(Being the first real blog post I wrote, I decided to restore it as it was - complete with my emoji heavy writing style at the time)
If you know me, chances are you know me as “Prabashwara” or “Prabash” or just “Bash” :D .To be honest, when I was young I hated the name “Prabashwara”. If anyone called me by that name, I wouldn’t even respond :3 . I am not quite sure why I hated it in the first place but here in Sri Lanka, even your name comes from astrologers xD and so the sounds in my name had to be “Pra” and “Ba”. Apparently according to my parents, due to that fact that I was born on the same day of the year that Prabhakaran(The leader of the terrorist group that was behind the 30 year civil war on Sri Lanka) was born on, my name had to have similar sounds. This only increased my hatred of this name and for the majority of my life, I used only my second name (“Hirendra”) instead. Now you may wondering why I decided to start using my first name again especially if I hated it so much. So let’s start at the very beginning.
The year was 1996. Sri Lanka was winning it way through the International Cricket Cup (A very momentous year for all Sri Lankans ;) ) and my mom was pregnant with me. It had not been easy. She had been through several miscarriages before and even whilst having me, she was confined to a bed most of the time due to the complexities of my birth. Apparently, when I was born, I was blue and the doctor had to rush me to an incubator to save my life.
My dad was from a family of 12 members and despite the size of the family, all of them were pretty close. Sadly their dad (My grandfather) passed away when they were very young and it was their grandfather (My great-grandfather) who took care of them. When he passed away several years later, my dad devoted his life to taking care of the family and stayed with my grandmother in the ancestral home (i.e Maha-gedara) till all of his siblings had gotten married. Finally, He married my mom, who was from a family of 4 which had moved quite alot due my other grandfather being an archaeologist who was a part of many religious ruin restorations around the country.
The earliest memory I can remember is from when I was around 3 years old and I was traveling in a van with my grandmother to a poll office during election time. This is also one of the very few memories I have of her because she passed away before I was of an age to remember properly.
One of the other events I can clearly remember is that time was when I was 5 and had appendicitis. I remember playing in the playground, when my stomach started aching and I started throwing up continuously. The doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and they took all sort of tests to find out. I remember one test in particular where they put some kind of gel on my stomach and I kept wiping it off saying I hated this jelly :3 . Somehow, my doctor was certain that it was appendicitis even though it couldn’t be proved by any test but many other specialists disagreed. So they had to let my father in during the surgery since they couldn’t take full responsibility or something. I remember being taken to the operating theater and seeing everyone dressed in green scrubs. Then I woke up the next day in a hospital room and I was all better! I felt like a hero due to all the attention I got for the scar on my stomach :D
My parents, especially my mom, were VERY overprotective of me. They didn’t let even go into the garden outside my house unless someone was watching, let alone play with the other kids. For the majority of my life, I lived in my dad’s ancestral home in Kaduwela which had a massive garden but no one to play in it with. So I had a pretty lonely childhood except for school. Maybe it was because of this that I was very naive, more so than normal and I had very little understanding of anything/anyone apart from myself. I can’t also for the life of me, remember what I did during that time, It was that dull. I was also not interested in sports and even the few I did try, I gave up soon afterwards due to the difficulty of all the practices. I was also a very big cry baby who would cry even for the smallest thing and that was a reputation that stuck with me till grade 7 when I changed schools and I vowed to be different from the way I was before.
During this time and for several years after that, My parents were in the business of selling plants for a living. They grew various varieties of plants in the land behind our house and then transport it to a park with stalls(The viharamadevi park) where there were flower shows every weekend and sell them there. and then of course they would bring back that plants that weren’t sold back home. Growing plants was a very laborious job and it was very tiring for both of my parents, especially my dad. Most of the time, I helped in loading and unloading the lorry which was more complicated than it sounds due to the sheer amount of plants that had to be loaded in. Despite all their efforts, there was only a very small amount of income coming in and they were struggling to make ends meet. They didn’t let me feel this at all, but I was raised with the mindset of scarcity and none of the “luxuries” that many would consider normal.
Because I was mostly alone, I always liked company especially since it was only on rare occasions that I ever got any company. Since my dad was the late to marry, the age gap between my cousins and me was massive (Almost 15 years between me and my next cousin). Some of my cousins even had children of their own which meant that I was an already an Uncle :3 (I became an uncle 6 months after I was born which was when my “niece” was born). The catch was that I was too young for one generation of the family and too old for the other and there were times when I felt like I didn’t fit in at all.
Naturally, grades were a big part of my life at that time. My parents had the highest of all expectations from me and to be honest there was a lot more than that on me. My parents were like polar opposites of each other and there were constant fights at home followed by days of the silent treatment. The worst feeling as a child is to see your parents fight and feeling completely helpless in the face of it. There were fights so bad that they almost split up and each of them said that the only reason that they stayed together was because of me. So I was always thought that if I was ever bad, my family would come to an end. So whilst for most other kids, a bad grade would mean a scolding from home, for me it was a matter of keeping my family together.
As I was entering grade 8, My parents decided to change my school due to my previous school being really unorganized in the recent years. I took this a chance to start new and leave behind several ineffective parts of my personality behind (the cry babyness, hot-headedness and so on).And despite being in a completely different environment than before, I got on quite well during my first year there (There were a few exceptions, but hey that’s to be excepted)
But this was high school and things were not gonna be this easy for long. For starters, there was this entire coolness concept. You were either cool or a loser and people would do all sort of crazy things just to prove that they are “cool” or “masculine”. (Oh man, so many of these instances :3 ). The thing was previously in my old school, there were only a few sports and none of them organized properly, so it was really upto you to pursue it (which I didn’t ). Here however, sports were compulsory and there was plenty of opportunity/support to actually get somewhere. But I just wasn’t interested (and later kind of regretted not making the most of what was available) This plus the fact that I was more of the quiet type meant (or so I thought at the time) that I leant more towards the loser type.
This coolness concept also means that you have to hide the parts of your life that you were ‘not cool’. More for me at least, that meant not talking about the way I was before and also not admitting to the fact that I came from a financially struggling and troubled family. I remember once our car broke down and my dad couldn’t afford to fix it for 6 months and in that time he came to pick me up with my mom in the lorry that they used to transport plants. And I was so embarrassed about it that I tried my best not to be seen anywhere around it. There were also times when I spent most of my time around the so called “cool kids” rather than my true friends who actually cared about me.
And then during the last two years of school, something that I never thought would happen, happened. From a very early stage, my mom was strongly against me having relationships and I actually didn’t think of it that much. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but I developed a crush on one of my classmates. (Anyone from school reading this can obviously guess/already knows who it is :D ) I always tried being around her in class and sometimes that meant going greatly out of my way :3 . The thing is I had no idea what to do. I felt quite certain that even if I did ask her out, I would simply get rejected because I was just a fat, inactive and silent loser with braces (It really surprises me now about how extremely little I thought of myself back then) and so for a year and a half, I kept this all to myself, with that thought running repeatedly in my mind.
As this went on, due to the hyper competitiveness of my classmates at that time, I kept feeling more and more inadequate. I was always slightly above average academically but I had nothing else (i.e sports or extra qualifications) to set me apart and I was up against people who were at the top and had done all sorts of things on the side. Everyone kept emphasizing that it was not academics but what you did on the side that will count when getting into uni. This was further proven when I was rejected for prefect-ship not once, but twice and there was the time when all of my friends were prefects and I wasn’t. I actually thought that I would never get into university.
It was then my life starting falling apart. For some reason, I didn’t pay much attention in class (Maybe because I was ‘distracted’) and eventually came to a point where I had no idea what was going on in class and my grades started falling. That was the only thing I had to prove myself, my future and family hung on this. This combined with the powerlessness I felt at the whole crush thing created a depression that took over my entire life. I felt worthless and that no one cared about me. I would go to school and then even the slightest thing involving her or feeling lost during a class would trigger this depression that lasted the rest of the day. It was a cry for help, for her or even for someone to take notice. And they did take notice, they were always asking me why I was depressed and tried cheering me up, but I just didn’t notice it back then. I thought that they would not understand or that if I did tell them, I would come across as a ‘loser’. I also disappeared from all social networks saying it was “pointless” and without knowing it I pushed away the people that cared whilst more than anything I wanted them to care. It was a paradox.
It then came to the point where I released that a depression was something that was under your control, It was your choice whether to be depressed or not and with this realization things started to get a bit better. I started coming out of my depression, started socializing again. This didn’t last for long however because of what happened next. One of my closest friends at that time, started going out with her. It was only then that I understood why they call it heart ache, because your heart really does ache. The worst thing however was not that, it was the realization that 2 years ago, both of us were at the same place and whilst I kept thinking about all my problems, he actually did something about it. It was the realization that it could have been me and that really killed me inside. Depression came back full force, now with the added weight of heartbreak and made it the hardest time so far in my life. I actually broke down to the level that I confessed my crush to her, now of course being too late (This is also the reason I couldn’t stand the song “Say something” for a long time afterwards :3)
At this point, I realized that I needed a fresh start. I realized, I cannot change the way that my existing friends saw me. They would always see me as the silent, depressed and powerless guy. Being the “drama king” I was, a fresh start meant a new phone number, new address, a total cut-off from the people that used to know me and even a new name. This may sound very excessive (and it is) and I lost many of my true friends in the process, but what it did give me, was a clean slate, a chance to start new again. I remember it very well, day one of uni, I walk in and there was a counter where you had to check in and collect some stuff. “What’s your name?” asked the woman behind the counter. “I’m Prabashwara”, I replied.
Describing my life since then is not very easy :3 . To say that it was always a great time would be a lie. There were times where I felt that I don’t fit in or belong and there were times where even I was surprised at what I can do :D. It seems like loneliness follows me everywhere, even to another country where I was the only EP at the time who had to live alone :D. I become this person who challenges every notion a person might have about me, accept any challenge that comes my way and not to care much about what others think of me in the first place. I learnt to accept myself for who I am and be my trueself at all times instead of becoming different versions of myself just to ‘fit in’.
Now I didn’t write this entire post to make anyone feel sorry for me. I always been kind of secretive about my life and this only led to depression and loneliness. I always wanted everyone in my life to know these things about me and now they do. (being ‘this level’ of open on the Internet may also be one of the stupidest things I have done, but lets see what happens :D ). For anyone reading this, If you feel like you are going through a rough patch, never give up. It is always your choice whether to be happy or not, so always chose to be happy, it’s that simple. Always challenge yourself as well, anything you feel you can’t do, just go out and do it. It doesn’t matter what others think or what others want you to do, what matter is what you think of yourself and what you want to do.
and now you know the truth about me.