My December Youth of the month wrote a blog on her experience on the podcast: Here is her blog:
Recently, I was recognized as the Youth of the Month for December on the Dandy Lion Perspective Podcast hosted by Harriet Tinka, the founder & CEO of EmpoweredMe Co.
Tinka texted me on messenger, an app I mostly (unintentionally) end up ghosting people on. When I came across her message, it took me a while to respond.
I didn’t think I deserved the honour she was gracing me with for various reasons.
Firstly, I took a minute to recall what I had done to receive recognition. I’m 22, and there’s never a day I felt I did enough as an individual, as a community member, and more.
After sitting on Tinka’s message for a little while, I compassionately convinced myself that if Tinka herself has reached out to me with such an acknowledgement, whatever little I’m doing is worthy enough.
Secondly, I felt sudden guilt and immense gratitude simultaneously. It reminded me of how long it has been since I connected with Tinka.
I keep up with her endeavours through social media. Looking at her work, how she carries and presents herself, the way she shares her knowledge with others has made me think of her as a mentor. So, the question that guilt-tripped me was, “why didn’t you connect with her in such a long time?”
When I moved past that feeling, I thanked everyone out there who looked after me. Thankful because good things happen to me, and I don’t celebrate my victories enough. When someone you look up to as a mentor appreciates your work and graces you with such an honour, I think it truly means I’ve won in the slightest yet biggest way.
You must be wondering who I am and why speaking on Tinka’s prestigious podcast is such a huge deal. My name is Kajal Dhaneshwari, a multimedia journalist who writes for the local newspaper in Beaumont and Devon with the Postmedia Network. I graduated in 2021 with a Bachelors’s Degree majoring in Journalism from MacEwan University. I’ve worked in the past as a commercial and lifestyle model who also participated in two pageants. I like to associate my identity as a journalist who writes for change.
“What gives me strength is the pain. I grew up with painful memories close to my heart. But I realized later; it did not serve me well. The pain took away my smile.” She shares the three most important words we all need to ask. Those words have changed her life.
On the podcast, I speak about my mental wellness journey. Mental wellness because I needed to change the narrative and shift my perspective. I suffered from depression and anxiety a few years ago. I let myself suffer in silence until I knew I couldn’t take it anymore and was tired of feeling helpless. Using my voice to bring change in my life was essential.
Words may not describe and justify the intensity of the pain I felt, but there came the point where I realized I needed to help myself. Growing up, I’ve seen my mother and other women in the house making ends meet without ever asking for help. They lived, loved and nurtured within the same four walls. All of that translated into me, and I tried to become like my mother. But I couldn’t. It suffocated me by the seconds.
I had to help myself. But, I couldn’t until I came to terms with, “Kajal, you’re your own responsibility.”
This year I went to see a therapist; yes, you read that right. “Oh, the perfect child, who was/is good at everything she does! Her parents must be so proud…”
Yes, that perfect child’s pursuit of perfection made her unwell, among other things. That ideal child went to therapy, and sometimes she feels the need to scream, “I went to therapy, I went to therapy,” out loud for the world to listen to. Why? Because I’m so proud of myself for helping myself. The perfect child is now healing, oh so, beautifully. I’m healing, so should you.
Self-doubt can impact our perspective. Kajal continues her healing journey with mental fitness. I asked her what does being authentic meant for her: “Recognizing your strength and weaknesses. Recognizing them makes you give more and do more.”
Link to the episode.
The Quarterlife Crisis: Young and Depressed
Photo by: SSD Photography