I grew up in a very abusive and rough family environment. My mum was a ‘tiger mum’ and very bad-tempered. She would hit me (and sometimes my dad when he tried to protect me) with literally anything she could grab (e.g. hanger, belt, broomstick, cane, sticks etc.) and I always ended up with bruises and marks on my body. There were a lot of gaslighting and guilt-tripping, and I remember a knife was thrown at me one time. Many of my cousins were drug addicts and gangsters so I was so used to seeing violence on regular basis.
As a young kid, I was told constantly in my life that “you’re useless”, “you’ll never achieve things because you’re too stupid”, “you'll fail in life”, “you’re a bad child and you don’t deserve a good life” etc. I was sexually assaulted and abused three times by different people when I was about 13 years old, and I can still remember vividly what had happened.
I tried taking my own life when I was 17 and I fell in love with someone deeply during high school, but I had to keep it a secret and continue living a ‘double life’ and ‘stayed in the closet’ for many many years. I tried to convince myself that I wasn't gay and I asked for help from a local church. I did 'conversion therapy' where I was told to electrified and slapped myself every time I had any thoughts about men. I was constantly told that there was a 'demon' in me which I needed to get rid of, and if not, I would be going to hell when I leave this world. I had to poke myself with a small needle to stop thinking about men and pray for hours every day. I used to love serving at church in the music ministry but I was told to stop because there's no such thing as gay Christian. I had to choose between my religion and being myself.
I was bullied and targeted throughout primary and high school. My classmates called me all kinds of names – ‘sissy', 'girly’, ‘fat pig’, ‘fat elephant’, ‘idiot fatty’ etc. and I got slapped and punched in my face a few times. Some teachers were awful to me and called me ‘useless’, ‘stupid’, ‘unintelligent’, ‘not good enough in everything’ etc. There were many times in my life where I felt unworthy of living and I didn't understand why I had to go through all of those bullshits. I developed an unhealthy relationship with foods and I started binge eating and purged after. At one point, I reached 110kg and I lost all my confidence. I felt like my body was the only thing I could have some sort of control over.
Being a person of colour, I was subjected to racism, discrimination, and exploitation in the past many years since I first came to Australia 11 years ago. On top of all that, I had to deal with culture shock, language barrier, workplace bullying, looked down upon, being told I was not worthy as a human because of my queerness and was called a fat gay, disgusting 'Asian cunt', dirty brownie, stupid yellow banana etc.. I was objectified a lot and referred as a 'tool' for sexual pleasure.
I had a couple of domestic violence relationships (verbal and physical) where I was shouted a lot at my face, hit in my stomach, and pushed onto the floor. I didn't know what to do at the time and I had no one to go to. I was afraid to tell anyone because I didn't want to get into any trouble with the law given that I was on a temporary visa. It was scary, and I was helpless.
And the list goes on...
I feel like my life is like these succulents - strong and resilient. I know my worth, truly, and deeply.