Belong

Growing up I couldn’t wait to be of an age when I would be all ‘grown-up’ and sorted. The age when my clothes were perfectly co-ordinated (think silk blouses and white pants), my hands elegant with a perfect watch & jewellery combination and just like in Sex and The City, I’d also have a cohort of friends with whom I’d always be talking through and stressing about my glamorous career and lifestyle issues over bottles of champagne.

13

But alas, at 33 even my eyebrows are still not aligned yet! Believe me you when I say that I’ve had them done by beauty therapists in all corners of the globe and no ones’s still managed to fix them. I have flappy hands that knock over chocolate fondues in packed cafes, I’ve worn the same watch for the past 18 years, I dislike wearing pants ‘cause the way they ride up my crotch and I don’t have a group of girly friends whom I can discuss that with.

I guess nothing like the arrival of another birthday in your warp-speed 30’s to remind you to check in with your true north and that this week, brings me back to this blog site and…Shyamni. Some time back, I separated sections of this blog onto another website where I now formally write think-pieces on a number of subjects. I kept this site with all my original documented travel stories and now mainly post any occasional travel pieces I work with. Notice how I say work with. It’s been 4 years (and 4 months) since I started Where is Shyamni? and what just started as something to keep me company (and help me find me) during an year I took off to travel is now something that has branched off into a full-time alternate media venture for me. I now write and produce content for the digital space in a professional capacity. Me.

Somewhere along the line, I became a ‘storyteller’. Till recently I scoffed at using the term ‘storyteller’ because it’s such a bandwagon-ed label you see on Instagram profiles. I just wanted people to start finding and connecting to themselves, I didn’t anticipate the impact our productions are starting to make. And it’s such an imperative time in Fiji and the wider Pacific right now to ensure that the voices of our people are carried out raw and unapologetically and heard out, loud and clear. I’m so much in gratitude to the universe to be able to do something like this and be a part of the change in the Pacific’s narrative.

Ibn Battuta

It’s been an overwhelming past 2 years trying to start up the company. I remember in a blog post on my 30th birthday, I dedicated my 30’s to finding where my home and heart was. I have absolutely no idea how I’ve managed to turn 33 this week and not even think about that! Did 3 years really just go by?? There was a point last year when I felt I’d let Shyamni slip. To quote Liz for the gazillionth time “..you must never become lax about maintaining. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” I’m guilty that I let my priority slip.

But in my search for Shyamni over the years, I’ve found someone else.

For the longest time my twitter bio reads “…my purpose is to find my people.” I’ve kinda never in my lifetime ever felt that I truly belonged somewhere. To an extent even my family agrees that I perhaps may not be one of them (yes it’s the longest running joke in the family)! I’m always set on a temporary, in-between mode. I’ll either be living halfway in a bag or out of a bag, or out of the laundry basket or the floor but never completely unpacked because I might need to ‘go’ when my spaceship returns!

But this one day I was at my sister’s apartment, sitting at her table on the most uncomfortable-piece-of-junk chair she has, watching her cook my favourite curry for me and talking about something irrelevant to global warming when I realised in that moment, I felt ‘belonged’. Right there on my sister’s stupid chair (with my arse half hanging out), letting her take care of me. Her complete embrace of everything I am not and to love me despite.

And that’s exactly how I feel, every time I come back to this blog. I feel belonged. Right here. And that’s because of you, Dear Reader.

You give meaning to my words which otherwise would just be another blog in the virtual Narnia. Those of you who’ve reached out over the years and I’m friends with today (even if we disagree on everyything) through this blog and those of you who read me but I don’t know who you are – I see you, I feel I know you and I love you. You make me belong. You make us belong.

If you’re still here after 4 and 1/2 years with me then perhaps it’s not me you’re here for. You see there’s a Shyamni in all of us (which makes me fiercely love you more) and we’re all looking for her/him in our lives. You’re here in the hope that if I find mine, maybe you’ll find the path to yours…

At 33, I may not have a group of girly girlfriends but I have you, Dear Reader. Thank you for being my tribe, for being my village. For being where I can finally belong.

And my Dear Tribe, as I sign-off on this beautiful Friday morning – take heart in my firm belief that me, you and it all, will be okay one day. And till it’s not one day, in SRK ehstyle “picture abhi baaki hai mere, dost…”

Strength & Happiness
Shyamni. xx

whereisshyamni@gmail.com
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