Sometimes I really dislike arts degrees. There are a multitude of answers when writing an essay. When I was studying biomedical science, fixated on pursing chemistry in some shape, I loved the fact that there were in fact correct answers. There was a clear demarcation between what was right and what was wrong.

Perhaps living life is much like an arts essay, there really is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer as to how we should live our lives. I suppose the basic qualities of being an honest person with integrity is a great start though.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Pexels.com

I look outside my window and I’m surrounded by mountains. Mountains covered in snow.

I truly started contemplating the option of not having kids when I began to think about the reasons why I wanted them to begin with. It all boiled down to one thought, I just wanted to be loved and needed unconditionally. There’s nobody more needy than a newborn baby. There was another selfish reason, although it was a less prominent motivation. I also wanted to feel something. To not feel cold. And maybe I am just that, a cold and disconnected person. It’s really quite funny how inescapable it is. We all end up like our parents in the end, no matter how hard we resist. No matter the years of therapy.

There is one thing I’ll never forget about being pregnant and perhaps it was the only thing I enjoyed about it. I can tell you exactly what it feels like to hear your baby’s heartbeat. It feels like you’re being revived.

It’s been awhile since I felt undesirable. In the wake of another breakup, I feel much more insecure about myself and my appearance. I’ve never really cared too much about my appearance. I loved swimming because it washed away all my anxieties. It drastically helped my cardiovascular health and endurance, which simultaneously kept me in shape. I began experimenting with makeup in my mid-teens and I loved the way it transformed my appearance. I still do. In saying this, over the past few years I haven’t cared about my appearance for awhile in terms of always wearing makeup 24/7. I’ve focused on a decent skincare routine but otherwise, it’s been on my mind sparingly. I think we all get a little too comfortable in relationships. May be to the point where we stop caring about our appearance.

I think there is a bit of a double standard though. I feel like women in society are pressured to look glamorous, fit and beautiful. Skincare and beauty industries are targeted towards enticing women to become consumers so they can become that glamorous, fit and beautiful woman that is Instagram famous worthy as deemed by societal expectations. I can’t lie, big corporate capitalists have gotten me hooked!

Let’s be honest, men don’t have the same expectations as women. Their potential only monthly expenditure is a gym membership to conform to societal expectations. For women, it’s a gym membership and all the other multitude of makeup tools and products which are deducted out of their bank accounts so they can maintain their appearance in order to be classified as beautiful. I think it’s quite sad that women are reduced to this as I personally disagree with societal expectations which pressure women to become consumers so they conform and become the ideal women as considered by the male gaze.

Photo by Benjamin Suter on Pexels.com

I’ve also decided to go back to therapy whenever I need it. Even if it potentially impacts my savings goals. I love the fact that I have been consistently going to therapy, however I’ve realised I’m not implementing changes I’ve discussed in those sessions. I’ve realised that I need a methodical approach to my sessions, outlining exactly what topic each particular session will be focused around and how to create and implement behavioural changes so I can see positive outcomes.

I have urges often to just say how I feel but in reality, no one cares for it. There’s an element of self-censorship and self-control required which is a task in itself. Just because we say we love someone, doesn’t mean that love will be reciprocated. Worse still, the level of commitment may not be reciprocated. Love isn’t enough, but surely effort is? I suppose the failure of my relationship is a good supporting case study to debunk this.

Although my year has started off rocky, I do think I can create something positive out of what’s happened. I mean, clearly I’ve still got a long way to go and this journey isn’t over. I’ve just got to accept that feeling down is okay. I’ve got to accept that I’ll probably feel a little uncomfortable for awhile. We all feel comfortable with something that’s familiar. I’ve just got to be okay with everything that’s unfamiliar.


27/02/22 – 11:08pm

The world is going crazy. I’m not even surprised anymore. Although I’m shaken by the political events unfolding, I’ve mentally prepared myself for the worst.

It’s been challenging these past few weeks, although I’m certain that my problems are minuscule compared to those who may have been displaced as a result of the invasion into Ukraine. I’ve been studying the consequences of conflict for about four years now and more often than not, the human consequences are almost always overlooked. I’ve lost a lot of faith in our world leaders who continually fail to help the people, often becoming bystanders to mass civilian casualties which could’ve been prevented if they had intervened.

My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people.

I would like to add here that Amnesty International has created a page to allow people to donate to provide assistance and relief to help the Ukrainian people.

I can feel the confidence wash away and all that’s left is depression. I’ve worked so hard to get out of this dark void and I don’t want to go back. I’ve overcome all the thoughts on self-harm and I deserve so much more than to be sucked back into this hole. I suppose there’s a lot of things I’ve been suppressing.

I’ve noticed for many people it takes awhile to be able to actually face their trauma. It took me 2-3 years to finally face the grief and trauma that I experienced when I was 19. Now as a 23 year old, I suppose nothing really has changed. Unravelling is good in many ways. Making ourselves vulnerable instead of pretending we’re okay is good. I want to keep improving by going to therapy and actually discussing what’s wrong. I want to be able to sleep at ease.

Thankfully I do have a good support system. I have friends and family who genuinely care about me, although it can be misguided at times. I have people to rant to about my thoughts and feelings which honestly makes the entire process much easier.

I guess one thing I’d like to discuss is that even when you’re in active therapy, it’s still easy to suppress or avoid vital topics that are necessary to face in order to heal. For over a year now I’ve been avoiding a few conversations with my therapist because I haven’t processed what exactly happened. I’m sure we’ve all been through something similar. I can recognise there are gaps in my memory created as a result of fear or, perhaps because the event was too traumatic that I decided to block most of it out.

For the past few weeks I’ve been writing. There are a few completed pieces but I still fear publishing them. I fear any potential backlash I may receive for being honest about my feelings around my own identity and how it’s been impacted and shaped being a woman of colour in Australia.

Writing has given me the ability to seriously work through trauma and grief. Writing forces me to look at the deep-rooted issues which keep infesting all areas of my life, like mold. Irrespective, I wouldn’t change a thing. The past few years have genuinely been transformative and I’m so lucky to have been able to access essential resources for my health and wellbeing.

After having gone through another breakup, I can genuinely say I gave it my all. I really do believe that loving someone, and being in a committed relationship is a choice. The world ‘soulmate’ is utter lies. People aren’t meant to be together, they work hard for a relationship and put in the effort to make it thrive and flourish long-term. People often believe that loyalty and devotion are expressed by not cheating on someone but I disagree. Loyalty and devotion go beyond infidelity. It’s about the commitment partners have to one another and themselves. No one is perfect and therefore, we’ve all got to put effort into ourselves in order for self-improvement to occur. At the same time, we’ve all got to put some kind of energy into our relationships so they can thrive. I suppose we have to draw a line somewhere, at what point do we decide to leave a relationship that negatively impacts our own health and wellbeing?

I look at my parents who have managed to make their marriage work for over 27 years and who are from completely different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Why have I been such a colossal failure in my own relationships? There must be a common theme in all of my relationships which ultimately led to there breakdown.

Now I’m single, I’m not exactly sure what I want out of life. I want a better future for myself but I can’t actually see myself in another relationship. I feel like a failure. May be I am still young and naïve. I’ve still got a long way to go on this journey.

My estranged father

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

My father is a man of many talents. He was a mechanical engineer and moved to various countries within Europe in his early 20s. I was always amazed by his ability to speak multiple languages and his once masculine figure only acted reinforce my perceptions that he was, at least in my youth, a powerhouse of energy and strength.

It has almost been 8 years since I last lived in a house with him and now the warmth that I once felt for him has diminished and we have become nothing but estranged to each other. I know my father through the stories told by my mother, or, through fragments of memories which creep back into the forefront of my mind in a rather unpredictable manner. Sometimes I might be drinking a cup of tea and reading a book and I’ll remember the time when he taught me how to ride a bicycle. I remember very vividly asking him to not let go of the bicycle. I assumed that he was running behind me the entire time, but by the time I got to the end of the driveway I realised he was gone. His absence in my life is all pervasive.

For so long he has been absent. From graduating high school to getting admission into a University. To travelling around Europe solo or getting a boyfriend. All the significant moments I’ve had in my very short life, he has been absent. The coldness left behind is a great contrast to the picture I put in this post. There is no warmth. The lack of his presence, however, does leave room for my imagination to work its magic. I can conjure him up to be anything in my head. It is only in my imagination that I feel close to him. It is only in my fragmented memories where I feel I have someone to call “dad”.

After his stroke in late 2017, and seeing him in early 2018, did my perception of him change drastically. The once strong man which I had seen as a child, then changed into someone who was grey-haired, wrinkled and disheveled. His fragility was astonishing and seeing him that way made me feel as if all the air in my body had left. The amount of care and compassion I feel for this old man is also inherently intwined with feelings of resentment and frustration. These mixed emotions aside, I know I cannot reject this part of myself. I am apart of him, and he is in me. I am stubborn like he is, maybe I even love studying as much as he did. By all the books in the family home, I assume so.

The is an ambiguous figure. As my mind tries to decipher what all these fragmented memories mean I also attempt to learn to accept that this relationship cannot be remedied. Like glass, our relationship was already precarious and fragile. Now broken, the pieces are scattered everywhere and some cannot be found. However, he lives in my memories from my childhood. When I am transported back into them, he is the vibrant man I once called dad.

overcoming my commitment issues

There’s something liberating in realising your own faults. For a long time I couldn’t be independent in relationships and struggled with severe commitment issues emanating from a place of unaddressed hurt and trauma.

I recently started dating and for the first time in my adult life I can honestly say I’ve overcome my commitment issues. I don’t want to play games. I don’t want anybody else. I just want to be in a committed relationship. Although I’ve only just begun dating someone, the point is that my intentions are clear. I know I could get hurt but jumping into the unknown is a necessity. Without it, we stifle our own growth and progression. This new-found sense of maturity has liberated me. I feel I’ve entered into a different realm, one in which I can truly embrace the variety of unknowns this world offers. I say offers because I do genuinely believe all unknowns offer us the potential to learn and grow from the experience, even if it’s an event which can be painful or scary.

Maturity means realising that each person you meet is distinct and different. Maturity means realising that dating and relationship require a balance of vulnerability and independence, both of which strengthen the basis of any connection shared between two people. Communication skills are essential to ensuring any relationship can thrive. Listening is equally as important. Most of my fears and insecurities have slowly faded into the background. I’m no longer driven by my envy. I’m not possessive or afraid.

I guess things change with age. I can’t describe to you this feeling. This feeling of wanting to be desired and wanted, but simultaneously knowing my own worth and that nothing will compromise my own self-respect.

Being in therapy has taught me a lot. Although I haven’t been to therapy in awhile, I’ve considered how deeply my childhood upbringing impacted my ability to fully commit myself to others. Recognising now as an adult that I no longer need to carry that burden around is liberating. I truly feel free to start this next chapter of my life. Accepting what has been and embracing the present is the way forward.

Social Media Break: From an Anti-socialite

I love this photo. It speaks volumes about how even with COVID-19 restrictions lifted, we (society) cannot find ways to get off our electronics or social media. After my health issues this year, I slowly started realising more and more about myself and how all of my passions that used to define me, eventually slowly started my mental health decline.

My passion and love for politics, my love for my university studies and my desire to change the world rapidly changed over the past few months. After studying The Holocaust for an entire semester, my outlook on life was bleak. I genuinely believe in all my heart now that even if a newer generation of young politicians find themselves in government, radical, systemic change is unlikely to occur.

Political, religious, ethnic, sex or class divides are too deeply entrenched into global societies. There will never be peace in Israel-Palestine or in Myanmar. Religious values encroaching upon governments can, will and have restricted women’s rights to easily access contraceptives or abortions (although this is not true for all countries).

I once defined myself by learning about global issues in an attempt to change them, to create a more unified global community. The realisation that I alone cannot do it hit me like a basketball to the face. Maybe it was my youth and naivete that drove me to such conclusions, either way, I don’t regret it. Although I realise now I’d much rather clean up the mess of politicians then to be one myself, it opened my eyes up to the hardships others experience and how I am lucky in the coin toss of the birth lottery.

I used to yearn to understand the lived experiences of others, others in Third World countries, those living under oppressive regimes or people who have experienced war or famine. I now understand that I will never be able to comprehend others, their heartbreak, loss or grief unless I myself am put into these extreme circumstances. How could I ever understand what it is like to slowly lose my child to famine or cholera? Simply reading about it is inadequate.

I have a deep appreciation for my degree. Although it is not complete yet, it has truly given my life so much more meaning. Knowledge is power. I will never take for granted all that I have learnt.

What I realised however, was that all the media do is post negative stories. Everyday, everywhere, my feeds on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook were full of only the bad events occurring. There were minimal signs or posts of positivity, eventually the thought of waking up made me feel dreadful. I do believe purging myself from social media has helped immensely with this.

Although I do not pretend there aren’t real issues in the world, I do believe taking a step back has helped me to take greater care with my mental health. Breaking out of bad habits which negatively impact my life will help. It already has.

Life is too precious and fragile to keep expecting change without working for it. As cliche as it sounds, my new goal is to live in the moment and embrace each day as it comes by.


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Lessons learnt from being hospitalised during the COVID-19 pandemic

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

After falling sick in August, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Melbourne, Victoria, one of Australia’s worst performing states in regards to COVID cases, I was hospitalised.

With fevers, chills, muscle aches to the point where I couldn’t sit up without being in excruciating pain, needless to say it was the most emotionally draining time of my life. During this period, I had a total of 7 COVID-19 swabs, all of which came back negative. Despite having at the time, 2 negative COVID-19 swabs, hospital doctors decided to put me in a COVID-19 ward, obviously where COVID positive patients were residing.

At this time, restrictions were tough and no family members or friends could visit patients. Although the view was amazing in the COVID-19 ward and I am genuinely thankful to all the doctors who helped me, I still have dreadful anxiety.

From August to September, I spent a total of around 20 days in hospital, watching too much daytime TV like Charmed and getting excited for FRIENDS episodes at around 6-7pm. After having multiple tests like an ultrasound on my legs, MRI for my brain, spine and legs, a PET Scan, CT scan and getting poked multiple times a day for blood. Additionally having a bone marrow biopsy, skin biopsy and lastly a muscle biopsy, needless to say the whole experience was exhausting emotionally for both myself, my family and loved ones.

I was forced to defer from my degree in order to manage my health issues and I lost 6kgs, to eventually gain back more weight due to depression and anxiety about a potential autoimmune disease diagnosis. What’s the worst part of it? There was no clear answer. I live with the anxiety that it could happen again and have to learn to embrace life and all of it’s uncertainties.

My anxiety spikes when I go out and see people without masks on, this overwhelming fear washes over me and I’m consumed by it. Fear that I will end up in there again, alone. Although I do not consider myself fully recovered and still have to deal with the colossal mess which is my life, it taught me a great deal about life.

Getting out of depression is like rock-climbing without all the safety equipment. You’ll most likely fall multiple times back into that empty chasm. You just have to keep trying. To all my fellow book-lovers out there, as Susan Jeffers would say, ‘Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway’.