Growing up in a web of lies has meant that the truth has always been so important to me. Speaking it. Acting it. Uncovering it. Understanding it. Knowing it. Living it.
Growing up British Indian meant I had one foot in both worlds and never really knowing where I belonged. In England I was too Indian and when I would go to India I wasn't Indian enough. In England people didn't believe I belonged due to my brown skin and the 'strange' name I was given. I would be asked "where are you from" to which I would reply "England or Nottingham'' only to be asked "But where are you reaaallly from?" I tried to fit in with my white friends but there was always an unspoken difference that lingered. Meanwhile, during my travels to India, the locals knew I wasn't born there, despite my brown skin and 'no-longer-strange' name. I didn't even have to speak, they could tell from simply looking at me, and that's unsettling. To be in a land where everyone looks like you and still not feel like you belong.
I saw this pain, amongst other generational wounds and trauma, reflected in my extended family too and the Indian community around me, although it was never spoken about. Everyone was trying to uphold their Indian roots in a new land. Everyone was trying to hold on to their culture and traditions in a place that mocked and ridiculed them before repackaging them to suit the white lens and selling them to the masses. Everyone was trying to survive. And this translated to them trying to impress one another and portray this 'perfect' image, them lying about unnecessary things to make themselves look 'perfect' and better than the other, them keeping each other at arms length so no one would know how they were really feeling, what was really going on, that they weren't 'perfect', that they too were imperfectly human. All of this bakwas (nonsense) because everyone feared what others may say or think. "Lok kyah khenge" - am I right? *face palm*
I have enough perspective to know and accept that my family and wider family were doing the best they could with what they had and I am grateful for that. They have afforded me opportunities that they could have only dreamed of. They all had their own trauma to deal with. They all had their own childhood experiences to grapple with. No one is perfect.
It has taken me a long time to get to this place of acceptance. A lot of deep inner work to understand how my early life experiences have shaped my day-to-day; my thoughts, words, behaviours, actions and reactions. To unpack the impact this has had on me and how it influences who I am, how I see the world, how I interact with the world, how I carry myself and how I perceive myself. I have ridden the waves of many many uncomfortable emotions - anger, denial, sadness, frustration, dismissal, hatred, bitterness, confusion, disgust, disdain, resentment - the list goes on. Whilst I still battle with my 'good Indian girl' persona, with my people pleasing tendencies, with my need to be liked and not to rock the boat, with making myself uncomfortable to make others feel comfortable, I am in the process of rewriting my narrative, rewiring my brain and reclaiming my truth. I am unlearning and relearning. I am breaking generational patterns that do not serve me and creating ones that do. I am peeling back the layers and slowly coming home to myself.
My spiritual learning has been at the heart of this journey: yogic philosophy (specifically the Yamas, Niyamas and the five Kleśa), the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita (specifically understanding what Karma and Dharma actually are and how to practice them) and appreciating the cyclical nature of everything around me, including myself (specifically charting my menstrual cycle and using the observations to understand myself and my many bodies better). I am slowly embodying the both/and paradox; that we can feel & hold space for both/and e.g. sadness & happiness. Whilst this is no easy task it allows for more vibrance and flow in life. I am embodying satya. By speaking my truth, writing my truth and embodying my truth. My business is rooted in this principle - in truth, in holding space for others as they uncover their truth, in being truthful. My life is rooted in this principle. My entire being is rooted in this principle. Truth is all we have.
With love & gratitude,