Dating and Dickpics: Episode 12

As you can tell, my quest for love is still ongoing as we are now into our 12th episode of the tales of my tragic love life.

The past month has seen many different changes and dates. I have a new job which I’m looking forward to starting so I’ve been out and about a fair bit before I settle into the routine of the 9-5 life. I’m also writing a book! That’s the most exciting news, really. It’s going to take me a while but I’m chipping away at it every day. I’m actually shocked at the level of self-discipline I have. I mean, I’ve even held off watching Grey’s Anatomy because I dedicate my afternoons to writing, leaving evenings for watching TV.

meredith

It seems like I do have a story and it’s getting published

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the same luck in my love life. I gave a guy I dated once a second chance…and he blew it. He contacted me recently after going AWOL for a few months. I told him that yes we had chemistry, but I was still unsure about him because he just disappeared and went radio silent for months. He told me he still liked me and wanted to take me out on a date so I agreed. Everything was fine, even up until the night before. We were talking and he was saying just how much he was looking forward to seeing me the next day.

I woke up the next morning feeling positive. He hadn’t called or texted to say he couldn’t make it so the date was still happening. I picked out my outfit, got ready and headed off to the tube station to hop on the next train to King’s Cross. When I was around 10 minutes away from that tube stop, I texted him saying I was on time and I’d meet him at Covent Garden at 3.30pm like we had agreed.

Then shit hit the fan. He texted me, telling me not to ‘leave home’ when I clearly already had. He said he was still at work. I asked what time he was going to finish — if it was a couple of hours, I could easily kill time in a bar or something. No, he was going to finish at 5pm. I told him I could do some shopping and wait until he was ready, then we could just grab dinner and some drinks. He said no, that we should reschedule and he would be too tired and too moody to go on a date after work.

tumblr_m0dphhcxqz1rqfhi2o1_500

REALLY?

So let’s get this straight. He knows it takes me an hour to get to King’s Cross. He knew I would leave my house at 2.30pm. He didn’t inform me then that in fact, he couldn’t leave work at 1pm like his boss said he could. He would’ve known by 2.30pm that he was working late and couldn’t make the date. So why didn’t he inform me? I was livid. I’d wasted all that time and make up and he had actually stood me up. I’ve never been stood up in my life. I was so fuming that I was on the verge of tears (I do that annoying angry-cry thing). It was so rude, unacceptable and inconsiderate. I turned around and made my way back home. On my journey, I texted him and told him he shouldn’t dare to contact me again, that he’s a fuckboy and no, we won’t reschedule, because he’s rude and he can go to hell in a handcart. I actually wanted to let go and call him every name under the sun, but I’m too classy for that…somehow.

My mum and brother were super supportive. My brother, who is actually a really chilled out guy, said that he was appalled that I’d been stood up and that he was furious on my behalf. He also said that I should’ve joined him and his wife as they were only a few tube stops away and they would’ve gladly dished out tea and sympathy. However, I knew if I had taken them up on their generous offer, I probably would’ve burst into tears and I really just wanted to go home and get cuddles from my mum instead.

epic-hugs-friends-pikachu

My mum’s hugs are epic

I also went on a couple of dates with another guy, but that didn’t lead anywhere. Well, that was my decision really. I think that having been on so many first dates, I’ve fine-tuned my list of what I want from a guy and that means making tough decisions and not compromising on anything at all. I have high standards and people often remark that because of said high standards, I’ll probably be alone, but I’d rather be alone than settle for someone who makes me compromise on things that I really can’t compromise on. I still hold out some hope that I may find love, but it may take a lot longer than I thought. I could quite easily date someone who isn’t right for me for the sake of it, but that wouldn’t be fair to the other person. It’s better to be single and continue the search.

There is another man on the cards though. It’s all hush-hush at the moment and I won’t be spilling the tea any time soon. I don’t want to jinx it because this may actually have potential, but we’ll have to see what happens in due course.

In other news:

  • I’ve already started writing my book. It’s going pretty well, if I do say so myself.
  • I’m having a mini-staycation back in Exeter at the end of November (and if any of you are still there, hit me up so we can arrange something). I cannot wait to go back and rediscover my love for that place.
  • Unfortunately, there was a huge fire in Exeter which means I won’t be visiting one of my favourite places there because it’s been burnt down to a cinder. At least I’ll always have the memories.
  • Reminiscing about Exeter has made me realise just how hard it is to get decent cider in London. I’ll be drinking a lot of cider that weekend.
  • I’m working on Halloween so I can’t celebrate it, but I came to the conclusion that if I was celebrating, I’d have dressed up as The Joker.
raw

This is my aesthetic #goals

Three Lions

Sunday 3rd April was a fairly average day. It was a fairly pleasant Sunday. However, for sport aficionados, it was anything but ordinary; it was the T20 World Cup Final. The final showdown was between England and West Indies. Spoiler alert: the Windies won, with Brathwaite smashing four sixes in the final over to send Windies to a romping victory and their second in four years.

I was heartbroken for my downtrodden England. At one point, it looked as though we may win and that lady luck was on our side. And then it all fell apart. Still, I was shocked we had even made it to the final as we’d had to face the unbeaten New Zealand in the semis, so I was proud of our achievement of second place.

Like many cricket fans, I watched the match whilst tweeting away, showing my unwavering support for my team. It seems that amongst the British Asian community on Twitter, I stood out like a sore thumb.

It’s something I’ve noticed over a number of years: British Asians will support literally anyone other than England. It’s also something I’ve taken extremely personally and, when I’ve spoken to my peers about it, it’s also seen me being met with bafflement and surprise.

Firstly, I should probably clear up why I support England (although you’d think it would be common sense). I am English. I was born and raised in England. England (and the UK) has given me everything. It has nursed me when I was born, it has cared for me when I was ill and it has given me money whilst I was a child. It has educated me and helped me build a bright future for myself. I owe everything in my life to England. I am Indian by heritage, but I am English. That’s why I support England in any and every sport. If England get knocked out, I don’t then go and support India in the cricket. My team is out. I’ll watch the rest of the tournament but I don’t switch sides.

So imagine how conflicted I feel when I hear my peers, all of whom are born and raised in England, support the land of their parents and not the land that has given said parents the opportunity to build a better life for them and their children. Yes, that’s it. British Asians overwhelmingly support India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka over England.

I couldn’t wrap my head around it, so I decided to talk to some colleagues at my previous job who were around my age and definitely British born and bred. Likewise, they don’t understand my perspective. They can’t really explain to me why they refuse to support England. Their whole theory is that they identify as Asian first, British later. But I find that problematic in itself, especially when they say that they feel they have no need to be loyal or proud to be British. This country has indeed given their parents the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their kids, who have somehow reverted back to what their parents escaped. They have this unwavering loyalty to the land of their ancestors whilst simultaneously shitting on Britain from a great height.

Now I’m not saying that the British are perfect. My own father experienced racism when he moved to England in the 70s; he lived in East London and was the only turbaned person around the area of East Ham that he lived in. He saw EDL marches on the streets he frequented. He was a victim of casual racism. I know this. He’s resentful about the partition of India and the repercussions it had on his family. But if you asked him who he credits the life he has to, he would tell you without hesitation that he owes everything to England. We were discussing this at dinner a few weeks ago and he said, ‘It wasn’t my decision to come here, but I’m glad I did because I have a life that I could never have had in India because we were so poor. We had so much debt. I could never have paid it off if I’d stayed there. Now, I’ve paid off all the debts my family have, I can support them and I have a much better quality of life here.’ This, coming from a man who was born and raised in India. My dad spent the first 20 years of his life there. If anyone should have a shred of loyalty to an Asian country, it should be him. So why is it that the children of immigrants who have similar stories to my dad refuse to support England? Even my dad supports England.

I’m not trying to preach or convince anyone that they should/shouldn’t support one team over another. But I can’t understand why British Asians will vehemently support the land of their ancestors without even the slightest bit of acknowledgement to the land that has given them the best start in life. If they had been born in India, Pakistan etc., they wouldn’t have had even half of the opportunities that they have had because of the social welfare state that we have been raised on in Britain. They might not have even been able to get an education, considering you have to pay for school from a small age in India. What’s the crime in supporting England after your team has been knocked out? I’m sure the notion of supporting England from the get-go is too much for them, but why not support them after your team has left the competition?

One thing that is lacking from the British Asian community is pride in being British. A British passport commands respect and you can travel anywhere in the world without the any complications. A British passport opens doors to everywhere. A British passport means you have been raised with an education that many in the world envy. Being British means you have had more privileges than you would have had if you had been born and raised in India. Personally, I am extremely proud to be British; extremely proud to be English. I will always acknowledge my Indian heritage, but I am British, then Asian.

Inside My Mind: Depression (CultNoise)

15th May 2015

I wake up late. It’s gone 11am. My mum came in and woke me up nicely and kindly, as she does every day. She came into my room saying ‘Bub, get up, it’s gone 11! Sorry it’s so late!’ and patted me on the head and left to tend after my dad. My mum is extremely caring; it’s like her job to look after everyone at home. I woke up again. I’m alive again. I don’t want to leave my bed. I bury myself further underneath my duvet. I thought today was going to be different. I thought I’d wake up and not wish I was dead. Every day I wake up fearing that I will feel like this. Some days I don’t. Most days I do. I never want to get out of bed because if I’m asleep, I can’t feel sad.

Mum comes in again and I really have to get out of bed this time. I feel heavy with sadness and I don’t even know why. I brush my teeth and wash my face in a blur. I see my self harm scars on my arm and I’m tempted to open the bathroom cabinet and cut myself again, but I don’t. That’s one of the hardest things to resist because cutting takes the focus away from the internal struggle and pain I’m going through.

I go down for breakfast and I don’t want to eat. I always take it out on food, being an ex-anorexic. I don’t feel hungry. I don’t want to eat because I don’t want to be alive any more. Mum realises something is wrong and tries to talk to me about it. I just tell her how ‘I just feel sad, tired and I want to die’. Why do you always do this? Why do you burden her with how you feel? She’s your mother, does she really want to hear that you feel like shit? How does that make her feel? You fucking selfish piece of shit. You really would be better off dead. My dad is spouting rubbish in the background, making white noise as per usual and I get the overwhelming need to scream at him to shut up. I’m not tolerant of anyone or anything when I get in these moods. I feel suicidal and homicidal.

I can’t even explain why I’m sad. Nothing particularly awful has happened today and I don’t really have a reason to be sad. But this is the problem with depression – it has no reason or rationality. You just feel an overwhelming sense of sadness for no reason and you can’t even put it into words.

My parents leave to go shopping for the day and I’m left home alone, which just exacerbates the problem. Usually mum is around and I feel safe around her, but I’m left alone with my thoughts and I don’t know what to do with them. I feel like I should keep busy. I have a list of things to do when I’m at a loss as to what to do, but I have no motivation to do anything at all. Such is the vicious circle of depression: being busy actually helps take the focus off how rubbish you feel, but it’s hard to be motivated if you’re unemployed and depressed. I’m a temp so if there’s no need for me, I don’t work, which is what has happened for the last couple of weeks.

I spend the day thinking, which is awful because I overanalyse everything.

What was the point of you actually being alive? I mean, you went to university and can’t find a steady job. You’re never going to be successful. You’re never going to move out in a couple of years’ time like you said you would. You’re a failure. No one will ever love you. You’re unlovable. If you do get a job, it won’t be in the field you want and you’ll end up in some corporate field that you always said you wouldn’t go into and that’s your life made. You’ll never change the world like you dreamed, you’ll never be famous and help people like you said you would. You’ll be like a robot. And you’ll be alone forever because you’re too much of a failure and a disappointment for anyone to want you for anything other than a one night stand.

The day passes in a blur. I don’t even know what I did that day because the whole day was wasted in these overwhelming thoughts. My parents come home and my dad ends up being extremely triggering for me. Sometimes I feel as though he deliberately triggers me. I run upstairs and lock myself in my room, cuddling a fluffy toy for comfort. Mum comes in my room and again asks me what’s wrong. Holding back the tears, I tell her all the thoughts that have been going through my head all day and I tell her that they won’t stop and they won’t go away. I tell her I just want to die. She can only listen. She hugs me and then goes downstairs to start cooking dinner. I start crying uncontrollably. They’re soft, silent sobs, but they’re still there. I’ve tried not to cry all day, and I’ve failed. Another failure. That’s very much like you, Jaz.

I haven’t really eaten all day. I’m hungry, so I eat my chicken and rice as quickly as possible, which is good because dad is at the dinner table, being a constant trigger. I bolt my food and go to the living room, switch on the television and put on Eastenders, but I’m not really listening. I’m just sitting there whilst a picture moves around on TV. I just feel empty. I feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. There’s an all-encompassing sense of hopelessness about my life right now and I can’t shake it off. I know that tomorrow, I don’t have anything to do. All I can hope for is that I wake up feeling okay, unlike today. I’m falling apart and no one knows. When will this sadness ever end? I can’t take any more of it. I can’t live like this. Either I’m going to win or the depression is going to win. And right now, it’s a lot stronger than I am.

After mum has finished dinner and dad has gone to bed, mum comes and sits with me whilst I stare motionless into the tv. It’s the football. I should be excited, but I feel nothing. I either feel sad or I feel nothing. She tries to talk to me some more about how I feel and I tell her more. I tell her it feels as though the depression is a huge weight on my back which has me bent over double and the little stresses like not having a permanent job, living at home etc. are added weights and I’m on the brink of bowing under the pressure and just dying.

She gets it. She understands what I’m saying but it’s hard for her to relate. She says she wishes she could help, but other than take me to my GP for him to increase my dosage of antidepressants, she doesn’t know what she can do. She tells me I can have a drink if I want, because she feels sorry for me and thinks it might help ease the pain. So I agree. I pour a strong drink of vodka and drink away the pain. At least I’ll forget the pain for a few hours…

(Originally Published on CultNoise Magazine – currently under reconstruction)

No Children Allowed

It seems to happen in every young woman’s life. You’ll be sitting around with the girls, sipping some sort of boozy beverage and you’ll start talking about relationships. Then someone will mention marriage and start gushing over what they’d like their dream wedding to be like whilst wondering if their current partner could afford the extravagance. Then inevitably, the question of children pops up.

I’m only 21. I’ve just graduated and I have my whole adult life ahead of me. However, many people my age already know whether or not they want to get married and have kids. I know my stance on the subject. I was averse to the idea of marriage but I’m slowly coming round to it. After all, it’s a ceremony celebrating your love for one another and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that. Of course, it will not be a religious wedding. I feel that religion is something that belongs banished in the past; it complicates things more than it helps.

Kids? Absolutely not.

As soon as I say to my peers or anyone else that I am never having children, I’m met with gasps of shock and horror. According to most people and society in general, as a woman, I should be naturally maternal and have the innate desire to reproduce. It’s why I’m a woman; it’s why I have the capability to become pregnant. A lot of people call me selfish for not wanting to have children because of course, that’s the only reason women exist. Coming from an Asian background, the fact that I’m refusing to have children is absurd and strikes fear in any elder relative of mine. They can’t understand why I wouldn’t want to bring a child into this world.

One of the things that frustrates me the most is people telling me that I’m being selfish by not having children and that it’s…well, wrong. I think deciding not to reproduce is actually anything but selfish, particularly given my circumstances. I know what kind of person I am. I have no maternal inkling and I know that I could not look after a completely dependent human being. That child wouldn’t have a great life. I wouldn’t be able to love it. I may not even be able to handle being pregnant in the first place. As someone with a history of BDD and anorexia, the changes to my body during pregnancy may be too much to handle.

The main reason for not wanting to have children – other than the lack of desire to – is my mental health. My mental illnesses are hereditary. The majority of people on my mum’s side of my family have some sort of mental health problem, although some have gone largely undiagnosed due to cultural stigma which is still prevalent amongst Asian communities. My mum herself has suffered with depression for the majority of her life.  My dad’s side of the family is hardly promising either. There is a significant chance that if I had a child, they would have mental health problems too. Having been through hell and back because of such problems, I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I brought a child into this world and it had to suffer a fate similar to mine. I wouldn’t be able to handle the guilt and the strain that a serious mental health problem puts on a family.

I’m currently trying to dissuade my brother from having children because of the likelihood that one of his kids may have a mental health problem. He was barely surviving when I had anorexia because of the emotional toll it had on him. I dread to think how he’d fare if a child of his went through something even half as bad. He won’t listen though. He’ll have kids and one or more of them may suffer. Then he’ll regret it.

I’m smart enough not to make the mistake of having children in the first place. It’s not just my inherited mental health problems that have put me off. It’s the fact that the world we live in is no fairytale. Suffering is everywhere around us; you cannot escape it, even if you live in a prosperous country. You’ll see it on the news. You’ll experience it, either directly or indirectly. You’ll get sad about it and feel helpless because you can’t do anything to help anyone. There’s crime. You may be a victim of crime and the likelihood increases tenfold if you’re a woman. What is the point of bringing children into this world when they will inevitably suffer in one way or another? Isn’t that the truest form of cruelty? Your selfish desire to have children was so strong that rather than consider the misfortunes that may befall your child, you decided to go ahead anyway. I think it’s far less selfish not to have children. At least that way, you’re not bringing an innocent life into this world for it to be subjected to suffering.

I was recently confronted about adoption because obviously, the child would not genetically be mine so I wouldn’t have passed on my mental health problems to them (although there’s still a chance that they could develop mental health problems later in life). Here’s the thing. I have never, ever wanted to be a mother. Ever since I was a little girl, I always thought ‘I want to be like mummy but I don’t want to be a mummy’, because my mother is a strong, kind woman but I didn’t want to have children. I never played with baby dolls – in fact, my brother played with more dolls than I ever did. I did play with Barbie. I wanted to be Barbie. I remember getting a popstar Barbie when I was about three or four years old and I thought ‘I want to be this Barbie; she’s strong, successful and independent’. Of course, I didn’t know those words then, but I can now articulate the feeling that popstar Barbie instilled in me.

Even as I grew up, I found kids undesirable. I saw on Facebook how some people I knew from primary school were pregnant at 16 and even then, the idea of children seemed repulsive. The thing is, it doesn’t matter if the child is biologically mine or not. I couldn’t adopt. I do not want to be a mother. It has never featured in my plans for the future, nor will it ever do so. I do not want to look after a human. No part of bringing up a child sounds remotely appealing to me.

I’m assuming there is some biological reason behind people’s fixation and desire to have children. I can’t really understand it; I have none of that aforementioned maternal instinct. I still don’t see the need. Many people come up to me and say ‘but you’re a woman, you have to want kids’ like it’s unnatural not to want them or there must be something wrong with me for not wanting them. The argument of ‘you’re a woman, it’s in your nature, you were made to have children’ is, quite frankly, bullshit. It’s my body and I’ll do what I want with it. Since when did we invent time-travel and go back to the Middle Ages where you absolutely had to have kids if engaging in sexual intercourse? My body was made for many things and procreation is not one of those things. Personally, I feel as though my body was made to get me through the toughest, most gruelling of physical challenges, to store my brain which can learn so much and help me enrich my life and to house my organs so I can keep breathing. Yes, I have a vagina. I’m proud I have one. Yes, I can fall pregnant; that is merely a consequence of unprotected sex. The main function of my vagina is to be stimulated into orgasm. I see my vagina as a pleasure zone and no mini-human is ever going to come out of it. People keep saying that it’s natural to have children and that’s why I have a vagina. Well, my vagina begs to differ. If that was the only reason to have sex, why is it so pleasurable for women, more so when it’s protected and there’s barely any chance of falling pregnant?

Others say I’ll regret not having children and then it will be too late, similar to their argument that I’ll regret my tattoos because of the way they’ll look on my wrinkled skin in 40 years’ time. I don’t think I’ll ever regret not having a child who would most likely be doomed to a life on antidepressants if they survived those terrifying bouts of suicidal feelings. I’ll never regret not putting an innocent life in this hellhole of a world. I’ll never regret saving a life the heartache that I’ve experienced. Yes, that hypothetical child may have had a wonderful life and we’ll never know, but I’d rather be ‘selfish’ and take that risk of never knowing. I’m prepared for the future. I’m prepared for people to label me as ‘selfish’ and ‘past it’ and ‘how she must regret it’. I’ll be content. I know my conscience will be clear.