Whew, so here we go:
I am a survivor of honour abuse.
Only those who have been through it can understand what it’s taken me to write that sentence in public. I’ve been gathering the courage to speak out about my experiences for some time now; a couple of years in fact, and it feels as though everything I’ve done in the last decade has led up to this moment. Continue reading
A friend recently asked me if I could give her some advice about mindfulness and meditation. It’s something I’ve been meaning to share for quite a while since practicing mindfulness has had an incredible impact on my wellbeing.
After a fairly busy, pleasant day at work, I get on the packed train home and am about to stick my music on when the arsehole above says loudly, “You better not be gettin’ off at Maida Vale, that’s all I’m fuckin’ saying, you wanna watch yourself.” Continue reading
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the brain can be an incredibly mutinous organ. Having been in and out of therapy since I was thirteen years old, I am constantly awestruck by the amount of life-changing information my own brain has held back from me; information, in the form of memory, that has quietly dictated my strongest beliefs about life, relationships and the world.
For the first time today since I started doing Korean Thai Cross (KTX) Kickboxing at Premier MMA, I took part in a ‘friendly’ sparring competition between the academy’s separate clubs. Last week the owner Chris Foran told us that we would learn more in three minutes of fighting than we would in three months of training, and he really wasn’t kidding.
I opened my mouth, but could not speak.
I begged her not to make me do it. Thud of fists on my body.
He shoved me up against the wall. “Tell them then! I dare you,” he sneered.
Chilling tinkle of golden bracelets. She came to me in the dark, taking what was not hers.
I stared into the mirror, then kicked it in, drawing blood with knife-edged shards
“Stop crying!” he roared, and slapped my face ’til tears froze in fear.
He dragged her by the hair, beat her to the ground.
She stared at my breasts. My skin crawled.
I said, “No”; he did not listen.
I will speak now.
I’m pleased to say that as well Korean Thai Kickboxing (in which I’m now an advanced orange belt, woo hoo!), I have also taken up Jiu-Jitsu. One of the main reasons I’ve stuck at martial arts so long this time around, is the respectful attitude of the instructors. Continue reading
I look out into the garden, at the soft beams of warm afternoon sunlight breaking through the branches of tall fir trees. I used to play there when I could, daydreaming at the foot of that long line of tree trunks, gazing up into dizzying green heights. Often I would find the eyes of King Tiger the cat staring down at me. What a wise old thing he was, always watching over us and offering comfort to those he knew needed it the most that day. Kahlia was already gone. Buried under the nettle bush that grew beside the patch of herbs to the left of the trees. Amee always took care of her herbs, more than she did the flower bed, which was strewn now with weeds, although the odd red or orange splash of a tulip still flourished here and there. I used to have to pick handfuls of mint and coriander from the earth and prepare them to add to the pot. When I had grown I used to joke that she drugged us with her cooking, so good did the taste of those dishes make me feel.
Every writer knows that time is always more precious than money, and like many others out there, I’ve spent a hell of a long time developing the kind of career that will allow me to focus on my ‘passion projects’ whilst covering the bills.
So Shafilea Ahmed’s parents and killers have now been handed a minimum jail-term of 25 years. Although I’m glad to see awareness being raised about honour-based violence and forced marriage in national news coverage, I’m also deeply angered by the systematic failures that allowed Shafilea’s murder to happen in the name of ‘cultural sensitivity’ and fear of being branded racist.
Image courtesy of The Independent