Right to be right.

This was part of a comment I received that I felt was really ‘below the belt’ and didn’t publish.

I love the way you write and have been reading it for the past several years.I was under the impression that you were kinda unlucky for having a bad relationship with  mom, all your sisters, george and now you went to us and pointing fingers at your relatives there. Sorry, i don’t have a photographic memory, so i don’t remember anyone you had good relationship with except your paternal grandmother and that help, akkachi(and ofcourse your kids). enlighten me, if am wrong.

So kinda confused about who the issue is with?  whole world at fault ?”

There are the reasons I didn’t bother to publish the comment

1. Just because I come from a screwed up family and write about it, doesn’t give anyone the right to  insult me. Who I am is a product of what I have gone through. Unless you have been there, you do not know how much it takes to get up each morning as a normal functioning person.

2. I don’t need to enlighten anyone about anything. You are not God almighty to make me enlighten you. You are only a reader. You don’t own me and you don’t get to ask me to do things to please you.

It takes tremendous courage to admit what happened to you and it also takes tremendous courage to be the best mom on earth when your own was the worst.

I write, because it is the only way I can cope.

I saw this article about child sex abuse ( http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/toowoomba-child-protection-officers-words-at-sex-abuse-royal-commission-speak-volumes/story-fnihsr9v-1226836249286)  in the Couriermail yesterday and I have been there. I am almost 43 years old, I still listen to sounds of footsteps in the middle of the night, even though I live in my own home and know for sure I am safe.

Walk a mile in my shoes before you take that rock to cast my way.


Away until Monday.



30 thoughts on “Right to be right.

  1. Hi Sarah,
    Your blog is one of the first thing which I read everyday and I look forward to read this. I have been reading this for the past few months.
    I am a mother of two and I know how difficult it is to bring them.Often I loose my patience due to so and so reasons and when I reach home I end up showing it my poor kids. You blog is a kind of inspiration and it has helped me in changing the way I react to my kids.I really respect you. The way you up bring your children is a role model to every one. Keep writing!

  2. I am not sure, how this article relates to you, since I have not read this blog for a very long time. However, I have wondered the same questions not in terms of judgment, but in terms of a person, reacting the way you do, the profound damage that lies underneath such behavior. You become very aggressive, and write any thing to your commenters, knowing they are mere shadows. I can only imagain, how it must be, if someone interacted with you in person. Chances of any type of relationship are slim. What someone must have gone through, which resulted in this person. You have shielded your kids, and did not perpetuate the cycle of abuse, that is commendable, since as an adult, you have the power to choose.

  3. It takes a lot of breaking mental barriers to speak about family. I was often told that I was betraying the family if I spoke of any issues I had. I kept trying to fix things and keep things to myself that it got me close to losing my mind. Mercifully have gotten out of that vicious cycle to some extent now. I completely empathise. Especially the role of a mother is so worshipped in society that folks find it completely horrific to speak up about something that could be wrong with it.
    “There can be bad children but never a bad mother.” Yeah. right.

  4. I have been told the same by a person recently. People just say the most insulting things and pretend they are doing you a favor by doing so. I think the person is a psychopath who gets some kind of satisfaction from hurting others.

  5. Sarah, (s)he didn’t deserve that – didn’t deserve any kind of response. You just write things – you don’t make us read. It is up to each individual to decide whether he or she wants to read it.

    The fact that the person thinks you have a serious issue and still “have been reading for the past several years” is actually a compliment to your writing style 😉

    • URT: Neither did I deserve a comment like that. I don’t consider reading my blog for years a compliment. I feel there are two types of people who read.1. Those who genuinely like to be part of my journey and consider me as part of their family and understand what I have gone through. They don’t judge me, not that they agree with all that I say, but they will not try to hurt me, and the 2nd group has two sub class. One is waiting eagerly for me to fail, for they find me intimidating and are jealous that I do so much with my life and the other loves going through the posts with a fine tooth comb..to prove me wrong because they don’t like my eidetic memory.

  6. You have every right on earth to write what you feel about others, at the same time others have every right to write about what you write. You are writing blog for others to read and even soliciting readers to leave a reply. So what is wrong in the guy making comments? Why you felt it below the belt? And Insult? And offending.

    We have seen a part of the comments. The worst in the unpublished part?

    Why you getting angry? It needs tremendous courage, as you said, to reveal what happened and you should be proud of it. Why from the brave woman you suddenly turned to defensive? Even if you find the whole world wrong what is wrong in it? It is your look out. You don’t owe anybody an explanation for what you feel or write. Cool down Sarah.

    • Bipin: You didn’t understand.
      I have no issues about writing about my own faults. But I didn’t chose to be abused. I didn’t chose my parents or my siblings. Most people don’t talk about the abuses they have suffered for the simple reason that they don’t want to be judged. It is very wrong to judge me because I wrote about the abuses that happened to me. That is below the belt. I will not accept it. You will hear me speak about it, not because I am a good writer or whatever, but because it is the truth and when you hear me talk, you will remember that it is not easy to say all these things and you will never ever tell me that what happened to me was my fault.

  7. The article made me cry… I have had my share of groping and eve teasing growing up in Kerala, but it’s so unfortunate for a lot of kids to have gone through this and never gotten a chance to express their fears; not being believed by the same people who should be taking care of all their fears… :(.. The only thing I can hope and pray is nothing like this ever happens to my children and they have the courage to report to me…

    I’ve always wondered why people are more interested in “showing the right path” instead of just listening to what someone has to say.. Can’t speak for others, but I’ll give you my take on what you write..I understand there are a lot of negative things you write from your experiences, but I cannot claim to understand you based on that.. It’s just a small part of what you experience and would like to see changed in the world…

    That does not mean that I agree with everything you write.. For example the post on fuzzy parents: http://daofto.com/2013/06/creative-parenting.html.. When I read the last line, I wanted to resort to violence (:D) .. If anyone says that to my face, I’ll probably punch their f’ing face in!..Then I took a step back and thought- you don’t know me.. you didn’t mean this about me .. If my child did not have eating issues where I end up in frustrated tears at every meal time and was termed non-thriving by his pediatrician, I would’ve said the same line to any other parent who tried to act fuzzy about their kids..

    Now, let me tell you what I like about your posts..
    – I like the way you courageously tell your own story
    – I like the fact that your words make me think on how I live or to have an introspection.
    – I like the way it inspires me to be a better person and strive to make changes in my own life..
    – I like the fact that you don’t shy away from judging yourself or your kids and also that how proud you are of your kids and all your accomplishments.
    – Mostly I like the no-nonsense, matter of fact way of your writing.

    Cannot help but wonder why everyone is just hung up on the negativity..When I read your posts, I have decided to follow the same rule everyone out there is trying to show you.. Find the positive in what I read.. 🙂

    • Thumbi: In my defense, failing to thrive is a condition diagnosed from 0 months to 24 months when the weight for age is below third to fifth percentiles of the standard on two or more occasions. Often, if there are no anatomical/ medical underlying factors, doctors are trained to diagnose FTT as a form of parental neglect and it is certainly not the same as what I wrote. The kids who came for dinner were 11 and 13 years old and the mother finds it fashionable to tell others that her Indian born mallu children don’t/won’t/can’t eat spicy food because they are now Oreos.. I find that appalling. I have raised three children outside India. My children don’t consider themselves to be Indian. I am also a pukka vegetarian, but all three of my children can eat a plate of Ceviche without any qualms, just as they will eat the spiciest Chettinad pepper chicken. It was my choice to raise my children without a prejudice and I did.

      • My son was diagnosed at 3 yrs. His weight has always been in 5th percentile (still is) and just fell off the charts that year..I understood you were not talking about cases like mine, but I would get judged just the same….I can see it happening more and more as my son is growing up, especially since I don’t even try making him eat anything at a party if he is not interested in the alternatives.. We have enough mom-son tussle going on in the house at mealtimes, it’s so much easier to pretend he doesn’t like to eat rather than explain what’s actually happening..The hosts will be quick to judge me as either not forcing my son enough to eat or being a lying, fuzzy & pompous parent.. And I guess, we have cut down on spice over years after living in US (my husband is a fuzzy eater now since he figured out his tummy feels better after cutting down on spice especially at dinner.).. also we eat rice only twice a week ..All this doesn’t help my son.. I’m just thankful that he eats anything and has improved so much and not worried about getting judged about eating rice and spice at this point…I know it is not too hard to raise a kid outside India eating all sorts of food and spices as I see all my friends’ kids… and my 1 yr old niece eats so much better and so much spicier food at 1 than my son right now..

        • Thumbi: I am sure you know this, but as a Doctor, I will not be able to sleep if I don’t say this. Long term effect of FTT is a bit scary. I remember reading a study sometime ago about the effect of FTT in children at the age of 8 compared to those that didn’t have FTT. The ones that were diagnosed with FTT as babies were smaller with low cognitive scores ( and IQ) and poor overall academic performance, especially maths.
          When my children were little, I did have my share of battle of wills with them. My children are just as ( perhaps more) stubborn like me. At one stage, my baby ( she was 3.5 yrs old) decreed that she will only eat “angel fish”, after reading all the little mermaid stories. I used to buy my fish from Costco and when my children were not looking,I talked to the lady who works in the frozen section and explained to her what I am going to do and she agreed to play along. I took the red snapper fish fillet from the rack and together with baby, we went to the lady and asked her, “what fish is this?” and the lady said “Oh, it is angel fish” and baby had no trouble eating fish from then on. There were no angel fish available for human consumption and baby refused to listen to me and I needed her to eat fish to get the omega 3, tricking her was the only way I could do it. When she was older, I told her the truth.
          We have never had rice for dinner. I cook ela shappadu meal most sundays, just so my children know the joy of eating rice. I do send friend rice/pulao for school lunch once in a while, but most of the time it is pasta/Mexican/Chinese for school lunch.

          • We had consulted a nutritionist for a year after he was diagnosed.. He’s not FTT anymore, just still in 5th.. My son is too smart for what you did with baby now that he can read.. I remember one of my friends came over and showed me how she feeds her son while he watches TV at 3 yrs.. her son’s the same age as mine.. her son just opened his mouth, chewed and swallowed… all the while his eyes were glued to the TV. Then she tried the same with my son. At the first attempt, my son looked at the food with suspicion and didn’t open his mouth at all. Second attempt she somehow got him to open his mouth the moment he felt the food, he spit it out on my carpet and after that he stayed away from my friend the whole time. LOL. I can tell you so many instances like this where I tried different options – like force feeding him ice cream for eg… My MIL had tried to give him a variety of food ,sometimes the same day (I really appreciate her for that!) and finally broke down into helpless tears. The only thing seems to be working is shouting, emotional blackmail and reminding him to eat every 30 secs (I’m ashamed to admit, but it works bcoz he is such a nice kid and hates to see me upset )..He also used to have issues with textures – gagging on whipped creme and soft icing.. He’s 5 and does math at 1st grade level and reading at 2nd grade level and is interested in all kinds of informational animal/dinosaur books, cartoons and remembers everything from those.. Also learning martial arts and piano…I haven’t seen any issues with him other than his resistance to eating…Do you think he’ll still be in danger with cognitive abilities later in life?..

          • Thumbi: I run a small support group for gifted children and often piss a lot of parents off beginning of every school year. Almost all the parents of a prep/grade1 student think that their child is gifted/advanced because they know to do maths at a higher level or read at a higher level. My point always have been, the parents have spent the time teaching the children when they were little and children are like sponges and absorb those information and can repeat it with ease. I look for traits that make a child gifted/advanced, not their ability to read at a higher level or do maths at a higher level. So, honestly I can’t tell you where your son stands in the grand scheme of things. His curiosity and ability to remember things and the fact that he can’t be tricked all are positive signs.
            I am a product of a mother who believed in emotional blackmails and I will never resort to emotional blackmails with my children.
            Rome wasn’t built in one day. There is so much you can do as a mother..My policy has always been, every time a door closes, I look for the next one. Each of my children stopped eating rice soon after they turned 2. We were living in Malaysia then. I remember going to a Japanese lady to learn to make bento. It was time consuming, but I did. I didn’t serve a giant plate of rice, instead I made one rice ball shaped in to whatever shape that took my children’s fancy, served that along with other bento items. Yaya, still won’t drink fresh milk. But I make fruit smoothies for her using homemade yogurt. Baby doesn’t like the texture of mushroom and so I grind the mushroom when I make pasta sauce. I also took my children for ice skating and swimming every single evening after school, so they were starving by the time we got home and ate whatever I cooked. ( plus they were physically exhausted and went to bed on time !)

          • That’s what we do on Sundays for lunch too.. I don’t make anything special/different for my son on Sundays and he knows that’s one day he has to eat rice… :).. I feed him on Sundays otherwise he’ll make sure he loses most of the rice/thoran etc on the dining table.. he hates it, but I am strong on that rule

          • I don’t think he’s gifted.. My husband and I review many websites periodically and always come up with – he’s really smart and has some traits but not enough to be called gifted ..:).. I hope we are not underestimating.. Doing math & reading – yeah, I agree.. If that was the bar for gifted then we have tons of gifted Indian origin kids around.. :D.. I was just talking about his general cognitive ability..It’s more of an exercise to keep his focus .. he used to go to a montessori for preschool and was doing 3 digit addition/carry over and subtraction while he’s doing 1-2-3-4 in Kindergarten now, so I just wanted to do something for him to keep his interest..and he likes reading… What gets us most is his almost adult like emotions and empathy..one of his teachers has commented about this- when she had sat down upset about some family issues, he went to her and just stroked her hand to console…Or the time when he was sobbing after learning ‘Our Father’ for the first time, coz he was really sad that he wasn’t nice to his parents that day..the other side of this is he’s extremely cautious about taking any risks coz he thinks too much.. sigh!

            Emotional blackmail is only used to make him eat. :)…I agree about more doors being opened, but there is only so much hours in a day I can keep opening more doors..:)..He would rather starve than eat – I’m telling you without an ounce of exaggeration..How many days can I starve my kid to try that?.. I opted for the easier way as I didn’t want to give my job up just to make my son eat my life’s mission.. I had to learn to balance… :).. things are much better now-a-days.. :). I hope he’ll grow out of this phase altogether..

  8. Hi Sarah,
    could you please give some of your pasta recipes? I hate to eat rice everyday and I want to make différent non rice items for my kids and my hus. why dont you Start writing a cooking related blog with your wonderful recipes? Anyway what Is bento? Is this pasta a healthy food for kids?

    • Anju: Bento is the Japanese way of beautifully arranging a healthy lunch. I have no artistic skills and I believe presentation is the best way to get my kids eat their meal. So I make bento often. I don’t send Japanese food in my bento..mine involves tandoori chicken with ghee rice etc, but arranged is a very similar manner.
      Bento http://justonecookbook.com/recipes/how-to-make-bento/
      Pasta like rice is a carbohydrate, it fills up the tummy and provide enough energy to survive the school. Plus it only takes me 20 minutes to make it and I don’t need to have too much of ingredients. I should write down my recipes as Yaya keeps reminding me, so she will be able to survive when she is at Uni..I don’t have the time..

      • Didn’t you have a recipe blog you had started for Yaya?.. I had tried the cream cheese cupcakes from that, if I am remembering it correctly. :)…I also do bento style lunch for my son with whatever he eats..:)

  9. Sarah, only those who have gone through the abuse knows the courage it takes to open up. For those on the other side of the fence, it is difficult to understand how or why we tolerate the abuse for so long. And they can’t imagine that we have it in us not to turn out like our tormentors. There are a lot of people who read your blog and understand you. No words to describe those who are ready to throw stones, let them continue in the fool’s world.

  10. Who write about what they felt when they were young? No one does..Even sometimes I feel like writing what went through me while my relatives and aunts teased me. Most of the days I think about it as I too have lots of memories thats hard to forget.They might not be bad but their actions hurted a young one.No one understands even my dad.

    • Nitha: Most people experience only good things in life and hate to admit that there are bad people and bad experiences. I write because, I believe not in limitations, but in possibilities..Someone, somewhere might read my blog and learn that they are not alone

      • Thats true, I was a victim of many abuse from my aunts, I was married fast before I was reaching the age and along with that I have heard my dad saying to others she dont like anyone who comes to see herand she thinks she is supermodel. The only person I have talked to about these are my mum and husband.But when I read your blog, I could feel among you

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