Elle grew up in Singapore and now lives in Australia with her partner of many years. She is 25 years old, and works as a healthcare professional. She identifies as Buddhist and non-heterosexual.

Mindful of myself
“What are you?”
 “What do you mean by what am I?”
 “What race are you? Are you Indian or…?”
 “I speak English at home, so I’m English!”
Mindful of my partner
“Is there anything going on between you and her?”
 “No, I don’t think so. We’re just friends. Anyway she’s a lesbian, I’m not.”
 “Then why are you spending so much time together?”
 “We’re really good friends.”
 “Would you ever consider getting together with her?”
 “No way!  My parents would never accept it!”
Mindful of my family
 “I’m going to tell our parents.”
 “What? No, you can’t. They are going to be so disappointed.”
 *     *     *
“Mum, Dad. Jo and I are together.  We’ve been together for two and a half years now.”
“You’re not gay. “
“Of course you’re not gay. I know, because you’re my daughter. You are not gay!”
*     *    *
“Is the relationship worth it if it is so hard? Do I really want to alienate my parents in order to have my own happiness?”
“Are you OK? Come here to mummy.”
“What happened?”
“You know what happened!”
“I want to help…”
“No you can’t, because you’re the cause of it.”
*     *     *
Mindful of yourself
Over time, I’ve realised that the more I was able to accept myself, the more I began to accept my relationship with Jo. A lot of things have changed since then. I think it had to do with coming back to Singapore again, as a couple, spending time with the people close to us and just being ourselves. I became more comfortable with myself, with our relationship, and thought that perhaps this could be for the long term. Once I had accepted myself, it became a lot easier for me to protect myself by standing up to others, and not allowing myself to be judged or criticised by them. Over the years I think I’ve coped relatively well, and never had any thoughts of self harm or giving up hope because of all this. I’ve been lucky enough to have lots of support from the people around me, especially my close friends.
One thing I’ve really learnt, which I’d like to share with you, is for us to be compassionate to ourselves, even as we’re being patient with others. Ultimately, what matters is you are happy with yourself. This is what keeps me going, because I know this will be my own happiness.
*     *     *
The above are excerpts from Elle’s full story, which can be read in  the book.