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Living a “Hybrid” Life

The idea being an Indian-American can be confusing is quite the understatement. It’s a complex juxtaposition in which I feel certain aspects of my being do not comply to the mold of the what an American girl should be like. On the flip side, the western norms that have shaped who I am seem to make me an outsider in comparison to my relatives back in India. This is perhaps why I feel alone most of my short-lived life…

Saying the thought aloud may sound rather pessimistic as how can anyone really feel alone right? You have your parents, siblings, relatives, friends, etc. so why feel this way?

It comes down to communication amongst those you grew up with. Being brought up in traditional Indian household – it was something which I could hardly recall as communication was quite minimal. I felt as if I didn’t belong anywhere. All we have is this very collection of individuals, every other Indian-American seeking a place where their entity as a whole, rather than only half, can fit.

Do not get me wrong here, I spoke with people about various things throughout my life, but I never fully opened up to a person. I never was able to talk to anyone about the pressures I felt, the confusions of college, romance, my extracurricular activities. Ultimately, these thoughts which I wanted to express just became ruminations inside myself.

Growing up and trying to find the people whom I belong to gave me a place to call home while simultaneously reshaping my thoughts on having a dual identity. I was always cautiously proud of it, knowing that while it was a beautiful mix of traditions and holidays and people, I was still split between the two. I could not give my all to one aspect. However, as I grew up, I began to learn what a blessing it is to have the knowledge and customs of two different cultures ingrained in you.

But I felt as if I had to live a hybrid life. When at home, I was to be the traditional, studious, Indian girl with no other regards to life other than my studies. Yes, I was blessed to have parents to encourage me in my passion for the arts, but I was constantly reminded that it was just a passion and nothing more. It could never be something which could make income and be something which I could survive off of. Oh, and romance was out of the question; the thought of a boy would bring shame and utter embarrassment so I suppressed such thoughts from my family.

Outside the home, I was the typical ‘ABCD,’ I just couldn’t figure out which group of people I could really befriend and hang out with. I had not the slightest clue as to what was ‘trending’ or what was going on in the social/entertainment world that too the petty local gossip that was going around. I was clueless.

All these confusions, all these questions I had about the basics in life, to blend in with society never will be answered by anyone but myself. It was a hard realization, but that’s life- it never was meant to be easy for anyone, but I can’t help but think that had I had someone to talk to, or at least some level of comfort with those close to me, things could have been easier…

I personally feel that the true reason as to why the connotation ‘ABCD’ was formed was because of the underlying reason of lack of communication and comfort. If you are raising your children only to be successful in studies and worry about getting a job, then how else are they to feel comfortable talking to you about anything else? Encourage your children, those around you, even yourselves to start breaking this idea that something has to be a certain way. Stop trying to control the lives of those closest to you and instead, raise them to be individuals that are brave, willing to step outside the barriers of society that could possibly make a change.

I know parts of our Indian community will find this a tough concept to grasp and for us second generation, it is even harder because of the gap, but that is exactly why topics like need to be spoken about. If we ever want to move away from the ‘confused’ insinuation, then start talking and listening with an open mind. All of us should be able to talk about the various instances we face in life with someone so rather than instill a sense that they will be ridiculed when they open up to you, create a lifestyle so that the person will feel safe and at ease.

I’ll be honest. I still manage to feel as if my everyday life cannot relate to my peers in America while simultaneously feeling as if I have inherited too many American ideals to fit in with my family in India. It makes me feel like an alien, divided into two parts that create the person that I am. However, finding the people who are just like me has made me realize that this fusion of cultures has given me perspectives on life that you cannot learn. I have the knowledge and the thoughts in me that can only be inherited if you lead a dual life. Being an Indian-American has given me the chance to be the person I am today and that is something you could never change.

Finding Your “Dream” Career

I believe most people wish to wake up and go to a job where they are excited to expel their creativity, improve their skills, and accomplish goals where they can be proud of, all the while balancing a life in general. And of course, somewhere amidst the 24 hours in a day, we’d be getting a paycheck that provides us with a comfortable lifestyle.

That’s the dream, right?

Reality is, we often settle for less. We put our dreams aside in order to put food on the table and to pay whatever bills and loans that pile up out of nowhere. That ideal career is exchanged for a livable wage, decent commute and stability.

To say, “you should never give up on pursuing that dream career,” does sound a bit naïve, especially in today’s technical age. Yes, it’s understood that the world requires – no, expects us to make sacrifices above our personal desires for career fulfillment…

But I still encourage everyone to hold tight on that dream, to continue doodling in that notebook of what it is you aspire to do, because (as I’ve been told more than once), nothing is permanent in this life. It may be that you momentarily let go of the idea, but that doesn’t mean you sideline it completely.


The Pathway

I’ve spoken to plenty of people who have told me their path to their dream career was nothing what they expected. It required taking those less-worn-out trails, exploring uncharted territory, and bruising an arm (or two), to get there. It will feel as if the world is against you for a while, but eventually, they are able to hold onto the reigns, take control and move in the right direction.

This is presently happening to me right now. I am in transition of pursuing that “dream,” that “passion,” I have for so long suppressed and be told not to follow, but I’m stepping up and out. I am taking a risk. I am simply being me…

It started out small, in fact, it was through this here blog, “Voice of an ABPD” where I started to channel my creative energy into somewhat, formulated thoughts. It started out as rants, then it became rhetorical-humanitarian questions and eventually, it became a place where I start to challenge stagnate idle ideas, we as humans choose to abide by. It became a place of realization of what I really wanted to do and that is to be an Evolving Voice… a communications entrepreneur for those who feel voiceless by any means to pursue what they wish do.


Change

In all honesty, I didn’t envision this to be my career. I didn’t envision of becoming an “entrepreneur.” It developed over time and after networking with different people on a daily basis.

The world and its people are constantly changing and growing and with it, new careers are emerging. Our limits are ever-expanding, and what this means is our possibility to grow professionally is growing each and every day.

I was that person who didn’t believe in the college education system, for it wasn’t going to be pertinent to whatever it was I was going to invest myself it. It is after all, the experiences “on the job” that will mold you. But it was in attending University that my mind was opened to new ideas, opportunities and people. I grew up in a rather orthodox, sheltered life and had I not taken the decision to expand my educational knowledge, I wouldn’t be so inclined to pursue learning today.

I certainly am not the same person I was five years ago, let alone yesterday – neither are you. Ultimately, we’re all changing every minute of every day. Our dreams are fluid. What may have been a dream career may no longer be your size of suit.

Be willing to allow yourself for dreams to change and not feel guilty about letting them do so. Sometimes, you have to let go of those old dreams in order to let new ones in. It’s not giving up… it’s “growing up.”

Don’t be afraid of your dreams and what drives you, and certainly don’t try to stifle or forget them. They are a part of you. They may not happen tomorrow, so if you don’t see them appear suddenly, don’t feel bad. It will take time, but it will be your time. Everything in this world is always moving, so let it. Allow it to surprise you.

And remember, no matter how hard it seems, always try to follow your dreams.

 

It’s Time to Self-Love

 


Sometimes, it’s just a manner of forgetting what you feel and remembering what you deserve…

In reflection of this quote, I came to the idea of self-love. When you have no self-love, you will be much more accepting of people when they are not treating you the way that you deserve to be treated. You will be much more likely to accept abuse and not stand up for yourself if you don’t believe there is anything worth standing up for. Having a lack of self-love tells the rest of the world that they don’t have to treat you with love either. It also tells everyone that you are not worthy of being loved.

Self-love is one of the most important things you can have. Self-love can do so much for us. It can determine what we think of ourselves and it can help us to project out onto the world what we expect from others.

If you are in a space where you really love yourself, you will find it easier to love and forgive other people, and ironically, you will feel more connected to everyone else.

It took me a while to come to this understanding of myself. I wish only for the best in people, I wish to uplift those deserving of a second (or first), chance at life. I wish for change – but in order for this to happen, I needed to either set my feelings aside or deal with them as they come…

Everyone is flawed, but everyone also is special and talented. Everyone has something unique to offer to the world. Self-love happens when you recognize whatever it is that makes you unique – whatever it is that you have to offer the world. When we have self-love, we experience confidence and pride in our accomplishments and our achievements.

When you have self-love, you also believe that you are worthy of love from others…

selflovecourage

Walking Tall & Walking Away…

“Maturity is learning to walk away from people and situations that threaten your peace of mind, self-respect, values, morals, or self-worth.”

Whoever said/wrote this quote is definitely and intellectual of life, people, and things. It’s something which I’ve struggled with for myself for a little while – relying on certain individuals for they have uplifted me for a good part of life (for which I am extremely grateful for), but can’t seem to let them go when things take a turn-around…

Life is about facing what is and learning from the lessons it provides you. If you choose to ignore lessons that have been gifted to you – you are bound to repeat the past mistakes.

This quote to me means there is an opportunity to avoid all that unnecessary drama simply by loving one’s self and being with other who love you just as the same. It is always easier for the company that you so wish to keep to bring you down instead of you uplifting them.

So, it’s important that you recognize that your friends reflect you.

This quote made me reflect on the situations I have/and am going through. I’ve had to walk away from several as an act of love. Sometimes it’s ok to fight, it shows perseverance. Other times the kindest thing you can do is walk away.

The pain of discovering that all I had invested had been on vain. The only way I managed to pull myself out of the pity party was to accept I was not perfect, draw on any lessons learned and forgive myself and any others involved. As a result, I am beginning to see that the raging passions of the self have to be controlled and tamed as we become mature adults because not every battle has to be fought. Sometimes it is easier (and better) to walk away.

The more that you pay attention to your surroundings, the wiser you will become. When you begin to see the association between the company that you keep and how it affects your life, you’ll start to change.

Be with people that work to make you a better person instead of making you struggle in your own decisions. Once you make the switch, you’ll wonder to yourself why it took you so long to change in the first place.

Life Is Short – The Art of Not Caring About What Others Think

It should be clear by now as an ABPD – I’m as bold as we can be. This being said, our ‘being bold’ may cause others to look at us with disparaging eyes.

I’ve fortunately/unfortunately have been the center of circles where there’s an individual or two who will try to disparage me from being with people who do believe in me and of course, doing what I love.

Initially, yes – it hurt. I couldn’t fathom as to why I was being singled out, but then I recall reading upon this quote:

“Take control of your destiny. Believe in yourself. Ignore those who try to discourage you. Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits. Don’t give up and don’t give in.”

– Wanda Hope Carter

Though what may seem like common sense, it boils down to learning how to not care so much about what others think, and also, conversely, understanding what goes on in their minds. In ignoring those negative energies, I’ve not only began a new self-appreciation for the self, but for others who appreciate me and my entirety.

Your passion is a priority.

A lot of people go through the motions in life, not doing what they love. They end up constantly looking back, asking themselves, “What if?”

Whether people support you or not, do you really want to look back in regret one day down the line? To not know what could have happened if you tried to do what you really wanted to do?

This love of yours is one of the most important things in your life. Follow your heart, and not the words of others just to live up to their expectations.

Life is short.

It may be a little disheartening to have people around you discourage you, but remember, life is short.

Do you really want to spend your time feeling down over others’ words when they’re completely unwarranted, baseless, and probably not making any kind of sense?

Do you really want to pull back on following your dream or doing what you want because of others, and start living a life that probably doesn’t fulfill your potential?

Remember that life is short, and it will be easier to stick to your own convictions when other people disagree with your choices or put you down.

Others may not fully understand.

People who don’t support you and discourage you may not actually be bad people who intentionally want to destroy your dreams.

Sometimes, they just don’t understand why you do what you do, so they voice out their concerns, which may make them seem dissenting.

I personally try not to take it to heart when people discourage me. I see it as they need a little education and explanation. Or sometimes, I just ignore them.

If anything, since they don’t fully understand, I don’t see why it’s something to be upset over.

Sometimes others are insecure.

Sometimes when people don’t support what you’re doing, it may be more about them than you.

It could be plain ignorance or even jealousy, but some people tend to attack things that are new to them.

So again, don’t take their words to heart. If their criticism isn’t constructive in any way, they may be discouraging you because of their own fears and insecurities.

Remember anything is possible.

Nobody can predict the future for certain.

The people who don’t support you might paint a gloomy picture of what’s to come if you do what you want to do.

You don’t know the future either, but do you want to listen to others instead of believing in yourself?

Don’t let objections from others become your truth and limit you from creating what you want in life.

Anything is possible if you believe in yourself and work hard.

You can do this without their support.

It’s natural to want support and encouragement from the people around you, but it is possible to do what you want to do without it.

Just think of how many successful, inspiring people took the road less traveled.

You’re a very powerful being, just by yourself. Believe in that, don’t give up, and you’ll go a long way, whichever road you take.

You can’t please everyone in life.

You can’t. It’s impossible. And a lot of people forget that.

If you try to please everyone, it’s going to be next to impossible. So don’t bother. Keep your focus on what you want to do and why.

In an ideal world, we could constantly surround ourselves with positivity. We can’t do that, but we can work on ourselves so that we stay committed and positive.

Personal Healing

“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to healing of the world.” – Marianne Williamson

There is always going to be a desire to create an ideal world where everyone will be happy and free from suffering. What I personally have noticed is we have this habitual tendency to look around us and find out what’s wrong with the world and then try to “fix” it.

There is always going to be horrible things happening around us, but to transform this world we live in – we have to start with us. We can only be the change we seek in the world if we start with our individual healing

When we heal (not mend), a part in ourselves, we heal the world. In order to heal however, we must utilize the power of forgiveness.

If I’m going to be open with all of you (and this may come as a shock to some), there are nights where I break down and feel how much I had been hurting myself with my persistent negative view of my world. On the outside, I carry this level of “everything’s going fine” vibe but really, internally – I’m broken.

I believed I wasn’t good enough for the world – to have and enjoy the life that I wanted, that I wasn’t enough to meet my respective partner, or that I would never reach the ability to fulfill my potential.

In observing those around me – I learned to feel guilty for all the good as well as the bad that occurred in my life. I also learned to blame others when appropriate and that life is just as well as struggle for everyone.


It took years, but I realized and felt what I had been doing to myself and how damaging this was – physically, mentally, and spiritually. With this realization, I would burst into tears and then, naturally, as I explored how to heal, initiated a process of forgiveness.

I would hold onto myself for hours on the edge of the bed, curled up in a ball, and I recall all the times I had unintendedly hurt myself by thinking and believing the negative thoughts about myself… but then I forgave myself.

I forgave myself for each item as it came to mind. I began to write and dance until there was nothing left inside me and all my sorrows and woes had been bled out. I wholly and completely released myself for the guilt and pain that I created in my life.

I had also recognized that no one in my life had hurt me except me. I decided to take responsibility for my feelings and my life and put an end to my suffering.

Other people can and could hurt me if I allowed them to – if I believed their words and actions were reflections of who I am, rather than a reflection of how they feel about themselves.  I essentially became aware of this cycle of pain and forgave and released myself from those old, negative behavior patterns. Consequently, I also forgave all the people who I had felt hurt me.

Much of the pain we experience in our everyday life is self-created through our thoughts and beliefs about our circumstances. We then project this suffering into the world as external experiences which we often try to “fix” by making changes or building walls in our external affairs.

When we accept the responsibility for our experiences and feelings, we learn that we have more control over our lives than we thought. We may not be able to control what’s happening in the world around us, but we can choose how we interpret and interact with it. Cleaning up our thoughts and forgiving ourselves is a great way to start.

While forgiving others on its own won’t end global suffering or create world peace, creating peace within will better enable us to find and enact solutions to the larger problems we all face. In healing myself, it will create a ripple effect across the universe which will allow me to help others heal.

Why #MeToo

Every couple of months, a sexual assault will appear in the headlines and as the topic is ‘trending’, everyone gets very angry and passionate to do something, but only for a few days… then of which we resume back to our day to day lives and forget all that is going around the world.

So, I will not jump on the bandwagon of this #MeToo… for we shouldn’t have to ‘out’ ourselves as survivors…

For men have *always* seen the gendered violence happening around them (and/or being perpetrated by them) — they just haven’t done anything about it… Because it shouldn’t matter how many women, femmes, and gender neutral & non-conforming folk speak their truths…

Because it shouldn’t be on our shoulders to speak up. It should be the men who are doing the emotional labor to combat gendered violence…Because I know, deep down, it won’t do anything. Men who need a certain threshold of survivors coming forward to “get it” will never get it.

Because the focus on victims and survivors — instead of their assailants and enablers—is something we need to change.

This #MeToo has been used by millions of individuals  some survivors, some are not, but I say that most of them have no idea that the hashtag evokes a deep personal fracturing for many, including myself, and because of that I can’t join them…

How can one reduce the trauma of what they’ve faced in life to a mere hashtag?

This push to disclose sexual harassment and assault on social media, though admirable in spirit, feels more like an ultimatum than a choice… saying something feels impossible and saying nothing feels untenable.

I don’t know whom #MeToo is for, but it sure as hell isn’t me…

I want someone else out there to know that it’s possible to be more than just a hashtag, it’s more than the nightmare, more than the recovery, more than the way you feel when you see sexual assault in the news, again. I wish there had been someone to tell me that it’s okay if the only thing you can handle is trying to be okay. Plenty of people talk about how brave it is to speak out, and they’re right. It is brave to speak out, but that doesn’t make you a coward if you don’t.

Silent or not, activist or not, we are all worthy, and we will be just as worthy when #MeToo stops trending and actual appropriate actions to the stories we hear take place.

 

 

Gun ‘Controls’ America

How many more people have to die before we have a REAL conversation about gun control in this country? How many days must we wake up to the news announcing another tragedy… another massacre?

This is just so heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking…
People live in fear of Islamic terror when they should be looking at themselves…

More Americans are killed by firearms roughly every five hours than are killed by terrorists in an entire year… Statistically an American is at least twice as likely to be shot dead by a toddler than killed by a terrorist. Some of the stats discovered are unbelievable to the mind.
Any way you try and slice or dice it, this is home grown terrorism and we NEED to finally do something about this. Those people did not deserve to die.

How long must we walk this earth with fear and paranoia of the worst? Why must we live in such a vicious world where we have to constantly look over shoulder with a third eye on our forehead in order to move forward with our lives? When will this end… when will those with the upper hand realize that a change needs to be made? Not a rash one, but a well deduced, appropriate one?

 

*This blog is written in relation to the events of the Las Vegas Massacre that occurred on the 1st of October.*

For up-to date news and information of the event,  click here.

 

Is India Becoming the Melting Pot of Cultures?

What is culture? Culture is like a multi faceted object, whose every side has something unique and different. The word culture has different meanings for different people. Culture of any kind and any place is something vibrant, dynamic, thriving, mutating, deviating all the time. Similar to the U.S., India has become a melting pot of many cultures and traditions and to think otherwise can be considered destroying the promising upliftment of new generation cultural norms and ideas.

Indian culture is so diversified – we can preserve it only when we realize that the next person has the right to his beliefs and traditions as much as we do, irrespective of religion, creed or caste. Otherwise, we’re just insulting what we have in our hands.

In the evolutionary system, based on democratic values and of course human and environmental compassion – progress is made by facing the facts and truth than to turn your back and trying to run the other way around.


Today I am forced to say it, but to my utmost grief the varied Indian heritage is facing a threat not from any foreign body or element but from its own people. We ourselves are slaughtering our own culture by embracing the new so called “modern” culture. By doing this we are putting an end to this hereditary saga which has been passed down from several generations.
The traditional Namaste and Namaskar have been slowly replaced by the hollow Hi and Bye. Today’s generation lacks the values which were once found in every Indian family. What else can be the best example other than their treatment towards the parents?
Today’s youth look up to their parents as a resource providing medium only meant to satisfy their whims and fancies. And when they grow old and it is their turn to repay them and take care of them they draw a blank. It is often read in newspapers about bereaved and senile parents abandoned by their young children.

This is the state of Indian culture today. Here the question arises whether culture can co-exist with the changing trends. Well, if this question was put to me, I would reply, why not? This great titan among cultures has been adapting to the changing times. It suffered but patiently bore all the assaults heaped on it. It flourished and prospered during the medieval periods. Once again today it has found itself in shackles.

Is this the end of this great saga? Has the time come for this great culture to be lost, forever, never to be regained?
My reply to this would be a solemn no. I am sure that if we act now and embrace it like never before it will survive. It has faced several onslaughts like this in the past. We need to preserve this glorious heritage and add all we can to it and pass it on enriched with traditional as well as modern qualities to the next generation.
To preserve something so unique we need to understand that every culture should be given its own space and at the same time ensure that we do not put our religious and personal interests before the all important task of preserving the secular and sovereign fabric of our country. But not every culture is meant to be preserved like a spicy mango achaar (pickle), or monument. If any culture has strong base and values, it will withstand the test of time, but if it’s not willing to open up to ideas that may enhance the culture, it will collapse.

A culture is only as good as its progress, its tolerance, love and people. With the element of time, some traditions and values change and this is a concept that will never change. Change does not mean that we will lose our traditions. It means correcting our wrongs and eliminating those things in our culture that may hinder human development, human rights and humanity.