Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Sound of Car Music...

So I'm at the mall, a three story mall, Somerset Mall in Troy, Michigan. I'm leaving through the parking lot in a hurry because I'm meeting someone for lunch.  So I get out to the parking lot and discover that I can't remember where my car is.  Or can I?  

I swear I parked not too far away from the door.  So I start pressing the lock button on my remote for my car and I hear it.  It sounds vaguely far away.  I walk around in circles three times trying to follow this sound, but I can't find my car and I swear I parked here. Then the sound mysteriously disappears.  Where did it go, where am I?

We've all had moments like these where we are dumb founded by how dumb we are.  

I'm about to give up and call someone to pick me up, when it dawns on me that I parked on the third floor and I'm on the second floor. Those car lock sounds I was following like a fool were coming from one floor above.  

I was madly following the sound of my car.  The sound of that music from one floor above.  I'm was relieved when I discovered what was going on, but annoyed.  I wasn't even late but I have this thing about being obsessively on time.  

I guess the point of this story is I got really upset and it felt like someone was playing a joke on me when I heard the sounds of my car but couldn't see it.  

Do you ever have those moments where you think the universe is playing these odd jokes on you.  I mean if I was watching myself on a T.V. show mysteriously following the sound of my beeping car, I might think it was funny. 

It's a remotely funny story.  It drove me MAD!  There was actual sweat on my brow when I finally got to my car and it's like thirty degrees outside.

This would have been a good moment for me to laugh at myself and laugh at the universe for making things a little odd and interesting.  Why are these moments so much better after they are over?

I should appreciate the small little happenings as they come.  I shouldn't be mad.  I should be glad.  Glad that I have the luxury to spend money on make-up at an expensive mall.  Glad that if I called a friend they would have picked me up.  Glad that I have a car to actually lose.  

But really I should be glad that I'm lucky enough to notice that I should be glad.  I got to stop being mad at the moment, the moment is mine.  The moment is yours.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Me as a Machine:

What are you doing right now? If you are anything like me you are flipping through T.V. channels, Pandora stations and websites as if these things closed for the holiday and you need some kind of fix.  

I have a problem, I can't do only one thing at a time...I'm writing this blog...I'm watching a show and my fingers are busy but I want to do something with my toes. You know like those people who can do stuff with their toes. Why have toes if you can't use them? The dad from Family Ties is on this show I'm watching.  It's not Family Ties though.    

Remember when you just watched a show or drove a car without wanting to check your phone at every commercial or red light?

Remember when you could remember what show you were watching or where you were driving? This new show Suits is on, it didn't exactly have me at hello...

My butt bone is hurting, it's a new pain, probably from sitting all night. Now I changed the show to a show from England, they actually showed a pretty woman without makeup on, only the British.  I'm on as well.    

Nothing can satisfy me, I'm a machine.  Now I'm watching a show that is from Denmark.  That's what you do when you have Netflix. The Netflix was a gift to my friend because I could never figure out what to buy her.  So I have the password and I watch it too.  Was it really a gift to me?  Do you want the password? Maybe I should just give out the password and everyone should watch Netflix while I only pay, what is it, 7.99 a month?  Read my blog and you can stream mediocre European shows too.      

Oh this is a problem, apparently the show I'm watching is in Dutch, don't call me ignorant but what do they speak in Denmark? This is ruining my do three things at once game because ain't nobody got time for subtitles.  Oh I think I found a good movie, a movie that could make me put down my phone... It's called "Call me Crazy." Yeah I know, call me what you seems good.  I'm putting my phone away...alright I'm back...that was a little too crazy, even for my taste.  

I'm going to put on traditional T.V. David Letterman can usually pack a punch.  Or Jimmy Fallon, whoever is not on commercial. You know I was going to do ads on this blog, but I haven't really put in the effort.  Would you be bothered with ads, would that offend you?  Yes, I'd be making money but so little it would be funny.  

This is what I have become.  Hungry for entertainment and mildly hyped up with too much Diet Coke in the evening.  What's a girl to do?  Well apparently John Stewart is on the Colbert Report.  Or I'm dreaming.  It's getting late.  

I'm going up and down my Facebook feed like it's my job.  I can't find anything that catches my eye.  I'm really spending a lot of time doing nothing.  I could be reading or writing or you know not writing this, but writing the next great American novel.

Not this drivel.  Drivel is a word?  

Life is beautiful and I'm on the Internet, losing my mind.  

There has to be more to life than this. In fact there is.  I sleep with my mac book in my bed, instead of a man.  Yes it's true.  

I'm yearning for a better existence.  

I remember not having the Internet.  I wasn't that young.  I did other things with my time.  I probably lived better.  There was a time in college when I didn't have cable TV, I had a bad antenna, there was no Internet and I didn't have a computer.  I had conversations...I read books.  I listened to CD's.  I went on dates with guys instead of chatting with online profiles.    

There was one CD in particular, when I couldn't sleep I would put on: Silsila. Songs from an Indian movie from the eighties on my little boom box.  My roommate would sometimes join me in the middle of the night and we would sing to the beautiful songs.  Now we would probably watch Youtube videos of other beautiful people singing the songs.    

I think I wrote more then when I didn't have all these toys.

I used to write with a pen in a journal.

I think I wrote pretty badly then as well.

But at least I did something. 

I did something besides wait for life to post itself in the form of a link or a sticker or a saying.   I didn't wait for someone to tell me how to live life...I just did it the best I could.   

So stop reading this and do something more with your life...this too shall pass...


Thursday, November 27, 2014

You Say there is a Method...

What am I most thankful for?  I'd like to say I'm thankful for food and stuff.  But honestly, I'm talking to the well fed here.  If you have some gadget by which to read this, I assume you may know where you next meal is coming from. I'm not suggesting that you should not be thankful for this, but we, the well fed, need to go deeper sometimes when we thank the universe for our particular brand of stuff.

I'd like to say I'm thankful that I'm sane, because I've been insane.

I'd like to think I'm talking to the sane here, but there is also something inside of you that flickers isn't there?  Some say it is a light, some call it a darkness.  Some deny its existence, those are the ones to watch out for...    

I'm thankful for my madness. 

Without a touch of madness what would I be?  I would be regular, there would be no magic.  If there is anything to write home about here I owe it to my crazy side.  The side that doesn't sleep...

I laugh sometimes a little louder...because the world is funny.  And I sing a little more out of tune, because I want my own song.  And I dance backwards but I know which way I'm not going.  

Without the insanity, how would I even know I'm sane?  How would I appreciate it?  I mean I could, but not this way. I truly love being alive.  I truly don't understand it.  I love that...

I'm sitting in a bookstore, comfy and warm.  There is a man who is mentally impaired walking around me talking to himself loudly. And I want to reach out to him, I don't know why.  He must know, in his life he must know that he is OK.  I want to tell him that he is OK. 

If he's OK, I think maybe I'm OK.  

I guess I'm thankful I'm not mentally impaired.  Except when I think about the book Flowers for Algernon.  It's a book about a guy who is mentally impaired and then has a surgery that makes him genius level intelligent.  He is happy when he is impaired and unhappy when he is smart.  The question is, what would you wish for, ignorant bliss or intelligent unhappiness?  Most of us would wish to be intelligent wouldn't we.  Why?  What has it done for you lately? 

Yeah, you can be smart and happy.  It's just hard once you take everything into account.  Right now, in this moment, I feel content. I'm in my sacred place, my bookstore.  I'm writing, which is sacred to me.  Call me ignorant.  The world is still on fire.    

They are selling Fifty Shades of Grey on a table next to me at my temple.  I could be angered that this crap sells, while great literature is forgotten.  However, even that isn't bothering me now. Sometimes you feel peace or bliss so intrinsically that nothing can break that trance.

I'm thankful for that.


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Use Your Words

I didn't sleep well last night, perhaps it was the wind, or maybe it was the atrocities on TV. Maybe I don't know where I fit in the conversation.  I'm not black and I'm not white, I sit in between... I lived near Harlem during 911, I live in an upper middle class suburb now.  I'm a Sikh, a minority religion in India.  My friends and relatives with turbans have had a hell of a time, existing...

So what do I know about this Michael Brown situation? Call me a hippie but why aren't we sitting in circles and peacefully protesting? I want to go to jail for a sit in, because when I go to jail it will be for something I believe in.  

I believe this a conversation our country needs to have... However talking with guns and fires won't work, it never has.  The two movements in this world that worked were peaceful, led by Gandhi and MLK.  

Did we forget this?  What would Martin Luther King say today, after seeing all this?  He would say he had a dream but this is a nightmare.  Why aren't we all sitting down...why can't we talk about this...

Whether it be police brutality or racial profiling, I can only say I have experience with racial profiling as I was always "randomly" selected at the airport during 911 to be thoroughly checked.  

Being looked at like a criminal makes you feel dirty.  Like you don't belong.

I'm no alien, I was born in the USA.  I may not look like your typical American, but guess what, I am.  

Whether you are black, brown, yellow, white or whatever color they designate you, we are all in this together.  

"If there is a man lying in chains anywhere, none of us are free..."

I know actions are louder than words.  So you, the one who wants to kill someone right now, you the angry one, you sit down.  Take a deep breath and think about what good you will do by causing the very type of violence you are protesting.  

There is nothing wrong with a protest but the only ones that really work are the peaceful ones.  

So what's my peaceful protest?  This.  Let's talk about it, let's not forget about it.  Words are the strongest weapons we will ever have. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Call Me A Diva, I Dare You...

I have a couple good friends who call me a diva.  Alright, I can live with that.  What I would like to know is what is the equivalent of a diva for men?  When a man is strong and a little bit of an asshole, he's considered a man.  When a woman is powerful and a little bit of a bitch she's called a Diva.

I have my diva moments, it's true. However, I also have my moments where I'm just a strong woman who won't take shit from other people. There is a fine line between bitch and diva. However what is that fine line for men?

Why are men allowed to be powerful and mean, without reproach?
Maybe because we expect that from men.  We think it is somehow inherently wrong for a woman to be powerful.

When a woman attains some form of power we call her a diva, a bitch. When a man does the same thing, we have nothing to call him.

There is this idea that matriarchy should stay in the home and patriarchy should stay in the world.  The problem is that we assign certain roles to genders instead of letting people just be.  

When Hilary Clinton is president will she just be another bitch in charge?  Or will she be respected?  It will be hard for people to take a woman as the leader of the free world.  But how free is the world if a woman in charge will scare a lot of people?

I don't think women should rule the world, nor do I think men should.  I honestly believe in equality.  In fact there should be two presidents, a man and woman working together.  If we understood ourselves better we might see the beauty of this.  

I don't even think that every woman is feminine and every man is masculine, however I think a mixture of both these forces is a good combination.  For a country, for a life.  

There is a certain something I get from my girlfriends, however there is something special that I also get from my relationship with men.  Whether it be a significant other, a friend or a relative.  I need both aspects in my life.  

Balance.  The yin and the yang.  The masculine and the feminine.  

So whether you are a diva, or just a dramatic dude...don't let these labels rule you or fool you.  You be you, let the world label itself.  


Monday, November 24, 2014

What Interests Me...

We are so worried, about what we do, we forget about who we are...what we are.  Are you sure you know life?  Or do you just speak about life?  Do you just walk around it?  Do you even know how to dance with it?

What do you long for?  Are there empty spaces in your being that you know can be filled with emptiness.  Do you ever want to fill a cup with your own damn voice?  What would you say if you could capture it all in a cup?

Is there something inside of you that speaks louder than the mundane, everyday, humdrum of a life.  Do you long for peace? Or do you long for passion that ceases to make sense? Do you even know what passion is, would you recognize it if it slapped you across the face?  Would you know that difference between passion and peace, do you know you want it all?   

What puts you on fire?  Which one of us will fight the fight, the one we all know about.  The one about our dreams.  Which one of us will stand like a fool, and invite the truth to our table, no matter how dirty it makes the moment.

Enlightenment is falling in love with the world, letting it breathe and tell you, you are real.  You did not imagine this existence but you imagined its limits. 

Did you know there are no limits to our songs, the ones we don't sing, the ones we imagine are too loud.

Infinity is a stone we all throw around as if it can be measured, as if our lives can be numbered as if our days don't have wings.  We have a closet full of birds, no lack of song in this house.

Yet we forgot our voice and we captured their wings.  

Life is not about is about one moment.  This one, not that one.  In this one moment, what will you be?

Will you be a number for us to count, like money? Will you be a song for us to sing, when we notice how little we are worth if we don't dance.  

How many of us climbed mountains with our pauses, the way we stop.  In the middle of sentences we don't want to say?  The way we don't breathe, in the middle of a life we don't want to live.

Sing for me once, a ballad of your choice.  

Know that you are heard, no need to scream.  Unless you have found the fine line between reality and imagination, and decided you want to walk it.  

Maybe dance it.

Move for me this once, the way you do to your own beat.  

Reality is not any more real than your own voice.  

Say it, in your own way.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

yeah, yeah, yeah

It's Sunday morning, I'm late, I usually write my blogs before...I like to reserve Sundays as my peaceful days.  Days I can think what I want, say what I want, be who I want.  

Sunday is a day for me.  

It's a grey day, it makes you want to fall back asleep.  It's uninspiring.  Let me tell you what was inspiring this week though...we had a discussion about stem cell research in my college composition class that I teach. 

We talked about how the stem cell research could lead to cloning. If someone was cloned, would the clone have a soul?  Then we got on the topic of souls and spirituality.  

This was of course my favorite topic in the world, and I shared some of my ideas and experiences.  Mostly how recently I started meditating again, I go on and off with it, but I started hard core again.  I've noticed some real changes since I started again.

Not only has my attitude changed, but the universe seems to be working more in my favor.  I think if you channel the energy in the universe it works for you.  Better things started happening in my life, interesting people began to enter my existence. 

I'm a bad meditator.  I will be meditating and take a break to check my phone or the Internet.  I don't always have the attention span of a holy goddess.  However, even with all my mistakes, I've still been able to channel something real.

It has made me happier.  It has made me stronger.  I feel like I can get through this life easier.  I only meditate for like half an hour, if that.  But I try to bring my meditation in my everyday life, I try to be mindful.  I try to see the divinity in everything.  

Even in grey Sunday mornings.  There is a beauty to them.  I want to fight with the sky and make the sun come out. But in my heart I know that the overcast day is my test, the test to see if I can be happy without a sun.     

Maybe you are looking for something new in your life.  Maybe the status quo is not working for you.  Maybe you need a change.  The ugliness of the world may be creeping up on you, scaring you.

I implore you to look inside, where the real beauty lies.  I don't meditate because I want to or because it is fun, at this point in my life I have to.  I can't take life without it.  It's too hard otherwise.  

I need this.  Maybe you need this too.  Maybe we all need this.  


Image courtesy of samarttiw/

Saturday, November 22, 2014

being no body

Sometimes I don't think of myself as a physical person, as a being with a body. I think I'm something else.  What exactly, I don't know.  I walk around my living room sometimes as if I am a spirit. 

But as non-human as I like to think I am, I'm very much a regular gal.  I use words like gal.  I am told I don't always sound like I have an education.  I'm looked at funny when I say I don't care.

My grammar sucks and I can't spell to save my life.  But I want to say something.  And I will.  Fuckin' words won't stop me.  Even bad words.  Words I'm not supposed to say.  

I'm supposed to be a good girl.  I am.  Sometimes.  Most of the time I fall between the cracks of good and bad.  Most of the time I sit in between time.  

I don't make sense.  I might even go as far as to say I'm a freak.  

Ha ha.  I laugh at my own jokes.

I will laugh at yours.  I have charisma.  I don't have too much patience.  I'm slow...I don't walk fast.  God forbid I run.  I have flat feet.  

What's your name?  They ask me that sometimes, people.  I want to say someone else's name.  I want to say I'm a goddess with no god.  I want to say hello in five different languages.  

I barely understand this language.  I'm funny.  I'm fat.  I'm free.

Don't judge me instead.  I talk to you because I don't know me.  I say this to you, because I could never say it to myself.  

I want to be ahead, ahead of myself.  There is this race in my head.  I'm trying to only compete with myself.  This race, where am I trying to go? 

I want to be myself, mostly free of my own bullshit.  

Mostly, mostly...I am me.  


Friday, November 21, 2014

Mr. Huxtable, "Let the record show..."

So I've been put up to speed about what is happening around the globe since I have been paying attention to the news and such things again.  I may have been better off when I was ignoring it all.

I mean c'mon peeps, collectively what are we doing?  What exactly is going on?

Let's talk about Bill Cosby for a minute.  The American dream is officially over when we find out he is a creepster.  He was like my psuedo dad on T.V.  First it was Pa from Little House on the Prairie, then it was Mr. Huxtable. 

Well apparently my actual (wonderful) father trumps them all.  Perhaps T.V. is not the place to look for an ideal man, but come on, like more than a dozen women said Cosby raped them.  What is that about anyways?

My mother thinks Cosby is innocent, she likes to believe in the good in people.  I disagree.  What would Phylicia Rahsad say?  I always wanted to be like her, Mrs. Huxtable.  "Let the record show..." she would say like the bad ass lawyer that she played.  

Let the record show that that was when I wanted to be a lawyer.  That's when I thought The Cosby Show was one big happy family.  That's when I was innocent and thought being a lawyer was like being on L.A. Law.  That was before I knew it was all pretend.  

I didn't know then that there were creepy men out there that would haunt me for the rest of my life.  I remember in high school, I had a teacher who for all intensive purpose's sexually harassed me.  He was funny like Cosby, everyone liked him.  I wasn't the only one he harassed, but back then when I was fifteen I didn't know it was a crime.  I didn't understand that what he was doing was wrong.  In fact as a silent protest to him I stopped talking to him. I'm not kidding when I say that he was giving me a higher grade than I deserved until I stopped responding to him.

We all have our ways of protesting in this world.  Some are quiet, some are loud.  Either way, speak out.  If you are a woman, the chances of you being sexually violated in some way are so high that I want to say it's like there is no chance it won't happen.  If you are a guy, don't think you can get away with it.   

I mean if Mr. Huxtable was a sicko, what does that say about your average dude?  Not all men are sick, but there are enough of them out there that you will encounter at least one sicko in your lifetime, probably several. 

I have a relative who is a creepy man.  You probably have one in your family too.  The lengths to which people will protect this creep are intolerable.  

People have been protecting Bill Cosby all this time.  C'mon someone knew.  Although it is sometimes difficult to recognize a perverted man, they usually walk around with some known features.  

Trust your instincts.  The relative that I'm speaking about is like a Cosby type of character.  He is witty and charming, a family man. 

There are Bill Cosbys all around us.  They represent some dream, they seem so good.  They are so bad.

We live in a society that tells women to watch out for these men.  However we are silent towards the men.  I'm tired of telling women to be careful, I want to tell men to be careful.  In this day and age, you will be found out.  

I am protecting my relative right now by not outing him because I'm worried about legal consequences.  However, those around him know.  It's no secret.  I made sure of that.  

Maybe it's not a tragedy that Bill Cosby is finally being punished for stuff he did years ago.  Maybe it's a lesson for us all that what we put out in the universe will come back and bite us in the ass at some point.  Whether or not you believe in karma, know this: the universe is tracking your actions.  And for every action there is a reaction.  

I don't have to go back to Troy High and sue the teacher that made me question my own self...I trust and believe that the universe will take care of my unfinished business.  

The message to women is clear: be weary of weird guys.  However the message to men should also be clear: we are not going to take this shit anymore.  

Patriarchy is not over, but what is over is the myth that women will remain silent. 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Meaning of Nothing

So sometimes I think I should do something with this audience that I have, which is by no means giant.  I don't know, like maybe an experiment or a poll.  Perhaps I should call people to action.  Maybe do something profound.   

But I don't know about all that. I want to do something with this life, but what is it that I want to do? Someone once told me they liked my blog because it showed that anyone can say or do anything.  Alright, there's a message I can get behind.

Be yourself.

What else do I want to say?  How about this?  I'm tired, tired of being someone who is not good enough for her own self.  It's not about you, or you, it's about not being good enough for myself.  What would make me good enough?

Maybe if I had a purpose.  Chitter chattering on the Internet, is that a purpose?  Maybe I should have been a doctor like my parents wanted me to be a hundred years ago.  Doctors have such a clear purpose.  I suppose teaching has a purpose, but somehow it's not enough for me.  

I want to do something real.  Something monumental.  You know, like Gandhi.  

What's my revolution about?  

I could be a rebel without a cause.  I could be like Seinfeld who did a show about nothing.

A revolution about nothing.  


What does that even mean?

You know I want to open a spiritual community one day, a commune even.  What are we all going to sit in a circle and say to each other?  Kumbaya.  

Ain't nothin wrong with some Kumbaya.  

Let's sit in a circle and be with ourselves.  Let's be real, for once.  

Nothing is not really about nothing.

What is it about then?  It's about that space, the space between words, the space between thoughts.  The space between us.  We are all here to learn how to navigate that space.  How to be with it.  How to be it.  

In fact we are really space, our souls are in space.  Some people believe we don't have a soul inside us, but in fact we are inside a soul.  It's a big space around us.  Our aura. 

It looks like nothing, it feels like nothing.  It is everything.

And nothing, both at the same time.  

I am nothing and everything both at the same time.  

What does it mean when I say I'm everything?  It means I'm connected to the source of all things.  

Is this weird.  All this talk?

Little bit huh? 

Nothing is weird and so is everything. 

This conversation is weird.  I'm gonna stop now because I'm starting to feel an out of body experience.  

It feels like nothing, it is everything. 

Alright already, I will stop with all that.

I've got nothing more to say...


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Selfie Photo Shoot

innocent nina
So I went on a selfie photo shoot recently.  Yes I did it for a dude.  He wanted to really “see” me without meeting me.  I told him to just meet me but he denied me.  So I shot a bunch of photos of me.  It was weird; I liked a few. 

Many men I've met online have asked me for this, but I never obliged until now.    

I’m not photogenic.  The camera distorts my face.  However, for some reason I like the way I look better now that I’ve taken all these pictures of me.

Is that weird?  Is that narcissistic?  A little bit?

There is something therapeutic about documenting your life. 

I feel like angle is really important when you are taking a selfie.   I’ve gotten to know my face really well.  Lighting is also key. 

Vanity is also key.  In some way you have got to like looking at yourself if you are going to seriously take a lot of photos of yourself. 

Create the angel so you don’t look fat, that’s the key.
Pointy Nose Here I Am

Make sure you don’t really look like yourself.  Don’t look the camera in the eye, it’s scary…looking the camera in the eyes is like looking the world in the eye.

God only knows the reason for posting a pic on the Internet is not so you can be seen for who you really are.  C’mon---These are glamor shots, shots you take of yourself.  Shots you manipulate with your lens. 

These are not shots of your soul, save that for later.  Maybe after you die.  These are primarily to make you look good. 

You post them on Facebook and Match and any other site you are willingly a part of.  Don’t you dare smile, because you are trying to create a look of cool introspection, you are a thinker. 

Make sure not to cut off your head while trying to get more of your body:
Head Chopped
These are not artistic nor are they very professional at all.  The only thing I like about them is that I was in control of the camera.  

Sometimes I don't feel like I'm in control of everything in my life.  I don't like other people taking pictures of me, they usually come out horrid and I look either ugly or fat.  

My hips are not in these photos, and I'm grateful for that.  Either is my big ass.  

On another note, speaking of appearance I've decided to take things into my own hands again and start working out and eating healthy.  I don't want to grow old, at all, much less grow old and get sick.  

Then I worry about getting old and ugly, really ugly.  I mean it happens.  And I'm gonna be forty...someday.  It's not that far away...vanity will either kill me or make me get in shape.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't think old people are ugly.  I think they are beautiful and I want to feel beautiful no matter what I look like.

But I don't.  The truth is I feel flawed.  But the truth is those flaws are inside me, not on my body.  This body will always be 'flawed.'  What I have to do is unflaw my mind.  Unflaw is officially a new word I have invented.  Let's see if it picks up.  

It's hard being a woman, especially in a size zero society.  It's harder still when you feel like a number closer to zero than ten.  Look, I don't hate myself or anything like that...but I'm not content with the way I look, it's true.  I wish I could be content and then lose weight, but things don't always work they way they should. 

I should be OK with who and what I am.  I know that.  I know I can be, perhaps the real exercise is that of the mind.  And if I think, therefore I am, then if I think I'm beautiful: I am.  

I am that I am. God said something like that to Moses.  I am what I think I am. 


Monday, November 17, 2014

To Contemplate a Flower

                                                       A Flower on my Kitchen Counter           
Hi---I guess I should explain where I’ve been for the last three months or so, but I won’t.  Not because I’m hiding anything, but because it’s really not that interesting.  Nothing to write home about.  I am teaching, both in high school and college.  It has kicked my booty, but regardless of being hard work, I am finding what I love...
I love an exchange of ideas and conversations.  This may be more suited to college education.  I’m not sure…

However, first and foremost I am a writer.  Writing, which is sort of a conversation with oneself, or with the world.  A sort of one-way convo.  I miss this: I truly miss the exchange of my own ideas. 

Honestly, I’ve been grading papers all day; I think I forgot how to write.  Can you forget?  I feel like maybe I’ve forgotten this part of myself, the part that gives away so much personal information.  I don’t do that at school, I’m a professional.  I give lectures, have discussions, and give assignments.  I don’t tell them how I feel.  I don’t tell them what’s up.  

I don’t even happen to know what’s up these days, I’ve been so busy working that I haven’t really been paying attention to like the news and stuff.  I hear there will be snow again this year, I don’t care to hear about it. 

What I am interested in is what people are doing.  What have you been up to in the past three months?  Have you found yourself?  Or maybe you found another person, even better.  

I would not use the word happy to describe how I feel right now.  I would use the world Zen.  I’m OK with the shit on my plate.  Some of it is good, some of it sucks. None of it matters.

And in this way it all matters.  Maybe it’s transitory.  Maybe it will go away…especially the bad stuff.  However I’m here for the long haul.  I’m here whether it snows or snows more…I will try not to be offended by the gods.  They are after all, the gods.  Let the universe do what it has got to do.  We are mere participants.  I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.

Enough about me, tell me about you…I’d love to know about that sweater dress that you bought, and those boots.  I’d love to know it all.  I want to hear about it.  I will have some time off soon, I want to read your stories, all of them.  I want to read the hell out of my life.  I want to get my Kindle on.

What have you been thinking about all these months?  What will you do for the holidays?  What new food did you start to eat? 

Are you free?  I’m used to asking questions these days, because as a teacher you should talk less and listen more.  

What do you want to ask me?    

I want my time back.  I want to have time to contemplate a flower.  A flower just is, it doesn’t have to justify its existence like we do.  It doesn’t have to do anything.  I want to be a flower.

In my next life maybe.  

They say that people dying of Cancer will tell you to smell the flowers.  I haven’t really smelled a flower in a long time.  

I mean if those are the things we will remember when we are dying, maybe it’s time to start living.  

I want to do things like sing, even though I have a horse’s voice, I sing in my car and in the shower.  It makes me feel alive.  It makes me happy.  

What else makes you happy?

Honestly, in my private, private, private life there are things going wrong.  Things I can’t talk about.  

You know what makes me get through it?  These talks I have with myself, and flowers, and sometimes a friend. 

Flowers and friends.  

Is it too feminine of me to be so flowery?


Who cares?

I’ve found honesty in a flower, the truth maybe even.

I can’t explain it, but I feel it.  


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A small tribute to Robin Williams: Oh Captain My Captain!

Robin William’s performance in Dead Poet’s Society is the reason I want to be a teacher.  Robin’s character told his students to “Suck the marrow out of life!”  He inspired them to live, to be and write their truth.

Robin was one of those people who everyone liked.  If you met someone who didn’t like Robin Williams, wouldn’t you be suspect of their character in general?  What was there not to like?  What was there not to love?  Why didn’t he love himself?

Robin Williams suffered from depression: I truly understand that.  It was his brilliance that I have trouble understanding, how could one human be so powerful? He made me laugh, cry, think all in one sentence.  Honestly he was one of the most beautiful people I have ever observed.   

He killed himself.  A friend of mine was angry with him; he said it was selfish. I told him to have compassion, there is no way we can understand the pain Robin was experiencing.  We don’t know how bad it was in his own head.  Just because his external circumstances seemed outstanding, it’s obvious that outer riches mean nothing to most people. 

What’s interesting to me is that I don’t have the external circumstances that people measure their lives with.  I don’t have a significant income; I don’t have a husband or kids.  However there is now a string of happiness within me, a light, that no one can eradicate.  I think it doesn’t matter if you are “successful” in the eyes of the world, but it only matters what you are in your own eyes.

Obviously Robin Williams did not think he was very “pretty” when he looked in the mirror.  He could not love his own beauty, though millions loved him.  He touched us in ways that are immeasurable.  He moved us, made us laugh, and made us cry. 

It is interesting to me that so many people, who are loved by millions, can’t get it in their heads to love themselves.  Imagine that if someone who is famous cannot love themselves, then how do we ordinary people love ourselves.  Apparently you don’t need a fan club in order to be happy.  In fact it seems like a fan club could harm you more than help you. 

I wonder about that since I want to be a famous writer.  Do I want people to love me because I don’t love myself?  I do love myself, but there are times that the appreciation from complete strangers is somehow satisfying.  It’s not real though.  My “fans” don’t know me.  Like in the case of Robin, my fans only know the nina that I show. 

Someone said of Robin Williams last night that he was always “on.”  Meaning whenever he talked to the press, he put on a show.  He didn’t exactly reveal his true self to the public.  Not that it is necessarily any of our business.  However, we would have still loved him had we seen him in his boring and mundane moments.    

Robin Williams, i.e. Mork, is dead.  It’s still had for me to fathom that.  He was like a father figure to me.  He was real, in a world like Hollywood that is full of unreal people. 

I’m sorry that the world is so crappy that an amazing person like Robin Williams could not live in it anymore.  I wish I knew him personally and could have told him how much he meant to me. 

If you are out there, Robin, read this.  Know that you are loved.  Still.  That none of us will ever forget you. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

Guest Blogger: Keith Blenman

Feelin’ Kinda Hot

An fun thing about being in my thirties is discovering all these new and exciting ways that my body is going to crap out on me.

I’m sure matters would be different if I had taken care of myself more through my twenties.

“Yeah. We COULD go to the gym. That is definitely an option. But let’s really think about this. Have we really explored the possibility of ordering pizza and playing video games.”

I was perhaps not as responsible as I could’ve been. And the result is spotting the beginnings of eventual ruin.

“Oh! I sag in those places now.”

“Note to self: Milkshakes, while still tasty, now cause a day long escapade of gassiness.”

“The thing is, officer, several years ago I could function rather well on two hours of sleep. Turns out that if I don’t get a good night’s rest now I get sort of cranky and am more likely to commit to my idle threats of arson. That said I thank you for your service and for talking me down from cackling over my matchbook and puddle of gasoline. I’ll just be on my way now.”

About eight months or nine months ago I discovered that my inner ears have dramatically increased their production of hair. I spent several tearful hours staring at myself in the mirror, trying to will my body out of this decision.

“I’ll just wear more hats! It’ll be great! Think of all the beanies I could be wearing that’ll work much better than ear hair! Why, there’s black ones. Gray ones. Some of them have stripes or zigzags. I could even get matching scarves so there’s really no need to continue with all this neck hair either.”

After a while I got frustrated and pinched my longest hairs in either ear an attempt to pluck them out. Sadly the roots were stronger than I anticipated. Instead of removing the hairs I only managed to make them curl. So my effort resulted in looking as though I had one of those villainous twirly moustaches sprouting out the sides of my head.

My latest physical change is equally entertaining. About a week ago I was at work and started feeling as though my left shoulder was heating up from the inside out. Of course my initial thought was that I was on the verge of spontaneous combustion. I tried to rationalize it as a sunburn but couldn’t think of when I’d been outside in the past several months without wearing a shirt. Again, I’m growing hair in a variety of places. Some of them more disturbing than others. Between that and my other flaws I find it best for everybody if I stay pretty well covered up. So the sunburn on my shoulder wasn’t making a lot of sense.

I tried to ignore it. That lasted for about a day. I got a fairly good night’s rest. I went to work the following morning where I spent a majority of the afternoon cleaning and organizing a warehouse, moving up and down a ladder and heaving boxes of assorted sizes. And all the while my shoulder felt as though it had a heating pad wrapped around it. As the day went I started to feel the same sensation on the back of my neck. And then moving in waves up and down my spine. Little ripples of heat, traveling along my back. And then a bit in my chest, my other shoulder, and then my inner left thigh. It was about then that panic mode started to set in. Maybe it’s just me but as soon as unusual pains and peculiarities start honing in on the groin area it’s time to consider professional medical advice.

According to Google I was experiencing arterial diseases, diabetes, MS, delusions, early warning signs of a heart attack, nerve damage, and potentially had commit sati.

I started looking at my coworkers’ foreheads and hairlines, trying to spot beads of sweat and redness. I concluded that if other people were showing similar signs I could rationalize the heated feeling simply as result of the humidity. I asked a few people, “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”

“No, the AC is cranked. I’m freezing.”

That was not reassuring.

By the end of the work day I was feeling as though there was something seriously wrong with whatever this radiating from within was. As it seemed to be getting worse, I decided to have a doctor check it out. Unfortunately this was a Sunday night so my regular doctor wouldn’t be available until the morning. I decided that although it’s probably nothing, the “early warning sign of a heart attack” was worrisome enough that I shouldn’t sit on it. So I went to an emergency clinic after work. And after about an hour in the waiting room they took my vitals and the doctor had me take off my shirt.

“Well, Mr. Blenman, that certainly is a lot of peculiar hair growth but I don’t see a rash or anything out of the ordinary.”

My left ear at this point had turned bright red and was also warm to the touch. Evidently this is ordinary for some people. When I pointed that out the doctor said, “Yeah, you really shouldn’t be growing a moustache there but it’s not the sort of thing we can treat here.”

She asked how long I’d been experiencing this burning sensation and it gave me pause.

“No, it’s a heated feeling in my shoulder but spreading over my back and other places. But I’m peeing just fine.”

“Mr. Blenman, what you are experiencing qualifies as a burning sensation. Your body is radiating heat. There are many types of burning sensations that don’t involve sex organs.”



“…Do you feel silly calling me mister after discovering I didn’t know that?”

“…Quite a lot actually.”

“You can call me Keith.”

“The same reason I feel silly also makes me not want to be on a first name basis with you.”

“Yeah, I get that. Very understandable.”

So after what amounted to a quick once over the doctor told me, “It’s most likely muscle tension. And there’s two ways people can develop that. Either sitting in one place all day without taking breaks to move around and stretch or it could’ve developed through a lot of strenuous activity.”

I had been up and down a ladder all day while heaving boxes of various sizes. Also, I’m a writer, so my other job involves sitting at a computer all day. In terms of taking breaks, when I’m really into whatever I’m doing I often skip meals and lose all focus of anything going on around me. I started to wonder if that’s when my sati happened…

“What you’re going to want to do is not strain yourself for a while. Don’t do too much activity and also don’t stay in one position all the time.”

Well that’s perfect because you just described my entire lifestyle as wrong.

I was given Motrin and told to essentially not be me for a few weeks. And I felt this was something I could handle. Why, it could even be fun. Who wouldn’t enjoy the medical advice of “Don’t do what you normally would.” I could start wearing a beret and singing in public. And find the writing on CSI shows compelling. I COULD go exercise! I could try getting really, really good at math and pay all my bills on time. And most important, I could learn to enjoy the feeling of being engulfed in flames. Treat it as though it’s a gift.

The next day matters had both improved and disapproved. While the Motrin had diminished the –and I’m going to use this right- burning sensation it replaced it with more typical aches and pains. My arms had also started to feel heavy and I was having a difficult time keeping my hands open. Somehow I continued to go through the day telling myself, “Evidently this is just muscle strain. This is just how my body experiences pain now. It’s so terrible that my mind registers agony as being on fire. That’s just what I do now. Thankfully medication is reminding me of my younger days when stuff just hurt. This is not at all a problem.”

The fact that my hands wanted to stay in weak little fists was discouraging. Writing, working on my fiction, was a burden. It turns out you don’t always have the best spelling and grammar when all you can do is clop your fists against the keyboard. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and say I was experiencing an odyssey of typos. Somewhere in there I MAY have even attempted using other parts of myself to type but they were all unwieldy. I filled MS Word with so many green and red lines that my computer screen looked like Christmas. A very poorly punctuated Christmas.

A few more days of this didn’t see much change. By late Tuesday my hands were functional again although my arms still felt heavy. The burning sensation was mostly in my bicep and I’d developed a stabbing pain below my ribs on the other side. Not a horrible stabbing pain like Freddy Krueger was trying to rip out my spleen. More like a Chucky doll was insistently jabbing a corn holder into my side. A little painful. A bit scary. But I’d live. Not without questioning the emergency clinic’s diagnosis of course.

I tried to talk myself down from the thought but by Wednesday evening that heated feeling was getting a bit more intense. I tried telling myself, “The doctor said it was probably muscle tension and it’ll go away. Doctor’s don’t just make up random diagnoses on a whim. If she felt as though it was muscle tension, guess what, it’s muscle tension.”

The following morning I made an appointment with my regular doctor. I told him I’d been to the emergency clinic but when he asked what the doctor there had said I only told him I was taking Motrin. This might make me even a bit more weird but when I go somewhere to get a second opinion I generally don’t like the person knowing what the original opinion was. He might focus on that. It might create some level of bias. I want him to approach my case with fresh eyes. Still informed. I explained my symptoms and how long I’d been explaining them. But still, I wanted his take on it.

“I told you the last time you were here that this is a family clinic. We don’t do cosmetic work and you’ll have to go somewhere else to get your ear moustache removed.”

He gave me a more thorough examination.

“Take off your shirt. –Oh my- Put it back on.”

All my vitals were checked. My blood pressure was abnormally high but they chocked that up as nerves. An EKG said my heart was fine. Listening to my lungs showed no peculiarities. He stuck a tongue depressor in my mouth and did the whole turn my head and cough thing but at that point I think he was just messing with me.

“Okay, now bend over and while I do my work start clucking like a chicken.”

“Where did you say you got your degree?”

“Eh. Places. You know.”

In the end he sat back and said, “What you’re experiencing is muscle tension. Come and see me if it doesn’t go away after a few weeks.”

“Hm. Well, okay. I’m glad I got that second opinion. …But just one more question.”

“Burning sensations aren’t always related to urination.”

“Okay. Cool. You’re the doctor.”

So two doctor visits later and the conclusion remains muscle tension. I still haven’t ruled out the possibility of an invisible devil or some sort of poltergeist living on my shoulder, but for the most part I’m satisfied in that this is just another thing my body can do now. Sprouting strange hairs whilst pretending to be on fire and starting to sag.

Yay thirties!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Patient Sikh: Part One

This is a story, a fictional story that is entitled:  “The Patient Sikh.”  It is a prequel to my novel and I will be sharing parts of this story on occasion.  Hope you enjoy! 

                                  The Patient Sikh: Part One

“I don’t know you,” I want to say to the mirror as I looked closely at what is going to become a zit.  I have a clear face generally speaking.  But I’m so paranoid I won’t because of that bout of acne I had when I was sixteen. I guess that was almost three years ago.  My hair is so long I barely know what to do with it sometimes.  I don’t cut my hair because I’m a Sikh. 

I never think about it, except for times like this when I’m explaining it to someone.  I do a lot of things automatically without thinking about them.  I guess maybe I’m on autopilot more than I would like to admit.  I wish I were the pilot of my own life, a little more.  Where am I going?

Oh yeah, the cafeteria.  This boy that was in my orientation is in line ahead of me.  He’s so not cute and not cool.  But he took me aside during orientation told me he thought I was amazing, that there was “Something about me.”  He especially liked that part where I explained about being a Sikh and how it meant something deep to me. 

I’m a snob, I think he wanted to date me but I sort of brushed him off because he’s not good looking or “cool.”  We were at the orientation for The University of Michigan.  I got into this school on the skin of my ass, literally.  My G.P.A. was pseudo average but I think my essay was great, and I explained why my G.P.A. was pseudo average.  I got a 4.0 my junior year, so that’s how I really got into college. 

“Hey,” the blonde haired boy who was in my orientation says to me as I pass him in the pasta isle. 

“Hey,” I say and pseudo smile.  Everything in my life is a pseudo joke.

I want to tell him to stop looking at me because I have a pseudo zit.  And life’s a pseudo joke.  And sometimes I can’t pseudo breathe.  Sometimes I want to scream in my room at night, when I’m alone.  Although I’m never alone at night because I have this bitchy roommate. I roomed blind, and that’s why you should never do that.  It’s a crapshoot.  I guess I don’t have good luck. 

Sometimes I think I’m so insecure I’m insecure about what I’m insecure about.  Well first of all I’m not sure I know anything.  I’m serious, what do I know?  What do I not know, that’s that real question.    

 I’m only freshman so what can I really know?  

I barely know how to get to my classes, much less how to pass them.  I’m taking Statistics which is really boring and confusing.  I really like my Biology for Non-Science Majors class; I find it so interesting. My English class is pretty decent. 

I’m waiting, waiting for my life to actually start.   I wish people would stop taking away my Zen.  It’s like they are chasing after it; they want to kill it.  And I don’t even know if I have a proper Zen state of mind anyways.  How would I know?  I’m only a freshman.

Stockwell, the dorm I’m in, is an all women’s dorm.  They call it the Virgin Vault.  You hear stories.  There was a woman who went insane in the “pot smoking hall” and was found in a puddle of her own feces.  I don’t want to think about that. 

Let me tell you my roommate is no virgin.  Her boyfriend spent the night in our room, and we have a bunk bed.  The bed moved one too many times for my taste, so I went home that weekend.  I don’t like her.

I sit next to Sarita in the cafeteria.  We have been friends since seventh grade.  If anyone really knows me it’s Sarita.  I notice that she has washed her curly hair.

“What up dawg?” she asks me.  Yes we talk like this.

“Not much freak show,” I reply and sit down next to her.  My green tray is full of pasta and waffles with maple syrup.  It’s brunch.  I know about the freshman fifteen, but I don’t care because I’m not fat. 

“Alright can we get through one meal without you saying his name?” Sarita asks.  I think that’s an unfair request.  She’s referring to Sonny, the guy I’m in love with.

“But I have to tell you how he hasn’t called,” I protest. 

Sarita lifts her hand in front of my face.  “Talk to the hand.” 

“I mean do you think he’s gonna call?  Ever?”  I ask and take a bite of my waffle.  Breakfast first then lunch.

Sarita shakes her head at me sideways, neither a yes or no.  Typical, Sarita can’t make a decision to save her life.  And I can’t get over a guy who refuses to acknowledge there must be something between us. 

I leave lunch after I finish both the huge waffle and a bowl of bowtie pasta that is overcooked.  I feel a little bit like throwing up.  I have a friend who is bulimic; I never went that route.  Not because I’m noble, but because I could never make myself throw up.  I’m lying on the top bunk of my bunk bed in my room.  My roommate is thankfully not around. 

The phone rings.  “Hello,” I answer after jumping off my bed to try to get it on time. 

“Hey” he says.  It’s him.  “I’ve left messages for you with your roommate, how come you never call?”

Oh My God that bitch!  Oh My God, this wonderful man is calling me.  “Hey,” I say a little nervously.  “I never got your messages.”