Kia ora, Ayubowan, Hello.

I am uncertain where to begin this blog journey but I have finally decided to sit my fine ass down to get something out on ‘paper’. The thought of creating this little platform of storytelling has been on my wee queer mind over these turbulent years of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

These moments of mandatory social deprivation have stripped away my security blanket of avoiding what has truly been brewing in me for most of my life. Whilst I was slightly delighted at the fact that I can have a little holiday, the doom and gloom of this pandemic soon simmered down into the belly of my thoughts – stirring up some familiar anxiety. A type of anxiety I only read in books and saw depicted on mental health awareness campaigns. 

I swear for years I thought that my coming of age was my undergraduate years at University, my coming out of the closet during these years was your textbook coming of age story. And then came March 2020, what I always thought I was destined to do and who I thought I was born to be was completely shredded in front of me. It was a very long and tiresome realization and coming of age, in which I realized we are all not restricted to A moment of transformation, but as humans, we are capable of shedding new skin at each and every turn of our lives.

My intention for this blog is to share my layers, my stories, and my lived experiences. This storybook will have absolutely no chronological order, but I am sure you will clock a theme or two from what I write. I identify as a queer south Asian bi-racial man, who also calls Aotearoa New Zealand his home as an immigrant in this plentiful country. These accounts and shared thoughts of mine will be me sharing rather raw and real parts of me, some of which not even my closest friends know. 

Through this journey I would like to hold just one selfish ambition, to heal myself of trauma that I have retained deep in me. Trauma that I am not even aware of yet, I am hoping that sharing memoirs will be my own therapy so that I can be a better version of myself toward those closest and those who I am yet to meet. 

This is my pursuit of a butterfly effect, here, the blog is dedicated to the voice I wish I had growing up, to all you special people seeking comfort in a common story. 

Nana and Papa holding yours truly, oh if I only knew what was ahead

Little Shawn

Picture Little Shawn, twirling in ecstasy with the spice girls in their ears, attached to their purple ipod nano (I had convinced myself that loving the colour purple was totally not a queer trait – “Oh I only love the dark purple and not the lighter one that girls like”)… I recently unlocked this very precious memory. It felt like I had just opened a door to a room filled with treasure I had long been searching for.

I opened the dust-covered–cobwebbed door into a memory that brought me to tears. Most of what I recall from my childhood seems to be an intricate weave of emotions that only hold memories of torment, trials and tribulations. This little glimmer of hope was a memory of 8 or 9 year old Shawn beaming at my mum’s jewelry, exquisite heels, and collection of 90s statement pieces. I recall locking the door to the room and putting on a careful assortment of accessories paired with heels that were 5 sizes too big. Looking back at it now, it feels like a snippet from a very dramatic movie about a little kid who was indulging in a pure moment of being their true self in an environment where they became very good at being something or someone they are not. The only difference was, it wasn’t a movie.

My latest mental health journey has led me down a path to healing that little Shawn who indulged in being themselves in secret. Although I am now in a position where my confidence in my sexual identity and gender expression is rapidly growing, there are still nuances of trauma that dictate my emotional nervous pathways as a 26 year old.  

Sometimes I fall into deep pits of darkness where I cannot see any light. The feeling of abandonment approaches me like a slow-moving storm but I cannot move from it, because it feels like I am steeped in soil, buried alive. As much as I try to love myself and be enough for me as an adult, sometimes I just want a genuine embrace and words of affirmation from the people who raised me. I had to trap little Shawn away for too long in order to protect them. I now see that it was detrimental to my growth.

At the age of 12, I had to lock little Shawn away. Words like “stop walking like a girl” and “if you dare bring a man into this house you are no longer my son” got tattooed into my brain, and that is when I knew I had to grow up and protect this kid from this harm. I had to grow up and emotionally raise myself to build the resilience I needed to survive the years to come.  

I am still spending my 20s figuring out who I am in my own skin. The skin I have adopted is not mine, it feels so foreign, like sandpaper constantly rubbing on my true coats of consciousness. 

All little Shawn wanted was to bring their whole self to the world, to grow and glow, indulging in everything this beautiful planet had to offer, just like my brother and all the other kids around me whose parents cherished every single cell in their bodies. For far too long I have put up with conditional love, love that has been laid on me with “I love you, but…”. 

Meet my new phone wallpaper, I did this to remind me to be kind to my soul as little Shawn is still in there yearning to heal.
Meet my new phone wallpaper. I did this to remind me to be kind to my soul as little Shawn is still in there yearning to heal.

Unpacking all these layers in the last year after moving away from home has revealed the marvelous parts of my existence and identity that were never loved. While unpacking, I will also need to embrace that some of these parts might not be loved in the future, especially by the ones I am so extensively hurting mental health, trying to bring them over the fence to me.

I am now trying to go to a place where my efforts to change the very doctrine that drives these people’s harmful “morals and beliefs” are not worth my sweat. I too deserve a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. 

This odyssey hurts, but I am looking forward to the blissful interactions with little Shawn as I tread through these clouds. I am thankful to my subconsciousness for holding onto these heavenly memories, I had no idea little Shawn was so brave, and I am excited to unravel these as I go.

When I think about that dust-covered door I mentioned early, I picture my childhood bedroom door. A door I feared to open as I was not ready. 

I am now ready. 

Dear Nana,

I lost a very special person in my life a couple of weeks ago now, while I am still in a fluster on how I might decompress this, I thought an open letter to Nana would be a great place to start.

To my darling ever loving Nana,

The thought of you no longer with us is a feeling that isn’t settling too well in me these days. I go through phases of both grief and relief. Relief, meaning that you are no longer suffering physically nor mentally, you are released from your earthly duties as a mother, grandmother, sister, Aunty and overall citizen of this beautiful earth we have to inhabit.

Throughout your life you did your best to provide your family and those values soon passed through your children and respectively on to me.

To the naked eye, you came across harsh or stern but as I reflect now, that was perhaps your armour as your navigated the challenges life threw at you. I cannot even begin to comprehend what it must’ve been like raising a family of 4 during a civil war, while also your entire family (10 siblings and parents) having emigrated out of the country decades prior.

I now see why you had to put your bravest face forward so that no one would underestimate you as a “forward” woman.

Whilst the world and our neighbours saw the Jeanne that no one dared to get on her bad side, I had the privilege living with and being partially raised by you from the age of 0-12.

We have laughed, cried, and just sat in silence together in each others company over a cup of tea, listening to your golden oldies whilst you tell me stories of the good old days. I am also eternally grateful to have been disciplined by you as your oldest grandchild (even the time you rubbed chilli in my gums for saying the word “bloody”, even though I got it from you)

I remember fondly your exquisite taste in style. I wonder look to you with awe as you would pick your party outfits. You would let me rummage through your eccentric collection of jewelry and eclectic collection of make up and nail polish. I would give anything to take me back to the times where I would perch on your leg pillows (you would yell at me for doing that) and just watch you get ready whilst, once again, talking about stories from your life.

I never really knew how much those conversations would have an impact on me until you left us. Even though the nature of it was about family gossip or stories from the past, they have manifested in to the person I am. I felt such calmness and approachability when talking to you. You gave me the space to set high standards for me, where then I would come to you to with anticipation to tell you of any achievements I have had (where you would always exaggerate and tell your friends) or the losses (where you would always calmly say “it wasn’t Gods time for you darling”).

I never came out to you officially and before your years of dementia, I feel like you knew. I mean hey, you’re the one who got me dolled up for my first drag debut for a school play. You were so proud of my music and drama endeavors and never once asked when I would start doing sports.

You clapped and danced along when I threw my over the top plays with the cousins as the executive director and producer.

Nana, you just celebrated me from behind and that was enough. You taught me to be fabulous in all aspects of my life. Walking tall with your head held high was your approach to life so that no one could disrupt your soul.

I am still unpacking your loss and how you have shaped me to the person I am today, so this is just a preliminary thank you.

Rest easy nana, I will think of you always, especially when I put on some lipstick or enhance my brows.

Love your oldest grand baby,

Shawno x

New year, new commitment

Toward the close of 2022, I was burnt out. It was a year of rapid transformations, new findings, new beginnings, and new friends. 

While it was an upward stride of new discovery, it was paired with a downward plunge into what I did not want to see. The things I had repressed for two decades began to boil over the pot, a dish I had a very tight lid on. But, as I began to embrace new and renewed discoveries about life, I unconsciously loosened my grip on that lid. 

Bit by bit, the memories I had unintentionally compartmentalized began to resurface. Picture an archives library: you have a collection that all folk come to look at, marvel at and celebrate. But there is a department deep underground that not even the keepers of the archives know of. It was as if someone had gone in and unlatched this department and slowly leaked it to the press (me, I am the press). 

As one can imagine, these memories are eerie moments of my past that I had tucked away in the “too hard” basket, and instead developed mental health conditions to cope with it instead.

*upside down smilie face emoji*

The moments of reliving these memories I had forgotten about, gave me crippling anxiety to the point where I had forgotten where I was. I would find myself disassociating in social situations, and became (what I call) chronically independent. I sought independence as a cure but it soon became lonely. When I would try to articulate my mental health needs I would be stuck for words and gave up asking a hand to reach out.

This year I am promising myself to stray away from the false “I’m fine’s” and the burnouts simply because I haven’t stopped to decompress and access my body as a whole, as a being beyond the physical. 

This particular post has been hard to write. Reflecting on a challenging year is never easy. 

I have given myself the challenge (and also would encourage anyone who is reading this) to embrace these little awakenings. Sit with the tough memories and do what is best for your being. We owe it to our younger and future selves to heal and come out the other side with power. 

Healing from what we don’t want to feel anymore will hopefully enable us to become better people for those we wish to leave an impact on.

I am writing this rather selfishly to give myself a sense of accountability for the year. But if this resonates with you, I encourage you to also get on this journey with me. 

Shawn, it’s time to be enough for you. You are enough validation for yourself, you can love yourself enough.

Nails, hair, hips, pray

*Trigger warning: blades/sharp objects*

There was always something about nail polish that caught my attention. My nana (my mother’s mother) was a fabulous woman whose uniform was her drawn-on black eyebrows and her bold ruby lips. Occasionally she would dip into her assorted collection of nail polish. Whenever her sisters used to visit from the western realms they would stock her up with nail polish and vitamins. 

After her shower, Nana would get her polish out and a handful of cotton buds to catch any mistakes. I would watch in pure awe, this ritual of a glamorous woman, definitely not attainable to a little brown Sri Lankan boy. This little brown Sri Lankan boy would sweat beads even being in the same room as Nana indulging in her glamour, as I did not wish to give my father more hints that I am not like other boys. I had already heard my grand-aunties ‘advising’ my mother and nana that they are turning me into a sissy. 

My mother thought very highly of her aunt’s opinions, so I didn’t want to further add to their file of evidence. 

This particular memory only very recently came out of my cupboard of skeletons. I am finding that since I have allowed my soul to feel more than a very surface level of feeling, the most random instances trigger very particular memories. I can’t articulate which web of thought led to which memory but I hope you can relate. Essentially, I have a very loud mind and I am constantly in a state of being overwhelmed. 


On one particular very humid afternoon in nana’s house, which was perched down a very narrow squiggly lane populated with houses in a collage of pastel colours, I was in need of an afternoon nap. Nana’s room was the coolest (in terms of temperature) so I would often retreat there for a snooze between coordinating some very exhausting play sessions (I am the oldest grandchild). I tossed and turned in her bed but I could not bring myself to doze off. 

I looked up and nanas’ church attire was hanging up by the window, all pressed and paired together with her accessories for the next day. The afternoon sun glimmered through the lace and gave life to the sateen detail in her skirt, it was almost like a wedding dress hung up ready for the photographer to grab the moment before the nervous bride slips it on. 

I wondered, “What nail polish will she pair with it? Surely a deep maroon to contrast the pastel (yes, these were the thoughts of a seven-year-old).” I proceeded to sift through her collection and thought maybe I could save her the time and pick one for her. This was the excuse I had planned in mind if I were to be caught red-handed. 

Since I had come this far, I convinced myself that it was safe for me to try on one of the reds on my own nails. I had absolutely no clue as to how I was going to take the polish off. 

I painted my tiny nails away while I hummed tunes from The Sound of Music. I got off the bed and pranced around in the dark room only lit by what was now an orange hue across the floor. As a kid I developed this habit of transporting my mind and body to otherworldly scenarios where I was the main character in the movie, leading the charge of fellow citizens in song and dance. 

I was snapped out of my dreamscape and sunken back into reality when I noticed my parents had come back from a trip of errands. I scrambled to find a rag to remove the polish while beads of sweat rolled down my back and forehead. My wee gay heart was beating out of my ribs and my palms were no longer useful as I ran across nana’s room looking for nail polish removal devices (I had no idea that the solution was acetone).

The rest of the story is a bit blurry as the anxiety of my dad finding out I wore nail polish scared me to the depths of my being. I vaguely remember using a razor and a blunt knife to scrape it off desperately, after this did not work I grabbed nana’s Bible and proceeded to pray intensely while rocking in a fetal position. 

I prayed the polish away but deep in my heart, I knew I was praying the gay away.

I don’t recall much else, just that I fell asleep curled up in a ball. There are a few memories now with deep holes in them. Moments where I genuinely cannot remember how the story ends. But what I do remember is the deep anxiety and *gay* panic I felt before a pivotal moment.

Non-Binary? Yeah. 

“Kia ora! As most of you know I am Shawn and I sit across the Human Centered Design and equity teams… and *unexpected need for a deep breath* I am non-binary”

Oh god, I have never said that out loud before… 

I scramble together the rest of my sentences and move on with the objective of my day. 

Why does this feel like I have to come out again? Do I make a deal out of it? But I am not like other non-binary folks, I only feel feminine some days, and other days I want to dress like a finance bro.

FYI dear readers, this little brown boy memoir is a recent happening, as in like last week. September 2022. 

I have had more defined waves of this mindset ever since I moved out of home. Removing myself from the cushions of home and into a new city unveiled a heavy shroud I was unconsciously wearing as a barrier to really seeing into myself. Coming out was hard enough, and I was just not emotionally prepared to discover anything more about myself. 

Countless nights I spent thinking, “Why can’t I fit in this world so comfortably like my brother can? Is this world not built for me?”

The confronting but sad reality is that this capitalist society we participate in is not built for those who identify as LGBTQI+ and/or gender-diverse, and there is an even deeper sense of displacement for my fellow BIPOCs who identify as blossoming members of the rainbow community. 

I need to practice what I am preaching here but it is important that we immerse ourselves in places where we as beautiful beings of the LGBTQI+ and gender diverse folk can thrive into an authentic beings just like those who live a hetero-normative white life. 

I have this internal battle now where I am questioning this new discovery about myself – “Am I doing this to be trendy? Are my oppression points at its current state, not enough?”. I haven’t reached a point of solace in this internal conflict yet but I am trying to find solace in the idea that this is a new road on my journey to reaching my most authentic potential. I am rather fresh on this new journey of defining myself against the binary, so I am still in search for….I really don’t know what I am searching for, but I will keep looking. 


7 months ago when I moved out of home I would have never considered wearing velvet-heeled boots, rocking long acrylic nails, and droopy earrings that match my shirt. It’s these little fragments of societal rebellion that have got me thinking a little broader out of the box I was forced into, empowering my beautiful brown soul through it. 

This box is still very tight but I am unapologetically making dents to set myself free. – (bigger text)

I know it is easier said than done but the first step (that helped and still continues to be my cornerstone) is to be meticulous in who your friends are. These friends should be your own little safe haven family. And the rest of it will file in naturally. 

I have set up myself for guaranteed personal growth by surrounding myself with the best of brown excellence and allies.

My mind is always riotous, always scheming, and always debating with its two halves. Before the more masculine thought process took over and I would swiftly dismiss any ‘other’ thoughts that did not align with the hetero and gender normative realms I grew up in. It was somewhat like a good angel and a bad angel on my shoulders. 

They’re both good angels now. Both sides equally contribute to my whole being. 

Hey, I am still getting to know them and will keep ya’ll updated. 

Healing my inner child II

Opportunity. That’s all we need to showcase our superpower and spread our caged wings. 

You cannot expect one to soar in life without giving them the opportunity and the choice to show you their worth. This was brought up at a recent panel where the folks up front were speaking on the challenges of decolonising exhibition spaces and when I tell you I wept, GURL I WEPT. 

This was in the middle of last year when I was 1.5 years into trying to find a job that aligned with what I wished to leave behind in this world. Something I wished I had while I maneuver through this monopoly of life. 

I struggled to find work even with a First Class Masters Degree under my belt. Some folk, especially those who identify with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and Peoples of Colour), just need an opportunity. A foot in the door, a hand to reach out to, or whatever else you might call it. 

This opportunity may be through established programmes that support youth post-study or even leaders in the industry willing to share their knowledge and reach out to the pool of folk who struggle to find their feet in this rat race. It could also be through sustained support while they make their way through their employment because being BIPOC in a system that is built for the white man is no easy feat. 

After two years of tears, anger, medication, meditation, heartbreak, and depression, I made it out.

I am currently employed in a dream opportunity where I am surrounded by brilliant minds with similar life goals. This job has also brought me to a new city where I am growing and glowing into the person I was brought to this earth to be. I am still pushing for equity within the system (oh, I’m pushin alright), it is tiring but the fruits will come to bear.


On the contrary to this, my parents had no such luxury. They did all they could to create this opportunity for me in this country. The land where my roots lay was not left in a state by its colonialists for its people to thrive equitably. So for some, the only way is out.

As mentioned in my last blog, they were thrown into adulthood before they could truly enjoy their youth and “do what people in their 20s do”. They were born into the generation where travel was finally made accessible, but not for my parents. Stepping on a plane was almost like stepping on a stairway to the heavens. 

Me, at 23 having stepped on many a plane exploring the world. This was taken on the Mediterranean shores of Malta, an opportunity I would not have had in my reach if not for the sacrifices of my parents.

I must admit that when I see my friend’s parents who are now CEOs, CFOs, Partners etc etc… I get jealous. Not for the money, not for their lifestyle but for the opportunities their parents must have had that led them to where they are right now. Yes, most of these friends I speak of are white and/or highly privileged in one manner or more which aided them to where they are now. 

I am aware that I do not have the power to alter the past but I am where I am because of the sacrifices of my parents and all I do is for them. To show them that it was all worth it. Yes, it was hard navigating through and building the relationship I have with them today, but… 

Let me do the work now mama and dada, go play amongst what life has to offer. Reap the riches you worked hard for despite the barriers and obstacles thrown at you. 

Healing my inner child

“Healing your inner child”… I heard this term very recently and I haven’t been able to shrug it off. I never imagined my inner child as a different being which probably explains why I have always refused to answer the question:

“If you could say something to 10-year-old Shawn right now, what would you say?”

That kind of inner confrontation sends panic through my body and right through to my soul. It was an existential panic, confirming that I was certainly in no form to answer. I still hold a sense of shame toward my inner child, a feeling that I still have not done enough to make up for what we had gone through in my impressionable years. 

I am not delving into the nuances of healing your inner child, instead, I will break it down in my own thought process and hopefully some of you folk can relate.

I really don’t know what I am aiming to get out there with this particular post but this thought/phrase has been hovering in my peripheral for WEEKS now. 

Prior to moving to Aotearoa to establish more stable roots with my family, my parents were often high-strung, overworked, and unappreciated. They showed up every day for the purpose of leaving my homeland, in order to ensure a more stable future for myself and my brother. I now realise they had a greater sacrifice of forcefully leaving behind their own childhood and having to grow up faster than they expected to. 

Me, fresh off the boat at 12.

At my current age of 26, my parents were married and they had already been blessed by yours truly. I can’t even begin to imagine that responsibility now. The excuse I carry with this thought is that “I want to enjoy my twenties”, and I am pretty sure that resonates with a lot of you folk reading this who were born in my generation (who share the privileges I had)…

It’s almost like because we saw our parents lose their inner child and now we are subconsciously protecting ours. Counter to this I feel like I am protecting this inner child so much that I am smothering it and in turn repeating the same behavior my parents were forced to concede to. 

My parents never had the privilege to dream, my mother who came from a working-class family, was thrown into the role of breadwinner right out of high school for a variety of reasons. My father was predominantly raised by his Nana who only barely scraped by to feed either of them. These two people had no access to a family trust or were a beneficiary of an inheritance or dowry. Aspirations for higher studies past high school were also squashed due to survival instincts kicking in to cater to their own family and also to their future family. 

When my body clock stuck at 18 I had the world in my hands and further education at my doorstep. This is a stark contrast to the options my parents had. Moving our life to the land of the long white cloud almost immediately released a weight that lay on my parents’ shoulders.

I began to see the glee in their eyes for the first time, I saw them dance and twirl more than I had ever seen before. Their laughter and giggles now resonate through our family home, and this shit just warms my heart. 

Even spending time with each other was the absolute last priority for my parents and now it warms my heart to see them go on date nights and even take local dance classes! They worked tirelessly for our future and now it’s time for them to heal their inner child and recover their sacrifices. 

So in conclusion… I am yet uncertain how I might mitigate my own inner child and actions to set him free but I know I want to start with helping my parents do so first. 

This is only part one, I gots more to divulge.

The boy loves Barbies

Where I grew up, a real boy was preoccupied with cricket or other contact sport, was uninterested in anything remotely creative, and was outside with the other boys in the blistering heat while the girls played wedding inside the house during family parties. 

I was the oldest cousin on both sides of my family. I enjoyed the attention while I could until my cousins and little brother started soon rolling in. Being the oldest male in this situation brought over my head unsought responsibility. As I never portrayed the desired characteristics of your average Sri Lankan male, my presence was automatically deprioritised once my sibling and cousins came. But I was still the default blame when someone would get hurt during playtime.  

I was captivated by female cousins’ dolls, playhouses, and their sparkly hair accessories. Every time my parents would announce a visit to my Aunty’s house I would absolutely fizz up with excitement. My aunt (my mother’s brother’s ex-wife) was always such an advocate for me and would love me like her own son, always (I will write more about her soon!). 

Anyway, I would greet the family and rush to play dress-up with my cousins. Much to my family’s dismay I would sit gossiping with Trisha and Tashya while braiding their hair and admiring their Barbie collection. I remember they had a few out to play with and they had seen better days, but a good handful of them would be kept in their original packages, like pristine priceless collectibles. 

This used to be the play room at my Nana’s house, this was taken in 2019 when I last visited home.

Trisha, Tashya, and I would create the most elaborate stories where the dolls would take center stage to play out our scripts. I quickly became a pro hair braider and would soon take my position as lead creative director for all playtime. We’d play on the veranda while the boys burnt off their lunch in the sun throwing around an aged tennis ball with a second-hand cricket bat. I can still hear my nana’s screech as the boys would throw the ball against her gate and it would ring like a church bell on Sunday morning. (For context, My nana, my family, and my Aunty’s family all loved down a very small private lane that only a Suzuki swift would fit into). 

Wow, ok, so another memory just flooded in from when we were visiting some family friends who had two daughters I was close with. We were playing in their room and I remember resisting not being too indulged in their barbie dolls or fabulous accessories. We were on the topic of birthday cakes and they had asked me what kind of cake I wanted and I blurted out:

“A Barbie cake !” 

I still remember the roaring cackles that followed this and the deep pit in my stomach I felt. 

It was the feeling of, oh wow this is not normal, I am not normal, why am I not normal. 

It’s a strange feeling reflecting back on these rainbow fuzzy moments, at the time I would think these were intrusive thoughts and the devil was trying to stray me away from what a real man is meant to be.

I faced a demon 

A couple of weekends ago I faced a demon, a fear of mine that presented itself in a human form. The kind of fear that sent my body into sharp chills, making my fingertips royal blue with shock. It’s funny how much your body stores reaction from a time when the trauma was first felt, and in an instant all of that can come flooding back in. Sometimes even before your mind has a moment to register what had just happened. 

This particular event was somewhat of a boiling point for me, a point where the battle between my sexuality and my spirituality came to a standstill. I was thrown into this sort of dark abyss where I was forced to think about my decisions, thoughts I had been burying away hoping to never stumble upon the roots that it grew. 

Well, that’s enough metaphor to paint a picture, I won’t divulge the details of what happened YET. I feel like I need to unpack the happenings and the feelings in the months and years prior to this turning point before I can truly bring myself to write down what actually happened. I will try to stick to somewhat chronological order with these happenings. The happenings of me first realizing, neglecting, more realizing and more neglect to where I came to that night. 

I can recall my first rainbow fuzzies all the way back to the late 90s or early 00s at kindergarten. I went to a kindergarten that was semi-attached to a church (most of my school life was affiliated with some aspect of a Christian denomination), it was also a stone’s throw away from a train station that ran parallel to the golden coast.  

I still recall the early morning sea breeze as I would get dropped off at school, the crows were just waking up and the air was crisp enough to snap you out of your morning fatigue. My five-year-old body had yet to depend on the fizzle of caffeine, so I had to depend on environmental stimulants (and a lot of it, hence me not being diagnosed with ADHD up until now as an adult).  

I always gravitated to the flock of girlies gathered in the corner engrossed in very critical kindergarten chat. I would always do my best to avoid playing whatever it was with the boys as I didn’t want to get my outfit ruined by sweat and mud before school had already begun.  

I consider this my first rainbow fuzzy. Come to think of it, I would also avoid playing with the boys as I was well aware (even at 4 years old) that these legs were not built for sport and only built for strutting. I did try sport throughout my school life, just so that I could potentially dig into my genes to find even an ounce of sporting ability my father and my grandmother spoke of being in my blood. It was also an attempt in trying to get closer to my own father. 

Anyway, yes, so the rainbow fuzzies. 

I describe this sensation as these little sparkles that fly off your skin when you know you are in the right space at the right time. But at the same time, these were sparkles of nervousness and shame as I would always anticipate being told off for spending too much time with the girls and to go play with the boys. 

So to wrap it up, society said no to these sparkles and thus began my journey to flipping this script on its head. 

Xoxo your friendly neighborhood brown boy 

Finding Identity

I am not sure if most of you readers have kept up with the recent addition to this world’s extensive list of crises, the plummeting of the already fragile Sri Lankan economy. Being a 16-hour plane journey away from where your roots first saw light brings a very complicated relationship with finding one’s identity (well for myself at least). 

There is a heavy sense of guilt that weighs on me. Guilty that I got the chance to move out of the unstable reality of making means in an economy like Sri Lanka’s. 

It’s taken me a couple of days now to get to this point with this particular post, in my mind lies a battle of whether I am worthy of speaking on this topic. Am I worthy to write about this on my expensive laptop while sipping a barista coffee? Does my privilege allow this?

While fighting these intrusive thoughts, I recall some advice that was given to me, that declared something along the lines of…if you are silent, you are as bad as the perpetrator, and politics is personal. It is extremely personal if the current misogynistic, sexist, and racist systems exist only to serve the rich, the man, and the ‘dominant race’. 

What is happening right now on my beautiful little island that comprises a truly colourful culture? A culture that tickles your taste buds with culinary bliss, a culture that will send goosebumps down your spine from stories of pre and post-colonial times, and a landscape that will bring your eyes a tear and jaw to the floor? All of this is currently hanging in the balance of a very corrupt and greedy family who has robbed this precious land of all it has.

It has pushed those already on the edges of society over the edge, they wonder each night if they can get their hands on a loaf of bread or some milk to sustain their health. I am no expert at the math of this but the economy is essentially fucked, and essential resources we take for granted in New Zealand have become so scarce that precious lives are standing in lines for countless hours to accumulate what they can to survive. 

This is not a plea for you readers to send donations to Sri Lanka or a ‘pick me’ plea to highlight this crisis on your Instagram feeds. I write this selfishly, and also perhaps to encourage you to ground yourself to appreciate the basic necessities we have such easy access to. The freedoms we have to pick up a loaf of bread for under $1, the freedom to switch on your bedside table with guaranteed light for your nighttime read, and the freedom of a steam shower after your day at work. 

So maybe as a wee exercise, step away from your screen, take your shoes off, close your eyes and press your feet to the ground. Connect your entire being to the ground, and reflect. Use this moment to be present, and appreciate all that you have. 

And maybe try to practice not normalizing unrest and terror in countries that do not present as white. We can dismantle these subconscious categorizing by simply just talking about it with your family, friends, or to that stranger who always chats while both of you wait for your oat milk coffees.