“I don’t have a tangible, specific object, but I have something a little more symbolic . . . a pen. For as long as I can remember, anytime I had, like, a thought or feeling – I have never been particularly close emotionally to anyone within my immediate family, I didn’t really have friends growing up – so the first thing I always did was write it down. This was never, like, in a notebook or anything, which is why I didn’t choose a notebook . . . I did a lot of graffiti, like, on tables, bathrooms . . . It was something about just leaving a little part of yourself behind, and it used to make me feel better from a very early age.
I come from a very stereotypical middle-class Asian family. Both my parents were doctors, they wanted me and my siblings to be doctors, to be lawyers, and what they thought was best for us was to succeed academically. That was what life was about for them, and everything had to be a certain way . . . But from very early on . . . when I was supposed to be studying or praying, my mind would wander, so in the margins of my books, or on the desk, I would write down things I was thinking or even, like, song lyrics that were playing in my head . . . I think it’s kind of central to who I feel like I am, in the way that I express myself and go through life, that it’s to do with writing in the margins, or desks, or walls . . . existing where you’re not supposed to.”
Sara, British Asian, female, b.1990s, b. Saudi Arabia