Senashia Ekanayake is a writer, who likes to describe herself as “mediating with her first quarter life crisis and contemplating life as a writer in the making.” She is motivated by two things: writing and environment and firmly believes that if one truly puts one’s heart into something that one wants to do or achieve, then on can end up either having one’s “dream job” or doing something one really likes.
Being a Woman
Senashia says that being a woman in itself is a difficulty she faced. “I incorporated both “woman” and “writer” in the same listing, as it seems to go hand in hand, at least in my instance. So, the problem with being a woman, is that you are in fact, not a man. Please feel free to roll your eyes in disgust at my extremely sexist statement,” she added.
She explained that she believes why cultures and societies of women praise the birth of sons is simply because they simply do not want their baby girls to go through the same disastrous events as they did.
“When you are woman, at least in South Asia, I’ve realised that everything becomes restrictive or a word of warning. For example anything that falls between a 09am meeting or a 10pm drinks-date will accompany a plethora of “dress properly”; “who are you coming / going with / what is your mode of transportation”; “are you drinking? If yes, don’t drink too much, what will people think? And not forgetting the calls and text messages in between. These words of warning are not limited to only parental forces. If you are in a relationship, married or otherwise, the force and urge to protect the weaker sex is still very strong.”
She thinks to years of cultural conditioning and pruning the statements and questions above have now become normalcy to her.
Being a “Writer”
“The problem with being a writer is that it starts off with people either expecting you to write books or write for the newspaper,” said Senashia.
“I did a bit of the latter at some point in life yes, as for the former, not as yet so to speak. From the little I’ve understood in my few years of working is that I prefer to be identified as a writer as opposed to trying to explain to people the whole list of undertakings I’ve usually agreed to,” she added.
Senashia said that things get complicated when she has to explain her job to those who are not very internet-savvy. She lists down her solution: “I just top it off with the line I write for the internet because a “writer” is not seen as a chosen career path for a woman. If this was an Austen era, I may have stood a chance I believe but it’s now customary for women to sit behind a secretary’s desk and plan dinner dates for your boss’s mistress.”
Not Working in an “Office”/ Working from Home
One would not call Senashia as someone with a traditional job. This would be partially due to her work set-up which has no office hours or, an office for that matter.
“So my jobs (yes there are two pay cheques from different organisations) allow me the freedom to work from anywhere. I used to work from home until very recently but now I grace the “city” (suburban girl here!) to drive the mothership and as I don’t like the new setup at home,” she added.
“I quite like this arrangement to be honest. One of the first things I need from any workplace is space. In fact that’s the first thing I need from any relationship, family, romantic, friends, work or any other. I need space to think and be about with just myself, and physical space where I can roll on the floor if that’s what I want to do. And this is exactly what my job offers me. No one cares if I’m working in my underclothes sitting atop the kitchen counter,” she explained.
One of the problems faced by Senashia is that the world seems to think of this as an unnatural occurrence.
“Working from home still hasn’t gained momentum in this part of the world and hence is not accepted as a means of earning by most. My folks seem to or at least try to understand what I do as I still live with them. But most of the time, I even have similar-aged friends who think of my job as “luxury” (I think it’s the wearing underclothes part of the deal) when in fact I still do put in the same or even more hours of work into my job as they do,” she continued.
Balancing Personal & Professional
Senashia finds the question on how personal and professional converge to be an interesting question given that the notion of working from home usually accompanies the notion of “an abundance of free time”, which is not at all the scenario.
“More often than not, I work while on vacation because “season time” for the rest of the world, doesn’t really cut it for those of us who make their own schedules and work with the outside world. Christmas thankfully becomes a universal holiday,” she said.
She also added, “ I would like to think that I have somewhat of a balance yes and am forever grateful as long as I am single as it doesn’t complicate my mojo and throws me off balance! My personal life so far includes my Friday night alcohol-binges with the best friend and dropping an aunty at home or delivering a parcel to the grandmother’s. The family folk might also at times take this working from home thing too seriously and shamelessly ask me to bring my laptop along with me to every place we go.( Sigh)”
Senashia aspires to have her own writing set-up with about three other writers and designers (according to her something which is with a few questions left to be answered.)
“I really enjoy the work I do and the best part about the writing comes the story you want to tell to the rest of the world. We all have a story to tell and what gets better than someone willing to pay you to tell their story! It’s also one of those moments you look forward to when a client says that they truly like the work you did for them or your writing spoke to them,” she explained.
For those who want to either write or work from home, her advice: “Go for it! There is so much potential and many untapped markets out there – especially in this part of the world where trends come in when the storm has passed – that can be made use of an exploited to create something truly beautiful.”