To fully understand my story, I need to take you back to a time before I was born. My parents married young, my dad was a little younger, and he was in no way ready to be a parent. By the time that I was conceived, my dad was battling mental struggles of his own, I presume. Of course, there are always two sides to the story, but he had left our family from what I know.
When I was two, he decided to re-enter our lives, but not for long. I don't remember my dad, only the small fragments of stories that my mum would tell. My dad had abandoned us again, only this time, it was suicide.
For the longest time, I didn't understand that he had carried pain. As a little girl, you do not recognize that. You only know what is present in front of you. It must be because of you, right? So, you take your guilt and box it away deep inside of you.
Fast forward years later, I moved from Hong Kong to the UK. At the time, the town in which I grew up was predominately white. My family and I were the tiny minorities of Asians in the town, and I always felt different. I was made to feel different from the assumptions that people would make about me, to the verbal abuse I would encounter. It wasn't all bad, but there were definitely some challenges.
I was never taught ways to manage my mental health. My teen years were the toughest. I wanted so badly to fit in, which, as you can imagine, is pretty tricky growing up as an Asian in an almost all-white school. I was 15 when I tried to take my own life. Still, to this day, I do not know what had triggered it. Perhaps it was my failed attempts to fit in, or it was my overflowing emotions that finally got too much.
I wish I could say to my younger self that being different is a beautiful thing. I wish I could tell her how amazing she is and the things she will come to achieve.
I was in university when I discovered the practice of yoga. A friend of mine had been practising online, so I thought I would give it a go. From the moment I stepped on the mat, I was hooked.
My yoga mat gave me a safe haven to explore the emotions that I had locked away for so long. On my mat, I can fully express myself and release. My yoga practice gave me the courage to feel. When you are in a difficult position (asana), you are reminded that you can use your breath to take back control, a metaphor that you can use in life.
So now, I help others to understand their emotions too. I help others to create the space that they need to release anything that no longer serves them.
On the yoga mat, you may cry, you may laugh, or you might just breathe. The most important thing is that you are taking the time for yourself and choosing to be present.
I now feel grateful for my past traumas because I wouldn't have led to this path without them.