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Posted in Renuka, Self-Love

Love Myself? Ok.

Girl, you know you very fat ah; why you don’t diet?

The Lady in McDonald’s, Jan 2019

It’s not the first time, and I’m sure it won’t be the last that I hear some mangled version of this line. I don’t know when these comments began or how long I’ve been putting up with them that I barely react in public anymore (it’s a whole other story in private of course). A snide comeback waits ready to be fired from years of practice. How many years? I couldn’t tell you. Frankly, I don’t even want to think about it.

Back to the quote at the start of this post. There are so many things wrong with that line that I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, the last time this person saw me was years ago, and we don’t even have any proper relationship to speak of, so why is she talking to me about my body? She has no idea about what’s going on in my life, no idea what I’m doing, who I am as a person, what I love or hate. She literally doesn’t know me except as the girl who is part of that Indian family that’s always in McDonald’s – where she works.

So, here I am, surrounded by my entire family – who are all wonderful and what some would call “socially acceptable” size-wise (although no one knows the insecurities that each of these individuals have about their owns bodies). And with a smile she decides to greet me with this beautiful opener just as I am about to dig into my Filet-o-Fish (and Iced latte with no syrup – cos too much of that sugar will do you diiiiirty, girl). Complete with her arms spread out in a mocking pantomime of how big I am. Really?

Honestly – I’m hungry, so my reaction is just a dismissive – “Yah”, as I continue to bite into my burger with a little less enthusiasm then when I first opened the box. Then out of the blue, I am struck sideways by a voice coming from my left side. My dear aunt, who loves me and wants nothing but the best for me, decides that she has to defend me in her own misguided, sweet and caring way.

“Yah la, she got diet la. But still like that”.

With a simple shrug and a wave of her hands as if to say “what to do?”. As if, this is necessary information. As if I need to be defended. As if my very existence itself is a giant question mark.

I’m struck dumb. A rare occurrence, if I say so myself. Where did this come from? Why would you do that?? I want to turn to my aunt and yell at her for her nonchalant answer. I want to get up and leave. I want to melt into the floor and become one with the ugly grey tiles, or teleport away from this embarrassment of a conversation. Instead I remember that it’s 2019, and get annoyed that I still can’t teleport. And I – I keep quiet.

Do not confuse my quiet with resignation though. This is a different type of quiet. This is the type of contemplative quiet that comes once in a blue moon for me – someone who often lashes out before she thinks. This is the type of quiet that is often followed by determination and a call to action.

This is a long-drawn, victorious quiet for I decide then and there – I’m done. I’m done having to be the only one having my food choices questioned while everyone else around me is eating equally as unhealthily.

I’m done having to defend myself and my body. I’m done having others feel the need to defend my body. No more.

I’m done.

And I’m ready.

I’m ready to love myself, and I’m ready to love my body.

My body – you hold all of me that’s both beautiful and unsightly. You hide the shy child that’s inside me that few get to see. You are hardened from multiple battles – surgeries, self-harm, slips and falls, snide remarks and hate – so much hate. A short lifetime spent building walls – a jovial and outgoing exterior cemented with all the hate, to distract them from the constant and on-going chaos inside.

Today I choose to tell my body this: You did well. 

You are amazing and I thank you for staying strong despite everything I put you through. I thank you for continuing to love me when all I showed you was hate.

Thank you. And I’m here for you now. I love you and I will love myself – even if no one else understands. Even when the whole world is confused with the idea of me daring to love this fat, imperfect body. No one else will have that power over my body again because I choose me and –

I love you, Renuka.

Image: Daan Stevens on Unsplash

Posted in Anittha, Thoughts&Revelations

Rock Bottom is Solid Foundation

Hi, my name is Anittha.

I am a writer, teacher, obsessive dog-mum, avid reader, Netflix binger, and ocean enthusiast.

Ocean enthusiast is just my really bratty way of saying that I love being in the water. Floating in it and staring up at the sky is the closest I have ever gotten to peace and tranquillity.

I am also a new entrant into the blogosphere.

In four months, I will be making my unapologetic goodbye to my twenties with my middle fingers raised in salute. My twenties were not kind to me or rather, I wasn’t taking care of myself during these exceedingly tumultuous years.

I had zero direction and somehow managed to stumble across every narcissist in a five-kilometre radius. I put everyone before me because their validation of me was more important than my own. I turned my back on my health and fitness and was fully dependant on others for my own happiness. I was truly lost. A Dora-the-Explorer-like map would not have led me to salvation because I didn’t even know I was lost. That’s what happens when you spend all your time convincing yourself that you’re okay when you’re really not.

But the heart is limited. It can only hold so much pain before it rebels against your choices and demands you take a closer look at your life. My heart staged this great rebellion a year ago. I call this rebellion Rock Bottom.

The beautiful thing about Rock Bottom is that its solid foundation. Nothing is as honest as Rock Bottom. I took a real look at my life. The kind of look that hurts your soul more than your eyes. I made a few changes.

The first one was to stop second-guessing myself about my writing. It wasn’t doing me any favours. The second one was to focus on my life only one day at a time. Tomorrow can wait till tomorrow. The third change was to reconnect and get to know me, regardless of where it will take me.

The third change is by far the most important to me. I’ve realized that the most important thing we can do for ourselves is to take time to really listen and love ourselves – and not just sexually (heh heh).

Allowing myself to say no to people without guilt, turning off my greedy phone and really figuring out what I need for my personal happiness has laid out a whole new possibility for me. For the first time, I can see a life for myself that will be filled primarily with things that add beauty and joy to my life.

But it’s not enough to see this every now and then or only when I’m in a good mood. No. I believe the trick is to show up fully in our individual lives every day. As our own cheerleader. Pom-poms in the air. Cute little uniform. Perfectly executed cartwheels.

Like Renuka, I have a bunch of things in mind that I will like to accomplish this year. But one stands out among the rest and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do but kept putting off to some unforeseeable future date.

But I’m entering a new chapter in life where I want to attack life. In a loving way. Perhaps attack is the wrong word but I’m sure you get my point.

I want to run a full marathon. For me, doing it will be the biggest challenge I’ve set myself so far. Running 42.195-kilometres may be just another Tuesday to some but for me, it’s a testament to how much I would have grown. Preparing for something like this requires a strict training schedule, eating the right foods, stretching and getting enough rest. It means saying no more than yes to alcohol. It means saying no to hanging out late at night with my friends. It means fuelling my body properly. It means discipline. It means saying yes to myself and my goals again and again and again.

I’m determined to put myself first in my thirties. To allow myself the freedom and the joy of caring for my soul the way I care for the people I love. Crossing that finish line at the Standard Chartered Marathon in December will mean a whole year of making me happy first. An unprecedented move in my life.

I’ll give you guys updates along the way. Things I’ve learned, how my progress is going. Stuff like that. I figure since I’m going to accomplish something that’s so huge for me, I may as well have things to look back on when I cross that finish line. After all, as it’s plastered all over the Internet, the journey is far more important than the destination.

So, welcome to our blog and to our version of 2019. We love that you’re here and we hope that you check back in with us.

XOXO
Gossip Girl
Anittha

Image: _Mxsh_ on Unsplash.com

Posted in Renuka, Thoughts&Revelations

The first grey hair down there

I remember it like it was just yesterday (when in fact, it was about 4 days ago). It was a day just like any other on our sunny island – hot and humid as hell. It was also the second day of Chinese New Year – and I’m willing to bet a whole kilo of Fragrance Ba Kwa that none of my Chinese sisters were subjected to the same shocking discovery as myself on this day.

My first grey hair down there. (That sounds like a really crappy reality tv show, or the title of a rather unfortunate porno, now that I think about it.) It turned out to be just another day of self discovery – so I did what any sane person would do. I texted the full details to one of my best friends – Anittha. It was also the day I became the second honorary member of the “Grey P**** Hair Club”, whether I liked it or not.

Thus began the second month of the year I turn Thirty. I was prepared for adventure! Finally graduating! Breaking free from the corporate world! I definitely was not prepared to question my impending mortality after being forced to grapple with a sign of ageing that I had never even stopped to consider. Oh well. Life goes on.

Now that you’ve been introduced to me with a fact that even my family does not know of (I also just realised I managed to accidentally out the president of the GPH Club in that process – sorry fam), what more can I say that will even be of any interest? Let’s get down to business shall we?

When we began exploring the idea of a shared blog, Anittha and I honestly just wanted a common platform to share our voices. We have no idea where this will take us and how far we will go. The one thing I can guarantee though, is that this will be a space where we can unapologetically be ourselves and it will remain that way for anyone else who stumbles upon our safe little corner of the internet.

One other thing I wanted this blog to be was a space to document our thirties as well as a project that we each decide to take on every year. A project for self-improvement if you will. For myself, this year I will focus on self-love. It’s cheesy af, yes I know. But it’s something I have neglected for 29 years, and I refuse to let that number get to 30. This year I choose to love me, and to be grateful for who I am and how far I’ve come – for not too long ago I did not see myself reaching this age. I won’t go into details right now, but I just want to begin by thanking myself for staying strong and moving forward. This year, I want to take it further. I know I am strong – now let me use that strength to push my limits. This year, above all else – I will live by this motto:

In a society full of hate, I choose to love me.

And by choosing to love me, I’m ready to commit to doing whatever I’ve wanted to do without brushing it off with the flimsy excuse of “I’ll do it when I lose weight”. Screw that. This is the year I graduate, the year I experiment and pursue my dreams, the year I complete three 10ks, and the year I explore my spirituality. There’s so much to get done and I’m excited to get going. So stay tuned! (No, seriously stay tuned – my first 10k is in a week and I am terrified.)

Till next time, this has been your favourite tall brown girl ❤

Image: Timothy Meinberg on Unsplash.com

Posted in Joint Post, Self-Love

The Virgin Post

Hello there.

WELCOME TO BROWNGIRLSBYTE!

No, this isn’t a food blog, despite the dropdown menus and various food references. We just like food, alliteration and bad puns.

Regardless of how you got here (willfully, got forced into looking up our site by one of us or because you misspelled your favourite porn site) we are very glad to have you.

Our names are Renuka and Anittha. We’ve known each other a long time and hated each other for a tiny insignificant portion of that time. (Anittha is cackling at this; we may be banned from this coffee bean soon).

We are turning 30 in a tiny insignificant portion of time, and THE FEAR IS REAL – not because we don’t want to get older but because by many standards, our lives are not where they are supposed to be for 30-year-old brown girls – i.e. married, dealing with beautiful children and exasperating in-laws.

So, we’re going to set our own standards. This decade feels like it should be about what we truly resonate with. We expect there to be some changes, growth and a lot of discomfort as comfort zones are forced open. Luckily (we think so, anyway) you get to read all about it!

SCHEDULE

There will be one new post every Sunday from one of us. Renuka will start the ball rolling. Every few posts, the two of us will join forces and discuss something that we both want to talk about or care enough about. This could pertain to politics, travel or something we see that annoys, confuses or sparks joy in us.  Joint posts could also be about things we try together (i.e. sharing our hobbies). So, keep an eye out for Anittha setting her kitchen on fire and Renuka passing out from Insanity – the workout, that is.

EXPECTATIONS (OURS AND MAYBE YOURS AS WELL)

Essentially, the two of us have plenty of ideas, thoughts and feelings, just like you. And we want a space where we could talk them through, reason with them, explore them and share them with you.

We’ve made a pact this year. We’re determined to love ourselves completely. To love ourselves especially when the world demands otherwise. We’re thinking, doing and believing only in those things that honor the best in us. We invite you to do the same.

So, yeap. Instead of entering the next decade of our existence feeling powerless, we want to be fearless and shameless in pursuit of our dreams!

Side note, we only anticipate one reader, at best. So, this is going to be a 3-way conversation. Welcome. Have a seat at the table.

*pulls out chair and looks at you the way Gollum looked at the One Ring*

Image: Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash.com