#ProjectCanada

💗 Proud moment 💗

This was literally the main objective of my trip to Canada.

I was in tears during the ceremony as I recollected bits and pieces of our past and the very fact that I could make it to Canada to celebrate my brother’s big day.

If you had asked me four years back about traveling to Canada (for that matter, traveling anywhere), I’d have told you it was a dream that might not come true. It fills my heart with immense gratitude thinking about everything that has gone behind making this trip possible for me.

M

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How do you define work?

https://themighty.com/2018/02/unable-to-work-because-of-illness/

Every bit of this resonates with me.

It’s a constant struggle for people like me to remember our worth when there is so much stigma around being sick (especially young and sick) and not being able to work.

It often makes me wonder, how do you define work anyway?

Does work = I bring money to the table every single time? does my voluntary work with kids with troubled childhood which doesn’t earn me anything but makes me feel valuable and like I’m making some difference count as work? Does me trying to help an individual who is newly chronically ill/struggling with their health mean anything in the society at all?

What about the times I teach classes hoping they help those who participate — does that count as work even if it’s not always sustainable? What about the job I did as a receptionist at a pilates studio hoping I’d be able to stick with it and then got bedridden — does that count at all? Is that seen?

Does it matter that people like myself at one point had great aspirations and goals too and had to leave those behind, grieve our old selves and learn to accept what we’re presented with? Does anyone ever see the pain and the courage behind having to leave what brings most of us financial stability and freedom in order to prioritise health?

What about the work you put in day in day out to look after a faulty body? Imagine having to look after an extremely mischievous and sick child who doesn’t listen to you for twenty four seven. No break whatsoever. Not even when you sleep.

It’s easy for people to ask, “what do you do?” because it’s the most common way to start a conversation. It’s also very understandable and I have a standard answer ready. But you won’t believe the number of people I’ve come across up till now with the mindset that if you’re not working, traveling and or working out, you’re probably doing nothing. Or not doing enough of something. Or aren’t ambitious enough. Have no goals. Have nothing figured out.

What makes so many people think that those who’re sick are lazy or not ambitious enough? Couldn’t our ambitions and priorities have changed? Can we not bring empathy, compassion and kindness to the table instead of money? Is it not possible for us to do our part in some other way? Can we not be the people you turn to when things aren’t going right? Can we not support the family and household in other ways?

Or how about this: is it not possible that by us doing our self-work and learning to accept and tend to our illness allows us to manage the illness a little better and hence take some load and burden off those who are trying to support us? Isn’t that work too?

Wake up tomorrow, look around, say a word of thank you for the things you have. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and say thank you for people who are still in your life; for those who have showed up for you. Walk to your mirror and say thank you to the person you see. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t settle for any less than what you need. It doesn’t matter who says what. It doesn’t matter who “settles down” at what age, or achieves what when you know you’ve chosen a different path, one that is least followed, understood and accepted. Look inwards, for you know what is best for you. Look inwards, for you’re filled with love you’ve tired to find outside. Look inwards, for you’ve once given away too much love that you now owe to yourself. Look inwards first, always.

#inwards #settle #society #selflove #selfcare #love #path #home #friends #family #thankyou #gratitude #valentinesday #celebratelove

Twenty years

I am filled with so much love and gratitude for this place, it’s hard to even express. And despite the fact that the positive emotions I feel for this place almost equal the negative memories I am still working on letting go, my heart aches knowing that I am leaving a place I called home for the last twenty years.

I made mistakes here.

I experienced pain and suffering here. I was young and naive.

I made friends here. Real friends I’m so grateful to have come across.

I fell in love here.

I spent sleepless nights here. Crying, laughing, secretly believing in fairytales.

I made promises here.

I saw dreams here.

I set goals and achieved them here.

I was betrayed here. By near and dear ones, and by strangers.

I learned to protect myself here.

I was diagnosed here.

I fell apart here. Completely shattered into tiny pieces, I couldn’t myself anymore anymore.

I put back myself back together here.

I faced my very own demons, alone, right here.

I learned to trust again here. Myself and people.

I found my medical team here. My support system, without whom I couldn’t have come this far.

I dared to recreate dreams here.

I learned the art of letting go, here.

I finally found my true voice here.

I learned to speak my truth here and encouraged others to do the same.

I learned to be of support and service to the world, right here too.

I came across my tribe, people like me, right here.

I felt safe here.

This is where I wilted and learned to bloom again. This is where I learned to own my story, fully and wholly.

While I can’t lie that recreating a similar lifestyle and routine else where is going to take time and more patience than ever before, I do genuinely believe that it’s not entirely impossible. Somewhere I trust that the process of wilting and blooming over and over again has equipped me with the ability to deal with uncertainties of all kinds and be okay with not knowing.

You know that feeling when you look back and think perhaps everything happened to prepare you for something that is yet to happen? That’s kind of how I feel right now. As if I have levelled up in this game called life and now need to put my skills and tools to use in order to handle the next level; the next phase. There’s a lot I still don’t know but perhaps I am able to find peace in knowing that I have made it through incredibly painful times before and probably can do so in the future too.

Singapore, thank you for all the blessings and lessons.

#2013

It’s been four years since this photo and yet I get goosebumps just thinking about where I was at, both physically and mentally.

I was falling #sick with a cold or a stomach flu every other week, reacting to medicines which were supposed to help, afraid to be alone in my own bedroom, finding it hard to eat, needing help to wash my hair and sometimes even to brush my teeth, hating on my body for being fragile and weak, struggling to protect myself from people, fighting with school because they had no policies in place for people with medical issues, crying myself to bed every night, falling asleep with a strange emptiness in my #heart, waking up to feeling suffocated, hating on my creativity because I couldn’t pursue it the way I wanted to, feeling like every day was an absolute drag… I was claustrophobic in my own #body and #mind.

I wonder if this photo says any of that.

2013 was the year I knew I was done with everyone and everything around, including myself. Something needed to shift and I didn’t know what or how. All I knew was that life couldn’t possibly feel the way it did. Despite feeling like a hostage to my own #existence, there was a glimmer of #hope, a constant knowing that nothing was going to change until I decided to step up to where #life was heading. Stepping up at that point meant pausing and for once allowing myself to let it all sink in. Nothing was going to be anything like I had once imagined and I had to come to terms with that. I couldn’t distract or push myself anymore and I felt horrible. Who thinks about pausing/stopping at 23, right?

The thing is, some of us reach a point in our lives when we are faced with circumstances so real we simply can’t look away from them. Greater things are at play and our personal plans and effort make no sense. Life keeps finding ways to force us to look at what’s being presented and leaves us with two choices – to keep #suffering by avoiding pain OR to acknowledge pain and learn to #rise from there. #trust #acceptance #health #mentalhealth #pause #rest #recover

Looking back, I suppose there were things I had in 2013 which lead me to be where I’m at today. The daily struggle and fight have definitely added to all that I have become as a person and in some ways I’m grateful for it (not for the fight but for what came out of it). Of course, gratitude seemed like the last thing on my mind at that point in time because I was in this terribly dark space. Practicing and expressing gratitude, learning to accept whole and broken parts of me and making choices that honour my health (both mental + physical) has taken time and conscious work. I still have rough days but I’ve made peace with the fact that harder days are part and parcel of learning to live with a chronic illness. Today, I know better than ever before that while life is capable of giving you 5 reasons to fear, hate, complain, it will give you at least three reasons to trust, love and grow.

Favourite spot

Thank you, for being that one safe and healing space where I could just be without having to worry about what I am “supposed” to be or need to be.

Thank you for reminding me of the power in being soft and letting things unfold at their own pace. You’ve taught me how to find beauty and to come back home to myself whenever I had no where else to go. You’ve been wonderful.