what is this ‘home’, you speak of?

yet again, I find myself leaving home in pursuit of new adventures…
sitting on a plane from halifax (my home for 4 years) to abu dhabi (my home for 18 years), i wonder:

what in fact makes a home? how does one define home?

i always considered abu dhabi to be my home. i mean, i was born there. i was raised there. everyone I loved lived there.
isn’t that what home is?

13567048_10157116011625444_6791006544770804518_n

abu dhabi, uae

then again, my parents are indian. i am indian. my passport is indian. the country seems foreign every time i visit, but  i am an indian citizen.
does citizenship mean home?

10885576_10155000895610444_6155467439904701730_n

mumbai, india

and then there’s canada, where i moved to 4 years ago. canada’s starting to feel more like home, and abu dhabi less so.

and that’s moderately terrifying

 

12524158_10156941482525444_5010953947795534025_n

halifax, ns

we evolve alongside the changes in our life and the decisions we make. and that’s a great thing. when people say “you’ve changed” (which happens a lot), i used to get offended, and often defensive. but why? yeah i’ve changed, and that’s probably a good thing, because the old me wouldn’t do well at the stage of life i’m at right now.
the circumstances, the place, my surroundings are entirely different. and i love it.

today, i’ve established that canada is home. somehow writing it on my blog makes it official… i’ve not only accepted it, but i couldn’t be happier. now that I’ve narrowed my personal ‘home’ down to one country, i only have to choose a province (yay?)

let’s talk about the process.
goodbyes suck. they’re tiresome and difficult, very much like first dates (they’re the worst). it’s unfortunate that the hunt for a home is almost always associated with goodbyes.

spending 4 years in halifax changed me. i grew, found myself, learned to love myself and found my passion. i made the best friends, memories, and all that makes leaving much harder. halifax will always be ‘a home’, but I couldn’t live there forever.
living in halifax would be taking the easy way out, and if you know me, you know that that won’t do. ‘settling’ is something i don’t ever intend on doing.

finding ‘home’ isn’t easy. and i don’t want the search to be easy.
moving is difficult, but living a life that is settled for, nope.

and so i’m on the move, onto my next destination. will it be my last? who knows. will it be the worst/best decision of my life? possibly yes, possibly no.

IMG_2114

next destination: vancouver, bc

but it’s a decision, it’s a risk, and it’s setting up the next stage of my life.

and i couldn’t be happier

XS or S? seriously?

so yesterday i spent a good 1.5 hrs at forever21 (shocker)
i was looking for a new pair of leggings because mine were old, worn out, and tearing on the inside of my thighs.

it took me a looong time to purchase the new pair because:

  1. i’m in a freaking cast. i’ve never appreciated the extra space in the fitting room for handicapped customers so much.
  2. i couldn’t pick between a size extra small (xs) or small (s)

except, i wasn’t in a dilemma about the size because they both fit so perfectly.

in fact, i only tried on the small (because that’s what my size is) and it fit great!
out of curiosity, i checked the label of the leggings i was wearing at the time

it was an extra small (cue dilemma & feelings of shame)

i stood at the rack for A WHILE, deciding whether to get the xs or s. the small fit really well, which makes sense because the xs i was wearing was tearing! wasn’t it obvious?

the fact that my size went from xs to s was just something i struggled to accept. i wanted to get the xs just so that it meant i was still “extra small”.

what i wasn’t thinking about was that i bought those xs leggings when i was starving myself, throwing up, and when a size small was “too large”. i gained weight since then, and that’s a good thing.

instead of being happy about the fact that i was back to my regular size (meaning i’m now healthier than i was before), i stood there ashamed.

i write this to demonstrate the ongoing struggle in dealing with my eating disorder symptoms. it doesn’t go away overnight.

i take each day as it comes, and still have moments where i struggle, and that’s okay. 

i’m here now, and guess what?
i now have a new pair of size SMALL leggings 🙂 

no self-love in the mirror pt.2

[see no self-love in the mirror pt.1 before reading]

the first part to this story ended with me completing the insanity workout, and losing all the weight i gained. but it didn’t quite stop there.

eating healthy, exercising, that’s all great. i loved the results i was seeing, but i didn’t know where to draw the line. setting unrealistic goals is a killer.

soon after, the exercise obsession was real. i loved what my new routine was doing to my body, but i would always find something that could be better (cue perfectionism and symptoms of borderline eating disorder).

i counted calories. my goals?
1. eat LESS calories than the required amount per day
2. burn MORE calories than i was consuming 

crazy right? 

i lost so much weight. i visited my brother and he could see my bones through my skin. he was afraid. i scared my loved ones, including my parents. but what scared (and still scares) me the most, is that i had (and still have) never been happier with how my body looked.

*i loved the way i looked, but hated the way i felt. i felt weak and had no energy.
i felt like this every.single.day.*

understandably, i couldn’t keep the weight off. that’s just not how it works (btw). after starving myself throughout the school year, i ate so much while on vacation (because i deserved it… right?), and started to “look healthy” again.

surprise, surprise. i was unhappy with my body again.

it really is a vicious cycle. and if i didn’t reach out to a health counsellor and psychiatrist, i probably would still be pedalling in circles. but i’m out of the loop. and i’m so happy.

—-

i thought this was a good time to write up pt.2 of my story, because with my foot in a cast i haven’t been able to exercise at all (i.e. i feel gross, fat, bloated etc.)

but i know i’ve grown. if i were in a cast 2 years ago, i would probably be starving myself.

today, i’m eating what i love. i cook healthy food. i eat out and eat what i love – yes, that includes fries, sushi, pizza, and all that good stuff (in moderation, duh).

i also unknowingly proved myself right in regards to the title of this 2-part blog post.

there is indeed no self-love in the mirror. 
when i was going through this period, i was offered suggestions to get rid of my mirror. it was like a form of evil. obviously, i couldn’t get rid of it.

today, i live in a home where i don’t have a full-length mirror in my room or bathroom.
i’ve never been happier. 

when i’m out and i catch a glance at my body – i feel happy! (that’s weird for me)
of course i have moments where i’m like ‘wow i look like crap‘, but that’s all of us, don’t lie.

love yourself, and take care of yourself. there’s only one of you in this world.

—-

also, in regards to food, i encourage those of you interested instagrammers to follow a few food bloggers that i LOVE. i don’t buy all the food/ingredients that they do (largely because they’re all organic and expensive), but the simplicity of real ingredients and real food will amaze you.

eating healthy is possible, easy, and stress-free! by using some of the ingredients they use, i find that whether or not i look better, i feel better.

shutthekaleup
thebalancedblonde
rachaelsgoodeats
rachlmansfield

(a few others but these are my faves!)

challenge brings learning

hi everyone!

it’s been a while (too long) that i’ve written a blog post, largely because i wanted to avoid ranting about how it’s been 5 weeks into being in a cast…
but i’ve had some motivation – you know who you are, so thank you and i love you.

if you’ve been following along (see “when one door closes…”), you’ll know that i’ve moved to a new city as of 3 weeks ago!
understandably, most of the questions i get asked on a daily basis are, “how are you liking the new place?” and “how’s the foot?”

it kinda sucks because i often have the same answer for both, because they depend so much on one another and well, progress is slow.

in short, my foot is to be in a cast for a minimum of 2 months. it’s not supposed to get wet, and i can’t run or jog for at least 3 months.
also – i live in a city where it rains at least 3 days at week, where walking is best way to explore the city, and where most people enjoy hiking.
i only know one other person here, and don’t work with anyone close to my age.

it’s been difficult, but it’s been okay. i’m here now, and i have to make the most of it while taking care of my mental (and obviously physical) health and wellbeing.

16700205_10158250747345444_1140996517_n

this post is to highlight a few things that i’ve learned so far:

  • it’s okay not to be perfect (a constant battle with myself)

being a perfectionist can be a killer. i find it so challenging to accept that i’m unable to do a lot of things. i feel weak. i struggle everyday to be okay with this. it’s pretty difficult to tell yourself that it’s “okay” that you have to cancel every potential plan of going out and meeting people because of weather, pain, or a lack of transportation.

  • don’t underestimate the beauty of familiarity and routine

it’s funny because before i moved, i couldn’t wait to move. i often found myself wishing to get away from the place i previously lived in. i thought i was bored, i needed something new, and i needed to meet new people (literally taking everything for granted). while i still enjoy new experiences and new people, i wish i embraced the comfort of my previous home, because right now, i’m pretty lost.

  • don’t underestimate having friends and family nearby

as a girl in her 20s, i’m sure others can also identify with wanting to go somewhere new, far, and exciting, away from family and friends. starting fresh. i did this in 2013, and now in 2017. except in 2013, i was 18 and surrounded by university students who were as lost as i was (oh and i also had two functional feet). right now, i’d give anything to be surrounded by friends and family.

  • even when you think you can’t do anything, you can do everything

unable to do most things i love doing, i’ve been able to practice a lot of self-care, something i’ve always struggled with when faced with challenges. things that i made no time for before like cooking, watching movies, writing, pampering myself, planning trips, and even just lying down makes me happy. i’ve also been actively trying not to dwell on everything that’s going bad, but focus on what’s going well (as you can imagine, it’s easier said than done).

hope everyone is having a wonderful february xo

 

 

realness

sometimes we try to put on a brave face for others when we don’t really need to… and i think that’s what i did in my last blog post.

i created this blog as a way to share my experiences, both good and bad, and most importantly, be real about it. i think the positivity i forced myself to see clouded my writing.

being positive about the whole fractured leg thing is definitely something i’ve been doing, and trying hard to do, but i failed to mention the challenges i’ve been experiencing.

although it’s only been 2 days, it’s been an exhausting 2 days so far. i’ve shed tears many times, and funny enough, it was only once because of the pain in my foot.

i’ve been feeling helpless, sad, frustrated and often feeling sorry for myself. my wonderful parents have been taking the utmost care of me, and as grateful as i am, that’s sometimes difficult to see as well.

today i was fortunate to have some of my friends visit me, and bring real smiles and laughter that i had faked for the past two days for the sake of being brave. i love you all!

i won’t delete my previous blog post because i still stand by everything i said, but i should have been a little more real.

lots of pain, lots of tears, but lots of hope, love and happiness

bye january

i’m embarrassed that it’s been almost 2 months since i’ve written a post!

things have been quite busy, and i haven’t been very inspired lately.
little did i know that it’d take two fractured bones to get me going!

first of all, happy 2017. i am beyond excited for what this year has to offer, and i hope you are too! leaving the hardships behind, but carrying on the challenges that come my way, i’m excited for the journey this year has to offer.

if you know me, you know that i’m pretty prone to unlucky situations. and if you really know me, like my mother kindly pointed out, i’m pretty much jinxed for january’s.

BUT THAT’S OKAY, cause i’m here now, i’m alive, and all is well
(i.e. thank goodness january is only 31 days)
presenting january 2017: two fractured bones in my foot, the same day i was to travel and begin my new journey in Victoria, BC.

15934424_10158068037245444_614720345_n

this post isn’t because i want pity, or am sad. i just want to make clear that life is super duper unexpected, as was this accident. so don’t be disheartened if your resolutions don’t work out as you hoped, or if a crazy situation is thrown at you just when you thought your life was perfect.

embrace the challenges, laugh it off, and power through. it could always be worse. 

all i can say is, i’m glad i ditched my usual resolution of working out more – because this girl can’t run or jog for the next 3 months.

2017, i’m here now, and i’m ready.
come at me.

 

no self-love in the mirror pt.1

freshman 15? yeah, that’s a thing.
i was at a solid extra 10lbs (5kg) at the end of my first semester of university (2013).

the only thing i wasn’t aware of? that THAT’S OKAY.

gaining that weight hit me way harder than i thought it would have. clothes didn’t fit me & people noticed (if you’re from an indian family, you’ll know that no one’s afraid to point out weight gain or loss).

naturally, you’d expect by reading my blog, i was pretty hard on myself.
i’ve always been self-conscious about my looks, especially my body, and i’d say i’ve hidden these feelings pretty well so far.

soon after going back to school after christmas break, i started exercising.
but i was impatient. results were not appearing fast enough. 

unfortunately i succumbed to the dangers of the Internet. i ordered a bottle of “weight-loss” pills. i write this in quotation marks because SURPRISE! they don’t work.

it’s funny because i knew this, and you probably know this. but why do people do it?
i mean, i study health promotion… what was wrong with me?
my thoughts, that other person inside of me, was louder and much harsher than me.

i’d take a pill three times a day, and exercise everyday. one day at the gym,  i felt faint and had to go home early. my roommate knew something was wrong, and i confessed.
i was afraid.

15135678_10157788416725444_1684273088_n

i will always love her for what she did next. she took the bottle from me, and kept it on her desk for the entire semester. she purposely left it where it was visible, and she monitored the pills – making sure i didn’t take any. (i didn’t).

on my 19th birthday, she gave the bottle back to me – full. she wrote this message on it:
this is my gift for your birthday. now you are 19 and i am sure you are mature enough not to use these pills
you know who you are, and you might have changed my life (in more ways that this)!
needless to say, i flushed the pills down the toilet.

soon after, i began the Insanity workout with my best friend. it was the most intense and difficult workout i’ve ever done, and it worked. i lost all the weight.

i write this post not as a cheesy attempt to say that i hit rock bottom, and now i’m great again. i write it to show you it wasn’t easy, and still isn’t easy, but that’s okay.

today, i can’t say that i love my body, but i’ve accepted it and i’m happy.
i won’t lie; that unhealthy state was still the best i’ve felt in terms of my self-esteem.
but physically, i was worn out, tired, and weak.
today, i exercise. i eat what i love. i don’t count calories.
there are still goals that i hope to achieve, but i don’t obsess anymore.

look in the mirror less, love yourself & your body more.

when one door closes…

…another one (or four) opens.

sad, grateful, upset, excited, scared, fortunate, nostalgic – all the emotions this past week.

how is it that no matter how many open doors one is presented with, the fear of closing one always seems so big?

at least, that’s how i feel

in 6 weeks, i will be leaving what has been my second home for over 3 years – where i’ve made some of the best memories, friends and experiences in my life.

800px-halifaxnighttime

in 6 weeks, i will be preparing for a beautiful 4-month journey of opportunities that may frame my entire career – in yet another beautiful city for me to explore and make new memories in!

maxresdefault

my one internship during these 4 months has also become two internships – allowing me to gain experience from 4 organizations instead of 1. this is more than i could have ever dreamed of, and the excitement is unreal.

yet… the sadness i feel to leave my undergraduate family behind during my last four months of university – the heartbreak is very real! 

i found my best friend pretty upset the other day and i found myself thinking, “how am i supposed to be of help when i’m so far away? what if i’m this upset… what am i going to do without her in this strange new place?”

i’m finding it so difficult to spend the next 6 weeks closing this door bit-by-bit behind me. the fear inside of me is immense.
the pressure to make these 6 weeks the best, most memorable ones is hitting me.
the range of both positive and negative emotions that are bursting through me are proving to be quite difficult to deal with.

i’m trying really hard to deal with it through a positive lens. as Winnie the Pooh once said:

“how lucky i am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

——

sometimes it may seem selfish to be so upset about losing something, when you’ve been blessed with so much as well
IT’S NOT.
i’ve spent a lot of time feeling sad about things that affect me, and then criticize myself for prioritizing my feelings and my emotions.
i mean, i’m basically sad to leave, only to have these amazing opportunities thrown at me.
how is this not selfish?
because my sadness is important, and it’s important to me.
i’ve deemed my thoughts and feelings as irrelevant, small, and unimportant too many times. (and i still do this… i’m a work in progress, okay?)

if you share the same habits, this is for you
you are your own person. your feelings are important. your emotions are never too small. your happiness or sadness is significant.
acknowledge it. embrace it. don’t let anyone tell your otherwise.

jisajat

my strongest current

my grandmother, who passed away in August, 2015, is easily one of the strongest forms of current in my life (see ‘About’ page for better understanding on cryptic metaphor).

soon after her passing was when my difficult 10-month stretch began, and this played a large role in it. However, I know she was (and still is) with me the whole time.

one of the many reasons i’m here now.

note: i didn’t have a plan for this blog post; i just wanted one dedicated to her.

12494930_10156695597895444_143121075010528876_n

nana’s necklace – simple & beautiful as she was

ever since i was little, i’ve always wanted to help others – i’m 100% sure i inherited that from my grandma and my ma.
my mum wrote some beautiful words after my nana’s passing; here’s a piece of it that i truly love:

“My always smiling mum in her lifetime drew people to her with her great sense of humour, her kindness, her charitable works be it sewing the priests and altar servers vestments to sewing endless children dresses for the poor, with remnants of material that the entire neighbourhood gave her, or to new seminarians who needed monetary aid. All this even though she suffered a stroke more than 20 years ago which left her paralyzed on one side. She pulled herself out of this as she said she had to look after my father. Even in the last 10 days of her life, she never complained.”

because those 10 months of negativity, particularly about myself, began soon after her passing, it made it very difficult to seek help and talk to someone. i knew that my feelings were almost insignificant next to my grandmother’s death.

before i came crashing down, i used to talk to my nana after she passed, and i’m not ashamed. there were many times where i felt like she was the only one there, even though she physically wasn’t. i know she was looking down on me, because she guided me to here.

she was always proud of me and my charitable work, and i know she is proud of me now, helping as many people as i can through my degree in health promotion.

i love you nana, and i wouldn’t be here without you.

but how did you get through it?

the other day, my loving mother asked me a question that surprisingly no one had ever asked me since those difficult 10 months.

‘but how did you get through it? how did you return to your usual self?’

she asked me this, in an attempt to understand more about depression and extremely low self-esteem which, understandably, is confusing to many – even me.

i was shocked when i was asked this question, not because it’s a crazy question, but because i never thought about it myself.

when i did begin to think about it, i realized there wasn’t a concrete answer, and i don’t think there’s a definite point where i ‘got through it’. it was a process, and it may not have even ended yet. today, i’m happy. tomorrow, maybe i won’t be. today, i thank the world and the people around me for my happiness. i’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.

instead of posting a number of sad points of the 10 months, i’ve posted a number of happy pictures of when i started to feel better – when i reached unquestionable happiness.

here is a little attempt to answer her question:

img_6695

i ended those 10 months by spending my 21st birthday in San Francisco with family and friends. although still experiencing ups and downs, couldn’t have asked for a better birthday!

img_7033

soon after, coming back to my beautiful home away from home with my perfect friends, the happiness only grew.

img_6746-1

i started to truly appreciate everything and everyone around me, on a whole new level, and started to almost find it impossible to think negatively with so much beauty around me.

img_7034

i was fortunate enough to go back home to my family and friends and spend a full 2 months with them!

img_7414

i practiced lots of self-care, took time for myself to really reflect on the past 10 months, and to take everything positive from it that I possibly could, thinking back to my current, floats, and stones…

img_8343

my time at home consisted of making so many fun memories, both for myself, and with my loved ones!

img_2772

lastly, i had the opportunity to spend 20 days in wonderful Ecuador.

img_2929

i spent 10 days with one of my best friends, and had the chance to open my eyes to one of the few parts of the world I hadn’t been exposed to yet…

img_3035

I am still grateful and will always be, for my parents supporting my travel, and my best friend for showing me a trip of a lifetime – one that played an important role in ‘getting through it’.

14067674_10157371558365444_3798578783891883168_n

spending another 10 days helping provide healthcare in rural communities in Ecuador was probably what instilled the unquestionable part of the happiness i now feel

14095863_1178964595475914_1496086676528442448_n

it was a process, but one that i wouldn’t have changed for a quick pill for temporary happiness.

i love you mom! you and dad have stuck by me through it all – and i thank you for asking me the question that allowed me to further reflect on how far i’ve come 🙂