Thursday, December 22, 2011

Can Watching 'Family Guy' be Meditation?

I got up today at six o'clock to do some meditation.  Then I realized that I don't know what meditation is.  So I'm sitting here, with my eyes closed, wondering when "It" will hit me.  I used to get up at six on Saturdays when I was a kid to watch cartoons.  I was so engrossed, that, I have to wonder, is watching something as banal as "The Road Runner" a form of meditation?

Then where do we draw the line?  Is watching pornography meditation? 

I think it's about the mindset that you are trying to create.  There are those who believe that sexual expression is a form of meditation, there was a book written on that, it's called the Kama Sutra. 

Now here me out:  The point of meditation is to be mindless or mindful, or both at the same time.  That means something like awareness with the letting go of awareness.  A television show is an imaginary world we enter and lose our minds in.  So is video gaming, reading, writing, even jogging.  So is sex.

So if life itself can be a meditation, then is meditation nothing?  No, because while you are in the middle of life, recognizing that you are in the middle of life, and then letting that recognition go and being mentally free of the stupid chatter in your brain...Well I think that's meditation.

My head is spinning all the time, usually it's just crap that it's spinning with.  Right now if I let my mind go this is what it would sound like:  I gotta go to Wallmart to get those bulbs, what else was a I supposed to get from there, I hate fucking Wallmart, I have to take the clothes out of my car, if I don't pay that parking meter in four more days it will double, how much money do I have in my account?

And so on and so on.  Our brains were meant for something higher than all that crap.  For some people it is math and logic, for others it is creativity.  But when you can shut that chatter off, you can be free.  I would even go as far as to say that talking in a manner that is uplifting and respectful can be a form of meditation, it's an exchange of ideas. 

Many people believe that meditation is very rule based:  You must sit in a certain position, close your eyes and chant the name of god.

Why?  Because this chanting gets rid of the bullshit in your head and there is nothing wrong with that.  However, there are other ways of expressing spirituality that can be just as effective and real.  I'm assuming that god or goddess put us on Earth to live, not to sit in a room all day every day and chant.  We have work to do and a family to raise, but if in the back of our minds, we are realizing that we are one with all humanity and living things, even while we are doing mundane acts like washing the dishes, we might become free of the mediocrity of our lives.

I think sometimes it's just about transcending the moment, and being in the moment at the same time.  Meditation is about being here, but realizing that the space we are in is temporary yet eternal. 

Truthfully, it's hard to make sense of it.

Sometimes I hate television so much and I will just close my eyes while it is on and stop thinking.  Maybe this is escapism, but maybe it is a form of mediation in which I leave my reality for a little while and enter some other space.   

Maybe if you shut the clutter of your mind and get up and dance...well in some states in India people dance for god.  If you want to do it for god, do it for god.  If you want to do it for yourself, than I hope you dance.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yoga....and I'll have fries with that...

So, the other day I did yoga and ate french fries on the same day.  I'm just wondering how much of this dance I'm gonna do before I realize that taking one step forward and two steps back is not attractive.  I don't usually eat french fries, but that doesn't stop me from indulging in bad choices from time to time, juxtaposed with my good choices. 

It sounds so cheesy, but I want to get this life right.  I don't know if standing on my head while focusing on my breath is the ultimate goal.  But I do know that not eating french fries while lying on my couch is sort of a goal.

I mean ultimately what do I want out of this "Healthy" thing I'm doing?  I want to breathe better.  I want to be thin, ok, thinner, if that's possible.   

I mean I hate to get all granola on you, but I will anyways, I went organic this month.  And that's all good and fine but I'm still gonna mess this thing up.  This eating and drinking the right shit so that my shit will come out right.  I'm mean I'm thirsty at this moment and I want some Diet Coke.  Does anyone really even know what's in that shit?  Anything that bubbles like that should be cause for suspicion.

I don't know much about anything, but I do know that having the right intention has to be worth something to somebody.  I'm trying to, you know, get healthy.

The thing is I don't want to get some weird disease I could have neglected had I had one less Butterfinger, and I love my chocolate and peanut butter more than life itself. 

So instead of doing yoga and eating fries, would it have been better to just stay on my couch and drink water?  No, I don't think so, because somewhere between the yoga and the lard infested fries, lies my life.  And it's a good one.  I'm proud of my half-ass accomplishments. 

But in all seriousness, I will probably eat anything at a restaurant, organic or pesticide infested.  I'm not gonna take the fun out of my life.  But I'm gonna try to not let life take the fun out of me.  No, I don't really know what that means.


Friday, December 16, 2011

The Homeless Chic

The thing is, I'm sitting next to this homeless chic.  Well she's not exactly a chic, she's an elderly black woman and I should have more respect for her.
We are both sitting on a couch like seating at Starbucks in Royal Oak, Michigan.  We have both been sitting here for four hours without getting up.  I was studying for various exams and writing various papers.  She was eating a cookie I would have eaten.  She took a nap that I wanted to take.
What's the real difference between me and her?

I'm a bitch, that's the real difference.

I'm so bitchy that I thought some of my stuff was touching some of her bags, she has collected a couple shopping bags, when I thought my bag was touching her bag, WHOA, I moved my stuff closer to me.
I realized she's is an untouchable.  I thought untouchables were only in India.  See we think they have cooties or something.

I'm the one though, I'm the dirty one.  She's probably real clean, she probably doesnt judge other people the way I do. 

There was a time that homeless people were invisible to me, I really didn't see them.  Then I spent some time in a New York City hospital psychiatric ward being hospitalized for Bipolar Disorder.  I literally remember eating dinner with a human being that I later saw, when I left the hospital, eating of a dumpster on the street. 

I broke bread with these people.  What's the difference between me and some of these people? I am a few unmedicated days away from being on the streets, being confused and maybe even being homeless.  Why?  Because most homeless people are sufferring from what we as a society would call a mental disease of some sort. 

Or maybe they are free? 

Could it be that they just could not take life anymore, they could not handle other people?  Maybe they choose this life over our empty domesticated lives where we go on the treadmill of life without thinking about a single thing we are doing, and just doing and doing.

Maybe they are just thinking and thinking or maybe not thinking and not thinking and not thinking.

Sometimes I don't want to think and sometimes I want to get away, away from even myself. 

I'm no different from people on the streets, maybe you are.  But I know my place in society, I'm an overeducated, underpaid, hop skip and a jump away from being on the streets.  I'm just lucky I have a family and true friends that have been there for me when I was down and out.  I ran away from them a few times and almost ended up on the streets.

It's not something I'm proud of.  But I'll tell you why I did it: because I wanted to be free.  Free of all the shit that life entails.  All the boredum and monotony and hard work and bitchy people.  I'm not defending myself, I'm explaining myself.  I needed to run, cause life got too hard for me.  They say it's my chemistry.  Maybe.  Or maybe life whacked out my head and I needed a fucking break.  Maybe life changed my chemistry. 

They say I have a chemical imbalance.  I'll tell you what, the world has a chemical imbalance.  Maybe I don't fit in because I'm the one whose chemically balanced.  Again, I'm not trying to romanticize my mental illness, but what I'm saying is who are we to judge?  These people that roam the streets, some of them could be so zen they are like prophets, but we don't even have the mental capacity to hear what they are saying.  I can't even sit next to one of them in a Stabucks for godsakes.     

Also, I know they look all sick and twisted, but did you ever for a moment think that a homeless person might enjoy walking the streets as opposed to being locked up in one of our "jails" we call houses or buildings.  Maybe they want to keep it real.

I'm not trying to glorify homelessness.  It's a disgusting problem and we as a society should sit down and talk to homeless people.  Ask them what their dreams are.  Ask them if they want to change thier situation, if we can help.

But I couldn't do it, I couldn't talk to her.  Not that day, maybe one day, I will be able to have a conversation with someone who looks kinda scary to me.  Not someone who looks like a serial killer, I try to stay away from those types of homeless people, (like I know the difference) but really someone who is not in my upper middle class lifestyle. 

I should ask them how thier day is going.  Because I know I'm counting them, these days that are good.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Name is...and I'm Addicted to Food

I'm addicted to food.  It's true.

You want to know why?  Because it tastes good.

I know that may sound too simple.  And it is.  I have some emotional addiction, I emotionally eat, the food is filling a void in me, etc., etc., etc.

I just can't get over the fact that it tastes so fucking good.

I mean it's that good.

You know, you've eaten.  You've all had those moments, where nothing else in the world mattered except what what you were chewing and what was left on your plate.  Whether it be Thanksgiving dinner or cheesecake from the Cheesecake factory.  You love it just as much as I do.

But you probably have some element of control.  That's where I falter.  When I like something, I want to keep having it.  Hence the addiction to that 'high.'

So what am I going to do about it?

Well I'm gonna try Weight Watchers has worked for me in the past.  I know, I know, another diet, another death....

What's gonna be different this time?  Well, I'll tell you this, I want to know what's missing inside me, what drives me to this insane behavior with food.  I mean I don't want to shrink it out but:  I have emotional scars, reasons from my past that I would be addicted to food.  But who doesn't have scars from the past, it's just a matter of how you heal your wounds or something.

I mean something inside me is not right, doesn't feel right and that's why I go to food.  But it's madness, it's a form of madness.

But so many of us have eating disorders of some kind.  I know I'm not alone.  In fact it's one o'clock in the morning and I want to eat again.  That is how bad it is.

I'm actually eating right now, as I write.  It's stressing me out, the eating itself and the thinking about the eating itself.  It's sick actually, that left-over shish-kabob can take away that feeling of being alone in the middle of the night or whatever....

But I feel sick afterwards, like now, I just feel stuffed but the emptiness is not gone, it's just like I stuffed it with garbage so it would shut up.

The thing is, I want to change.  And I know, I know, the only way to change is to just do it.  You know, like Nike, I just need to run.  I do you know, need to excersize.  But underneath the change of habits, it's like I need to respect my body.  Maybe even respect myself more.

So how is it going to be different this time?  This Monday, that's when I like to start my dieting resolutions, what will I do that's different than last Monday?

Maybe I'll like myself better.  Maybe I'll say to myself: fruit is the new cookie.  I bought salad stuff, maybe I'll actually make it.  Maybe I'll make it.

It's not like I don't know how to diet, it's just that when you fail at something over and over again, you lose some confidence about it.  I know I'm always gonna be addicted to food in some manner, but maybe I'm addicted to the wrong kind of food.

It's not like drinking or drugging, you can't stop eating cold turkey.  It's not fair.

I remember when I was in third grade my teacher asked us, "Was there a fairy that came down and whispered in your ear that life was gonna be fair?"



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frugal is the New Cheap

So this is the thing...I have to budget myself 'cause I'm a graduate student and I have no money.  So now I can only spend about fifty dollars a week on food and toilet paper or whatever miscellaneous expensis that I have.  The fact that I can't spell expensis, should be a clue as to what my feelings about this issue are.

For the next couple years I won't be shopping unless my mother takes me shopping, she always pays.  But don't cry for me, America, I have more clothes than god, or the goddess perhaps.  I have so many clothes that I am currently filling three pretty large closets in two different houses.  My car currently is housing some of my clothes as well...don't ask...

I'm gonna do things like make soup and clip coupons and I'm not even gonna cry.  I mean, in the back of my head, I've always known that I was privileged.  But I didn't really understand that I am spoiled.  I expect to be spoiled, I want a man who will spoil me.  I want to spoil myself.

I also realize that fifty dollars a week is enough money, really.

The truth is, I also want to be a teacher which is sort of like saying I want to be part of the working class poor.  I mean really, but I would rather inspire children to write and change the world etc., instead of being able to drink that Starbucks iced coffee every morning.  Even though Starbucks has this special syrup they put in the iced coffee to make it like super delicious.

But never mind all that...let's be real.  I must join the real world now.  I have no idea how much money I will be able to make as a teacher, it ranges from like twenty thousand to like a hundred thousand.  I don't know if my writing will ever make me money, I like to think it will.

But let's be real.  I need to watch myself, pay attention, make my own pasta sauce even though I love Prego.

The thing is, no matter how poor I am, I don't think of myself as poor.  It may be because I have always lived a privileged lifestyle and I even went to an Ivy League School.

All my friends are richer than me, I should hang out with poorer people actually.

I think the reason I don't feel poor is because I chose this lifestyle.  I could have become a lawyer, a corporate lawyer for that matter.  I'm somewhat smart.  But I'm a writer, and we are not known to make millions right away, if ever.  I like being a starving artist in this way...not because I enjoy my own dramatic tragedy, which I by no means deny, but because I would rather do something that means something to me than have this vast collection of shoes that hurt my feet.

I want the shoes, don't get me wrong.  I just would rather go to work every day LOVING what I do.  I know I will love teaching, even though all my friends warn me about what a nightmare kids are these days.  It's true, but I WILL find a way to get through to them.  I will die trying.  I LOVE writing.  I wake up in the morning and I just want to get to the page sometimes.

Passion is not something you can buy.

I was worried for a moment that I would become "cheap," because of my new ordeal.  Then after my friend so eloquently put it, "Girl, you ain't eveh gonna be cheap."  I was touched.  I think being cheap does not reflect a financial status, but an emotional one.  Being cheap is a state of mind, it's about not thinking you have enough and not thinking that the universe has enough, not thinking that there is enough that you can still give.

I don't give money to nobody right now, I'm just learning how to live on less myself.  But there are those who live on MUCH LESS.  I gotta remember that.  I've got to remember that no matter how much I have, I can give to them instead of wasting my money.

So don't ever call me cheap, just know that I am frugal because the universe wants us all to share, and I've definitely had my share.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

You...the Readers

Something monumental happened in my tiny blog world yesterday... a phenomenal site named, Blogher featured my blog post about gay marriage on their website's Life section   I got almost 900 hits and counting, that means that almost 900  people read my work.  I'm so excited I want to jump up and down.  

So I would like to take a moment to contemplate my readers, since I'm still fascinated that I have any.  From the statistics that blogger shows me, I have consistent readers from facebook, which are people I know, which is really awesome because my friends are supporting my work.

Secondly, I have posted my blog on this incredible website called from which I actually get a huge chunk of my readers.  And then, to my amazement, there are people from like twenty different countries, like Iran and the Ukraine that  have somehow gravitated to this blog.  So if you are reading this blog from abroad, I am especially thankful that you would take the time to read this...I mean I should say I'm just as thankful for those of you in the United States....I'm just very thankful.

So I'm gonna try and broaden my horizons and get more readers.  The most important thing is that I'm saying something you want to hear.

One of the fun things to look at on blogger is the various search words people have used to end up on my site.  One of them was:

"new hot pockets "annoying waitress" commercial. is it on tv?"

I think we should take a moment to think about that....OK, then there was, 'Thirtysomething sexy' or try this
one, "Am looking for myself, have tried yoga."  I'm particularly proud of this one since I'm looking for myself
and I have tried yoga. 

Anyways, I dream of keeping the attention of all who stumble upon here...yet I know that some will be lost, I 
can't like reach everyone.  

So what I'm I gonna do to lure more readers in?  Be profound perhaps, and witty but most of all just be myself.  I'm just here to exchange ideas, to find questions as opposed to answers, to find what feels right to me, to you.  

It can be weird sometimes, as a writer, to reveal so much about yourself.  You sometimes feel naked.  But that comes with the territory.  If I can be naked with a lover I can be naked with you.  Sometimes its even easier to be emotionally naked than physically naked.    

It's almost funny to me that you would follow the thoughts of a slightly neurotic, day-dreaming fool like myself.  I mean I have so many flaws, I eat too much, I take too many pills, I procrastinate and I'm not very good with money.

But I try to be sensitive to the world around me, I try to listen to people, and I try to make myself a better person.  I think it's important that we all have this goal to just be better, no matter how good we are.  

This is blog is a journal about how I come to real self-realization.  I hope you dig it as much as I dig writing it.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Women: Is India Dangerous?

Apparently there has been a recent poll of the most dangerous countries for women and India was one of them. Mostly it was because of human trafficking and female infanticide.

What the hell is going on?

In my mind India is one of the greatest countries around.  I may be biased, I am Indian after all, but I was born in the USA.  The reasons I think India is so awesome is because it's a country where people are down to earth and spiritual and real.  Where people have a different sense of a work ethic and they value life differently than we do, maybe more than we do.

Having said all that, this new statistic saddens me...

I thought India was a progressive country.  I thought we were getting somewhere.  India is in the same category as Afghanistan?  I don't mean any disrespect to Afghanistan, but I can't believe that my country is plagued with these disgusting problems.   I was born in America, but some of my head still lives in India.  I might be an American, but I'm also Indian.  I identify with this country, I identify with these people.  How can they let this continue?

I don't really understand how Indian government works, but from this I can gather that women's and human rights is not at the top of their priority list.

Forty percent of the prostitutes in India are children.  That's almost half.  I'm so disgusted I don't know what to do except rant.  Rant and rave.

I don't care anymore that India is soooo fucking advanced that it has a nuclear bomb and more IT graduates than it knows what to do with.  I mean, in this area, the area of women's rights, India sucks.

I hate to say it, in public, because all around India doesn't really suck.  It's like the most beautiful country in the world.  So how is it that this land can mix beauty and blasphemy altogether?

I know, most of you saw Slum Dog Millionaire, and maybe you gathered that all Indians come from a very difficult past filled with dirt, and basically shit.  The truth is that India is full of culture, spirituality, delicious food and I could go on for days trying to prove that we are not just a human trafficking factory.  My parents grew up their and lived very nice lives.

But the truth is, in terms of the way women and children are treated, India has a long way to go.  I'm sad to say this.  It's really sad.  I mean I guess I was mad at first, but now I'm just sad.

I know I'm not the only one that is outraged, that this country that educated the women in my family, my mother is a doctor for godsakes, could forsake it's women so easily.  There is such a huge lifestyle difference between the educated and the poor and the middle class and the poor, it's outrageous actually.

My parents were shocked when they saw Slum Dog Millionaire, they couldn't believe that anyone would show India in such a dark, well a dark light.

There is a lot of darkness in India, the prostitution, the child abuse, but there is also a light that I cannot explain.  As a woman, a lot of spiritual ideals in India claim that women have a higher spiritual capacity then men.  This may or may not be true, but I like that I come from a place that considers this.  I like that India is a country where there are female gods that are revered.

Sometimes I think India is a lot like me, I take step forward then I take two steps back.  I forgive myself for this stupid way of walking.  I am trying to forgive India for not being the homeland that I dream it to be.  But if India is anything like me, it's striving to be better.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Pursuit of Unhappiness

I've become more liberal as I get older.  I think that the more 'spiritual' I get the less 'religious' I get.  And the more I think about things, things like marriage, I start to think that they are constructions of society, they are not necessarily 'natural.'

I mean, that doesn't mean that I don't want to get married.  It's just that I think that I know so many people who are married, and many of them are quite happy, but sometimes it feels like, when I look at the divorce rate and the couples that are unhappy, that the way we construct marriage as it is, is not always the greatest thing.

Then I look at gays who want the right to get married.  Just like I don't know if I believe that religion is the greatest thing, everyone has the right to practice their religion.  Just like that, everyone should of course have the right to get married.

I guess I haven't really addressed the gay marriage issue yet because, well honestly, I don't understand why it's an issue at all.  New York made a monumental decision the other day to allow gay marriage.  But really was it that monumental, or was it more like something that was long overdue?

I've been thinking and thinking about this issue and I want to say something unique, not just the obvious, that everyone should be treated equally and given equal rights etc.  But what else is there really to say?

If it is your religion that is telling you that gay marriage is wrong, than don't become gay and get married.  That might sound stupid and simple and sideways...but if you disagree with this new legislature I don't know how to talk to you.

And I want to talk to you.  I have friends and relatives who think like you, who don't like the idea of the existence of homosexuals.  I love these people, and I hate these particular views that they have.

But I think we should still have this conversation.  Don't tune me out.

All I'm saying is that this does not affect you if you are not gay.  Let them get married, they should have the right to be as miserable as the rest of us, right?

I'm serious when I say that people should have the right to be unhappy.  When Thomas Jefferson said that everyone has the right to the Pursuit of Happiness, perhaps he should have added the Pursuit of Unhappiness.

I personally don't think being gay is a choice that one makes and that a person wakes up one morning thinking that the choice is going to make them happy.  I think it is a thing that just is, whether it be biological or whatever, and people accept it within themselves even if it will make them unhappy.

When homosexuals come out of the closet, it's not always happy.  But who are we to judge what's happy, what's good and what's not.  Inside, when someone comes out of the closet, they may feel true happiness for the first time in their entire lives.

Maybe I'm going around in circles a bit here.  What I want to say is, if you think that someone is going to go to hell for their actions, let them go to hell.  They have the right to go to hell.

But if you are like me and don't really believe in hell, then you probably don't believe in condemning people.

My mother, the other day, said that she didn't think that gay marriage is natural.  She's a doctor, nothing she does to prolong people's lives is 'natural.'  What is 'natural,' barbaric behavior?  Nothing we do anymore is natural.  I'm typing my thoughts onto a machine, this is completely unnatural.

But it feels like the right thing.  I think if you were to ask a homosexual person how they first knew they were gay, they might tell you that it just felt right.

It definately doesn't feel right to discriminate against someone who is just listening to their heart.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The New Way is No Way

So I've been trying all these things, like trying to like research happiness.  I've read so many books and articles and listened to motivational speakers.  I've tried meditation, yoga, writing, breathing techniques, and like visualizations.

There is nothing wrong with any of this shit.  And I really sort of believe in it all.  But sometimes, I don't really think I need any of it.  Like when I watch kids.  They are just happy, before they read all the books on happiness and see the motivational speakers, they just are.  They play.

I think I have forgotten how to play.  This friend of mine commented, after reading my blog for the first time, that I start playing a sport.  I don't think it's a bad idea, I do have this like angst that could possibly be helped by throwing around a ball.  He said something about pointless tasks being beautifully freeing.

When I was a little girl, me and my cousin would play like we were two Sex in the City type women and we would pretend like we lived in a city and had boyfriends and were career women.  I don't know why it was so fun to pretend like we were adults and now I want to be a kid.

Besides the fact that kids don't have to worry about things like rent and where their next paycheck is coming from and they don't have to dwell upon the cobwebs forming in their wombs, kids are generally free to be fascinated by the world.

Little things fascinate them.  I mean I can't remember how many times I watched the Road Runner smash to smithereens and would still go back to see more.  It didn't take much to satisfy me as a kid.

So I am wondering how I get that childlike wonder again.  It would be nice to have a kid, but ruling that out for the time being, what about pretending like I'm happy.  Pretending like I don't have that exam to study for and that loan to pay off.

I mean half of being is pretending and kids pretend all day long.  I had a an imaginary friend, I think her name was Jackie.  When my real best friend, Amy, wasn't around Jackie did the job.

I mean I can't have an imaginary husband until the real one shows up and I can only fool myself so much when pretending like everything is going to be all right.

But it's not all fake.  I mean in the end, what's the worse that could happen?  I guess I could die.  But in the end, that is actually what is going to happen.

Some say we are all in denial about our deaths.  Some people say we never die, that life goes on after death.  But regardless of what happens in that space, I want this space to feel good.

Smiling is simple.  Happiness has got to be simple.  You don't need a PhD.  In fact education may be prohibiting us from being happy.

Maybe doing things like singing and dancing, while I'm doing things like cooking and cleaning.  Or maybe I should learn how to sew, I've always wanted to learn how to sew.  Or plant a flower, or like get massages more often.

I think, very often, just be simple nina.  Stop all the sophistication for second.

I think that I have to stop thinking.

So think about that.  Or don't.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Trial

Why are we so interested in this chic who killed her daughter or whatever?  Yes I'm deliberately being flippant.  Yes, I understand that it is a heinous crime, but does it say more about us or her that we are obsessed with the DETAILS?

They say this is the O.J. Simpson trial of our generation.  I don't know if you know this, but at the time that the O.J. Simpson trial was going on like a million (they say 800,000 but it's really about a million) or so people died in Rawanda over the course of like a 100 days or something, and it was never really shown on the news because the stations were so OBSESSED with O.J.  The President, Clinton at the time, said he didn't even know it was going on...Does anyone even care about what O.J. is up to now?

Who knows what's really going on in the world right now as we are obsessed with this young woman who may or may not have killed her child. It's like we pick one death and obsess over it instead of thinking of the random deaths of so many in wars and like genocides.

The U.N. and the United States could have helped to stop the genocide in Rawanda if the country at large was paying attention to it.  If the media had focused attention on it and public opinion forced our leaders to care.  Instead, we just look at the skulls and skeletons of these dead people and think: Wow what a trajedy I wish I had known and by the way, was O.J. really wearing that glove or not?

Is it my fault that I didn't know about Rawanda until after the fact?  Yeah, I would say it is.  I don't make any kind of real effort to find out what's happening in the world at large and I enjoy a good Weiner joke now and then.  However, should Anthony Weiner and this chic, I refuse to remember her name (I can't forget Weiners name), who allegedly killed her daughter, make the headlines?  You know that Lifetime has already made a movie about them.  In fact I think these two should meet...

But in all seriousness, these people are celebrities for doing really bad things.  They are what we call infamous, right?  There is only a fine line between being famous and being infamous.  Pretty soon the lines get blurred and we are empathizing with the likes of the Anthony Weiners and the other murdering mothers.

So what are we supposed to do, how do we pick and choose our battles, our trials?  How do we force the media to focus on what's really important?

I don't know, change the channel when you see another 20/20 episode about this mother-daughter murder.  Try and watch the BBC, they focus on world news, real news.  I know we don't always care about what's happening in other countries, then maybe it's time we look at the reality of what's happening in our own neighborhoods.  There are a couple of homeless people that I see walking the streets of my neighborhood, and I'm sure there are more that I don't see.  Maybe I should find out about them, care about them, more than I care about some random woman I will never meet.

I know, coulda, shoulda, woulda, you are trying to hold on to your job and run your errands and at the end of the day you turn on CNN and there it is...the woman who murdered her daughter, and who really has the energy to change the channel when you've got diapers to change and etc. etc.

I know, I'm the same way.

What can little old me do?  Well I guess blog about it or whatever.  Maybe just bring up the conversation that we need a new conversation.  The media just latches on to a topic and over stuffs us with useless information.

We control the media, though, you know.  We are their audience.  If we don't care, they won't care.

I don't know what in the world exactly I'm supposed to care about and know about, but I don't think it's too much to demand that the media direct me away from sensationalized cases and into the real world.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Dating Double Standards

The thing is, sometimes I'm a bad person.  I don't mean to be, but we all got to watch out for ourselves, don't we?  Especially when it comes to dating...

Like take this for example:  I meet a guy online and he tells me he has been out of work for the last two years and finally he got a new job (a contract job until the end of the year at least).  But he had to move into his mother's place last year because things apparently got really bad.  He said that he isn't ready at the moment to be in a relationship because he's financially strapped and can't really afford a relationship until he pays off his past bills.  Yet we talk on the phone every day and he says he likes me and wants to get to know me.  I like him, he's funny and smart and caring.  He doesn't give me a time line or anything as to when he will be ready to date.

I have this like tug of war thing inside me.  On the one hand I like this guy (he's not the best looking but I've always been able to overcome that) and he makes me laugh and think.  But in like two years, if we got married, is his job stable enough, I mean if he loses this job will it be another two years?  Can I live like that? Yeah, I know I'm jumping the gun and thinking about wedding and stuff, but I have to think long term.

After some time I tell him that I need someone who is more financially stable.  I'm completely honest with him, I don't tell him some bullshit reason why I can't talk to him anymore.  He reminds me that I'm not financially stable either at the moment, and he doesn't understand my double standard.  He says I've been brainwashed by my parents who want me to marry a doctor or lawyer.  He tells me he didn't realize that all I cared about is money.

Needless to say I felt bad, felt bad that I did care about money, that I do want someone who can provide for me even during the times that maybe I want to take time off for children etc.  I mentioned this to him and he said that I was living in a dream and that I would end up a divorced single mother if all I wanted out of a relationship was money.

Wow, I thought. I mean should I feel bad about caring that someone can at least have the funds available to take me out to dinner?  I understand that people get laid off and hurt in this economy, but he had a contract job that could end at any time and he could have gotten laid off again.  But should I have stuck with him before I even knew who I was sticking too?  I didn't really know him yet.  Yeah I liked him, but I have liked a lot of men.

Alright there is a notion that you can live on love.  And I really believe that you can.  If I had met him somewhere and fell in love with him and this was his situation, I might have accepted it.  But I wasn't in love with him yet.  I was planning my love choices and, and he didn't fit the choice that I thought I wanted.

Is it OK that I have a double standard?  If I was a lawyer or doctor, would I still care if my partner was a success?  I think I might.  Am I brainwashed though?  Are these my thoughts, or like my parents?

I like to think these are my thoughts.  And in this way, call me a bitch, but I want a man who is somewhat of a success in his career.  I want him to be able to financially support me if I want to take time off to write a book or raise a child.  

But really, more than that, I want love.  Real love.  The kind of 'fuck the rest of the world' love that you read about or sing about or see in the movies.  (I am aware that kind of love morphs, but if I can at least marry my best friend...)

I mean I know I'm looking for everything, love and success, and may not find it all in the same man.  If it so happens that the love of my life is just not very successful, then so be it.  But I'm not seeking out men who are mediocre in their careers.  And I'm not seeking a love that lacks passion.

You might think that this is why I'm still single, because my standards are too high.  You might be right.  But it could be that it just hasn't happened for me yet...and that I have to have standards because I don't want to end up living a life of quiet desperation.

But if you know me, I won't be quiet about it.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

School Woman

So I'm a school girl again.  This time I'm an actual real adult, last couple times I wasn't like fully developed or something when I was in school.  I'm different now.  I don't usually pull all-nighters.  I'm not day dreaming about some boy in class.

The other day I went and visited Ann Arbor, the first college I went to was University of Michigan.  I went to this thing they call Top of the Park where they play movies outside, in the fresh air.  They were playing Top Gun.  And there was just something about the mix of stale popcorn with cotton candy that tasted like detergent, and Tom Cruise whizzing away on his motorcycle and the wind in an outdoor movie theater that for a moment just made me love my life.

I mean things are not perfect over here.  I'm thirty five and and I'm not in a relationship or married and I don't have any kids.  I'm not saying this defines me, but sometimes it bothers me.  I'm not in a stable career yet, and this also does not always bother me, I chose to be a starving artist, I knew what I was getting into.

Yet when I was sitting in that outdoor theater, with the wind in my hair, I just kept thinking about how free I am.  I don't have to answer to anyone, no kids, no husband.  And that may be sad sometimes.  But sometimes its really great.  So just as I was lusting after the younger Tom Cruise I thought that this may never happen again.  I may never truly be free again.

I mean if I don't entrap some unsuspecting chap to take my hand in marriage, I'll literally force the hell out of some unreasonably commitment phobic dude into at least sharing the rent with me.  And if I don't one day drop beautiful frolicky children from my womb, I'll adopt some unsuspecting child and bring him or her into my weird world.

I really am determined that these things will happen.

So as I have it now, I spend time with my friends and family at my own whim.  I am as free as I was in college, when the only thing I had to worry about was exams and like the freshman fifteen pounds.  Now, I really do have worries that go beyond that...but generally I'm free fallin'.

The question is, what am I falling into?

Am I falling into a free but lonely old age?  I have friends who worry about getting married because it means having to share a bathroom and having to clean up after someone.  As much as I say that those things won't matter to me, I'm also becoming like older.

I worry about things a lot more, I guess like my parents do.  I like to say I'm free to do whatever I want whenever I want, but I'm bound, bound by the constraints of life.

Maybe I'm not a school girl anymore, I'm a school woman.  I come to the class with more insight, more baggage, a little less fear than I had when I was a girl.

I used to think life was a school. And every time I got stuck, stuck on a problem I couldn't solve, I thought it was because I wasn't smart enough or didn't work hard enough.  Now I don't think of life as lessons as much as I think of life as full of experiences.  We are here to live.  We are here to feel the wind in our hair and dream of a young Tom Cruise who isn't tainted by Scientology yet. We are here to feel.

I felt something that night, like a giddy school girl eating ice-cream and popcorn and cotton candy watching the first kiss of a man and woman and thinking that I will miss this.  But don't miss this now.  Be here.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let me Tell you a Story

So this is thing, I went to this show called the Moth Series, I think that's the name.  It's a show on NPR that is AMAZING.  It was basically a story slam where people tell true stories about their life without any notes.

Listening to all these stories, it makes you want to have a life worth telling a story about.

I want to tell you some stories:  Like did I ever tell you about the time I failed at becoming a temp?  That is a temporary worker, in case your wondering.  I moved to D.C. with dreams of being the most highly educated secretary in the world.

Actually the temp agencies sell themselves as agencies that will help you get a permanent job, so you think you are going to the right place.  You think you might have a future.  You tell them you are an aspiring writer and they ask you how many words you can type per minute and they check to see if you can spell.  Then they stick you in random positions until they can find the "right fit."  When you tell them all you really want to do is write creatively, they tell you to shut up and talk about your organizational skills.

I started out by stuffing envelopes.  Literally, stuffing envelopes and licking them closed.  I still remember the acrid taste.

Now, just as an aside, someone accused me of babbling the other day.  Now forgive me if I don't know the difference between babbling and blogging.  Yes, I in fact babble.  A lot.  I like to think it's part of my charm.

Anyways my humble beginnings in the secretary pool taught me absolutely nothing.  I did not learn how to be humble, instead I scorned those around me who looked like they had a real job.  I didn't really learn how to work my way up the corporate ladder because truthfully, I'm just not that kinda chick.

I know you want to hear a story about how I started by stuffing envelopes and then was stuffing my face at the company picnic as my employees shook my hand.  I'm sorry that didn't happen.

Let me tell you what did happen.  I was sent to the Chemical Safety Board.  They were supposed to, by law, lock up all their incriminating documents about chemical disasters so no stupid temp could find out about the truth behind all the unhealthy toxic calamities.  But I wasn't like the temp who worked for the tabacco company and found out that they were doing all sorts of illegals things.  I never even looked at those unlocked files and didn't even try to be that hero that could bring the government down.

I'll tell you what I did.  I tried, between answering phones and taking lunch breaks, to write stories.  I made them up because I was a fiction writer and I had no real stories of my own yet.  I made up characters, I even wrote a very bad screenplay.

Well, I also, like an idiot would save my writing to the work computer.  Finally, I got the job temping at USA TODAY.  My dream job, my dream temp job at least.  Again, I had no professional skills, I didn't know how to be fake and make a good impression and pretend like I was busy.

They had nothing for me to do, so I wrote.  But this time I wrote about two people talking about a certain sexual act, the same act that Bill Clinton was being impeached for.  I wrote about two people talking about it and I was fired.  Bill Clinton, that same year, did it and he wasn't fired.  This was 1999.

I have to admit, as another aside, I did pervue a few unauthorized websites in the course of my stay at USA TODAY.  Come on, the internet just was invented, I didn't know they could track your pages.  I was an idiot.

You know, I think it was the thirteenth amendment that made involuntary servitude illegal.  Even though I though it was voluntary, I was being connived.  There is nothing voluntary about stuffing envelopes so you can pay your rent.

By the way, just as a babbling note, I tend to repeat myself, so did I tell you this story before?  I think I told it differently before.

So where was I?  I wish this story had an ending worth stating, like how I lived happily afterwards, or a climax where something meaningful happened and we all walked away better people.

But all I can say is: I never temped again.


Friday, June 24, 2011

What Happened to Me?

So this is what I think happened, I mean the reason I stopped writing this all started with Egypt.  Egypt was protesting about THIS and THAT and the other thing and it was all sooo IMPORTANT.  How could I say anything, even anything remotely that important?  They were using Facebook to start a revolution...I was whining about shaving my arm pit hair.

I mean who really wants to hear about nina this and that and the other thing?  Real things were happening.  And  nothing was happening to me.

OK, maybe it wasn't just Egypt.  I mean, maybe it was more that I thought I didn't have anything left to say.  I literally couldn't think of anything to say...I couldn't think of anything worthy...worthy of you, whoever you are, to read.

But the thing is, if you are like me, sometimes you just don't want to express yourself.  Sometimes you want to be alone and not be heard and not say anything at all for just a minute.  And just be.  Maybe I needed that.

I know I'm not a disciplined person, in the traditional sense of the word.  I am sort of trying out different spiritual thoughts, and the idea of discipline, like maybe meditating and writing everyday, well I like those ideas but I haven't followed through with them.  I don't work out every day or floss every day.  So how could I expect myself to blog every day?

But there are things that I do do every day.  I try to be real.  I try every day to remember that I'm alive for the simple reason of being alive, even if I have no purpose: I live, and that's enough for me.  On the other hand every day I try to have a purpose.  Every day I try to be thankful for something, even if it's as simple as a chocolate chip cookie.

Some days are really hard and because I battle depression, (I'm not suffering from it, rather I battle it away now) but there are days when I can't feel right no matter what I do, and sometimes on those days I do nothing and feel like nothing.  And when that feeling of nothing passes, on a regular day like today....I feel so good, so good because I know what it feels like to feel bad...and every day that I can get out of bed and do something productive with my life, I try to remember that I'm lucky.

Sometimes I think that my problems are monumental, than I am reminded again of Egypt.  How my mind stopped working when I saw those people, was moved by those people, who were really living.  I mean they were doing something, saying something, being something.

Some of them also would die for their cause.

I haven't died for anything yet.  Nor do I particularly wish to.  At least not yet.

However, I don't have to compare myself with the people on the news.  In fact I don't really want to end up on the evening news.  No news is good news.

I realize now that I could have said anything in last six months or so, and you may have been interested or moved or simply accepting of it.  I could have blogged about the weather, and you would have understood that sometimes its the nothingness that binds us together.

So much has happened in the last six months, but in this way nothing changed, nothing at all.  I can't even imagine that it has been six months since I blogged.  I missed it though, there is something about connecting with people so directly and spontaneously that is really fun and really cathartic.

I can't ever promise that I'll be the consistent blogger, unless of course someone pays me and turns this into a job.  But just as a writer, as a starving artist, I love the inspiration and beauty of this dialogue that I have with you.  I hope you will be patient with me, follow me when you can, and take my pauses as a breath of fresh air.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Better Off

I did a paper in school the other day about the demographic of my city.  I found it really interesting that my city, Troy, Michigan, was much more affluent than the average city in the U.S.

This got me thinking, I'm a really lucky person.  I mean I live in a place that the average human being on this earth would be envious of.

The thing is, how often do I notice how lucky I am?  I mean I watch the riots in Egypt and I am forced to think again about how lucky I am that I live in a place that I am allowed to have a peaceful demonstration about, just about anything.  I live in a place that I don't at the moment, feel I need to protest in any major way.

Although, I'm not like, singing, 'I love America' all day long, I would say I'm pretty lucky to live in a country that at least proposes to be pretty free.

The sad truth is that most of the population in most countries is living with less then I am living with.  A lot of this population is living with a lot less.  Much of this population is also living in countries that are not 'free.'

I don't know the exact statistics of these things, but I do know that I have been blessed with a silver spoon, yet I still somehow seem to feel my life has been plagued with problems.

If someone from the slums of Detroit were to look from the outside at my parents house (where I'm staying this month because my mother is away) this person might be surprised that we have 'real' problems.  Maybe they would laugh at our problems.

I wish sometimes I could look at my life from their perspective.  As I stated in a previous post, there was study done that proposed that it only takes $75,000 for a family of four to be happy.  That seemed like a small number to me, but much of the world's population doesn't even have that much.

So what am I so worried about?

It seems to me that since I don't really have to worry about 'survival' in a base sense then all my other worries are not really important.  I mean I have to worry about surviving in some sense of the word, but I have so many people in my life that would back me up if I needed it.

So tell me, what are you worried about?

Do you worry when you walk out your front door that you will get mugged or in some way hurt by someone you don't know?  Are you worried you may not be able to afford groceries this week and don't know what you will feed your kids?

If you said no to these things, than maybe you also don't have it so bad.

I am aware that everything is relative, and you can't always compare your problems with anyone else's because it's just a different ball game.

But the fact remains that we are much better off than many people and to take a minute and appreciate that might make us a lot happier.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shaving: To do or not to do?

Can you believe it, Monique shaved her legs?

It's kind of crazy when you think about it, that we shave or legs in the first place.  I mean god keeps giving us hair, and even when we try to get rid of it, it grows back.  It's not like your arm or leg grows back if you cut it off.  There might be something special about hair.

Or maybe not.  

Maybe hair is just there on our legs and arms for no reason at all.  In some religions, like Sikhism, hair is considered sacred.  They say that there are vibrations that are felt in the hair follicles while doing meditation that make our spiritual experience even greater.

Or for some it is an identity thing.  Some Sikhs wear long hair to show that they are Sikhs.

But most of us in the western world want to get rid of all hair in almost every part of our body.  

We want to essentially look like something we don't naturally look like.  We want to look manufactured, like dolls.  

I am also guilty of this behavior as well.  I just wonder sometimes, if it is worth it to be so concerned about looking like something man-made.  

And it is because of men.  I read somewhere that what turns off men the most is unwanted and 'unsightly' hair on a woman's body.  

On the one hand I understand that it is actually natural to want to be attractive to men, but on the other hand I feel like we have become slaves to what men want.  

So where do we draw the line and what do we do?  I think we do what we want to do.  If you don't want to shave, then I think, more power to you.  If you do want to get rid of some of the hair on your body, than that's your choice.

However, you should not be made to feel bad whatever way you choose.

Now back to Monique, she was taunted in the tabloids about her choice not to shave her legs.  She seems though a strong enough woman that these type of things would not bother her.  I think it just felt right to her to shave her legs at this moment and she went with it.

We should all be so bold as to do whatever we want when we want.  


Friday, January 28, 2011

Dreams as Reality

Now most of us dismiss dreams as just dreams, fairy tales so to speak.  They are neither here no there and if they mean anything at all, they are about our subconscious desires.

But what if dreams are some sort of reality?  Maybe a parallel reality than the reality we know, but reality none the less.  There is a theory that I read in the Huffington Post by Robert Lanza that is really convoluted and confusing, so I won't even try to break it down, but this is what I got out of it:  If we think it, it is real.

We think dreams.

Since our reality that we have in 'real time' is so much about our perception and the way we experience things that the reality we have in dreams is much the same.

We have no idea that dreams are not occurring on some spiritual plane of existence that we have no idea about.  I believe there are dimensions out there that are way beyond our understanding.

However, that doesn't explain why dreams are so weird.  I mean I have this re-occurring dream that I go back to high school after grad school and I pretend to be sixteen again and I nearly fail out of high school this time.

What's interesting is that the same friends I had in high school are there with me, and there is no explanation of that in the dream.  In fact I wonder how this could be in the dream itself.

It's just that dreams point to the fact that we are weirdos.  Our subconscious or whatever you want to call it is illogical and strange.

Like I had a dream last night and one minute I'm getting chased by people who want to re-sell my furniture to the Salvation Army and the next minute I'm drowning in a pool full of really well built men.  What the hell does that mean, and why?  Why?  Why?

Why would I think such crazy thoughts that have no logic or basis to them?  Why is everything everywhere?  But, why is there small details like the color of the carpet?  Who drew in all the details?

Did you see Inception?  That is truly interesting film about dreams.

In that film people could enter each other's dreams and influence their thoughts.  The idea in the movie doesn't seem that far from reality.  They also point to a life in dreams that exists in time, that you are living in a dream for a certain amount of time.  I don't remember the ratio, but like 5 hours in human time would be equivalent to like 30 hours in dream time or something along those lines.  I don't even know if I got that right at all, but the notion is that the time you spend dreaming FEELS like a lifetime.

I mean you can experience like a year in one dream, and you probably have.  Does that year feel like a year while you are dreaming it?  Sure it does because dreams feel real.

Some say that reality is just a feeling after all.

But most of us want reality to be much more predictable.  We want it to make sense.  However, does our reality make more sense than dreams?

If you turn on the television, a replica of reality and surf through the channels you will find that it is just as weird as your dreams.  On the one hand you will find Jerry Springer with two lesbian mothers who entrap a father into donating his sperm and than they all fight like cats and dogs on the screen.  Then you switch the channel and there are protests in the Middle East, these protesters are using Facebook and Twitter to get thousands of people rallied up to protest their governments.  Then switch the channel one more time and you will see two people intertwined in a bed saying smooth talking cliche's to one another as they pretend to make love, this would be your soap opera.

Our reality may be just as twisted and 'unreal' as our dreams.

So the next time you dismiss your dreams as silly and inconsequential, remember that your life may be the same.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is Happiness?

Well here is my favorite topic again...happiness.

Oprah did a show today about happiness, one thing that was inspiring is that people were surveyed and it was found that people who make $75,000 are just as happy as people who make a million dollars.  Somehow they found that it really doesn't matter how much money you have.

They said if you had $75,000 and a family of four, you would be just fine, happy in fact.  Doesn't that seem a little less than you thought?  I always thought a family of four these days requires quite a bit more.  But apparently as long as all the essentials of life are covered, you will be happy.    

I guess we could have all theoretically known  that, but when it comes to reality, to really understand that it doesn't matter how many things we have or how big our house is or how new our car is, well I think that I would be happier if I had the money to spend right now on an Ipad.

I don't know why I think this particular "thing" will make me happy when I know that nothing I own in particular, including the very machine that I use every day, this computer, really makes me happy.  I don't know what I would do without this machine, but I would live.  I could write with a pen, you know.  I could use the library computers.

There was a time I did not have a lap top and I used to write in journals and then use the library computer at school to complete my work.  I think, just maybe, I was just as happy then.  I would walk around and feel like I was free and could write anywhere.  I would literally sit in the middle of Macy's in New York, my favorite place to be, and just look around at all the beautiful clothes and it would inspire me to write in my journal.

I didn't need a machine then, it didn't even occur to me that I did.

In the study that Oprah was talking about, they found that Special Education teacher's were the happiest out of all people in any profession.  They found that anyone who spends at least eight hours a day with some kind of social interaction is happier.

Those teachers don't make very much money.  However, they are probably fulfilled because they are really helping those kids.  And when one of them really learns something, it must be the most satisfying feeling.

The things that really matter are as follows according to Oprah: 

Did I marry the right person? Do I like my work?  Where do you live?  Are you connected to your community? 

Showing up once a month to club is equal to the doubling of your income in terms of happiness.

Isn't that crazy, that doing something so little can boost your level of happiness so much.  They say it is because you are getting to know new people and expanding your social circle. 

The survey that they did also says that getting to know your neighbors is really important, in fact it says that those who know their neighbors are generally happier. 

Also, finally, the study suggests that the more sex you have on a regular basis can really influence how happy you are. 

The great thing about this study is that none of things that we often think we want, material things, are a factor in our true happiness.  That means that almost anyone can be happy.

That means that you or I can be happy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Gender Roles

It seems like almost every post I have done in the past few days has been about sex in some manner. 

Well here I go again....

There is a new study posted on about how men and women are changing their roles since more women are becoming successful in college and in the workplace.  There are apparently more women in college then men and more women earning a lot of money right away in jobs.

Apparently this has all made the sex game very interesting.  According to this study, even though women are more successful men are getting more sex and giving less commitment. 

It seems to me that this points to the fact that women will never win. 

We can again be smarter and faster, but again some form of male aggression has to take over.

In this case it seems that men are taking advantage of the availability of sex, educated women are less traditional and "giving it up" more easily however the men are not giving any form of commitment.

They say that this doesn't mean that successful women are not getting married, they are.  It's just when they are in the dating game, they are not always getting what they want.  It seems that women are competing for men, when it was the opposite not too long ago.

It seems like women are never given a break and we are never given the ability to 'have it all.'

So what is success if being successful means that women are having a harder time with relationships?  Relationships are the most important thing to most women, all types of relationships, we are beings that focus on our relationships with other people. 

The one relationship with a man is one of the most important out of these relationships that women value. 

I think it is rather barbaric that men who feel inadequate because a woman is more successful then them will use sex to take out that feeling of inadequacy.  The men are getting as much sex as they can supposedly and not giving women the kind of quality relationships they are looking for. 

Again we have a shift in power, but the power of sex seems to be very strong still.  It seems like women will always get the short end of the stick in life.

This makes me sad.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is Rape Natural?

In many studies they do 'they' have come up with this notion that rape is an evolutionary and 'natural' phenomena.

Now I don't disagree that we are animals and that in the animal kingdom rape is very natural.

However, as human beings, we don't participate in barbaric activities that are 'natural' for a reason.  We don't kill each other for no reason, or for what we conceive to be a good reason.  Animals kill when they feel threatened or when they want to threaten.

Anarchy, would be another natural thing that occurs in the natural world.  However most of us don't subscribe to the notion of anarchy because there would be a lot of rape and pillage for no reason at all.

The very fact that you are on a computer right now as opposed to say, hunting and gathering points to the fact that we are not following the 'natural' order that animals do.

There are by the way very calm cool and collected animals that are not mean and aggressive.  I can't give you an example because I'm not that familiar with the animal kingdom, just trust me, I've read about it, there are many animals that are much calmer and peaceful than human beings.

But we are always comparing ourselves to like apes and lions, we are always looking at animal societies that are aggressively patriarchal.

We don't really know what is 'natural' for human beings and what is not.  Maybe we create what is natural.  It could be natural to live in complete peace.

It's definitely not natural to have guns and bombs.

So if you are not gonna give up your guns, I'm not gonna give up the idea that rape is a crime.

Some say love is not natural, but if you try to get a cub away from his mama bear, it's natural.  Rape is the opposite of love.

It's not natural in my eyes.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Selling Sex

The women are not always full grown women yet.  I said that any woman who had menstruated should be called a woman, but in this case, I take it back, these are girls.

Some of them start as early as twelve years old.  Do you remember what you were like when you were twelve? I remember the most devious thing I ever did when I was twelve was skip school and play cards with my best friend all day.

These girls don't go to school.  They instead have learned about life through the school of sex trafficking.

Sometimes there are two, three, up to five men in one day.

Do they choose this?  They usually run away from home because they can't stand the confines of home and school. Yet they in return, have submitted themselves to a life of sex slavery.

If they try to run away they are beaten.  If they hide any money they are beaten.

They say it's the oldest profession in the world.  But twelve year olds are not supposed to have a profession.

What really gets me is that these men who are the pimps are so easy to catch, CNN was able to catch a whole hoard of men just by putting up a fake profile.

Everyone knows this is happening.  No one wants to deal with it.

Well I do. I think it's time we talk about why we allow the oldest profession in the world employee underage girls.  I suppose if a woman is of legal age then she can make a choice as to whether or not she wants to sell her body, but the girls, it's their only choice.

Maybe no one chooses this, it chooses them.

The girls and women usually have been victims of sexual abuse.

They are young, naive, easily manipulated.

They are "Sluts, Hoes, Whores." But most of them were victims of sexual trafficking as girls.

They are sold online, on these very computers that you are staring at right now.

Some say it's rape after rape after rape.

Beatings and rape.

"Sex is not as sacred as it once was," one woman laments as she talks about how she started when she was thirteen years old. -CNN

It's one of the saddest, most horrific and disgusting things that is happening in our country today.

Yes it's also happening around the world.  But they don't always enforce the law the way we do in the United States.

There is a way to control this.  Heavier penalties for those who buy sex, sell sex and even penalties for the women who sell themselves.

I'm sorry girls, but our daughters need to see that there are consequences that go beyond the loss of dignity, that there are legal consequences.

But it takes a village, so maybe we should think about the nature of this village that we live in.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


I was walking with my dad outside of the mall today and I mistakenly said to him, "Dude it's cold."

I called my father Dude!!!

Dude what's up with that?

It reminds me of the time when not too long ago John Stewart interviewed the president and in jest he called him, Dude.

The media was a buzz about the whole thing and claimed that it was disrespectful to call the leader of the Armed Forces, Dude.

But come on dude, the thing is he is a human being.

I am reminded of the film, The King's Speech, a true story, where the King's therapist refuses to call him, 'Your Majesty' and calls him by his household pet name.  He also, at one point in the film, sits on the king's thrown, saying something like, "Well it is just a chair."

I love it.

I love when authority is questioned.  I mean we in America question all types of authority, but we are a little hesitant about calling the prez Dude.

Why do you think that is?

We forget that the president was just a regular dude before he swore into oath as the leader of the free world.  We forget that our father is our friend, and if we call him dude, maybe it is out of affection.

What is the fine line between affection and disrespect? I mean I think that it's kind of interesting that everyone has to say, "Mr. President" to the president's face while possibly calling him an asshole behind his back. Same is true of your father, you may call him "Dad" to his face but what do you say about him behind his back?

There is the notion that these titles like President and Dad are well earned.  But one of the first things that our forefathers got rid of when they made the Constitution was titles of nobility.  'President' is sort of a title of nobility, don't ya think?

I wish I could write the president a letter addressing him as 'Hey Dude.'  I'm sure if I did that it would never be read by his staff and never taken seriously.

The problem with titles is that we lose some of our friendliness and familiarity with a person we have to always refer to with a certain title.  I'm sure if I could call my dad, 'Shani' his nickname, maybe some of our barriers would break down.  I know it's just a name, but there is a lot of power in a name.

I once broke down some serious barriers when I called my own mother a b--- to her face.  She will never forget it, she will never let me forget it, and I will always regret it.  Of all the names I could have chosen to call her, that was the worst one.  I'm sorry Mama.

The thing is sometimes I want there to be titles that are used properly.  I think any woman who has started menstruating should be addressed as a 'woman.'  Not a 'girl.'  I feel like it is an issue of respect.  I also think that the word, and I use this word very cautiously because it's nasty, but the word, 'cunt' should never be used to describe a woman because of the sheer fact that is disgusting.  'Lady' is one of those words that it really matters who says it, like "Get out of my way, Lady," is not nice.  "Give the Lady what she wants," is nice.

I know I'm being biased here, not being objective.  Well screw objectivity, this is just the way I feel.  I never claimed to be a journalist in this space. I feel that some titles are necessary and some can be played around with. In all seriousness I think they can all be played around with and have loved when someone said to me with affection, "Giiirl, do you know what I'm talkin' about?"

Sometimes we gotta stop being so formal.  Like for instance, we are usually very formal when addressing god.  Very few of us say, 'Dear Dude' when praying.  But the thing is, god doesn't really have a title or a name that isn't man made.  If we could talk to Him on the level that we talk to other Dudes, maybe we would begin to break down our spiritual barriers.

Sometimes I like to think that god is my friend and in jest I have used swear words like, "How could you f----- do this to me!"  Now it says in the Bible not to use the Lord's name in vain.  But I don't usually follow the Bible and I don't really know what 'in vain' truly means.

Just like the king's thrown is just a chair, Dude is just a word.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jungle Fever

Remember that movie, Jungle Fever?  It was about a black guy having an affair with a white woman.  I remember one scene in the film where the man's wife, who has light skin, screams about how her husband thought he wanted a light skinned woman but really he wanted a white woman.

Well recently, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was on the cover of Elle magazine and seems like they actually wanted a white woman, because they lightened her skin.  They did this without her permission and made her very angry.

I would be angry too.  Elle did not accept Aishwarya for who she is.

I mean come on, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.  If she needs lightening, than what do the rest of us need?  The magazine is perpetuating the notion in many communities that lighter skin is more desirable in a woman.

I know in my own Indian culture, where Aishwarya comes from, there is a very strong correlation between fair skin and beauty.

Obviously this is an obsession with the western notions of white women being the standards of beauty, yet it seems particularly offensive that a magazine that caters to Indian people would still try to sell this ridiculous ideal.

It's such an arbitrary notion that white is better than darker skin.  It has everything to do with power than anything else.  I suppose this is obvious.

I am a light skinned Indian woman.  Would I want to look any other way?


Not because I want to look white, which I don't, I just have fairer skin.  But I don't wish I was darker or lighter, I just wanna be me.  I think that's healthy.  I think we should all just wanna be ourselves.

If you are medium toned, which Aishwarya is, she wants magazines to just leave her skin the way it is.

I don't really understand why people are sitting out in the sun to be darker, but that 'tanned' look is also evidence of wealth and prosperity.  It means you can go on vacation, you have time to lounge and tan, you are probably wealthy and beautiful.

So light skinned people want to be 'tan.' And darker skinned people are given images by magazines and advertisers to get lighter skin.

Is it just me or do we seem like the idiots who are buying into this crap?

I was in fact confused when I was a kid because my Indian friends told me I was too pale and needed some sun, while my mother told me to stay out of the sun and avoid tans because I had beautiful pale skin.

What's a girl to do?

Nothing.  I stopped caring how 'pale' or 'tan' I am.  That is the least of my worries and out of all the things I have to think about all day, I have successfully crossed that off of my list.

Wanna try it?  It's very freeing.


Friday, January 21, 2011


So I found out about a good friend's pregnancy via a Facebook wall post.  I was not delighted.  I was a little hurt that she hadn't personally told me.

What is personally these days? A text? An email? A Facebook wall post?

I personally don't understand text messages.  It seems like your sending someone a telegram, but we don't send telegrams anymore.

I mean I think it's bad enough that we tell each other important things on the phone instead of in person.  Things about divorce and having babies-and when we say it over a text I feel like it loses all its personal touch.

However most people will tell you it's the most convenient thing.

Convenience means everything to people these days.  Convenience trumps personalization.  It trumps almost anything.

And yet do you remember when you didn't have a cell phone?  People couldn't get a hold of you for hours, even days.

I remember the good old days - in college - my parents wouldn't talk to me for like a week at a time.  Now if they can't get a hold of me in five minutes, they panic.

We are constantly trying to be freer, right?  I mean ideally, as Americans.  Are we really freer if every second of the day someone can get a hold of us?  People can even put a GPS thing on your cell phone without your knowing.  They can know where you are at all times without you even knowing.

What kind of life are we leaning towards?

Maybe we were a lot happier when things were less accessible, when things were simpler.  When you could walk around anywhere and no one could find you...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

What makes Me Unique

So do you ever think about what makes you unique?  Trust me, you are not exactly like anyone else.  There are always things that set you apart.

Good things.

One of the things that sets me apart from at least half of the population is that I'm a woman.  Now what does that mean to me?  It means a lot.

It means I will fight for the right to have rights.  It means I have to be stronger, better, wiser, and work harder than a man in my field of work in order to be recognized the same as a man.  It means I will get paid less than a man even if I do more work.  It means I can be raped, attacked, hurt, or stalked.

However it also means I have this beautiful sensitivity to me.  I understand people I don't even know, I have the capacity to understand men, women, children, and even some household pets.  I love passionately and I love intensely.  I may get emotional and cry and scream when I shouldn't, but I will take care of those I love with a real honesty.

Another thing that sets me apart from the crowd is that I'm Indian.  Now I know that there are like more than a billion Indians in the world and it hardly makes me unique, but I still feel there is something to be said for being from a beautiful country that is often misunderstood.

I have inherited the spiritual nature of India, and I often try to wake up early in the morning and meditate, whatever that means.  I enjoy the idea of family that is instilled in most Indian households.  Family always comes first, and I cherish that notion.  I also love the idea that I have come from immigrants and have learned to work hard from the immigrant mentality.

Another bit of myself that is particular to me is that I'm an Asian American in the Arts.  I chose to be a writer as opposed to the usual track of becoming a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.  There is nothing wrong with following the usual track, if you do you are probably a lot better off financially, but I enjoy my work nonetheless.  I enjoy the fact that I had to rebel against my culture and my family in order to pursue my passion.  I hope it pays off.

There is also a part of me that makes me particularly vulnerable, yet I think it adds to my creativity and ability to create art.  I have a mental illness.  I'm Bipolar.  This has often led to very trying times when I was out of my mind completely and did unmentionable things.  It has also led me to fall into a deadening and very dark depression at times where I could see no way out.

However, my insanity also led me to have a particular mind set and think outside of the box, or rather, put the box aside.  It has also made me appreciate life when I feel 'normal' and can function 'normally' I see beauty in every little thing because I know that I may lose it at any moment.

Lastly, I'm a Sikh.  Sikhism is a very unique and modern religion that teaches personal salvation through meditation.  It is a religion filled with the most divine music and poetry ever written, it is truly a rich and  beautiful religion.  I am lucky to be a part of it.

So basically I'm a Minority Sikh Woman in the Arts who has a Mental Illness.  There are a lot of things working for me and a lot of things working against me here.  But I feel like I would rather be set apart from the crowd then just be 'normal.'  I don't think that anyone is really ordinary or boring because of their particular stance in life, however it is particularly interesting to be on the borderlines as I am.

Sometimes I have to fight just to live.

I think that's OK.

I will fight the good fight.  

What's your fight about?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Isolation in America

Of course I chose the loneliest profession around, writing.  It's just me myself and I when I do this work.  That's probably the reason I want to go into teaching, because I like the idea that the classroom is a kind of community.

I feel like there is a lack of community in the United States and maybe even in the world.  I mean I live in a condo-complex and I have said "hello" to everyone who lives there, but I don't know any of them, I don't socialize with any of them.  I go to the same coffee shops and bookstores every day.  I find that the chain type of coffee shops, the ones that are so American, are where strangers rarely talk to one another.  It's only at the independent coffee shops that I find very independent people who seem to think of the place as a community.

We, in this country, rarely step out of our comfort zones to talk to people we don't know just because they are there.  Our community usually consists of people we work with, went to school with, or grew up with.  These are our friends.

Yet there are people outside of my circle that I would like to befriend. There is a very interesting looking man who works at Panera Bread, his accent tells me he's probably from somewhere in Africa.  He's a very dedicated worker who doesn't speak English very well.  I would love to talk to him so he could tell me stories about where he came from.  I wish it wouldn't be weird for me to talk to a man I don't know.

I'm not saying we should go around talking to every Tom, Dick and Harry for no apparent reason.  But it would be nice if we got to know our neighbors, the people who frequent the coffee shops and restaurants we go to.  It would be nice if it weren't "weird" to start talking to a complete stranger for no reason.

I love strangers, actually, a little too much I've been told.  When I first moved to a real city, Washington D.C. I was still naive and talked to anyone who would talk to me.  I met a man on the train who told me stories about how he worked for the CIA and knew secrets than even the president didn't know.  Of course it later occurred to me that he was probably lying because if he knew stuff even the president didn't know, why was he telling me?

Then there was the guy at the bus stop who started telling me about how is brother married a Mormon after he was let out of jail.  I suppose you shouldn't convict someone in your head because their brother was in jail, but he then told me about how skateboarding was his passion in life and that he wanted to skate board around the world.

Nothing wrong with that.  I think the problem that my friends had with me talking to complete strangers was that they could potentially be weirdos that could follow me around or stalk me or harm me in some way.

Yet I love the rush of meeting someone new.  I met a guy at the coffee shop recently who read my Tarot Cards.  I don't know if I believe in Tarot Cards or if I believe that this particular man could really read them, but is was fascinating to me that he had the guts to try and tell me personal details of my future.  I didn't pay him, I just listened.  I definitely learned more about him than he did about me.

Right now, because I'm a student and a writer, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops where people from all walks of life gather.  Most people are too busy to want to chat, but there are people who will bring out their laptops as well or bring a book with them and sit for hours.  Chatting with these people now and then brings me great joy, I love to get to know almost anyone.

Right now there is an elderly woman sitting alone, drinking her coffee and reading the paper.  I don't know why, but something about her mannerisms screams that she is lonely.  I want to approach her, but there is no language in our culture that allows us to just come up to someone and talk to them for no reason.

I don't know if there is a way in any culture, a way to sit next to someone and just say, "I understand."

Because the more we rely on our phones, our computers and our other gadgets, the more we disengage with the people around us.

Isolation can be a hop skip and jump away from depression.  So watch yourself.  And watch other people.  Look at them and wonder if you can maybe change their day just by saying hello.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My dad used to call my sister "tiger" when she was a little girl.  She's gonna kill me for bringing this up, I only bring this up because my father was what you might call a 'Tiger Father.'  He was strict, but hey, his father was stricter.  And we, me and my sister, do OK now.  We don't always agree with or will repeat my father's parenting methods, but we thank him nonetheless.  

In Amy Chua's latest book, 'Tiger Mother" that was excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, Chua chronicles the very strict and often scary mothering of her Chinese mother.  She also explores her own Chinese mothering methods.

Imagine if you "once told your own hyper-successful Asian American daughter that she was 'garbage.' That you threaten to throw out your other daughter's doll house and refused to let her go to the bathroom one evening until she mastered a difficult piano composition.  That you threw the homemade birthday cards they gave you as 7-and-4 year-olds back in their faces, saying you expected more effort."-The New York Times. Chua did all of these things.

Chua was pretty harsh. However, Chua got death threats from people who were so upset that she said that Asian American mothers were superior.

Death threats? it just me or is that a little harsh?

I'm sorry, is this worth threatening someones death for?  Isn't parenting a matter of choice?  What's next in the death threat pool, I wonder?

I don't even agree with this very verbally violent and bordering on abusive parenting style.  However if someone is honest enough to talk about it, I'm all ears.  I'm listening because I want to learn from someone else's mistake, even if that person doesn't think it is a mistake.

You see, my problem is not with Amy Chua's book, her opinions or her parenting style. My problem is that people are so violent and absolutely nuts and anything can set them off.

Yes I have a personal stake vested in this issue.  Yes I will probably write something that someone will hate, if I have not done so already.  Maybe I'll write an entire book that someone will hate.

Will I get a death threat one day?

What are you supposed to do once you get a death threat?  I mean come on.  On the one hand I would be flattered that my words could be so strong as to offend someone to this level of violence.  However when it comes down to it, nothing really is deserving of violence.  What are you supposed to do, keep looking over your shoulders every five seconds, or just pray that is all a joke?  How are you even supposed to live after you get a death threat?

I mean, a few days ago we were celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. We all got a day off because this wonderful man came into this earth and said that violence is not the way to get your point across.  The man was killed because he abhorred the very type of violence that caused his death.

When are we gonna learn?

We are not barbarians who need to kill each other for competition of food, but now we think it's worth killing each other over parenting methods?  Is this really happening?

Amy Chua is not advocating beating your children, she is simply pointing out that Asian American kids are really successful because their parents were really strict.  Sometimes these parents are mean.

I'm no parent or anything, but sometimes I'm mean.  I went to Columbia University to get a graduate degree, I'm an Asian American who succeeded in many ways due to my very strict upbringing.

All of this does not mean that I agree with Chua.  I however, love that she has the right to her point of view.  And she does make one very good point:  the Loosey Goosey I love you no matter what- type of parenting often leads to less successful children.

Why do we live in a country and world that is so afraid of the truth.  The truth is that if you want a successful child you can't always be the nice guy.  The truth is not fun.  The truth scares people.

And in turn they decide they want to scare the truth-maker.  Chua was simply stating her truth.

Who is next, I ask you?  The guy who doesn't like ice cream because it's too cold?  Everyone likes ice-cream, how dare he say it's too cold?  I want to kill him.

This is what we are going to be reduced to in a short while.  There will be no relevance to our violence.  (I'm not sure that there is any now...) People will be so scared to say things, say things that are true to them.

Chua was simply saying what was true to her.

If you want to kill her because of that, I'm sure you are one hell of a parent.