Finding the Balance of Strength and Joy in my South Asian Community

I was with my ex for 8 years. When I left my marriage, I thought I would live my life alone. I have chronic pain & fatigue plus I struggled with PTSD from childhood trauma. I didn’t think I would find anyone who could accept all of me, who’d embrace my quirky exuberance & stand by me while I battled my inner demons. I was lost in finding my balance of strength and joy.

When I left my marriage, I still loved my ex, but I knew the life he wanted for us would always put me in the passenger seat. I did not know how to authentically be myself while also honoring what my ex needed in a partner. For him to feel safe & secure in our marriage, I had to stifle myself. One of us would always be unhappy, therefore, I decided to break the cycle of dysfunctional marriages in my Punjabi community

I shattered my life, watched the pieces fall around me, and picked up what was left to start anew.

I self-sabotaging every possible relationship that came my way.  I felt deep guilt for the pain I caused my ex & both of our families. I felt incredible heartache after learning that my ex had quickly found someone else to be the docile home keeper he’d wanted for himself.  



Falling in love with Melvin blindsided me. I did not want or expect a relationship, but within 5 minutes of meeting him, I was hooked. He didn’t bat an eye when I told him, on our first date, that I was divorced, that I had medical conditions, that I wanted children, but wasn’t sure I believed in marriage anymore. His head fell back & he laughed his deep rumbling laugh as I spouted off a number of things that would make most men run. Our first date lasted 9 hours. It’s been over 2 years, & every day I look at him & marvel at how such a beautiful man came into my life. 

Melvin is my loudest cheerleader. He’s taught me to love my ever-changing body and has helped me peel back the layers of my own trauma. He has sat patiently while I grieved my marriage and held me on days my pain flares up. His optimism is my lighthouse. I never thought I would fall in love again, but the cliché is true: it happens when you least expect it. Sometimes, the pain we feel as a relationship ends is preparing us for the breathless joy we’ll feel when the person we’re meant to be with comes into our lives.  I finally found my balance of strength and joy.


Sandeep Dhillon is a certified yoga instructor based out of Southern California with a Masters in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Teachers College at Columbia University. She utilizes yoga therapy to help women find balance in their relationship to food and exercise. She focuses on helping those who struggle with disordered eating patterns and body image issues. Through a mindful approach to eating and exercise, as well as utilizing the science behind holistic nutrition recommendations, she supports her clients to find and follow a lifestyle that optimizes their physical, emotional, and mental health. You can follow her on instagram @brown.girl.strong.

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