An Open Letter to my Country, my (old) Friend

Hi (old) friend,

It’s a bit odd, catching up this way, but I guess there is no way else we could do it. I can’t sleep at night despite saying that I would. But most of all, fear, the fear of you, keeps me up at night.

We’ve been friends since I was born and for me to now stop our friendship and denounce you publicly, all that through a blog post also, is quite dramatic. I understand. The following GIF clearly sums up what you are feeling of me, I know. We’ve been friends for too long that we know almost everything there is to about one another.

An accurate representation of me writing this and you reading my writing captured brilliantly via http://www.giphy.com

After all, it’s been nearly 30 years. That’s a little less than the war we’ve “won”. I was fortunate enough not to be born during the early 80s. Did you know my biological parents got married on Black July? Quite a fitting title to describe that relationship. snigger. The circumstances are such that I will be using quite a bit of dark humour (or as much as my wit will allow me to) as I could summon. If that’s uncomfortable for you, perhaps you should stop here and continue this another day. A sunnier day, hopefully. Whenever that would be.

See within our three decades or so of friendship, you’ve seen me grow from goofy child to angsty adolescent to perpetually lost adult and you’ve seen how I formulate my relationships. You’ve also seen walls I choose to build around myself as a result of wanting to protect myself. Did you know that we even raised the parapet walls of our house to protect ourselves because the thieves got in the first time? See, during our 30 odd year relationship, my dear friend, you’ve realised that I forgive very less. A bad habit, albeit, but a strong one I haven’t been able to shake off. And as my adult years grow in number, so does my stubbornness and my (lack of) will to forgive.

But I’ve made an exception I haven’t with you?

<insert dramatic GIF> 

With you, I decided that we would be #BFForeva

During and after my time in India, we became very close. Would you say that it’s a fair analysis that until I left you that I hadn’t realised how much you meant to me? I remember my first flight back to India after my short two-week vacation. I cried all the way back during my hour and a half long flight. I bawled out as we flew passing the last bit of the island and all I saw was the Indian Ocean.

During my time in India, my love for you grew and while you were always #1, (South) India soon became #2 and Nepal, #3. My work became a blessing to me and I began travelling more of South Asia and before you know it, I had fallen in love with the region, its people and paradise, all over again. But throughout it all, you remained #1.

It’s not as though the past decade has not been without hardship and turmoil. Post-war, we’ve dealt with quite a few things together. Let’s not talk about pre-2009 because that time was difficult for all of our friends. In 2016, parts of Colombo (I’m a bit too tardy to see if there were other areas too) were hit by a terrible flood. The experience then is very similar to what a favourite author of mine, Haruki Murakami captures in After the Quake. The feeling was mutual when that earthquake hit Nepal four years ago and in December 2017, while I was in Orissa and a storm (of sorts) caused terrible damage to South India and Sri Lanka.

But this time around, it’s different. The main difference being, it’s not a natural disaster.

On Sunday, April 21, 2019, Easter Sunday, I must add, multiple terrorists blew themselves and killed 350 people (this number is a bit controversial as now they say it’s 250 so I’m not too sure). Suicide bombing is not new to us. During the ethnic conflict, Wikipedia (my go-to very reliable source) tells me, “The LTTE’s Black Tigers have carried out the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed in 1991 using a prototype suicide vest.” So yes, it’s something very local. But this happens ten years after “the end of war”. Ironically, a month shy of our “end of the war” 10-year “celebrations”. For those wondering why I put some words in inverted commas, it’s mostly to not aggravate the SJWs. I joke. It just seems most right. After the attacks on April 21, while we all donned our Sherlock/Tintin/detective-of-your-choice-costume and rushed to solve this mystery and the murderous groups behind it, the government decided to not tell us much. Frankly though, if you want the tea on that, go read the news. It’s fucking depressing. 

Now, this is when it gets tricky and I’m going to equate you, my friend to the government because it sounds like the most sensible thing to do. But the connection would be similar to the Game of Thrones Season 08 Episode 02, Sansa trust = Brienne trusts = Ser Jamie scenario. i.e. if you don’t watch Game of ThronesI trust = you, my friend, my country who trusts = the government.

Your series of errors began with you not telling us about these attacks. If you want to kill off a bunch of people, I would suggest we buy you a PS4 or Xbox or whatever else they have these days and give you a violent game. I sometimes used to put my Sims inside pools and remove the ladders or put them in a small room and remove the doors. Or you could watch on loop the Mountain and Viper battle each other on Game of Thrones Season 04 Episode 08 for an epic bloody mess. But killing off unsuspecting Church-goers, these are the believers and not the ones like us even, on perhaps the most important day in the Christian calendar, is extremely uncalled for.

Continuing with your trial, you then made our local media look like fools. So let’s get one thing straight. I may trust you (remember the equation) but not many people do. But we trust a few media sources. YOU DID NOT GIVE THEM THE INFORMATION. Why did you withhold it? Did you forget? You didn’t forget to pick up your due bribes, did you? How can you forget such a thing?

Let’s say it was an honest mistake and amidst all the important tasks you have to achieve during the biggest holiday month in the country, you forgot. Fine. (Not fine, because people are still murdered thanks to you.) But then, you still don’t tell us anything. You keep us in the dark. Again. I mean, the “Adam” of your creation wasn’t even in the country when this happened and didn’t come till much after. However, days go by very slowly and through your trusted security personnel, you choose to share some pictures of suspects, who turn out to be innocent diaspora (at least one of them was I think) you found on a Google search. Did you know how quick people were to show hate, rape their neighbour’s dog and even flay their family in front of their eyes? You then apologised publicly and said you made yet another mistake and no sooner was that done, you say that there was a discrepancy in the body count (which is a good thing because fewer people are dead – as a tweep mentioned). But now with all your mistakes, who do we rely on? And most importantly, how can we trust you again?

Which brings me back to this letter. How do we continue this if you are not going to be honest with me (and us)? How do we remain friends? Do you know how many times I’ve defended you and the few opportunities that came my way to leave you, I turned down because of you. Because I thought you gave me a place on your land. I, who came from a single-parent household and a mixed race background. You made me feel that I was different. I was special. You made me feel that I had something to be grateful for and to give back. When people left you and went in search of greener pastures, I often questioned their sense of responsibility. I’ve been extremely fortunate enough and even privileged to an extent to have the facilities I do, work multiple jobs, mostly from home, travel parts of the world and get paid for all of the above. But despite it all, despite the privilege and the fortune, I’ve realised that if there is one thing I cannot handle, it’s disappointment. You’ve disappointed me and a bunch of (many) others multiple times. You disappointed us who had that sense of responsibility and the need to make this place, a better place.

Of the 30 odd years we’ve known each other, you know that I cry and laugh on the outside but I’m a stone cold bitch on the inside. But today, for nearly four hours, I’ve been crying. I’ve been crying because of the disappointment and I’ve been crying, because I’m scared. I’m scared to live in your land. I know that I and my minority-ethnic group family do not have a place here. I stay awake during most nights and sleep during the day. It is the same for a few others too. I don’t know if those who lost their loved ones on Sunday even sleep at all. I want to reach out to them and apologise for your mistakes but how can I do so when I know that you will continue to do them once again?

I know that most of my letters never really meet their destined recipients but writing these letters that would never be read is a way I am able to deal with what is and what is to come.

So on those words, I’ll leave you to it. Your problems are beyond me and clearly, I’m not of much service to you. Writing that brings tears to my eyes like the rest of this post did. I hope you will able to find peace within yourself and among your people. I hope that someone else out there will love you as much as I did and not be discouraged by your shortcomings.

But for now, it’s goodbye.

How do you sleep at night?

Wednesday April 24, 2019 – 00:02

You think things would get easier. But, they haven’t. Back when I used to study Literature, they would often say that tragedy writes easier than comedy. The fact that I’m still writing, three days in a row, is also my inability to find solace with myself and what has happened. Not that we ever will or we will as soon as one would hope to. But the fact that the news we hear is going from bad to worse every passing day, does little to raise our hopes.

Last morning (Tuesday 23rd) when I woke up, I felt as though I hadn’t slept at all. Was it the same for you as well? Instead, after coming home, I slept in the late afternoon hours when the sun was up. The last time I slept with the light on at night was at a friend’s estate when it was extremely quiet and nature turned out to be a bit too eerie for my liking.

We went into the city and there was little traffic. Were circumstances different, we would’ve been in praise about the smooth drive with little to no stops at all. In Havelock Town, we saw an unofficial checkpoint. It is protocol and yes, the country is in a State of Emergency, but this familiar yet distant sight was not a welcome one. It reminded me that despite my blatant Agnosticism, I belong to a minority and therefore, I am not safe. Yes, that’s a wrong thought to harness at such times, but it is what it is. My (majority-ethnicity) last name does little to protect my entire family. This time personally, has also been one where the question of faith has concerned me. Is this a sign to go back to religion?

On our way back home, we stop by an outlet of my favourite supermarket chain and they check our bags because they are asked to. In the faces of these “security aunties and uncles” are smiles to cover up their feelings of discomfort. The best we could do is it to comply with them and most importantly, smile back.

After a long time, people are vigilant. If someone is dressed differently or different from the majority around them, there are heads that turn. Our heads turn too. Especially if their heads are covered. Or they have more hair on their face than an “average” Sri Lankan man. Or their skin colour is darker than “average” Sri Lankan women. Our heads still turn if the clothes someone wears seem “too professional” or “too revealing” or “too chic” but that head turn is one that generations after us will continue to grapple and fight for.

A foreign Instagrammer I know wants to come to Sri Lanka on a holiday with a group of friends in the coming month. My immediate answer is no, but this has been planned months in advance. As someone who is anal on planning, I know what it’s like to cancel plans when everything has been put in place.

Everyone wants it to stop. But with the developments that keep piling on the table, it’s difficult to see the end. There are multiple groups that are benefitting from the current circumstances. Why would they want to end it if the situation is advantageous to them?

How do we explain to the oldest child of ten, who does not know what “war” or “terrorism”, the meaning of what’s happening? How do we tell them that they would also have emergency bomb drills, like the ones we had when we were going to school that would require to gather at a common place or hide under tables?

So many questions, so many loose ends, which Google does not answer.

I would like to once again leave with a thought that was inspired following the attacks at Christchurch in New Zealand.

Share the names of those who are not with us anymore. Share the names of those who did not make it through. Let’s remember them. But share not the names of those responsible for these crimes.

Stay safe and sunny.

The First Monday of the next Decade

Monday April 22, 2019 – 23:30

Sleep didn’t come easily last night. While I was fortunate enough to not have dreams that haunted my waking hours, the turn of events, especially from knowing that the Sunday morning victims were my friends who were Catholics and Christians in Sri Lanka and by evening to come into the realisation that these acts of terrorism were carried out by extremist groups that use the name of a religion your family is associated to, was beyond understandable. Also yes, that was a very long sentence that doesn’t make sense, which I cannot be bothered to shorten or correct.

The message I sent to my Catholic and Christian friends on Sunday morning, letting them know that my home is also theirs during the time of need, was sent back to me once terrorists were identified. True, we are mature enough to disconnect an extremist group from the entire community of believers they supposedly represent, but in 2019, no one is taking any chances.

The country is still reeling in the aftermath of what has happened. My Mother walks from room to room (and no we don’t have as many rooms) sits down and looks straight ahead or at her phone. Sometimes she falls asleep. I haven’t looked at my planner in two days or even the lists that lay on my table – yes, they seem like first world problems but to say that we are unable to move past what has happened, is fair. The sombre mood in our house is very new, to all of us. While we are not the loudest of people, we are ones who continue moving forward regardless. The saying “the show must go on” should perhaps be the motto of our family. But not today.

Two days we have spent doing the bare minimum. Sleeping. Waking up. Watching/reading the news. Eating. Cooking if needed. Watching/reading the news. Cleaning up. Using the toilet or having a shower. Watching/reading the news. Our fingers are numb from the endless scrolls and our eyes hurt from staring at screens for longer than we should. Occasionally we will pause our routine to pack an emergency bag. We are not sure where our cars would take us but the bags are now packed.

Elsewhere, even before the government and media called out on the perpetrators, people belonging to different minority communities began worrying for their own safety. A justified worry, but an untimely one. As someone who finds it difficult to restore her faith, no I do not identify or I cannot relate to what you are going through. However, as I live with my parents, their fear does become my fear too. But when there is no one who has been held accountable for the massacre, do not claim responsibility and defend yourself (and your community) for something you didn’t do. PLEASE NOTE THAT AT SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, YOUR FEAR OR BEING LABELLED AS “GUILTY” IS FAR LESSER THAN THE EMOTIONS FELT BY THE FAMILIES WHO WERE A SUBJECT OF THESE ATTACKS. Also, while it is 2019, some people are among the educated. I have an issue with labels anyway during such times. While I do understand that people will always reach out to “their” kind first, during calamities, the child in me wonders why everyone cannot be “our” kind as we are bonded by the connection of being human and Sri Lankan. At the end of the day, regardless of one’s faith, we still have the same shitty Government, so what good does it do when you choose to protect your own kind? Or perhaps this comes from my Game of Thrones affiliations and how I continue to remark at the groups coming together to fight for survival.

There is so much more to write, especially on how the Government chose to not act on information received earlier as well as on the complaints made by minority faith groups, but the fact is, I’m exhausted. I’m overrun with emotion and I’m not sure if it was all those emotional Game of Thrones reunions and Brienne’s knighthood, post-period hormones or just the state of the country.

Perhaps tomorrow.

As I write this, there is another curfew imposed and the President has issued a Gazette Extraordinary that brings a State of Emergency into operations in the country. We can’t say who will lose a job in office this time and frankly, I don’t think the people really care anymore. If you are interested, this live update on the First Post will give you the information you are looking for.

I would like to once again leave with a thought that was inspired following the attacks at Christchurch in New Zealand.

Share the names of those who are not with us anymore. Share the names of those who did not make it through. Let’s remember them. But share not the names of those responsible for these crimes.

Stay safe and sunny.

Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka

Sunday April 21, 2019 – 23:53

It’s probably not the time to write this, but writing for me, has always been a source of therapy. And therapy is what I need now. I’m also aware that I began a sentence with “and”. I’m also quite aware that I don’t often write about my country as I don’t feel the need to.

I began drafting this post in my mind from the time I was woken up with a call with this very news. While asleep, I dreamt of blood. Blood on me and blood around me. I’ve been having weird dreams for weeks anyway so that’s all there is to it. My Mother, while watching the news tells me of the “fall” of Notre Dam and how it was symbolic of the things to come and even possibly, the end of the world. See, unlike me, she believes in religion. She, unlike me, has been able to bypass and look beyond the cruel intentions of small groups of organised religion and continue with her faith. I, unfortunately, have not been able to.

Which is why these multiple coordinated attacks on a religious holiday bother me so much. It bothers me more than the floods from two years ago. Because this wasn’t a natural disaster that we couldn’t prevent (the floods too could’ve been prevented if we looked at adequate measures but that’s a conversation for another day). It was a disaster, there were multiple attacks, which were targeted predominantly at a minority ethnic group in the country.

It’s a topic we are all too familiar with. For 30 years, to be precise. Since the “end of war” in 2009, we have witnessed smaller-scale attacks on other ethnic groups on several occasions, a few times a year. Correct me if I’m wrong but – and no I don’t mean to trivialise war and the state of the country – during the last few years of war, with the multiple bombs going off every day, it became a normal thing. Yes, war, was normalised. Just as how when a male/female is “accidentally” touched when travelling in public transport or catcalled when dressed well, is normalised. Both of those statements sound wrong and it is wrong, but that’s what it was and is. Anything more than 10 casualties may have been taken seriously. People found it horrendous when the forces carefully scrutinised a packet of rice but that’s what it came to. But that was in 2009.

After the war ended, at home we continued the practice of carrying our National Identity Cards (NICs) with us at all times. In the event of us not having the NIC at hand, we would have our driver’s license or passport. My Mum used to work with war widows pre-“end of war” and we used to travel a lot to the North Central and Eastern provinces. I too often accompanied her as my parents were getting a divorced around that time and my Mother didn’t want to leave me home alone – we didn’t really have a lot of people we could rely on, save for the kindness of our neighbours and friends from the neighbourhood, some who offered to house and feed me while she was away sometimes (and my sister during the time was working abroad). During that time, we both had a majority-ethnic-group last name, which worked for our advantage. Travelling to my Mother’s location of work today would take us no more than four-five hours without stops thankfully for improved infrastructure. Travelling then, took about seven or eight if went in public transport and six or seven if she drove. Sometimes, Akki (my older sister) would be there on holiday and we would take her too during the field visits. Lucky for us, she is very fair and looks Southeast Asian for most of the part. This meant that the checkpoint checks will be cleared for us in no time – yes, that actually happened the two or three times we all travelled together.

Besides carrying our NICs at all times, our house was always well stocked. We always had an extra gas cylinder, extra dry rations and sometimes, extra frozen meat too. We were always ready for a curfew. Ready for an emergency. And ready to run. We continued this practice even after “the end of war”. Since the post-2009 wave of minority group attacks, we would even have a bag of essentials ready, in the cars and in the house, the latter would also have a bag/box of documents to take and run. In recent years, we wondered why our house had only one entrance and we contemplated asking our neighbours if they didn’t mind sharing a back gate in the common wall.

So fear, as you can see, has not been something new. Perhaps it has not been shared in equal degrees by all people, some more, some less, but fear has always been present.

 

A fellow tweep had this thread too. I asked him for permission and he was okay with me posting it. (edited 23/04)

However, as years went by, the fear remained, but we grew positive about life, sometimes about the economy and about those around us. For those wondering if we grew positive about the government, it’s fair to say that it never happened. We knew deep down that what befell us forty years ago, might not strike again. However, a month shy of our “10-year anniversary/victory day celebrations”, we had a change in heart and we feared this might happen once more.

For me, personally, what makes things scarier is the fact that people have more access to improved technology and communication. While this is a good thing, what this does is people have the capacity to become overnight journalists and share unverified information from sources they are not even certain of. They are capable of sharing “fake news” and information that is not true. The calamity of the situation doesn’t stop there. Despite the war and multiple ethnic-group attacks we’ve had over the past so many years, those whom we elect as our leaders would constantly fail us. They will not be able to reassure us and with each passing election, the country and the future of this country grows to become more apathetic than the next.

The government has currently blocked social media, which is a good thing I believe. It helps lessen the spread of rumours and false information. Of course, those who are keen on disseminating such information will download VPNs and continue as per usual, but there is a certain degree to which, this has been curtailed through the blockage. It’s a radical move, yet an important one. Sometimes, the older generations who have been introduced to embrace technology and digital media have not perhaps been familiarised with identifying accurate information, which is fair, as it was never a concern during their time. However, it is now.

I might continue this post later today, however, I’m hoping that there is no need to and all we talk about is the new Game of Thrones episode. While we wait for the curfew to lift, I would like to leave with a thought that was inspired following the attacks at Christchurch in New Zealand.

Share the names of those who are not with us anymore. Share the names of those who did not make it through. Let’s remember them. But share not the names of those responsible for these crimes.

Stay safe and sunny.

My ‘Live’ Story

Of the many things I want to write about, I thought it would be a good time to write a bit on mental health. After all, my domain renewed for the year and thought it was about time to put something in here. It was time to do a quick check-in with everyone and see how they are holding up as the first quarter comes to an end. How are you all? Well? My first quarter has been great yet, overwhelming. Business-wise, it’s been great and it even came to a point where an email response contained, “We are a bit too busy right now, will get back to you no sooner we are able to!” That’s swell yes? But with such overachievements also came waves of self-doubt, lack of confidence, motivation and real slumps in creativity. I considered getting help to manage the workload but the task of re-briefing someone seemed a little too daunting and time-consuming. And when I had time, I tried to rest and sleep.

Sleep though, hasn’t been easy to come by. While sleep itself wasn’t the problem, the dreams that continue to haunt me became of serious concern. Often, and still, I will wake up feeling restless and tired. Even my favourite meditation app can’t put me to sleep anymore or it doesn’t let my brain turn off. General anxieties on life and the sorts have been at an all-time high too and last night, I thought about the first few times I made silly attempts at suicide.

Disclaimer though. I don’t mean to make fun of suicide and as someone with a fair amount of mental health concerns, I do understand the gravity of suicide, but I like to tackle most personal issues with a bit of humour and that’s what I’m doing with me and my silly suicidal attempts.

It’s not an interesting story because I’m not really as bold as I like to be. Haha. All attempts thus far have been involving an attempted overdose of pills/medication. And no, to those who know me and have seen the insides of my handbag and my ‘drug pouch’, that’s not why I carry it! If I recall correctly, I first attempted suicide at the age of 16 or 17. Or maybe it was 15. I tried to take some lousy sleeping tablets, I think around five, wrote cards and letters to those in my life explaining what they mean(t) to me the night before and went to sleep. Alas, I woke up the next morning groggy AF and immediately hid all the cards before any unwanted questions with regard to my miscalculated attempts were raised. The second time was a few years later into my early twenties and to say that I learnt something from my teenage years, was nothing short of a disappointment. I didn’t however, try the cards and letters and the Amy Winehouse ODing incident did get to me (and later in psychology taught me of the domino-effect these things have on people living even millions of kilometres away).

Now when I think of suicide, I like to think of myself as a more developed individual and know would opt for effective methods like euthanasia, obviously not in this country. I’ve realised that killing myself is a very inconvenient affair. The paperwork, fingerprints for the phone, deleting internet presence, sending out emails and letting my internet community know these things, working out a way to manage the businesses and telling the other employers, oh boy. So yes, down days, pre-menstrual days and bad hair days still get to me, but the inconvenience of it all puts things away for good.

Hope you enjoyed my little story for you and again, in no means am I trying to belittle those with depression, anxiety and mental health conditions far worse than mine.

I hope you are able to continue to be at peace with yourself and chase sunrises/sunsets, mountains and lighthouses as I have.

Until the next sunrise 🙂

#ThinkSunny

28 Ways to Make 2019 Great

One of my best memories this year was my sister getting married. Photo credits to Affinity & Beyond.

I’ve been writing this post since the start of December. Since December 02nd I’ve been drafting the first bits in my mind and on the 04th I took it to paper/screen. Every blog post that I take 800 days to churn now becomes a work in progress. It no longer is an affair of sitting down and writing a post at a time. It takes a few days to construct. I don’t know if this means that the writing has become more difficult. Or if the writing is getting better and therefore needs time to build, curate and nurture. Or perhaps I’m running out of time to write all the things I have in my head.

A similar post helped put things in perspective last year, so since perspective is something I’m always looking for, this seemed like a good idea.

December has always been a bit of a difficult month for me. Besides the month being the birthday of Daddy Cool aka Jesus Christ (no offence, my Christian friends), it’s also the family birthday month. But it is also the end of the year. See thankfully I’m not one of those “it’s a new year, new me” types (for those wondering, I believe that change can happen every day). It might have been more dramatic than this. As in the words of Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody, “there is room for only one hysterical queen” and clearly that queen is not me!

But December is difficult. It is the end of the year and since some of are rounding off accounts and some countries present budgets for the incoming financial year (some, except ours) you cannot help but do one of those quick evaluations of yourself. The last quarter of the year always makes me wonder what I had achieved during the year, if I had done anything productive if not substantive or if my existence was simply a replica/continuation of what was written in last year’s blog post.

But amidst these questions and in trying to keep with one of the very few traditions I attempt at abiding by, here are 28 takeaways (in no particular order) from 2018 and hopefully ones that help make 2019 better than it should be.

  1. I learnt how to deal with grief. I realised through videos, talking to others who’ve dealt with grief and generic readings on the Internet on the importance of not letting grief manifest within me but to instead embody it and allow it to be with you as you move on in life. Because for me, I’ve learnt (even in my 2017 post) that I not only heal best alone but I cannot truly let go or forget of all things. Instead, it’s best that I don’t fight and attempt (and fail at forgetting it) and take it along with me and maybe even plonk it in my handbag.
  2. I learnt to let go of some things (not grief necessarily), having realised that regretting and pondering on things you couldn’t do at a time or you could’ve done better doesn’t really matter now. It doesn’t also make a difference for the damage or the lack of initiative has already been made. Instead of beating myself up about it, I’ve learnt to accept it for what it is. This has been a work in progress for over ten years and I think I’ve finally managed to master it. hurray me.
  3. Speaking of regret, I enhanced (haha!) my insight on regret and learnt how I best I could work towards keeping it away from me or allowing myself anywhere near it. It’s usually best kept all the way in the back of the bus.
  4. While putting people and memories away, I also renewed relationships this year. Some I have pushed away from my life, to the back of the bus while others have taken the front seat. I’ve become aware of the importance of shifting priorities so that it becomes the best fit for my mental and physical wellbeing.
  5. Continuing my bus story, I have grown to accept that those sulking at me from the back of my bus do not matter to me and neither do their opinions. In fact, I couldn’t care less. I not only realised that I already have too many problems in my life to deal with (as we all do) and too much self-doubt to overcome, that I couldn’t care less about someone else’s negativity or opinion of me. Their baggage of me is not my baggage and therefore, it does not belong in my conveyor belt (I hope all my travel symbols are foresight into amazing adventures in 2019 haha!).
  6. I realised that you can pick up hobbies as an adult. Or at least new interests.
  7. I learnt that fitness and wellness don’t come to you easy. Only fat and calories that won’t leave you will allow themselves to be easily absorbed like the negative people in your life. It’s your decision on how you choose to control them.
  8. Speaking of which, I learnt that being fit and well is a choice. If you really want to be your healthiest self, you can do it so as long as you put your mind to it.
  9. Such as cooking! I enjoyed cooking more than I did last year and have some serious gains with speed.
  10. I learnt that sharing knowledge will only bring you more knowledge. Or let you absorb and learn new things.
  11. I also learnt to set financial goals and become more aware of spending and saving habits. I realised that having such goals will also help with aspirations to look forward to in life, such as travel.
  12. While becoming more aware of money, I also learnt that money is a good motivator to get things done.
  13. Important family became closer to me while I put the remainder of them to the back of the bus.
  14. I realised that I can not only write wedding speeches on behalf of the groom but my writing skills have also expanded to writing eulogies.
  15. In 2018, I learnt that it was important to run behind what you wanted. No good comes to those who wait around for it.
  16. I’ve also learnt in 2018 to enjoy solitude, peace, the quiet and my awesome company.
  17. I also learnt something which I call “positive guilt”. To continuously articulate something so much so that you finally end up doing it. It worked for me with travel and to some extent with my savings.
  18. I also found out that (some) women and small groups of people will always motivate one another and have each other’s best interests.
  19. I also learnt that competition is not bad. Not only are you expected to work better, harder and smarter but there is more often than not enough to go around (and share even with your competition).
  20. I learnt that kindness towards others will never get you in trouble. Even if it does at that moment, your kindness will reflect back when you perhaps least expect it.
  21. I learnt that you can be more useful than you think you might be.
  22. I embraced the joy of trying to sleep before midnight and waking up with the sun rising.
  23. With this new morning routine, I also began to appreciate sunrises better.
  24. Speaking of the sun, I was fortunate enough to see multiple sunsets from different parts of the world.
  25. Speaking of travel, I learnt so much from travelling while on work and for fun (mostly on my own) and I also realised that travelling doesn’t have to always involve a visa stamp.
  26. In 2018, I reaffirmed (to myself) that happiness is a non-permanent state of being. I also if you are unhappy and find yourself in the pits, to always remember that there is nowhere to go but up.
  27. Speaking of happiness, the year also taught me to not miss things. I learnt that if you never had something you not only never knew what it would have felt like but you also wouldn’t miss anyway.
  28. Finally, I learnt that regardless of what happens, the show must and will always continue to go on.

#ThinkSunny

Week Thirty-Five: Giving Thanks

It’s been over a year (and more!) since I visited this side of town and I’m just going to continue from the last week because no one has time to be setting up new processes.

It has been a long time and a lot has happened, duh. But let’s not try to get too ambitious and call this a weekly practice, but a frequent practice of being thankful to what’s around me.

  1. The (newish) construction of our daily use by-road – first things first, I’m in my late 20s and I get super excited about new shortcuts and homeware purchases. Having said that, this particular road, while may not necessarily be a ‘shortcut’ in the traditional sense, does help us avoid a fuck tonne of traffic. It’s always been a really bad road and I silently (always) apologise to my tires and the misery I put it through. But recently they had reconstructed it and also added the much-needed speed breakers to avoid us getting too fast and too furious on it. But yay, for new roads!
  2. My mum and I finally went to the homeware-some-clothes-type discount store in my area. True enough we shopped quite a bit but these included some birthday presents and many 2019 Eid presents too. Woohoo.
  3. I’m thankful for mad productivity levels and the shitty days too. I’ve realised that my productivity is not consistent. I’m pretty sure that I’m not burning out and I take extra-precaution not to but somehow, Monday and Tuesday work out great and then Wednesday turns out to be an utter-fucking-flop. But still, I manage to bounce back on Thursday so all’s well.
  4. Speaking of bouncing (I love that epic transition though), I began a rebounding class! It looks a little like this. Or at least I look a little like this.
    It’s balls of fun. It’s not HIIT and in fact is a low-intensity workout that works well for me. I do these classes with Playmore and I’m quite thrilled with myself for having gone for a few classes, yay.
  5. My sister is back! I know all of you must think that I complain about Akki a lot, lol, I do. But then I realise that I do that a lot about the people closest to me. I analyse and justify my reasons for doing so as being me being able to show that I can live without anyone when in actuality I probably can’t. Haha.

Giving Thanks

I hope all of you have a good week ahead!

#ThinkSunny

Let’s Talk about Suicide in Urban Areas

It was World Suicide Prevention Day yesterday and trust me if we don’t talk about it, then, when will we?

NB – There are tonnes of disclaimers in the following text just so we don’t offend anyone you know.

I don’t mean to sound like a negative nanny by the end of it, but like most causes in life, I feel as though it’s becoming one of those where the privilege is allowed to speak of or share their opinions on. Or even become ambassador’s (for its prevention) of.

If you ask all the kids of my generation and maybe the ones before or after, they’ve all probably either contemplated suicide or even attempted at it. I mean, does writing ‘farewell notes’ before an attempt and then waking up the next morning only to realise that the attempt was not successful sounds familiar to you?

See that’s the sad thing about it. I mean I thought it was only limited to cancer, AIDS and maybe Alzheimer’s and similar things – please note that I mean neither to offend nor belittle anyone undergoing any of these conditions, in this day and age of everyone being offended with everything – where causes were overtaken by celebrities and all. See, I know the benefit of having celebrity endorsements. The cause gets more money towards research, development and those suffering from it etc.

But what about those who try to speak about it but are sidelined by the people who are more eloquent on the subject?

It’s like why we don’t talk about marital rape in urban areas.

Or when we don’t talk about rape of younger children within a family.

Because it’s shameful.

Because the voice of the supposed privileged doesn’t matter in this instance. Because like most things, many of these situations cater to the underprivileged. Like I said, not to be a negative nanny or to diss those who were not born into privilege but I realised during this conversation of suicide and suicide prevention, why can’t those who are born into privilege speak about it? And by privilege, I mean the English speaking, credit card using, yes, I have some #Wanderlust on my Instagram feed community.

While our reasoning for committing suicide are probably not the same – no our crops did not fail and no, we probably don’t have money lenders knocking on our doors. But perhaps we are lonely and in need of someone to talk to. I mean everyone around us, including our own selves, continue to hustle hard in this day and age when petrol prices increase when you go to sleep at night.

Can you not judge?

Like my friend said, can you give us something other than prayers?

We would like someone to listen.

Maybe tell us we are not mad. Or that we are a little mad and it’s okay to be mad. That they are mad too.

We would like someone to make us feel accepted. Welcomed.

You know, make us that cup of tea with a little bit of extra sugar, just so we know that you like us.

Taken off Google

Yes, we come from privilege. But that doesn’t mean we do not want to be heard.