For the past couple of years my answer to the question of who I am has been the same.
“I am a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. I am hard working, honest and very dedicated. “
And that is because for the past few years I have been in and out of jobs and was asked this in every interview. Right now I have this line rehearsed to a T as I have been unemployed for the last 6 months. But in writing this blog I asked myself that same question. That is something I haven’t asked myself in a while. I felt it necessary to dig a little deeper not only to give my readers something to read about but to remind myself of who I am. So here goes….
I was born in a caribbean country to a very simple East Indian family. And when I say simple I mean simple in terms of we had simple things, the essentials. We had just enough to get by and pay our bills. But our lives was far from simple. The household was made up of people with different ideas and views about life and somehow everyone couldn’t find a way to co-exist. Most days you would just have to sacrifice the things you wanted just not to upset one another.
Our family tried to always be right.They stayed out of everyone’s way, trying not to step on any toes. And if someone inconvenienced us we just let them get away with it and quarrel amongst ourselves.We had a routine. Wake up, go to school or work, come home early, eat, watch news, do homework, sleep and repeat. Everyday. Once in 6 months we may go to the beach but somehow during the preparation someone would do something to get someone angry and the excitement quickly left.
After sometime my family dynamics changed. We went from an extended family to a patriarchal nuclear family. Not much changed though. Our lifestyle remained the same. My family didn’t believe in flogging but rather ruled by fear. You were trained to be afraid of everything. The greatest fear I had growing up was disappointing my parents. That fear was so intense I gave up everything that made me happy just to make them happy. ( This sort of led me into therapy later in my life but I’ll leave that to another post.) I was a very humble child. I didn’t ask for anything. I appreciated everything I got and I was very well behaved. I loved to eat, I still do. I have always been very detailed oriented and have this awareness that I can read people and situations and know exactly what would happen next. I definitely over think alot too. I’m smart and witty, very honest and I try to be logical as much as I can…..
I never really liked school I was just good at it. I mean, I wasn’t Isaac Newton smart but I could pass an exam without studying. I was always in the top 5 through out my pre University life. I love Mathematics and science. I quickly became all my teachers’ favourite.
Although I was well known in school for being smart, socially I was invisible. I had very little real friends and more of people whom I “just know.” Together with my overprotective parents, the chances of me maintaining friendships was slim. For me this wasn’t so much of a problem until I reached high school. In high school I remained quite timid. Afraid of my teachers and other students. Remember I told you how my parents trained me to be afraid of everything, well I was so afraid that I never volunteered or took part in anything. Soon it began affecting my studies. I started getting distracted in school. I began focussing on trying to fit it. I started shadowing the cool kids. Doing what they did. On some days I was still invisible to them and on others when they did notice me they would redicule me for trying to be something I wasn’t. My self-esteem and self confidence took quite a beating. Somehow I was able to scrape through high school with some good passes but mentally I was broken. It’s weird but my brain literally felt broken when I graduated. Like pieces of my head just disappeared. The little bit of joy I had wasn’t there anymore….
I started University a year after finishing high school. I thought maybe taking a year off school would help me but it didn’t. University required much more than just showing up to class. Intereacting with your peers and your lectures was extremely important. But I didn’t know how. So while everyone else collaborated and got assistance I would sit quietly in the back hoping that like in high school, somehow I’d pass. Well, I learned what it was to actually fail. Because I failed some courses and had to take an extra year. I tried improving my social life but my fears of rejection kept growing. I was always out of the loop. When we got assignments I would be lost and didnt have anyone to ask for help. Eventually I graduated University with a Bsc in Mathematics with a pass degree. The proudest day of my life but also with so much regret. I knew I was capable of getting honors. I knew I could have took part in the karate club, the cricket club the debate club. All these regrets I still hold on to even till this moment.
Me at 25 now
So in retrospect my childhood wasn’t bad. But it wasnt all that great either.It was uneventful and rather boring. I didn’t capatilize on opportunities to grow and mentally I was broken. I developed low self-esteem, low confidence, depression and an intolerance for stress. Writing this post was quite emotional for me as I remember how hard it was for me growing up. Now, after working different jobs and meeting new people it has gotten a little easier. I am still afraid and suffer from social anxiety, but I have reached a point where I atleast try. I believe I am more aware of myself and started practicing positive attitude and behavior changes. Counselling has helped me alot to realize my self worth and some of my fears. I have found myself going out more with my girlfriend and have seen great improvement in myself. However I think I have alot of work still to do. I have a drive to be successful and desire to be happy.I hope and I pray that one day it will get better and I’ll have that joy back in my life. And I could have friends and be part of something that gives me fullfilment.
To someone looking in from the outside they would say your parents gave you everything, you had food and books what more could you ask for? Well honestly that is true but why was it so tough for me? Did I lack proper guidance? Why do I feel as pieces of my life are missing? Why do I feel like I lost my way now? To you my readers I’d love for you to share your thoughts about my story…..until my next post Live Life Happy.