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Dorothy Perkins for #IWD2020: Siu Lim

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How can you define strength? In the context of today’s theme—it’s an indomitable force that can be used to describe one’s ability to take astride what life has to offer, be it lemons or the like. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, we’re shining the spotlight on women who yield the same strength as their peers do in society—if not more. Case in point: Siu Lim, full-time Pilates instructor and content creator who is a walking testament that women are natural-born multitaskers who won’t back down no matter the hurdles that life throws in their path. The fitness enthusiast shares with us her learning curve as a full-time, single mother of four who is juggling work, family and her passion to a tee:

What inspired you to start doing Pilates, and what compelled you to share that interest on social media?

My journey with Pilates goes back when my first child was born and I was home all the time with him. I went from a gym junkie to a mum that was not mobile—not to mention, way too tired for a high-intensity workout. I discovered Pilates online and I found it insanely challenging and painful—I loved it!

As I became an instructor, I gradually learned that Pilates isn’t merely an exercise regime. It taught me body awareness, mindfulness, and most importantly it gave me confidence by giving me more strength and better posture. I felt that the benefits I gained from Pilates were meant to be shared and passed on to give others the same confidence and energy.

“#Eachforequal means sticking together, and growing together.”

Is there a central message or theme that you hope people take away from your social media content?

There was a point in my life where I felt utterly depressed. I always wanted a friend who understood me and knew what I was going through without receiving any judgment. I feel that my story relates to a lot of women out there as a mum, sister, friend, and teacher. I actually want to be that friend to tell someone who is struggling that it will be okay. Look how I turned out—I went through some ordeals but I’m perfectly fine! I want to spread that strength and positivity to others.

There is stigma of being a single mother, especially in Malaysia. What are some of the challenges you faced? Do you have any advice for single parents out there?

As a single mum, not only do you play the role as a mother but also a breadwinner, father, brother, sister, and also, friend. It is not an easy feat and it definitely doesn’t get easier. The biggest struggle I face every day is juggling my time and energy with my work and kids.

You start to worry about working too much and not spending enough time with your kids but when you do spend time with the kids, who is going to bear the cost of everything you had just spent your money on? I learned that things will always fall into place, so there is no use worrying about it. The minute I stopped feeling guilty for being a single parent, that was when things started to look up—my kids were happy and most importantly, I started feeling joy again.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EachforEqual. What does this term mean
to you?

To me, #Eachforequal means that once we stick together, we’ll grow together. God made us in different shapes, colours, and sizes; and we all differ in terms of our behaviour, mindset, and voice. Now can you imagine what great things we can achieve once all those different characteristics come together?

What would you say to young women who are looking to do what you’re doing?

Growing up in an Asian household, I was taught to prioritise money. Nowadays, we are told to chase your dreams and be happy. When someone gives me a puzzled look and say, “I still don’t get what that means”, I’ll advise them this: try everything you have always wanted to try and have never thought of trying. You’d be surprised to know that when you experiment with things outside of your comfort zone, you may find a dream so priceless that even money can’t buy it.

Find out more about Siu Lim in our feature video below:

Special thanks to The LINC KL for venue assistance.