An Event in the Haunting Past to Be Clarified and The Power of the First Lady

“This is disgraceful,” First Lady of The United Stated Michelle Obama said. “It is intolerable. And it doesn’t matter what party you belong to — Democrat, Republican, independent — no woman deserves to be treated this way. None of us deserves this kind of abuse.”

It’s been days now since a hot-mic tape in which 2016 Presidential Candidate Donald Trump makes a series of lewd and sexually derogatory comments about women were leaked to the public.

I tried avoiding writing about this election for various reasons (particularly because it’s similar to a circus act gone wrong), but not talking about it doesn’t help either.

Donald Trump is a known playboy, a rigged/corrupt “businessman”, crude, and so many other things that I rather not list down and bore my intellectual readers with.

I am no one to say much of anything, but I am one among many strong, independent women who has various aspirations to make it in this world- but that being said, we have faced unthinkable obstacles just to walk on the streets of today’s world.  We may oftentimes may be jeopardizing  our personal safety,  freedom, and risking the rejection of their families and communities.

As FLOTUS so gracefully put it, we now have to be reminded as to how important and valuable we are in this world. We are individuals in society that deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and that we need to disregard anyone who demeans or devalues us – I have recently went through this ordeal, where a respected person in our Malayalee community took advantage of a situation we were in…I was told to leave what happened alone, just to “forget about it,” but how can I when the constant constrained thought of who this may happen to next occurs in my head…

The fact that this happened to me a little over a year ago and went under the bridge was because I was scared. Scared for what rumors may come of it, scared for what people think of me; for whenever circumstances where a women is violated arises – people tend to make it a fault of the victim, not the abuser.

I speak up now for it annoys me that this man is still walking freely and being awarded for his various “acts.” Why not give him the award for best actor of misusing his “title” and status quo to intercede on someones private space…

Our voices do matter in this world and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. YOU should make your voice heard in the world. Hence why I am speaking up and taking a stand for myself, along with others in the community who feel they they may have been suppressed in opening themselves up.

This election, it has brought up a whole new world of ugly. Parents are afraid to turn on the news, for who knows what new scandal will turn up. I have nothing further to really say on this but to only quote FLOTUS of her bold statement during her speech on Oct. 13, 2016:

“The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for President of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign, has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning that I simply will not repeat anything here today. And last week, we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that a candidate for President of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.

And I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening, and to come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous to me to just move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream.

This is not something that we can ignore. It’s not something we can just sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a “lewd conversation.” This wasn’t just locker-room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior, and actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us were worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV.

And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear that this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life. And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I’m sure that many of you do too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman.

It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts. It’s like that sick, sinking feeling you get when you’re walking down the street minding your own business and some guy yells out vulgar words about your body. Or when you see that guy at work that stands just a little too close, stares a little too long, and makes you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.

It’s that feeling of terror and violation that too many women have felt when someone has grabbed them, or forced himself on them and they’ve said no but he didn’t listen — something that we know happens on college campuses and countless other places every single day. It reminds us of stories we heard from our mothers and grandmothers about how, back in their day, the boss could say and do whatever he pleased to the women in the office, and even though they worked so hard, jumped over every hurdle to prove themselves, it was never enough.

We thought all of that was ancient history, didn’t we? And so many have worked for so many years to end this kind of violence and abuse and disrespect, but here we are in 2016 and we’re hearing these exact same things every day on the campaign trail. We are drowning in it. And all of us are doing what women have always done: We’re trying to keep our heads above water, just trying to get through it, trying to pretend like this doesn’t really bother us maybe because we think that admitting how much it hurts makes us as women look weak.

Maybe we’re afraid to be that vulnerable. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to swallowing these emotions and staying quiet, because we’ve seen that people often won’t take our word over his. Or maybe we don’t want to believe that there are still people out there who think so little of us as women. Too many are treating this as just another day’s headline, as if our outrage is overblown or unwarranted, as if this is normal, just politics as usual.

This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is disgraceful. It is intolerable…

And I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency. It’s about right and wrong. And we simply cannot endure this, or expose our children to this any longer — not for another minute, and let alone for four years. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and say enough is enough. This has got to stop right now.

Because consider this: If all of this is painful to us as grown women, what do you think this is doing to our children? What message are our little girls hearing about who they should look like, how they should act? What lessons are they learning about their value as professionals, as human beings, about their dreams and aspirations? And how is this affecting men and boys in this country? Because I can tell you that the men in my life do not talk about women like this. And I know that my family is not unusual. And to dismiss this as everyday locker-room talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.

The men that you and I know don’t treat women this way. They are loving fathers who are sickened by the thought of their daughters being exposed to this kind of vicious language about women. They are husbands and brothers and sons who don’t tolerate women being treated and demeaned and disrespected. And like us, these men are worried about the impact this election is having on our boys who are looking for role models of what it means to be a man.

In fact, someone recently told me a story about their six-year-old son who one day was watching the news — they were watching the news together. And the little boy, out of the blue, said, “I think Hillary Clinton will be President.” And his mom said, “Well, why do you say that?” And this little six-year-old said, “Because the other guy called someone a piggy, and,” he said, “you cannot be President if you call someone a piggy.”

So even a six-year-old knows better. A six-year-old knows that this is not how adults behave. This is not how decent human beings behave. And this is certainly not how someone who wants to be President of the United States behaves.

Because let’s be very clear: Strong men — men who are truly role models — don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. And that is what we need in our next President. We need someone who is a uniting force in this country. We need someone who will heal the wounds that divide us, someone who truly cares about us and our children, someone with strength and compassion to lead this country forward.




The BS an ABPD Girl May Have to Forego

In recent turn of events, there seems to be one commonality that I find amongst people in our community and that is the unavoidable BS-ing that seems to be created around single girls; particularly those who are brown skinned.

I would like to assume that most people are aware of the social stigma face by brown skinned girls who are single past the age of 22. There is this judgement: you are perhaps several years out of college, why are you still single? Either something is wrong with you, you’re too picky, or you’re secretly dating someone for which the community will disapprove of.

And yes, to answer that question that is floundering around in your head right now – I am happily single and proud of it. There’s nothing wrong with me nor am I being picky, nor do I have a secret someone. I am simply happy with my current state of independence and prefer to keep it this way.

Non-single friends will assume you are unhappy and incomplete until this “man” whisks you away into marital bliss. Most of all what I seem to see amongst the girlfriends who are in committed relationships/marriages find the life of a single girl irrelevant – they feel that this other person “completes” them wholesomely and that they have decided without having such a partner, life is meaningless.

Being a Malayalee in my mid-20’s, I am often asked about my love life by my relatives, neighbors, friends, acquaintances…pretty much anyone who may have a potential suitor for me or anyone just simply curious as to why I roam freely without a care in the world.

The questions typically go as followed: If they don’t know me, first they politely ask my name, where I’m from, where I work, what I do, etc. The basics of the basics right. Then immediately, the question comes as to if I am married, and once I say I’m not, an exclamation of, “Not married?! Why not?!” Me being me, I try to shrug or laugh it off and give some vague reason, but nothing I really say changes the perplexed look on their face.

I will openly say, I have been on the committed relationship side for a good portion of my “adult” life and I can understand that it’s easy to get wrapped up in the “everything is better in two’s mentality,” but as an independent girl discovering herself in the world now, I would like to make a public announcement:

Have some respect for people who aren’t living the same life as you, and mind your own business.

I have my reasons as to why I am the way that I am. I find it pointless these days to sugar coat people about what’s going on in MY own personal life for which they have no point to interfere with. I am my own individual. Unless I have granted you the permission to disclose your thoughts about how I should live my life, I would prefer if you keep it to yourself.

Now, my being single, and my rather “free” attitude seems to be raising quite a few eyebrows. This is where the unavoidable, rather ridiculous BS starts to rise. Using myself as an example – it seems there are certain folks who seem to think I have various “crushes” amongst certain people as I am open and close with them in the public eye. Well…they couldn’t be more wrong on that point. I literally laughed when I first heard of this statement.

The lengths that people go to create stories about people in our community astonishes me. If they put that effort into actually doing some good for our people, perhaps our community will actually grow to be somewhere and be slightly more unified.

So, here’s the thing – stop making up these illusionary stories and gossiping about people/girls who are confident of themselves to be themselves in front of people who may/may not appreciate them. If we ever want to move forward in our world, these preconceived judgement’s have to stop.

This all being said, I want to clarify that I am not against the cultures  and traditions of where I am rooted from. There may be a time where my perspective of my relationship status may change and I may want that partner to cater to and maybe even kids – but for now, no. There is a time for everything. So I kindly request that to the people who make up these strange stories about people who single (like myself), confident, and aware of themselves – stop. We are simply just living our lives.