How to ACTUALLY Set Achievable Goals You'd Love!
on the blog!
Hi I'm Shazie, a mindset + self-love coach ♥ I'm a West Coast-turned-East Coast girl, so naturally I'm conflicted between Dunkin vs Starbs. Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you stick around♥
5 Tips on Setting Boundaries (& Why It's Important!)
This one’s a little bit dark… or real, as we call it. When I first started my blog, I knew I wanted it to have purpose. While I enjoy posting the cute & fun stuff, I knew I wanted to write about so much more (ie. life living in a shelter) in hopes of my words being able to someday spark a conversation.
I started a mini love series on IG around Valentine’s Day until I realized I didn’t address something close to home. I wanted to acknowledge those who may be in an abusive relationship and feel stuck.
Note, I was never in an abusive relationship… but my mom was.
Coming to America at 10 years old with little knowledge of what life would be like outside Singapore, I blindly but confidently followed my mother and sister on this journey. While our moving experience was not to flee the country but rather to start afresh seeking new opportunities, I was reluctant to make the move. I did not want to leave behind a life so endearing to me.
When my mother first remarried, I then envisioned a picture perfect future – ready to live my life pictured on all of my then-favorite Disney Channel shows. You know, things like walking down hallways filled with picturesque lockers or going to school dances — all of which were not truly evident in Singapore.
It was all glitter and gold until our transition unexpectedly became a paradox to our original aspirations. One day after school, my mother and unknown stranger greeted me. They rushed me off school grounds as though to avoid being seen, and I was confused. I remember this day vividly because it was the day I learned what it meant to be a victim of domestic violence. It was the day everything fell apart and came together at the same time ironically.
That stranger turned out to be a social worker referred by the hospital when my mother had gone for her concussion caused by my then-stepdad. All those sounds and screams I would hear at night were more than a nightmare, and those 911 calls placed by my neighbors in the middle of the night unveiled what was a well-kept secret.
My mother had done a good job of hiding her bruises and wounds, sealing them with fabricated stories to protect her daughters. While I was too young to grasp the full context, I knew our current situation was not what we had hoped for when we moved to America.
We were placed in a shelter cities away for victims of domestic violence where I met other mothers and children. We did not imagine a life like this having to struggle and fight for survival in a country so new to us. I remember using a payphone to inform my family back home our current situation, but in Singapore, divorce was considered taboo. It did not matter whether the situation was toxic.
While it was a sad memory, living in a shelter shaped me to become the strong woman I am today. As touché as it sounds, I am grateful for having to face the “real world” too fast too soon. Putting my big girl hat on, I did not have time to transition from child to adolescent. It almost felt like I jumped to being a young adult.
I learned the hardships of being an immigrant to this country, and I learned how to befriend other children going through similar experiences. We laughed/played together, but we all knew that this was something we could not share with the other kids in school.
I also learned what it felt like to be deprived of food. To this day, I’m so grateful for food banks bc they played such a huge role in my life. I guess you could say this is the reason I went into public health… without knowing at the time what that meant. With the help of both my mother and sister, I understood the meaning of home. It didn’t have to be a lavish setting with all of your childhood memorabilia.
Home was wherever my family was, and to this day, this meaning holds true.
Living in a shelter forced me to be in tune with my emotions. I’m constantly reflecting daily, and I have that experience to thank for that. In addition to all my personal growth, I also learned the signs of a toxic relationship. When you’re on the inside of an unhealthy relationship however, it can be difficult to flag those signs. Often, those signs may be misconstrued as true love.
I also learned what it meant to be strong and independent. My mother has always been a warrior since Day One, but to see her in this light that would’ve otherwise casted her to be a victim, she still managed to outshine herself. She was, without a doubt, the epitome of bravery and courage. Even bereft of resources in a foreign land, she did not let the unknown limit her potential… and bc of her, my sister and I were still able to thrive to be the strong women we are today.
I also want to stress that domestic violence is a holistic definition. From physical to emotional and digital abuse, these are merely a few traits within the umbrella. According to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, some of the signs of an abusive relationship include a partner who:
While living in a shelter served as a sad memory of the past, I learned some of the greatest life lessons this way.
Side note – if you’re personally feeling doubts about your relationship, I’m here to tell you that being in love does not mean isolation/toxicity. Obsession also does not equate partnership. It can be easy to think “oh s/he loves me, s/he just wants me to him/herself…”
The truth is, it is not healthy to compromise your happiness and safety thinking it’s the right thing to do. No amount of healthy love should ever instill a feeling of fear.
It was through that one specific aching experience where I learned the true meaning of character and resilience. At a young age, I have had to move countries, acclimate to a new culture, and accelerate my personal growth beyond my time – so I could be the strong person my mother wanted me to be. No matter where you plan on going, detours are bound to happen.
They are meant to not only give you backbone and take you where you are meant to be.
While I am a different person than I was more than a decade ago, I will have always this specific experience to look back on and reflect to be the catalyst for my personal and professional growth. I may not be an aspiring pharmacist, but I am happily on my way to pursuing public health opportunities. And I cannot wait for the day I get to walk across that stage graduating with my Master’s to know that this was all worth it and to reassure my mother and sister that after everything we had to go through, they still raised me to be the best person I can be.
To wrap it up, we all go through hardships. I just hope these lessons helped shed some light on your own personal experiences and to know that you are not alone. Pain does NOT have to stop you from creating and living the life you deserve.
For those seeking help or resources, I KNOW it can be hard to leave. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline today at 1(800)-799-7233.