Delight your palate with creative food. Engage in a fun and interactive culinary experience while learning to make traditional Indian sweets and savouries for Deepavali.
The Spirit of the season, Naran – 20th October at Clive Street ( 7 pm )
For the first time in the heartlands, a Campfire will be set up! Get up close and cosy with the spirit of the season, Naran. Bring your picnic mats, popcorn and sit around with your loved ones. Enjoy the campfire while watching the tale of Deepavali come to life.
Play Street After Dark – 3rd November at Clive Street ( 7pm )
Draw your favourite food on our little lamps in reminiscence of Deepavali and watch your glowing chain of creations conquer the darkness.
The street will artistically illuminate the darkness within, bringing a festive glow throughout the festival.
Movie Razzmatazz – 10th November, Promenade @ Indian Heritage Centre ( 7.30 pm)
In the midst of the Deepavali celebrations, an outdoor movie screening will be held for all. A great way to wind down with loved ones and welcome the weekend.
The Silk Roots, a Musical Interlude – 17th November, Promenade @ Indian Heritage Centre ( 7pm )
Inspired by the culture and spirit of the local community, The Silk Roots is a collective of talented composers from Singapore. Led by Raghavendran Rajasekaran performing the classical Indian flute, Shivanesh playing Indian percussions, Tim De Cotta playing the bass and Gildon playing the Pipa (a stringed Chinese instrument). Closing the Deepavali festival will be the spectacular art of fire dancing.
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT For my folks with Instagram accounts : there is a Boomerang competition for ALL to participate and a prize of $1000 to be won! All you have to do is :
Create a Boomerang image that best depicts the Deepavali festival. To take part, you must first Like the Facebook LISHA page, tag Lisha when you upload the Boomerang on Instagram and Facebook. Contest ends on the 5th of November so get creative!
Told you I would be back with more goodies! I hope my fellow Singaporeans take some time out to bask in these festive events, all in the name of relaxation I say 😉 And for our friends abroad who will happen to be here during any of the events described, feel free to attend and immerse yourself in these cultural experiences.
I myself will be attending a number of the events so you will see photographs of them, and hear about it from me! In the meantime of course, ‘regular’ blogging will commence so see you soon my loves xxxo
This is not a fashion post, sorry to disappoint. It’s a realistic glimpse into what these few months have been like.
A week.. or was it 2 weeks ago, time slips through my fingers these days and make no sense.. I had a breakdown. You know, the kind where you use your reserves until something inside snaps. And it came crashing down like a heatwave.
I prefer not to answer “How are you doing?” these days. It’s as if there is some expectation there from the person, to find out if I’m ‘over’ another depressive spell.
I am not okay and that is okay. There will be no facades. Those days of keeping up appearances to ease the discomfort of onlookers are gone.
Sure I hit a snag last year with busting the knee but it was a short one. This one feels all consuming.
I guess losing Hershey And trying to keep it together while facing social media backlash snapped the straw on this camel’s back.
In between curling up in bed and getting some sustenance during meals, I write to my therapist who I work with online. Which works better for me because the thought of dragging myself out of the apartment to see a therapist and interact with the world is not exactly reassuring.
As someone with chronic low grade depression otherwise known as Dysthymia, I make a concerted effort most of the time to banish the broody spells. But you do get beset with a major depressive episode more than the average person. So far I’ve been lucky that it’s reduced to once a year.
There were Years of a single episode. So I’ll take that progress and cherish it.
When you make a concerted effort to push yourself beyond the daily blues – meet people, be productive – it does take a little out of you because it Is an effort. So you go to bed wearier and wondering how you’ll do it again tomorrow but you take that leap of faith again and again everyday.
I give myself permission during this episode to be silent and to turn inwards. Not to make any important choices at this juncture. Not to make any plans. Setting very simple goals that will aid my daily functioning. I am listening in the silence. Accepting of the ebb and flow of pain in that silence.
Right now the most mundane efforts are victories. Writing this out is a victory.
When you’re not battling thoughts or emotions and have the ability to enunciate pain, that is indeed a victory.
I have been thinking about so much, too much lately. Am I a good human being? What am I unlearning? Where is this headed? Will I always have to keep these walls so high around me?
I’ve also been thinking about what I’d like to change.
I’d like not to be scared and tired. I’d like not to look down on myself. I’d like to construct a future and actually see it materialise. I’d like to stop seeing my failures as weakness.
To give you some history : I have been living with depression since I was 16. I began seeking therapy and medication from the age of 20. Didn’t stick to either forms of treatment for longer than 2 years at a time. Finally sought treatment again in 2009 and I’ve been on anti depressants ever since. The medication evens out the sadness by numbing it which is a boon and a curse.
The improvements over the years have been vast. In fact, starting this blog really helped matters for the first four years or so. Things began to get a tad difficult the more invested I became into my work and I guess this is some kind of burnout coupled with grief.
I refuse to be exhausted by the weight of my identity. So here’s hoping the grey disposition will dissipate with some rest and care.
If you ever need to talk or vent, please know that I am always here to listen. My troubles may feel all consuming but I don’t let it get to a point of an over indulgence. Self care does not have to be entirely selfish.
I have been meaning to type this post out much earlier this year, but I suppose it needed more clarity, that I have gained as the months have passed by. I also do not doubt that I was still emotionally fraught over circumstances to be able to write this with finesse.
Some of you are aware of the surgery I underwent in February this year for knee (acl) reconstruction. Recovery and rehabilitation for that has taken up all of my time and energy this year, in order to attain mobility.
About a week ago, I found myself struggling to stand up from my couch due to sharp pains running down the spine, particularly at the lower back. It felt as if someone was pulling away the centre of gravity away from me, rendering me immobile. Even lying down was not bereft of pain.
It was uncannily like the time I was seized by the worst series of back spasms at the end of 2016, resulting in getting sped to the hospital in an ambulance. The pain was beyond anything I had ever experienced. This coming from someone who has lived with chronic pain since her early 20s. It took a full day at the hospital of being poked, prodded, x rayed to verify that this was brought on by Sciatica – pain at the leg that stems from the lower back, glutes and down the sciatic nerve found at the back of the leg. I found myself unable to do anything, except lay down to ease the tension and pain. Seeking physiotherapy made a remarkable difference. The sessions involved deep tissue massages, infrared treatment and electronic pulses. The relief from better pain management however was short-lived.
Just when it seemed like I was feeling better, I injured the knee. A month after ACL reconstruction surgery, I was dealt with a gnarly asthma attack. It has been one health scare after another since late 2016. And they are all of a life-altering nature, which further complicate my quality of life.
I am no stranger to leg injuries, having sustained 2 serious ones back in 2004 and 2006. Nor am I a stranger to chronic pain, chronic health conditions. But as I type this out right now, I cannot help but feel slightly defeated and exasperated.
The fluctuation of moods when coping with pain on a daily basis is not to be trifled with. Sometimes you feel as if you are in control of the illnesses and pain. Other times you fall into deep despair, or you rage against the cards you have been dealt with. And then there are the times when you feel numb, because it has just gotten way past your tolerance capacity.
Since the injury in 2004, it has been difficult to enunciate just how much pain and ailments can impact your life – your job, your moods, your relationships, your future. Because I seemed to bounce back after each injury, it was forgotten that I was still unable to function completely or be as mobile as before. Because I would push myself to meet friends, they assumed I must be doing much better than I said I was doing. They could not detect the discomfort or pain I was experiencing, and so I was Okay. That has been one of the hardest things to convey – unless it is an injury that actually requires me to use walking aids or be in the hospital, it must surely be manageable enough since I have been able to meet up, interact on social media without seeming bogged by pain.
Over the months of recovery from the knee mishap, I have gained myself fellow chronic pain and invisible illness friends on social media who actually empathise, and know the struggle firsthand. Nothing really cautions you about the drastic way your life will change when you are beset with pain, limited mobility and a compromised immune system. Unless you’re already living with these conditions, it is a challenge to put yourself in my shoes and truly comprehend the emotional, psychological strain it places on you.
As someone in her early 20s who took pride in being a woman on the move and a go-getter, it was humbling when I realised I would never be able to sustain a full time job because of the toll it would take on my injured feet. After the re-activation of my asthma due to adult chicken pox, it dawned on me that I was going to have to scale back from part time work due to the unpredictability of my condition.
My active lifestyle seemed to move further and further away from me. It took me a long time to finally concede to the fact that running would no longer be possible. Dancing the night away was to be a thing of the past. Walking for hours on end exploring the sights while on holiday was not possible. Forget about those things, even the littlest of daily to-do’s were a challenge to accomplish. With these changes to the lifestyle came changes to my personality. I began to shy away from attending gatherings or parties. I stopped taking buses and trains to avoid crowds. When struggling with a health flare, I practically hibernate in my bedroom and refuse to see or speak to anyone until the symptoms abate. My once sparkling eyes and jubilant smile were no longer there when I stared at the person in the mirror. It seemed as if the toll this was taking on my body was making me age exponentially. I turned to food and sleep for comfort. By the time my miscarriages happened in 2009, I had become an empty shell of the person I once knew.
Getting started on anti-depressants made a big difference. I felt more in control over my emotions and thought processing, which in turn helped me cope with health flare of the day, whatever it was. It really began to feel like I was once again gaining mastery over my life – I attained my Masters in Counselling after which I embarked upon Curves Become Her.
Unfortunately I find myself grappling with the invisible illnesses and injuries this year. While surviving the back spasms was no walk in the park, overcoming mental obstacles while seeking mobility for the knee was a mountain of a task. You would think that the years of managing pain and illness would prepare me for this. It does not work that way. I found myself swinging between clinging to hope for dear life to get me through my days and crying myself to sleep feeling desolate and isolated. I tried my best at keeping myself motivated for recovery, and sought online resources like The Mighty to turn to when I needed respite.
Months later after knee reconstruction surgery, I found myself a nice little routine and pace: Feed the pets, head to the gym to strengthen the knee, come home to a hot shower and read a book or articles. Take a nap and maybe head out in the evening for a cuppa, plan for blog posts in the near future before heading to bed. It felt like I was getting parts of me back I previously thought had been lost. But you really do not realise how tough and yet so fragile your constitution becomes after what seems like a decade of never ending health issues.
Those sharp stabbing pains down the spine suddenly had me spiralling down to the dark recesses of the mind where nothing good lingers. The loudest voice in there screaming into my head: I AM TIRED.
I intend to make this a regular series since it has taken such a big chunk out of my daily existence. Sharing, venting, finding answers – whatever you may want to call it. Just like plus size fashion and body positivity intersect on this blog, so will other elements that I shall introduce over time.
If you are living with chronic pain/illness, auto-immune illnesses and disability, do check out The Mighty for a place where you can actually feel less alone in your struggles. This is a suggestion from someone who knows the struggle, and this is not a sponsored post. As I find other resources while manoeuvring my way through pain flares and other ailments, I will be sure to share them with you.
I am ending this post with unanswered questions and open wounds, because that IS the reality of my life right now. I do not have the energy to hide behind false bravado when feeling burdened by the struggle.
Here is a topic you will not typically see on my blog but since this is a space where I voice out about matters that also matter to Me, I have decided to speak up on a topic very close to home.
April 23-29 of this year marks National Infertility Awareness Week. This is a campaign in the US founded by the organisation RESOLVE, the association for Infertility Awareness. While there may be some resources for me as a Singaporean in local news, the coverage and discussions are not nearly enough. So knowing that there are these amazing online resources I can reach out to when I am struggling is heartening. And I wanted to share this with you, because sharing is caring ❤ Well, most of the time.
Infertility can be a very lonely process. And media almost always seems to put the focus on women, despite the fact that men are just as likely to have infertility issues. In 2017, the onus is still on the woman to undergo fertility testing.
Society and cultural standards don’t help one bit either. In my personal experience, That aspect of infertility is actually more upsetting to me than the challenging process of trying conceive. As a Southasian woman who has been married for 10 years, hurtful questions and comments come up. The men don’t have these conversations among themselves but the women just don’t know when to stop having these ‘helpful’ pep talks. And everyone turns into an armchair OBGYN:
“Lose some weight and you’ll be able to conceive just fine”
“Have you tried Ayurveda? Or Traditional Chinese Medicine? Or traditional Malay medicine?”
“Don’t stress about it and it will happen.”
“Miscarriages are normal. Try again.”
“I don’t like kids and I don’t want kids. No big deal if you ask me. You’ve got your pets, no?”
Cultural and societal judgement aside, your heart hurts when you see everyone around you (well it sure seems like it sometimes) having babies. You ask yourself questions you really should not. You ask “Why do they deserve children more than me?”
But personal pain aside, infertility awareness is important to look at the big picture as well. IVF is not a walk in the park financially or physically. How is your insurance coverage when it comes to this? Do you even have insurance coverage for this? How do you go about planning and making it work? What are your other viable options and how can you access them?
At this point, I have stopped mulling over Adoption. It is a very very likely possibility that we will adopt. And that is a different route of infertility that needs to be spoken of, without taboo.
Miscarriages. I have had 2 of them. I know of many women who have had more but those 2 losses were scarring enough for me. Because you are given this little beacon of hope only to have it taken away. It is a pain I still have trouble concealing when mentioning it.
The How, What, Why of miscarriages need to be addressed. I live with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis. My monthly cycles are never easy. In fact, i was bleeding for 2 months straight at the end of last year because of a cyst. And the rest of my body is not exactly a wonderland. Carrying a child gets scarier to think about the older I grow because of the mounting injuries I am sustaining. Is it possible, of course it is. But It’s Complicated.
Once again, I leave you with a more personal piece of me on the blog. My hope is that you came away with a resource or two, or some knowledge on the matter if it is of interest to you. And just like I constantly remind myself, there IS hope and support out there for us budding parents. Please never hesitate to reach out if you want to.
Its my 35th birthday. I woke up early and a voice kept urging me to write. I call that voice my voice of divinity and maturity. So here I am.
I promised to fill you in on whats been going on. It’s not going to be a pretty post, although it isn’t all gloomy. Lets move chronologically, shall we? This will chart my personal life instead of the professional. The latter I will leave for an upcoming post, after the super duper belated blog anniversary post 🙂
This I recall speaking of so I will keep it concise. I was in a bad place emotionally, like my heart was giving way. And my lungs couldn’t cope as a result, as if my entire system was in fight or flight mode. So one very early morning, I found myself rushed to the hospital for a stubborn asthma attack. I had undergone the whole nebuliser shebang a day ago, but I was in much more physical pain and distress than usual. I recall sobbing while breathing raggedly on my way to the hospital, afraid and feeling miserable. My ribcage was inflamed, I was administered the nebuliser 4 times and it took me a month to breathe easy again. After that scare, I threw myself into work and put my sadness on hold. I needed the distractions to keep myself going.
I was approached by Cleo magazine Singapore to pen an article regarding feeling bikini ready as a plus size woman, and roped in two of my body positive friends in the region – Rani and Ratna – who co-own The Curve Cult, a plus size clothing store located in Far East Plaza. We had such a blast! Getting dolled up, posing with glee, feeling amazing after the photoshoot. We felt a mix of excitement and apprehension for the reception our images and article would receive. Personally, I was in a good place feeling the positivity of the girls and the hope that we would be contributing to something special for our folks who needed a push towards feeling body beautiful, swimsuit/bikini beautiful.
When the article hit the newsstands, we were finally allowed to share our excitement across social media and post our behind-the-scenes shots along with links to the article itself. We were realistic about expecting a backlash from trolls, but we weren’t prepared for the massive backlash And support. If you backtrack to that period in the blog, I divulge all details about that period – the media circus, the mayhem and the immense outpour of solidarity.
It was astounding to receive a worldwide response from calling out Instagram for not being upfront about their trigger-happy fat shaming population and their lack of consideration for fat folks’ experience on Instagram as a result of the deletion of our posts due to violations we did not commit. And this applies to Facebook just as much. Lets not forget Twitter too…Le sigh. The media coverage, the comments, the blocking of horrid fat shamers and fat fetishists took a toll on us three. I reckon that whole celebratory feeling after the article was published? That feeling lasted for One day. My inboxes across social media were filled to the brim with accusatory, hateful, supportive messages. It took me three months after the publication of the June Cleo mag edition to really notice that FINALLY, the attention was manageable and not wrecking my sleep or anxiety.
See the thing about me is, although I enjoy blogging – I will never get used to being the centre of attention. While I find myself placed in platforms where I lead, I much prefer being a collaborator, co-worker and part of the collective voice than being presented to the frontline. I have a lot to say and much more to get done, I am no one-trick pony. Being a fat body positive advocate is one facet of Curves Become Her. While I have not yet posted as often about the other intersections I am a proud part of, they will be brought to your attention as 2017 unravels.
The first half of 2016 took a great toll on me. While I pushed on with work and maintaining a clearer set of lungs, it was work on autopilot.
Sometime in July, our 9 year old Yorkshire-Terrier Dash simply stopped being able to move one day. That first vet visit was a shock to us when we were told he was probably paralysed for good. We were in unchartered waters, absolutely gobsmacked. My Facebook Hive mind came to my rescue – Francesca, Brittany, Courtney – they helped me find answers and get a second opinion. I put my writing on hold, dedicating myself to keeping an eye on Dash. He needed help expressing his bladder, he refused to eat or drink so he was syringe-fed twice daily, he needed to be moved several times a day to avoid getting sores. He was on strict bed rest but there is a reason he is named Dash lol, so I had to make sure he didn’t get over his head with wanting to trot along with our jack russell.
Miraculously, he began to stand a month later. Then he began to take a few tentative steps and our vet was just as stunned as we were – what was up with this fella? We chalked it up to a bad back sprain, and moved on.
Somewhere during the time I was caring for Dash and having a serious case of writer’s block, I decided I had to take a break at the year end. My nerves were shot. I spent days in bed feeling fatigued and unmotivated to do anything. As a blogger, I knew how risky that decision was going to be for me. Out of sight, Out of mind – that is how the attention span goes for people following our body of work. But, I was counting on my 4 solid years of dedication to the craft and the formation, fostering of lasting relationships to be there when I returned. I set the start date of that break for November 1st and tied some of the loose ends with my Diwali posts and Halloween post. By Diwali-ween, I was ready never to see social media again.
Ohh but it took a while to get it out of my system. You get so accustomed to checking your emails-facebook-instagram-twitter-tumblr before even getting out of bed, you don’t realise you have a ‘problem’. What really helped was staying over at my folks’ place while they were on a week long holiday in India. Chilling with Archana (younger sister), catching up on sleep. But something did not feel right with my health. I began to spontaneously bleed vaginally after my first day there and my lower back was acting up – the latter being a very normal symptom due to my years of living with PCOS and Endometriosis.
It was a sunny Friday and I was looking forward to an afternoon swim when it happened. I got up from the balcony chair to place my plate after breakfast to the kitchen sink. And I was sieged by the most painful sensations down my back. Thinking all I needed was some muscle pain relieving ointment, I applied it and lay in bed elevating my legs. The pain spread to my shoulders, creeped up the neck. My face was flush with the pain and I was quite literally beginning to see stars. I don’t typically do this, but I called Su and told him he needed to come back home and bring me to the doctor near our place. Getting dressed, sitting in a cab, walking to the clinic felt like hell on earth. The physician administered a tramadol injection and chalked this pain up to a back strain. One hell of a back strain!
We figured the tramadol shot would ease the pain, but it did the reverse. The back spasms began to clench in and out per minute and that walk back to my apartment is not something I will be forgetting. I had to stop and start breathing heavily because I was ready to pass out from the pain. I lay down in my bed and found no relief. I was gripping the metal headboard of my bed, sweat pouring down my forehead, afraid I was going to black out. 15 minutes of that and we decided this was an emergency, we called for an ambulance. Waited in immense pain for another 15 minutes, was transported on a stretcher gritting my teeth and trying not to lose consciousness. I was immediately sent for an X ray, administered another Tramadol injection and more medication. We stayed on in the hospital for 10 hours. When the doctors felt I was able to head home, they finally discharged me. Throughout the hospital stay, I slipped in and out of consciousness just like I did during the asthma attack in Feb. Scary stuff. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Sciatica, just to let you know why this happened.
Unable to walk/sit/stand/lie down, it was a living hell for all of November. It took me a week after the hospital visit before I could walk (still in tremendous pain). I had to be seated to bathe, I could not eat without flinching, getting up from the sofa/recliner/bed was hellish. We reached out to my physiotherapist friend Aparna for an appointment to hopefully get some pain management. She has been a God-send. After reviewing my posture, asking pertinent questions about my mobility, she finally had some answers that I needed to hear. Back in 2004, my right foot’s nerves and achilles tendon were severed, followed by nerve injury to my left foot in 2006. Mobility on my right foot is tentative – while I am able to stand and walk, the immense damage to the foot has affected the nerves connected to my entire right side. Same goes for the left, although that situation is less intense. So this was a long time coming. And stress definitely exacerbates it.
As for the pain from my head to shoulders – thats all stress. Heaps of it, like putting the weight of the world on them. So I have spent the past few weeks since starting physio doing the necessary stretches, keeping myself un-sedentary and changing my furniture. The first thing Aparna made me get was a proper workstation, one that will ensure my back and neck are supported and my shoulders or hands will not hurt as much.
This has been so helpful and important since I primarily work from home. Previously, I typed away in bed or slouched across the couch. As I type away now, my neck, shoulders, back muscles feel supported and I have an incline on the laptop that helps keep the arms less tensed. Next up will be changing my soft couch to a firmer one, my IKEA recliners to sturdier armchairs. All in good time.
As I made these changes, our jack russell Schatzi began to worry us with her inactivity. She is your typical Jack Russell – hyper, leaping and bolting around, sniffing every spot like a detective, chasing our 2 cats. So when I realised she wasn’t doing much of her naughty shenanigans, it was definitely cause for concern. Turns out, she had hurt her back and was diagnosed with sciatica – face palm. What a pair we make Schatz. So while I tended to my back, I tended to hers. Let me tell you trying to limit and restrain a Jack Russell is like pulling teeth. Similarly, she wouldn’t eat or drink for a while because she was in pain. After going through all that with Dash, we were more aware of how to best take care of her.
After all of those events, when the hubster started his month long break I was so relieved. Just to have someone with me at home, caring for our pooches together while sorting my health out. I still had loose ends to tie up with the blog so I did my stretches, did my best to get my game face on and get two fashion posts done. It took a lot out of me with each post but I pushed on. I needed to start easing myself back into blogger/writer mode, and I have had a lot of time to think about my 2017 blogger/writer goals.
We were all geared to get busy with planning outings and having some much needed fun when it happened again. Dash stopped moving. Part of me hoped it was just another back strain, part of me knew this was serious. Our suspicions were confirmed – he has sustained hind leg paralysis. Dash is a rescue pet like all of our pets and when he lived on the streets, he was run over by a car. The other stray dog was not as lucky, he passed away but Dash survived. When we adopted Dash, it had been a few months since the accident. His vertebra was damaged and we were very careful with him. We always have been, and we hoped his mobility would be okay but it looks like its caught up with him as age catches up.
This time around there was less weeping and less helplessness. We are fully aware of our responsibilities of caring for our paraplegic dog, who bless his heart is such a darling fighter. We have taken so many measures to keep him comfortable and we will get him a stroller as well as walking wheels (doggy wheelchair) in 2017.
With our senior 15 year old shih tzu Hershey, we are very realistic about his condition. Old age has taken away his mobility completely so we carry him to and fro, just like Dash. At first with Dash becoming paraplegic, I wanted to bawl all day and not go for physiotherapy but I have to take care of myself because my fur babies depend on me. As a first time cat and dog owner, this has been a fast track learning experience. Emotionally I cannot even express how it has been, but we keep a strong front. Hubster and I make for an amazing team 🙂
Last week, my mom sustained fractures in both her hands and is wearing splints. This has been a challenging year for mom’s health and that has had me worried as well.
All things considered, it has been Quite a year eh? Lets not forget the amazing musicians and actors we have lost this year oh my goodness my heart – Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, CARRIE FISHER (just yesterday). The world has been in disarray with bloodshed, violence and that orange man with a toupe.
I spent the first hour of my 35th birthday crying because I was thinking back to how this year had been. After which I fell into deep slumber. Woke up and that voice said – Write. So here I am, for better or worse. Trying to do the best I can.
I don’t like speculating or over-planning a new year. Realistically speaking, I know there will be more hurdles to come for year 35. But just like 34 it will have good days and good times.
I know pain in all its variations intimately. I understand its purpose well. And all I can say at this point is: