It’s time to make self care a ritual. Over the last few years, I have experienced a new realm of growth, healing and breakthroughs in my life through self expression. I am committed to a future where Tamil individuals that have been impacted by mental health illness have a voice and no longer suffer in silence or shame.
Rock the Boat is a free health and wellness event on February 17th in Toronto featuring a panel of five female speakers. Four of the five speakers on this powerhouse panel are Tamil women. The intention of the event is to create a safe environment for open and engaging discussion on how to elevate health and wellness, in order to live a life of absolute possibilities. Self-expression without the fear of judgement is essential in living a powerfully authentic life.
The event will also explore mental health awareness in the Tamil community. Join us as we speculate on bold approaches to eradicating the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. Let`s commit to growth and healing within the Tamil community in our lifetime. Let’s commit to speaking our truth. Let’s ROCK the BOAT.
Rock the Boat: Health & Wellness Panel Discussion
February 17th at 2:30pm
Centre for Social Innovation (Annex)
720 Bathurst Street, Toronto ON
For many years, my own wellness journey often felt like being alone on a roller coaster in the middle of the ocean. Uncomfortable, unpredictable and terrifyingly alone. As if you could scream as loud as you wanted and no one would hear you. I had a comfortable childhood in Canada and accepted the “traditional” Tamil cultural values instilled by my family. At an early age, I suppressed my self-expression in favour of shutting up and not rocking the boat by any means. I was obsessed with maintaining an image of the “perfect” child to my parents and later, to extended family and community. I had equated perfection as a means to obtain love and acceptance. My ambitions and goals were always carefully calculated – I only tackled goals that I already knew I could excellence at. I avoided taking risks and lived a comfortable and safe life until I was eighteen. I fell in love for the first time and everything I had known about safety and certainty vanished instantly. My world was crushed when my partner was diagnosed with cancer shortly after we had started dating. I was now faced with far greater concerns than if my parents would accept my partner. Do I stay? Do I leave? Why was this happening to me? How would I support him when I was so afraid of losing him? What if someone finds out? What would people say?
I did stay – I chose love over fear. It was the biggest risk I had taken. After a long and aggressive battle against cancer, he passed away. There I was – twenty three and shattered. Even during those early hysterical moments following his death, I was gently reminded by others to be mindful of displaying my emotions so publicly. Despite the unfortunate situation that I was in, apparently it was important to remember how this may negatively affect my ability to get married later on if the community knew the details of my relationship. In that moment, I chose to silence my pain and suffering. I chose anger and resentment which further isolated myself from the community. I spent some of the darkest days of my life alone, disconnected from reality and trying to work through my pain on the roller coaster of my wellness. I created an internal story that the community would never understand the depths of my pain nor would it ever be acceptable to openly discuss mental health illnesses.
I have let go of the resentment through self care practices and taking responsibility in transforming my environment. I have learned to embrace the roller coaster and the importance of self expression for ones’ overall well being. Growth is uncomfortable. Self care is not always easy. Wellness and self care takes practice.