Dear InGroup

#realvoices

(We received this note from a parent. As per our usual practice, the name has been kept anonymous. You can write to us at ingrouphelp@gmail.com).

Dear InGroup,

Your last post on bullying touched my heart. I would like to share my own experience as a parent. This year, my daughter went through bullying episodes in school. She’s not yet a teen. The eposodes were severe, and happened during recess, when people called her names and touched her and shoved her. We kept the school informed, but one day, we got a call from the school and from the police. My daughter had tried to take her life. Can you imagine!!! She is not even 10!  We were devastated and shattered. Actions were taken and the school suspended few students. But, even now my daughter is very scared and we are taking her for counselling sessions.

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Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on Pexels.com

I would like to share this with the other parents and also with the other kids/ teens, going through similar things. I want to let them know that they are not alone. I also want to share this so that bullying episodes are not brushed aside as something that is inevitable or ‘just a part of growing up.’ Bullying is serious and should be taken seriously.

Regards,

A parent

 

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The Silent World of Colours

#realstories #myvoice

How does it feel to be different?

Our post is about someone who found it hard to fit in. Everyone who struggles to fit in will tell you that they want people to notice what’s good, to acknowledge what one can do, and to try and understand the beauty of uniqueness. We all want to understand and be understood. Only sometimes we have to try a little harder.

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Self Portrait by Ziyue Chen

Ziyue is a Singapore-based illustrator and a graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design in US. She may not be able to hear the sounds and the words, but she sure knows how to translate the words in to emotions through her illustrations.

It all started with drawing on the wall as a kid,” she says. Art was a form of escape from the struggles, frustration and confusion of “growing up deaf.”  Her mum encouraged her to draw and continues to be her biggest supporter. When she was nine, her mum transferred Ziyue from a Hearing Impaired school to a mainstream school, so that she could fit into society despite her disability.

Anyone with a dream will tell you that it’s not easy. It couldn’t have been easy for her too. People grow disheartened when faced with challenges, and so did Ziyue. Somewhere down the road, Ziyue stopped creating art when she wasn’t doing well academically. Eventually though, she managed to complete her schooling and then completed her diploma in Digital Media Design, majoring in Animation. She worked as an animator for a Children’s Television Programme.

Today, Ziyue works mostly on Children’s Books, mural painting and print media from concept development to print. She says that she draws inspirations from life experiences, from memories, travel and people around her, which in her words, is “basically everywhere that comes within my senses”. Ziyue’s world is full of colours. “I’m happy to be an artist, working as a Children’s Book Illustrator and occasionally sketching in my personal sketchbook.”

Her story of colours and warmth is a reassurance. It reminds us of a rainbow after the rain, and of possibilities in a life full of challenges. An inspiration, not only to those who are faced with challenges in life, but also to those who would like to follow their hearts, Ziyue Chen makes it seem possible.

“I like that you emphasized on possibilities and my art, more than on my deafness,” said Ziyue when she read the feature our founding member had done for her. Read the feature here. We are grateful to Ziyue for allowing us to share her story.

 

 

 

 

 

Things Teens Want Their Parents to Know

#teenspeak

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dear parents, we want you to know that…

* Times have changed: You keep telling us about what you did when you were our age, but everything is so different now. We just can’t relate to that. So, please don’t expect us to behave the way you did at our age. We have to move with the times.

* We need help to manage the stress and pressures in our lives, even if we show that we are very independent and capable. Do check in on us from time to time.

* Give us space to be ourselves. We do need help sometimes but that does not mean that we need constant monitoring.

* Trust us and give us few responsibilities. We might fail at times, but we will try real hard to stand up to your expectations.

*  Even “good” kids act out every once in awhile. That does not mean that we have turned “bad” now.

* We need to unwind. Please allow us some personal time to do whatever we wish to, or to ‘do nothing’ if that’s how we unwind.

* We want you, our parents, to be proud of us and accept us for who we are. Please don’t compare us to others.

* We hate to see you fight. It shakes our faith and scares us a lot.

* We care about what you think of us. Even if our peers influence us, what you think of us, matter a great deal to us. Sometimes, even more than our friends (though we may not show this to you).

* Please understand that the internet plays an important and positive role in our lives. It’s not always a bad influence.

* We will make mistakes – but you can guide us through this.

* It’s hard to fit in with people and that’s why we act out sometimes.

* We have a lot going on at school, sometimes more than you realise.

* Sometimes we can’t express our feelings when we are hurt or upset, and that’s why we find ways to release the anxiety (sometimes in ways that you do not approve).

* We love you. We may pull away so that we can establish our own identity, but that doesn’t mean that we dont love you.

(This is a #teenspeak section. For mentoring enquires, contact ingrouphelp@gmail.com/ sequelsingapore@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let Me Remain an Introvert!

We are being told that the most important requirement of today’s world is the ability to talk well, and the ability to get along with people, yes, all the people, and at all times! The world, it seems doesn’t like shy, quiet people anymore.

Parents want their children to be smart and confident, teachers want the students to speak up, and companies are looking (or so they tell us) to hire extroverted people, mostly. And that’s a pity really because half the world is made up of introverts. And, that doesn’t mean that they are not brilliant, creative, or empathetic. It also doesn’t mean that they are not productive. Then, why can’t introverts be allowed to remain introverts? Why is there pressure to change their inherent nature, and make them unhappy and insecure in the process?

The Introvert. (Source: Susan Cain)
The Introvert. (Source: Susan Cain)

As far as I am concerned, I am happy to be a listener. I enjoy listening to others, and I am shy. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be an introvert, exactly like it’s okay to be an extrovert.

Dear parents, educators, populars, and the rest, please know that forcing people to be what they are not is stressful. Teasing them or ridiculing them when they feel shy or scared is akin to bullying, and making introverts feel less worthy, is just plain mean.

Allow everyone to be. No one is better. Not the extrovert. Not the introvert. But they all belong here in this world. And that’s the beauty of it.

Read an introvert’s stressful experience of  here

To the Man Who Would Love a Fatherless Daughter

#MyVoice #youthspeak #love


Every little girl’s first love is her father. He is the one who takes her on her first date, dances with her in the living room, and holds her hand when she is afraid. A father’s love for his little girl is something that is hard to beat. But not all girls get to experience such love for very long. I didn’t.

Loving a girl without a father is a task. It is not the easiest thing to do. It may seem exhausting. She will crave love in the most innocent of forms. Because she does not have that love from a man in her life. She will look to you for that love. Love her fully and without question.

She will miss him, at times so deeply that her whole body will ache. Hold her tightly and let her cry when this happens. She will appreciate the silence you offer.
She is slow to speak of him in serious conversation, but when she finally opens up to you, soak in all that she has to share with you and appreciate the rareness of her honesty. She will speak of the time he coached her elementary school basketball team, or the time he jumped the giant waves with her in the ocean, and how he never let her go. She will say so much in such few words, so please listen closely.

She will be guarded and slow to trust you. Take the time to know her every ache and every joy, and never use them against her. When she trusts you fully, it will be worth it. Do not make her regret it.

She has an independent spirit because she has to. Being raised by her own motivation and determination, she has learned to fend for herself in the real world. Step back occasionally and let her be. This is when she will shine the brightest.

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Contributed by Tanya Dutta Gupta

 

 

No Labels…. please!

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(The following is a Teen Talk contribution)

Name: Undisclosed
Gender: Female
Age: 17

People talk about stereotypes. They label students as smart or stupid, and somehow we all assume that only the stupid label hurts. It’s not true!
I am stereotyped as smart. Parents, teachers and peers believe that I will top my exam. No one understands the pressure that it gives me: pressure to perform, pressure to never show my weakness, and pressure to never relax. Once my marks dipped and since then, my pressure has increased even more. I have lost confidence and I get panic attacks. I have even hurt myself physically to overcome the anxiety and stress. I wish people stop labelling, and allow us to be human… allow us to make mistakes. I wish people don’t just look at you and put you in to a box that says, nerd, geek, flirt, stud, stupid, smart, b*** etc., etc., etc. We are people and not things that can be labelled.

(Content edited by In-Group for clarity)
Do you have something to say or an experience to share? Email us at ingrouphelp@gmail.com

“I tried to kill myself”

Teen Voice #2

Sana shares her story in an attempt to heal, in an attempt to tell others like her that they are not alone and in an attempt to raise awareness on issues usually swept under the carpet. 

 

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Realistic Charcoal Painting Of A Lonely Girl: Kaushik Varma

“Last March, I tried to kill myself. I was exhausted and desperate, searching for an escape from the gray plains of my depression. At the time, swallowing pills seemed like the only way to muffle the voices that reverberated within my head — the ones that whispered about how worthless I was. The doctors told me I was lucky to be alive.

It is easy to give into that hopeful narrative; to hide underneath a candy-coated veneer of happiness; to nod and smile and agree that yes — I am doing so much better, thank you for asking.
“I’m not lying,” I tell my dad over Skype. “I’m all right, I promise.”
“I’m fine, Mom,” I insist, whenever she calls. “More than fine, actually. I’ve been doing great.”

In truth, I still cling to depression like the threadbare baby blanket I drooled over when I was four. Every now and then, I even find enjoyment in the modicum of companionship that it provides. Depression dulls the sharp edges of my world — soothes my frayed, tattered nerves in the instances when I forget how to simply be. I may be better, but I am not fine — and I am certainly not great. As much as I want to conclude this narrative on a note of cautious optimism, recovery is not a linear progression. My obstacles are not easy to overcome; I am not a fictional character who emerges on the other side as a stronger, wiser version of herself.
I’m not all right. I am, however, learning to accept the complexities of my illness by navigating its rough-hewn landscape. I am learning that what is familiar is not always healthy, though it does provide a fragment of comfort. I am learning that my ability to endure does not make me brave — just tired.
I am learning that I’m not okay — not yet, maybe not ever. I am learning that all sad stories do not have happy endings. And I am learning how to live with that.”

(We would like to reiterate that our stories are shared to raise awareness about the issues faced by our children and youth, and to create a shared solution bank/ support system. If you would like to share your story, collaborate or reach out to us, send us a message or email us at ingrouphelp@gmail.com, sequelsingapore@gmail.com.)