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Dinesh Chandrasena Shares Her Story On What It Means To Feel Like A Woman

Posted on 12 August 2017 by admin

By: Sakuna Esufally – Courtesy: Cosmopolitan Magazine.

The Fashion Design Program Coordinator at Raffles Design Institute and independent designer is loving her journey of femininity and the fact that she gets to determine her own life. Here’s why it’s important for everyone to get that freedom.

I’m doubled over with laughter as I listen to Dinesh’s wise-cracks on everything from the Kardashians (“Where do they find these whack-job men?!”) to end-of-the-week exhaustion (“People are out and about…and I’m just tired!”). Relaxed and forthright, her hair in a trademark topknot, Dinesh says in her wry tone, “My sister says I look like an angry ballet teacher in this hairstyle…oh, well!”

It’s a rare thing to find someone who’s willing to laugh at herself with no restriction. “At certain points in life, you have to decide whether you’re going to laugh or cry. I always laugh,” she says, with an undertone of sass, breaking out into a huge smile.

It’s equally rare to find such an esteemed personality not look at herself as cut above the rest. Dinesh has that rarest of gifts—the ability to connect with people, regardless of age or experience. She’s direct and unflinchingly honest, not afraid to say you’re wrong, while simultaneously indicating she’s on your side. From our first meeting early last year, I’ve recalled her poise and prose (clipped, effective and deliberate) with envy. I was undoubtedly thrilled, then, to have the chance to speak to her about something that’s seated at the core of, both, her and Cosmo: Owning your femininity.

“To me, femininity is not based on appendages or body types. Instead, I equate femininity with resilient strength. And, contrary to the mainstream, slightly misogynistic view, getting in touch with your femininity doesn’t mean being emotional and weak, or that you’re going to break down every second (what utter nonsense!)—I think tapping into that core of emotions keeps you strong and grounded.”

The term ‘femininity’ i.e. the quality of being female doesn’t only lie in whether women (those that are born as such and those that are transitioning) choose to wear a dress or put on lipstick; inherently, it’s something more innate. Though, physical appearance does play a big role.

Dinesh hasn’t had any plastic surgery (and, as of the day of our interview, nor does she intend to), but she has embarked on hormone therapy that, in her own words, has “softened” her out. Then with her infectious, from-the-belly laugh, she says, “And by that, I mean I get more fat on certain areas of my body than I’ve been used to, like on the hips. But, it’s all positive change. I love every bit of it.”

The transition has also been very gradual. “I wasn’t a jock, who showed up one day with Double-Ds,” she says, eyes sparkling. “There are actually photographs from when I was very little (I must have been about 3 or 4) with me in a dress, thrilled to pieces. Biologically, I wasn’t born with an Adam’s apple, and I’ve always had fuller lips and doe eyes; I’ve always been feminine featured. My mum used to jokingly say, ‘God never intended you to be a boy.’”

“In that sense, I was very blessed,” she says, quietly. “My mum and granny were very educated and they allowed me to progress on my path to femininity with a lot of support. In our world, I understand how huge and rare that is. I do not, under any circumstance, take it for granted that I’ve been privileged enough to not face traumas as I started on this transformation.”

For Dinesh, owning her femininity was a journey she always knew she wanted to take. “Without this journey, I would have felt incomplete,” she states. “I would have felt like I was acting—like I was an alien in another body. When you can’t be your true self, it’s like there’s a being inside you, trying to tear out of a shell. It’s not a hard sentiment to understand: for example, if your life-long dream is to be a farmer, but you’re working as a doctor, you’d feel much the same way. It doesn’t feel right; and it feels like you’re losing out on all you could be. That’s why I think being self-actualized is so important—living your most authentic life, makes you feel secure and confident with who you are, because you’re not pretending to live a life you love. You’re actually living it.”

Does embarking on a journey of femininity require an identity change, I ask. Like, does she ever feel the need to change her name to reflect her feminine self? Some people might think so, she confirms, but not her. “I don’t feel a compelling reason to change my name, because who I am hasn’t fundamentally changed. I’ve always been me. This journey is not about changing that; it’s so that my outside can match the inside I’ve always felt.”

“Besides, I love my name. My parents gave it to me. It’s my identity and it’s all I’ve known. I’m developing my existing self; not creating her anew.” She continues, with a sprinkling of dry candour, “Also, if someone called me by another name, I’d be like, Who are you talking to?! It would be a very confusing situation, and it’s not a complication I need! The older I get, the more I try to simplify life. I’m about peeling away layers, not adding them on.”

Dinesh mentions the criticism she’s faced in passing, not because she’s skimming over the topic, but because it really doesn’t have much bearing on her. She’s over it. “I’ve definitely received comments. As a result, over the course of my journey, I’ve become much more understanding of, and kinder to, others, because whether you realize it or not, people are battling their own demons. I’ve also grown a thicker skin…”

“But, I mean,” and here she rolls her eyes. “If anything about my life bothers you, look away. Simple! Just avert your eyes from the ‘horror.’” (Another high five, sister!)

The day before, Dinesh had sauntered into her Cosmo shoot, which, unbeknownst to us, was her first in sari. She looked beautiful yes, but as much because the sari looked like it had been created for her, as because she radiated self-worth and positivity. “I was a sari virgin!” she exclaims. Then, “I honestly think I’m beautiful.” It’s not aggressive or conceited; Dinesh tells most people upfront that they’re gorgeous, so why should she not hold the same standards for herself?

“It’s important for me to disprove the theory that embarking on your journey to femininity is seedy,” she expresses. “You can be successful, respectable and demure, and still want to embark on it. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. Hopefully, I’ve had that impact and I’ve been able to help people recognize the importance of being authentic.”

“It’s important to know what’s good for you,” she says leaning back. “You need to trust your inner self. Women have the power to do whatever they want; it’s my hope that they always do.”

This article was originally published as ‘What Does It Mean To Feel Like A Woman?’ in the August 2017 Confidence issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. 

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Health & Views by Dr. Harold Gunatillake

Posted on 09 August 2017 by admin

It is said that bipolar disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, is there an actual test with accurate results for bipolar? The term “chemical imbalance” is my least favorite term in all of pop psychology/psychiatry. The “chemicals” of which people refer to are actually called “neurotransmitters.” Neurotransmitters are a substance in the brain that allow for the electrical conduction and transmission of signals between brain cells (or, “neurons”). There is no test for chemical imbalance in the brain for any disorder because no one knows how much of any neurotransmitter is optimal, and it varies from person to person, and the neurotransmitters themselves are not in stagnant amounts, and we need different amounts in different parts. Some neurotransmitters also function as hormones (or you could say that they are hormones that function as neurotransmitters). These neurotransmitters have a chemical composition (so does your desk chair), but they are not liquids in the sense that they can be measured in volume. In fact, they are molecules. 

For complete article and more, please open Dr. Harold Gunatillake's Health & Views in the pdf below.

Health & Views August 2017 by Dr. HG
 

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Novartis asthma pill shows promise in small trial

Posted on 06 August 2016 by admin

ReutersThe first new asthma pill in decades has produced promising results in a small clinical trial, potentially paving the way for another treatment option for patients by the end of the decade.

Fevipiprant, which is being developed by Novartis, reduced a biological marker of asthma nearly five-fold in the 12-week trial involving 61 patients, researchers said on Saturday. No serious adverse events were reported.

Larger and longer studies are now needed to prove that the twice-daily pill can also reduce severe asthma attacks, known as exacerbations. Novartis believes the medicine could be filed for regulatory approval in around 2019.

Pills for asthma used to be standard treatment 40 or 50 years ago, but those older products were often associated with worrying side effects. They have since been replaced by inhalers that deliver small amounts of drugs directly into the lungs.

The Novartis pill works in a very precise way to block the action of inflammatory cells called eosinophils.

The latest research, published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, comes at a time of considerable innovation in asthma care, with the recent launch of new injectable drugs for severe asthma that also target eosinophils.

At the same time, many drugmakers are developing improved asthma inhalers, including "smart" devices with sensors that monitor use.

 

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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Healthy Lifestyle by Dr. Harold Gunatillake

Posted on 21 July 2016 by admin

Hints for managing the common cold – Dr. Harold Gunatillake-health writer

Nasal irrigation for your nasal blockage with the common cold
Nasal inhalation of steam does very little to release the nasal congestion and a waste of time.
Instead, nasal irrigation which washes the nasal cavity with saline or sterile water to flush out the mucus relieves the symptoms of congestion and blockage.
Do not rush to the doctor with a cold, being a virus condition and when antibiotics are contraindicated.
The threat of global antibiotics resistance is very real due to over-prescription of antibiotics for the wrong reason.
Each cold (coryza) has its lifespan about a week. Rest, nutritious food, warm chicken soup, with zinc and vitamin C supplementation without OTC drugs and visiting the doctor for antibiotics is recommended.
With the virus spreading to the lungs you may need antibiotics if the doctor suspects secondary bacterial infection.

 

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Healthy Lifestyle by Dr. Harold Gunatillake

Posted on 19 July 2016 by admin

Look after your kidneys.
Our kidneys are marvellous organs and we take them for granted, and more concerned about the health of our hearts and cholesterol levels. Even when you harm the kidneys, they are desperately trying to help you, even after 80 per cent of the kidney tissue is damaged.
They re-absorb minerals and nutrients from your filtered urine, produce hormones, and excrete waste products and toxins from your blood and maintain the pH of your blood.
Drinking too much of Soda drinks can harm your kidneys. Too much caffeine in coffee, tea and soft and soda drinks causes your blood pressure to shoot up and your kidneys will suffer.
Cut down on added salt in your food. Excess salt increases the BP and strains your kidneys.
Kidneys need lots of water to function well and to flush the excretory products The National Kidney Foundation recommends drinking at least 10-12 glasses of water every day.
Magnesium deficiency increases absorption of calcium through the gut and develops kidney stones Take magnesium in tablet form daily or eats plenty of leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts and beans. Fresh avocados are full of magnesium.

Lack of vitamin B6 damage your kidney functions. According to a study carried out at the University of Maryland, a vitamin B6 deficiency increases the risk of the formation of kidney stones. Vit B6 is found in fish, liver, potatoes, starchy vegies, chickpeas and non-citrus fruits.

Too much of pain-killers like aspirin, paracetamol, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs can damage your kidneys. Restrict and take them occasionally.
Statins can cause damage to the kidneys- be aware.
If you suffer with diabetes and high blood pressure you need antihypertensive drugs like ACE inhibitors and ARBs and tight sugar control is essential. You need to do blood tests like creatinine, eGFR, urea, electrolyte levels in your blood, and micro-albumin in your urine. Get these check-ups regularly- neglecting them may end in end-stage failure of kidneys and then dialysis will be imminent.
Limit your daily alcohol intake, and most herbal medicines may damage your kidneys.


Hints for managing the common cold
Nasal irrigation for your nasal blockage with the common cold
Nasal inhalation of steam does very little to release the nasal congestion and a waste of time.
Instead, nasal irrigation which washes the nasal cavity with saline or sterile water to flush out the mucus relieves the symptoms of congestion and blockage.
Do not rush to the doctor with a cold, being a virus condition and when antibiotics are contraindicated.
The threat of global antibiotics resistance is very real due to over-prescription of antibiotics for the wrong reason.
Each cold (coryza) has its lifespan about a week. Rest, nutritious food, warm chicken soup, with zinc and vitamin C supplementation without OTC drugs and visiting the doctor for antibiotics is recommended.
With the virus spreading to the lungs you may need antibiotics if the doctor suspects secondary bacterial infection.
Harold Gunatillake-health writer


 


16 July at 21:47

How To Cope With Positional Vertigo | The Sunday Leader
A sudden drop of blood pressure when you get up from a seated position causes dizziness due to the sudden momentary drop of circulation to the brain.

Please eat beetroot in salads or cooked daily. Nitrites in beet lowers your blood pressure
Take magnesium daily -also lowers blood pressure.Unfortunately Magnesium supplements are not imported to Sri Lanka. Get a overseas friend to send. Alternately eat nuts, dark green vegetables like spinach daily. Cashew has magnesium, unfortunately too expensive to eat daily, in Sri Lanka.

Dr Harold-Health writer

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Healthy Lifestyle by Dr. Harold Gunatillake

Posted on 18 July 2016 by admin

Blood Pressure words on a thermometer measuring your hypertension, with level rising past normal, elevated and danger to burst at maximum point

Blood Pressure words on a thermometer measuring your hypertension, with level rising past normal, elevated and danger to burst at maximum point

Do you know almost all strokes are preventable? High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor. You need to check your BP every six months, because early stages increasing blood pressure has no symptoms. The body gets used to the gradually rising BP, until one day the warning sign (giddiness) is given for the impending stroke. Don’t wait for it. Prevent it. The causes of hypertension are many: inactivity, poor diet, obesity, smoking, heart causes, diabetes, alcohol, and stress among others.
These are all controllable
Dr Harold-Health writer

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