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here lies a story of a brown boy.

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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?”…

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…

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,…

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…

BOOTS the house down

Alright, let’s do an activity… go to your closet, dresser, shoe rack, or even bathroom cabinet. Now pick out an item from there that you save for those feel-good moments, where when you put it on you feel on top of your game and subsequently on top of the mother-tucking world. I don’t know about…

March 2019

Trigger warning: terrorism  This week marked three years since the Christchurch terrorist attack in Aotearoa New Zealand. Words cannot describe (and certainly won’t be able to for decades to come)  the ripple this appalling act has caused the families whose loved ones were stripped from, their wider Islamic community and also to the minority communities…

Purgatory

A common thread in my self-discovery has been my relationship with religion. I was raised almost conservatively Christian, and those values and traditions still dictate my everyday routine. I guess it was all I knew. I say almost because my childhood was based in a society where the Western World was esteemed as the pinnacle…

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