I took up this initiative a little over a year ago. The initial idea started off during my thesis year at #prattinstitute , during which I designed a retreat and safe space for the adult women survivors of child sexual abuse. Being extremely passionate about the project, I went deeper into reimagining safe spaces for the future. I decided to launch #TheSafeSpaceProject and broaden the idea to all #survivors and the #lgbtq community. Proudly being a part of both, I want to share my vision with the big ass family I have out there. This project is about visualizing and curating futuristic safe spaces that I will one day bring to life.
After struggling and feeling lost for a long time myself, I realized how important it is for me to do this because I never went in to group therapy or any such support group because of the sterile environment that is usually associate with these spaces. It made me feel scared and a little intimidated I think.
I then started this blog, that I am honestly very proud of but also found extremely mentally taxing. I realized how hard it was on my emotional well-being to talk about my past and abuse because I had to relive it over and over again. I then remembered the initial purpose of why I started designing in the first place.
I am not a therapist or a mental health specialist. I am only good at what I do, #designing and #creating so I figured I should go back to doing what I love most.
I absolutely cannot wait to share and start this project. Trying to help build our communities to the best of my abilities by contributing all that I can.
Day 05/100 of my #100daysofpositivity challenge! I tried something a little different today. Over the past year I had been working on my Graduate Thesis at Pratt Institute. I was designing a Community Retreat/Home, for us Survivors. The main idea behind my project was to build a space personalized to help us cope with what and how we feel, amongst fellow survivors who truly understand what it’s like. One of my main topics for exploration in my thesis was what touch means to us as Survivors and how design can be incorporated in order to make the entire space a place for healing through various community activities. I curated a set of materials to be used in the space in order to give it a softer feel. The piece I made today explores tactility and touch and how it resonates with how we feel. This personally ties down to how I used to feel in the past with a million mixed emotions, and how I somehow managed to have a tiny ray of hope that has finally helped me declutter some of those mixed emotions. I chose these particular colors because after all the research I conducted for my thesis I found how shades of blue and green are the most calming colors. I hope to have such a space built for us one day! The second image in this post is one of the spaces I designed in the house called “Survivor’s Retreat” 🦋 it’s hard to explain and share all my ideas in this one post so I will be spreading them out over a course of time and I would love for all you Survivors out there to let me know what you think so that I can plan for our future space and world domination!!! Because without you’ll, I would never be able to call this space, Home💛 We are stronger together. Always remember that because there is always hope🤍
After having a breakdown yesterday I decided to make this piece for my BPD diagnosis.
For anyone who doesn’t know, BPD stands for Borderline Personality Disorder. I have been misdiagnosed in the past and been prescribed the wrong medications which hadn’t worked for me. After switching between multiple psychiatrists I was exhausted because even then, nothing seemed right. I couldn’t make sense of the things I was feeling, or the way I was acting and I thought nothing would work for me.
After I came to New York I had several episodes in the first year of being here. A friend of mine, a person who’s tried to understand me like no other, was so worried that she dragged me to the therapist at school. I am so thankful to her today because I was introduced to a psychiatrist outside school from there, and for the first time, it just clicked. It felt right. What was so shocking about this was that this new psychiatrist was/is a male. This was the first time ever that I was talking to a male professional about my abuse. I was terrified and I didn’t open about it for a while. He obviously knew because he had been filled in by my therapist at school. But he gave me the time and respected my decisions.
Several months later, maybe a year I think, I was diagnosed again, this time with Borderline Personality Disorder. The more I started to understand about it, the more free and liberated I felt. It felt like a mountain had been lifted off my shoulders. I hadn’t felt like this ever before.
In the past, I wasn’t receiving the help I needed and I was always frustrated and making the wrong decisions. So before I start explaining why it is so important for people to not only educate themselves about mental illnesses, but work hard on creating a support system and not judging the people who are facing problems…
Some facts about BPD: one of the most intense feelings of a person with BPD is the fear of abandonment. We go into a flight or fight mode kind of situation wherein we do something extremely impulsive or reckless without even realizing it in the hope of “saving ourselves”. And NO, it is not because we are trying to attract attention. In the past, I have done this multiple times. We have extreme mood swings and everything is just black or white in our minds. Our minds are like a switch, and flip from time to time.
These are just few of the things we have to go through. People say they “believe” you but would end up saying things like I was doing all of these things as some part of a big excuse or to get attention. For a long time I played these thoughts in my head over and over and hated myself for the things I had done. I had decided that I didn’t deserve anything good and that I didn’t deserve to be in this world. I was reminded that my personality is messed up or that I wasn’t a good person and that I have to change. I got even more scared and started to isolate myself from my friends because I couldn’t remove the thought from my mind that they were out to get me or would betray me. I couldn’t tell right from wrong anymore. The reason I have finally decided to share some of these instances is because I really hope people will one day understand that mental illness is a real thing. You can’t just ignore it or downplay it because you don’t get what you want or because it’s hard for you. It’s like any other problem in this world. Please don’t manipulate people who are facing problems for your own gain. It’s just morally and ethically WRONG.
There are things you can do to regulate it, but with the right help and guidance! I wish more than anything to have a healthy and stable life. I now work hard every single day to express my thoughts, communicate however best I can and try to pause before doing something uncontrollably. I attend therapy every single week, despite my workload or anything else I am going through. But this took a long time, and a lot of practice, patience, forgiveness and understanding.
So this piece that I’ve made today is so important to me, because now I don’t feel ashamed or crazy anymore. I know that I have a problem, but I also know who I truly am or who I truly want to be. The best part is, I can choose to be whoever I want to be because after trying so many different things I finally have a sense of what works for me, who and what I resonate with. And I will walk with my head held high and dance to the rhythm of my soul because I proud of where I am today. I am proud of all my pieces and one day, I will find someone who loves me for all of it.
Day 03 was a little rough for me. I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and panic the night before and felt terrible that morning. I almost decided to not follow through with the challenge but decided against it. I tried my best to put something together in order to keep my routine going. Initially I felt badly about it but after a while of completing the piece I felt proud that I hadn’t lost hope and given up.
Healing is a long process when you’ve experienced some kind of trauma. I really understand that now. I have really bad days sometimes even though I recite my positive affirmations and thoughts everyday.
The thing to always remember is that you need to be kind to yourself. Reward yourself for small achievements and be proud of every progress you make because even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal then, every small effort you make will eventually lead to a much bigger positive change later.
Day 02/100 of my 100 day challenge to spread positivity
I’ve had a pretty rough past with plenty of incidents that I think made me a really bitter person for a while.
I wasn’t always like that. I was loyal and honorable and I used to stick up for things I believed in but all the hurt and pain just made me angry at the world. I always felt like an outsider where I grew up. And I think because of all the bitterness I had, I ended up hurting a lot of people too. It was something uncontrollable for me and I had absolutely no idea why at the time. I started to feel even worse about my myself.
This year has taught me so much. One of the biggest reasons for making this piece is because of all the terrible things happening around the world like the terrible acts of racism and all the hate floating around in our atmosphere. It makes me so sad and has made me reflect so much on life and my own actions in the past. WE NEED TO DO BETTER. BE BETTER.
Healing takes a long time, it is a continuous process. While making this piece today, I thought about all the times I hurt people, instead of all the times I was hurt. One of my all time favorite quotes that has helped me come out of my darkest place is by Martin Luther King, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I repeat this to myself daily because I think I finally understand the importance of spreading love in this world.
I am not healed, but I am healing. It’s a battle every single day. But I strongly believe in the strength of kindness and have understood that we cannot change the acts of other people, but we can certainly change how we act towards others. And one day, hopefully, we will make this world a better place to live in. But if we don’t do our bit and do what’s right, time will come to a standstill.
I know it really hurts to be hurt, but don’t let the acts of others change who you are. Keep moving forward and hold your head up high because things will get better! Keeping hate in your heart will make you suffer more than anything. There are plenty of resources, support groups and people out there who care about you. Never give up and never lose hope.
Even if it seems scary, reach out for help and we will go from there, together.
So, I just started the 100 day challenge with a couple of my friends! I decided to do 100 days of positivity. I am trying to incorporate creativity and positivity into my everyday life. Art is something I have found to be very therapeutic. What I love about art is that there is beauty in its imperfection…it helps me accept every bit of myself and explore the deepest thoughts in my soul. Today, Day 01 was absolutely splendid! I already feel so much more energized and motivated to go forward with my day! I really hope these posts help bring hope and positivity into your lives too! I will be uploading my 100 pieces here, everyday. In case anyone wants to try out these little positive techniques too! Especially during these trying times and being locked up in the house, this is a really helpful way of coping. The best part about this challenge is that you can literally do it with anything you like, anything you’ve been wanting to explore! Also, sharing my progress with everyone out there keeps me so much more motivated and I highly recommend doing this! Here’s to healing and spreading lots of positivity! Lots of love, p.u.
I know what it’s like to hit rock bottom, way more than once. Like one time wasn’t enough? I always connected everything back to my abuse. I still think about it all the time. The visual flashes are so strong, it consumes me. Is everything really so connected? I never even knew that was a possibility till I actually started to receive the help I so desperately needed. I have switched so many psychologists and psychiatrists and medications, I have lost count.
I hated telling my story at first, over and over again, it used to drain every bit of energy from my body. I blamed it on every external factor I could find…but the truth is, I just didn’t want to accept that part of me. I was living in denial. Pretending like everything was okay. Hoping that pretending would actually make things okay. I thought if I acted normal, I would feel “normal” again. I never wanted any of my friends to know, or my social circle to know because then I wouldn’t be me anymore.
What’s even more crazy to me, is how human beings are so good at camouflage. I wasn’t exactly an introvert, I think. I have been blessed with some amazing friends in my life, finally. It was rougher a few years ago and long before that. All these years, other than one person (the first person I confided in) and my family, not a single person knew this side of me even existed. It was like I had a whole other life. I was so scared I would be deemed a liar or that someone would tell me I was just making things up for attention.
Sadly, I wasn’t all that crazy to believe that. A person I have known my entire life once asked a family member of mine how they knew I wasn’t lying…a few tears rolled down my face and I dealt with my pain through my normal process of self-isolation and some form of self-destruction. But then the next day my mother’s voice echoed in my ears, “you’re a fighter” she’d say, every time I was falling apart. I suddenly felt like I had accepted that no matter what, one thing was for sure- ugly or not, sad or not, this was me. And I decided to own it.
When you finally find your voice, it can be scary. You think no one will love the real you. But actually, it is the only way that you will find someone who will. Until then, don’t be ashamed or afraid of anything or anyone else. You are your own support system. You’ve fought multiple battles and won. You do you. And seriously, what is normal anyway? Don’t try to fit in, because you were born to stand out!
I have been there and a part of me will always be there so I know it’s rough and this all just sounds like a bunch of words right now but trust me, I spent so much time badgering myself up that I can tell you without a doubt that it is not worth it.
So, over the past, however long I haven’t written for, I was overcome with fear. I started to think about how any of this would maybe never make a difference or how I would inevitably mess things up. But then something someone really great I met told me, popped into my head and it suddenly felt like I woke up on the right side of the bed after a long down period. This person told me not to let fear overcome, because some day even if one person in need reads my blog, I will have achieved my purpose. So not to give up.
The thing about us survivors is that we have an uncontrollable urge to fight. I mean, why shouldn’t we? We made it this far! After a lot of years of reckless behavior, addiction issues, and the list can go on…I have finally reached a point in my life where I think blow no. 10,000 just feels like a tiny scratch compared to past battles. I don’t know if it’s sad to think of it that way, when you compare something bad that happens to you- to something even worse that has happened to you- so that you can feel slightly better about the unfortunate thing that you just experienced. I try to think of it in a positive light because this very strange defense mechanism is my armor.
What it’s like for me? It’s confusing. I grew up in a great family (most of them, at least). I have a large family. At some point we were 21 people in a more than moderately well sized apartment. And this is only the immediate paternal side of my family that I grew up with. Even during introductions, the word “ cousin” never came naturally to me. We used to fly paper rockets into the jungle behind my house, gather and overthrow my grandparents from the television room to watch Full House at 7 pm sharp every day. I grew up believing in “Ohana” and that my family was my safest place.
After coming to New York I realized how I never really received the help I needed, back home. I was in so much agony and I didn’t even know it. I started to question everything long before I came to this city. I was a volcano waiting to explode, and I did. I packed up my things one day and ran fast, never looked back. So it confuses me as to why things have to be so black or white for me. Why I changed every single thing in my life even though 95% of my family is just great, I still feel most alone there.
The point is, life can be so confusing. There are moments where you are just going to want to give up. You try to find and hold onto things that make you happy but for some reason, once again, *boom* you’ve been hit with blow no. 10,000. But you’re alright, you’re going to get up, pick up your pieces, rebuild and start over. Remember that armor? The past will flash in front of your eyes, but you’re going to stare it back in the eyes and tell it that it just made you so much stronger.