Gormanston, County Meath, Ireland

I was going to write about actual, physical journeys. I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in these almost forty-two years of living and I thought that would give me some interesting stories to share.

However, once I sat down to write, I wanted to focus on the much harder, internal journey I’ve been on since my mother died.

Since she died, I’ve come out and started talking about the female genital mutilation that happened to me when I was seven. Since she died, I’ve lost 30 lbs in weight and I’ve finally gone back to work. Since my mother died, I’ve come a long way in figuring out who I am and I’ve stopped trying to live for other people who aren’t ever going to approve of me, no matter what I do.

The journey to the inner sea of me, the journey into my own personality has been a difficult one. I’ve had to ride the rapids of depression and confront the trauma of growing up for the two decades in a land at war with itself.

Journeys are curious things. I didn’t realise I was on a journey until I started nearing the end. At first it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of another and getting through the days. Now I feel like I’m on the last stretch of the journey. I’ve stopped only focusing on avoiding the rubble, the pits and the treacherous, hidden quicksand of sudden grief and unbearable emotional paralysis. Now I’m starting to look up. I’m starting to notice the canopy of possibilities, the stars in the distance that are pointing me towards my current destination.

I think one of the lessons this journey has taught me is to stop trying to plan and think things through. I need to learn to feel, I need to submit to the divine universe and speak my core desires and let go. The universe will provide, all I need to do is to be really clear about the want. It is not for me to reason how and which way, it is for me to trust, to focus on the soul-deep truth and give in.

For a person who thrives on lists, boxes to tick and structure, letting go is hard. I want everything colour-coded, long, short and mid-terms plans and goals outlined, booked and logged in. I want and adore having everything pre-prepared. But my journey is teaching me that while this blanket of knowing is protective, it is also restrictive. I close myself to possibility when I try to pin down everything. So, I am learning to wing it.

I’m the kind of person who packs a month in advance, if I can, when going on a journey. I plan and organise things by activities, schedules, itinerates. The joy of list-making, a notebook filled with numbers in case of emergencies, of hour-by-hour meticulous appointment setting and timetabling, these are the things that spark joy. But I’m learning there’s bliss to be found in surprise, adventure and unplanned and unexpected detours.

And the best thing that I’ve found on this journey is that there is no end. Each journey only leads on to the next, and at the end of it all, to quote Dumbledore and J.K. Rowling, “to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Thoughts on writing and discrimination

What being a forty-something, brown, female writer sometimes means.

Dr Tasneem Perry
Photo credit Tony Gribben

Writing is a solitary life choice. Most writers will tell you that they write not because they have to or want to, but because they must.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I used to write in diaries, on scrapes of paper and day-dream stories as an only child with very little privacy from over-protective, over-intrusive parents, my mother especially. I know it came from attachment and love, but it was exhausting and I often was afraid to write anything down on paper because it would be read when I was out of the house. This meant that I tended to live in my head, write in my head. As you can imagine, I was a strange, solitary child.

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My Write as a Woman

I wrote this post for the Women’s Words Mcr blog that I wrote posts for and managed. Re-reading it today made me realise it was powerful writing that I needed to modify and post here too. You can read the full blog post here.

Dr Tasneem Perry (me)

The Women’s Words project brought out many stories. It illustrated to those of us involved in the creative side of its management how important providing safe spaces for dialogue are for women. As the stories of sexual abuse, injustice and violence against women keep appearing in the media, and more and more people talk about the traumas they have gone through, it seems this project could not have come at a better time. We all have hurts. We all need to share them and expose them to the light so that we can learn from each other and take solace in each other. A hundred years since the granting of suffrage to some women, we have come a long way. But we have much more to achieve in terms of true equality. Here’s to all the women and men working together to build a truly just, equal and fair society.

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Beef and butter fat fast – day one

Introduction to fat fasting

The beef and butter fat fast like other fat fasts is only recommended if you want to get out of a plateau, begin a ketogenic eating plan or recover after a carb-overload. I plan on doing this fat fast for five days. I’m including the link so that you can begin your own reading into this protocol.

Important: Do not do this without doing your own personal research. I am not a medical doctor or dietitian. 

Advice before starting: Plan. Research. Prepare mentally because it is not going to be easy.

I’m embarking on the beef and butter fat fast because I have been on a weight loss plateau since the 30th of June. Research and planning done, yesterday I went shopping and stocked up.

I’ll post photos of everything I’m using in terms of ingredients and tell you all that I’ve done.

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Do you want to transform your life?

Transformation begins with me

We often give our subconscious mind very conflicted messages. On the one hand we desperately want to increase our earnings, but on the other, we don’t want to give up our free time or our accustomed patterns of behaviour. We blame the lack of opportunity, we say we don’t have the right qualifications, or that the job market is stagnant, but really, the problem is us. We don’t want to change.

It could be the same situation with wanting to lose weight and become healthier, for example. You know you need to get better at nutrition and exercise more. You know your eating is out of control and yet, the thought of starting another diet programme that is bound to fail just seems exhausting. And so the problems are compounded; they are piled one on top of another, and you feel overwhelmed.
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Offended, offensive.

Being offended or giving offense is not just about words and racist slurs. It is about much more than that and it is often non-verbal, implied and impossible to describe. It is the sly glance, the wink to a friend, the smile or grimace as a conversation or situation unfolds. It is the moving away, the not paying attention, and just waiting for you to stop speaking, so that they can say what they want to. Offense is the stoppering of ears, the refusal to listen as you try to say, “this is real, this is going on, this is what the situation is.” Often, that hurts more than the casually flung “cunt” or “Paki” comment, because those are from people who you can try and push away and ignore as ignorant and nasty.

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Trauma: How do you cope?

Don’t let tragedy keep you small.

If you’ve been through a traumatic situation, sometimes it becomes the defining story of your life. You might live with the narrative that you were abused as a child. Or you might not be able to let go of how you were bullied, or poor, or from a disenfranchised background. These are indeed terrible, difficult things to live through, but it is important that what happened to you in the past does not become the entirety of your story. You are an amazing, powerful, transformative being. You hold the power to change your story, your ending and your narrative. If you don’t like the way this life is progressing, change it. You can. I know you can.

I was seven when my genitals were mutilated by my well-meaning GP under the approval of my parents. This was seen as a requirement. 

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Coping with the sense of loss

I’m forty years old. In my late twenties and early thirties, not having a child wasn’t a big deal. I was intent on completing my PhD and discovering who I was. For four and a half years, I could bluntly say that my thesis was my child. And it was.

Having an offspring while in education didn’t seem important. And even today, a part of me doesn’t feel that my genes are that special that they must be passed on. And yet, nearly four years since the death of my mother, I feel acutely that I am an orphan and have no siblings. Christmas and holidays are especially hard. I want a large family, one that’s noisy and bustling and chaotic. I yearn for flesh of my own. It is a strange thing. I’d love to have someone be a reflection of me and my husband, a living continuum of our love, our choices and ourselves.
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Why I became a life coach

Why I do what I do

I finished my PhD in 2012. This had been a dream goal since I was sixteen and had little understanding of what it meant to have a PhD. But I worked hard and I did really well at university, I enjoyed the teaching and the research and finally got what I had set out to get. But, by the end of my third year, I was very conscious that I didn’t want to lecture in England. My passion has always been to do much more hands-on work, I love making a difference in people’s lives. If I’d gone into lecturing in Sri Lanka, the land of my birth, that would have been a very different kettle of fish. But I was here, and I didn’t want to lecture in the UK. So, I was left with a bit of a problem.Continue reading