by Rajashree Keller
for Writers' Block: A contribution from our AWA Writers' Group members
"Please help me!” is the tiny faint voice I hear in this scary dream I have been having for six months now. In the dream, it feels like I'm falling off a building. Every morning at 6 am, an alarm wakes me up to stop the dream. I'm so scared of the dark that I have stopped turning off the lights in my room. It’s not just a random choice; it's like a really deep fear that comes in when everything gets dark. Dealing with this fear and the scary dreams is tough.
In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, reality hit hard. A few of my close friends left Singapore permanently as the borders were closing. I lost an uncle and aunt to COVID.
I was at a crossroads, deciding whom I should visit first as my parents and sister and my maternal and paternal relatives were all on various continents. I was feeling isolated and wanted to express my emotions to someone who would listen closely.
As days went by, my feelings grew until one day, I grabbed a piece of paper and started drawing and writing. It slowly turned into a kind of book, like a friend I could trust with my feelings. I had a bunch of questions in my head, and even though I didn't have all the answers, I figured out that uncertainty was a big part of why I was scared. At the end of 2020, I wrote down three questions: Why was I feeling guilty? Why did I feel lost? Why hadn't I mourned the loss of my loved ones? It was the first time I’d really thought about these questions, and I found some answers.
I was guilty because I couldn't be with my loved ones during a tough time for them. Every year since moving to Singapore, I had visited my family. The visits felt like a ritual that had given me a sense of emotional security and stability.
I was lost because of a lack of emotional bonding.
And I was not mourning my sudden losses because I had not fully accepted that my loved ones were no longer in the physical world.
Understanding these things helped me feel a bit better. Slowly, I channeled all those emotions into drawings and words. These turned into my own little book, which was like a friend I could trust with my feelings.
I noticed that my fear started fading away when I took the time to answer the questions in my mind. Fear is a strong feeling that can make things seem bigger than they really are. But I found that when I used fear in a positive way, it helped me become a better person. It made me think about myself and broke down barriers that were holding me back.
During those tough times, I went through a journey that helped me grow as a person. I spent time thinking about myself and writing my thoughts in a book, and I found a stronger and more confident version of myself. Dealing with fear and uncertainty made me tougher, showing me a way to know myself better and plan for the future. In this uplifting journey of coming to know myself, my experiences turned into a resilient and positive tune. Each tough moment taught me not just to survive but to overcome challenges, while figuring out who I am became a joyful experience. I realized it's not just about what happened to me, but also about the choices I make. I started to make those powerful choices, and I realized I have the ability to redefine my story.
In 2016, Rajashree moved to Singapore for her MSc, Embedded Systems. She's into tech stuff and loves teaching young people. When she's got free time, she enjoys crocheting. It's her way of balancing the serious with the creative.
The AWA Writers’ Group meets the second
and fourth Thursday of each month. For more
information, send an email to
"If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it" Toni Morrison