I wrote and published my very first blog on 19th August 2016. 3 years ago. I remember having palpitations when I actually shared it on Facebook for the very first time. What would people think? I’m exposing my thoughts and feelings for every one to see – how will people respond? Actually a lot of people liked what I wrote and could relate to some of the things that I have experienced. At times my brother will call me up or text me when I have written about my father or our childhood and he’ll say, ‘I remember that happening so clearly!’ Or, ‘Did that really happen? I don’t remember that at all!’
Some people have asked me why I write.
How can I be so public about my feelings? Should I be baring my soul through blogs on Facebook?
I don’t have an answer to that one. I know that talking about feelings can be unbelievably embarrassing for some. I respect that.
If I wrote about my job, there is a chance that I would get some recognition amongst my peers. Perhaps gain more followers. Perhaps gain some sort of prominence. But I don’t write to achieve that.
I write because there are so many thoughts swimming around in my head, I need a way to articulate them. Every time I have written, it has felt as though I’ve managed to ease my own mind somewhat. Over the years I have written lots about my father. Getting those feelings out of my body and onto a screen has helped me to cope with my own grief – and in the same way ensure that his memory is never forgotten.
I’ve written about relationships between men and women, siblings and the most powerful, all consuming bond of all – the relationship with your own children.
Three years of blogging is quite good going – and I hope that I am able to keep writing for many more years to come. Sometimes I look at my daughters and hope that they will be able to read back on my blogs when they are older and gain some words of wisdom, or simply some comfort from their mother.
There are three things that I want to cover in this blog that I hope will help not just my daughters, but all daughters who read this.
When I was a little girl, I was lucky that I was good at school. I grasped things quickly. I was smart. But it was never enough. Why? Because whenever people met me, the first thing that they noticed was: a) I was overweight; b) I wore glasses. So random strangers in the South Asian community, felt that they had the right to tell me and my mother – she needs to lose weight. She’s not ugly – but she needs to lose weight otherwise she will never get married. Men don’t like fat girls.
No word of a lie. This began from the age of 8. I learned that I would never be good enough for anyone or anything because I was not slim. And so began the self loathing that refuses to go away.
As I grew older, the weight didn’t go, in fact it piled on. I did well academically – but I wasn’t able to communicate with men because I assumed that they would find me an object of ridicule. Why? Because I was fat.
Things changed when I moved away to London. I made friends who helped me to learn to love myself. Who encouraged me to go to the gym. Who made me love and recognise my own strengths and how much I had to offer the world. I didn’t need to impress men – they needed to impress me. I was smart, doing well in my career, owned my own property, a kind person…
I had moved away from narrow minded people who lived in a small pond and felt that it was their right to comment on a little girl’s appearance – away from the negativity, away from the toxicity, away from the comments such as, ‘She’s got a degree, is she getting married yet?’ Away from that, I was able to thrive and be who I am today.
My eldest is now the age I was when people began commenting on my appearance. When people began telling me that I wasn’t good enough. Those negative thoughts that I still battle with on a daily basis. But when it comes to my daughters – I go into tiger mode. First of all, if anyone is going to make negative comments about their appearance, they’re going to need an ambulance on hand because I won’t tolerate that nonsense from anyone. Secondly – they’re never going to be told that they are not good enough. There are times when we may not achieve what we want, things may not go our way, that is life. But it is never, never because they are not good enough.
The next thing I want to cover – exercise! I went to the gym yesterday and worked really hard. I worked so hard that my heart was thumping in my chest, my body was pouring with sweat and I was taking deep breaths to regulate my breathing. I looked at my reflection in the mirror and I smiled a huge, crazy grin. Luckily gyms are a bit like being on the tubes in London. Everyone avoids eye contact. No one wants to speak to one another. Everyone is in their own world, immersed in the motivational music blaring out of their headphones, or staring intently at their smartphones between exercises. So no one could see the crazy Asian woman smiling dorkishly at herself in the mirror. But the reason that I was smiling was because exercise makes you feel so incredibly happy. Sweating and aching and breathing – there’s a happiness in knowing that you’re making your body fitter and stronger and that hard work is fun.
So girls, ladies, women – whatever you are. Go to the gym, do your cardio and then lift weights. Exercise and burn your stress away. Exercise and focus on your breathing. Exercise and revel in how much stronger you are and how much easier it is to carry heavy objects. It is the best form of self investment and indulgence ever.
And this is really important. Stay away from horrible men. I’ve said this before in other blogs but I get incredibly annoyed and am full of contempt for women who claim that they are attracted to ‘bad boys’. Honestly, if you’re attracted to men who are misogynistic, who have a roving eye, who treat you badly – but happen to be vaguely handsome – then you’re a massive idiot who will experience a lifetime of pain.
The truth is, there are many, many good, kind, caring men out there. Many. Find them. Find the ones who will put you first. Find the ones who will take care of you when you are sick. Find the ones who find different ways to make you feel special. These men do exist.
Do not give the men who treat you badly and show you their true colours, the benefit of the doubt. They don’t deserve it. Neither do you. Someone who tells you that you’ve put on too much weight, who tells you to stop making a scene when you are questioning them about something, who tells you that you embarrass them – these people are dangerous. Don’t be with them. Why are you with them? What do you gain apart from heartache and heartbreak and not to mention a whole load of mental health issues?
The 8 year old me, who wore glasses and was overweight never imagined that one day I would be married to a kind, loving man, who actually looks after people’s eyes for a living. Who would never, ever make me feel fat or unattractive. Who would love me regardless of my size. Who admires what I do for a living and supports me in everything I do.
Daughters – there are many, many toxic people out there. Those who judge and tear down others. Avoid them. Recognise them and move away from them. Surround yourself with people who will build you up. Who will respect you. Find those people. There are so many of them out there. You will find them because you know – birds of a feather, flock together. If I was able to find happiness – anyone can!