lectures and assessments- because let’s be honest life happens and free online courses take a back seat.
But this year, I wanted to try and develop a little bit of discipline and I wanted to try and work on my skill development – and I proved to myself that with a little bit of internal pushing I can in fact do it!
So I have been devoting my Sundays and Mondays (because I don’t work on Mondays) to spending some me time. Last year, this meant sleeping in till 1pm and watching tv all day or walking into the city to window shop. But this year I made the effort to get my lazy ass up out of bed and into the library bright and early in the morning and focus on doing more productive work. AND IT WORKED!
I realise blogging about this may seem quite silly but I think personally it is important to celebrate even the smallest of wins in life 😀
Anyway, I have another course starting tomorrow and I am pumped to keep this momentum going 😀
I first heard about leukemia when I was about 9 years old when my dad told my that his sister was admitted to hospital to get treatment for a ‘serious issue’ as he put it. When I went to see her I was so excited because she had the coolest new hairstyle – who would not want a shaved head? But then she started coughing more, she started getting more tired everyday and my dad told me that I need to not demand play time every time I visited her in the hospital because she didn’t have the energy for it. Over the next few months she looked like she didn’t eat anything, her eyes sunk into her head and her arms looked all spidery with all the blue and green veins popping out. Then came that day when my dad came home and told me that my aunt got a very high fever and because her was already sick, her body couldn’t handle it and she had passed away. All I could think of were my cousins – who was going to go for their prize givings? who was going to help them with homework? who was going to cook them their favourite meals? I guess cancer won.
Recently my mum called me and told me that my mother was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer. The reality of this statement didn’t really hit me until I actually saw her and realised how the monster had taken over my grandmother. We couldn’t grab hold of her hand because she would bruise at the slightest touch, she couldn’t move around much because water had lodged into her joints and her knees had become like jelly – the monster wins every time. It breaks my heart to look at how frail my magnificent and strong grandmother has become, it breaks my heart that this monster, this sickness is taking away her ability to live the way she wants to, it breaks my heart to see her getting a blood transfusion every three months. She refuses to be on chemo because she says that she has lived a long life and doesn’t need to take away the opportunity of life from someone who is younger – which my heart hurt even more, she truly is a magnificent woman. It’s not fair.
Cancer has seeped its way into the lives of so many people I love and I haven’t been able to do anything but stand on the sidelines and watch it take over.
I have been trying to do my best to beat this disease over the past year and this year I have decided to take part in the World’s Greatest Shave which raises money to support families with patients diagnosed with cancer as well as raise funds to find urgent cures. I know this is a small feat compared to the uphill battle that is dealing with and finding a cure for cancer – but I hope that it will make a difference.
*If you would like to donate to this cause and help me shave my hair for a good cause please follow this link here.
My dad, is a big fan of chain mails and usually I groan when I get any email from him but today he sent me a forward that was actually lovely (GO CHAIN MAILS!). It is probably one that has been circulated a lot but hey it’s still pretty great!
A little girl was holding two apples in both hands Her mum came in and softly asked her little daughterwith a smile; my sweetie, could you give your mum one of your two apples? The girl looked up at her mum for some seconds, then she suddenly took a quick bite on one apple, and then quickly on the other. The mum felt the smile on her face freeze. She tried hard not to reveal her disappointment. Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mum, and said: mummy, here you are. This is the sweeter one.
No matter who you are, how experienced you are, and how knowledgeable you think you are, always delay judgement.
Give others the privilege to explain themselves. What you see may not be the reality. Never conclude for others.
Which is why we should never only focus on the surface and judge others without understanding them first.