Though our paths crossed just over a year ago, it would seem I have known Gaayathri for a lifetime. I refer to Gaayathri as my "enabler" because she skill-fully enabled me to see possibilities and create realities out of my dreams. Though we have never met and actually live in 2 different continents (Europe and Australia), we connect and resonate on so many levels including having full time professional jobs while running our businesses as a side-hustle as well as supporting women to be the best version of themselves.
Gaayathri's story is long overdue and I'm glad to share her journey as the first for 2019. I hope her story spurs you on through out this year and beyond towards embracing your own authentic journey.
I grew up in Singapore, in an atmosphere I consider to be quite toxic due to serious social issues. I experienced racism and bullying, which started way back in kindergarten and continued on through my school years, and working life. I attribute this to being one of the minority groups (Indian) in Singapore. This made my childhood and young adult years incredibly difficult, as people were aggressive and treated me differently just because of the colour of my skin. I had very low self confidence and was an introverted individual who constantly avoided group settings.
I led a mediocre life and performed quite poorly at school for these reasons. I did not know how to speak up for myself and felt silenced, cornered and often powerless. Unfortunately, my parents did not help me much with dealing with this. My parents were incredibly nice people and avoided conflicts at all cost, even though they had lots of negativity directed at them as well. They advised me rather to be 'nice' and 'just let things be'. From a tender age, I became really isolated in my journey, not knowing who to turn to and not understanding what was actually happening.
However, I got an opportunity to pack my bags in my early twenties and headed to Australia where I did a Bachelors in Creative Arts. Though I was very nervous initially leaving my family, this became the single best thing I had ever done for myself. I have not looked back as a great support network opened up for me.
Finding great support enabled me to open myself up and embrace new possibilities in Australia and what greatly helped was being surrounded by positive people with whom I could share my struggles and pain with. Some lecturers and mentors at my University believed in my capabilities so much and helped me unlock my potential and inner barriers. These individuals cheered me on and I started seeing things in a whole new light such that I acquired a more grounded perspective of my world. I got to understand that racism and bullying were not the norm but that people can accept me for who I am regardless of my colour. With this new found belief, confidence and perspective, I started excelling in my studies and soon became one of the top students at University, which subsequently gave me a scholarship to kickstart my second degree in law.
I finally broke away from the vicious circle of negativity and allowed myself the space to truly live. I eventually came to the realization that I may not have control over what happens in my life, how people choose to react to me but I have full control over how I can respond or react in any situation. My philosophy in life: "Don'