The Courage to Be Someone New
Sometimes my clients would joke around and say things like, “Penny you make it look easy,” or “Penny you’re so lucky”.
Truth is, I haven’t always been a lucky Penny.
Most people wouldn’t know the extent of my past and the physical abuse I endured throughout my childhood and adolescent years.
Though those wounds have healed, they’re not forgotten.
They’ve taught me so much… and they continue to teach me even till today.
I remember a time when I was 9 years old.
I was playing by myself after school, right outside the gates of the school, next to a ditch — a filthy, smelly, wet ditch.
I remember sweat trickling down the side of my forehead.
It was another hot and humid day in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where I was born and raised.
As I was playing and wiping sweat off my forehead, I accidentally slipped and fell into the ditch.
Next thing I knew, I was brutally punished and severely beaten… for being “stupid” and “useless”.
I remember being dragged by my hair from the front of the house all the way to the back of the house.
I was screaming and crying in pain and fear.
And my head… my head hurt so bad… it felt as though a thousand needles were prickling through my scalp.
I held my head to try and pull back some hair and release some pain… and I could feel my hair falling off.
I didn’t have much hair to begin with, so my hair falling off just crushed my little heart even more!
Next thing I knew, some form of chemical was poured on me.
And then I was threatened… with a match… that I would be burned… that I was not loved… and I was not wanted.
I screamed so hard. I kept saying I’m sorry. I screamed until I lost my voice.
It was one of the scariest moments of my life.
And so it goes. I lived in varying degrees of fear each day growing up.
Some days were less intense, and some days were almost as intense.
At an age where most little girls were playing with their dolls and planning their next play-date, I was trying to figure out how to end the pain.
I was contemplating on how to kill myself.
And so, my first suicide attempt was at 9 years old.
Because I didn’t feel safe or loved growing up, all the pain and trauma led me down a really lonely and unforgiving journey into deep depression, suicidal attempts and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
I was sick… and I didn’t even know I was sick.
I thought it was somewhat normal to feel so much pain all the time.
I perfected a smile on the outside, while inside I suffered flash backs of abuse and pain, and was often paralyzed by fear and doubt.
I got away with living like that for a while, but hitting one rock bottom after another, it all caught up to me.
I knew I needed to heal. But how? Who do I turn to? Where do I even begin?
I was so embarrassed by the way I felt, I didn’t want to tell anyone.
No doctors (no medications), no counsellors, no confidants.
Once again, I contemplated suicide…
Or… this time, take charge of my life?
Honestly, I was back and forth about this for a while until it hurt so much inside that I decided to take charge!
I must admit, after deciding on this, things did not get easier. But I was getting better. There were little “rewards” along the way.
I did anything and everything I could to heal.
I delved deep into self-help and self-healing books, videos, research, self-reflection and meditation.
I learned from anyone I felt I could benefit from, and this included leaving behind people whom I felt were not contributing to my healing.
Today, I’m grateful for everything I’ve been able to do for myself to heal.
Everything that was once “wishful thinking” is now my everyday reality.
I am fit, strong and healthy, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually.