Friday, February 13, 2015

"There's no place like Homophobia." -Jon Stewart

“What is the fear of the ‘gay agenda’ that has so upset people? Do people think that if gay people are given a place at the table, they’ll be so convincing we’ll all end up blowing them? What is the issue? ‘You know, I’m straight, but you’ve made such a convincing argument… ’”

I'm more than a little upset that Jon Stewart is leaving the Daily Show. Someone spectacular better take his place otherwise where will I get my news? How will I know what Fox News is up to?

Fox News is actually a big comedy routine to me but I can't laugh at them on my own, I need direction. I need someone to laugh with.

Please don't tell me to go to the regular news stations. Brian Williams is a great example of the evening news. How come I don't remember caring if he was in a dangerous situation in Iraq? Why did he lie when no one really cares if he risks his life? Just report the news people. How hard it is to read a script?

Jon Stewart never claimed that he risked his life to make a good joke about a news story. He didn't have to pretend to be superman and they call his news 'fake.'

I think we may be labeling this all wrong. Perhaps what they report on CNN is more 'fake.' They are only reporting what will get them ratings. Stewart spent his career reading between the lines of all the major news sources.

It takes a great amount of intelligence to tell a good political joke, or any good joke for that matter. The best comedians speak the truth because the truth is truly funny.

Jon Stewart may not always report the facts, but did he stick to the 'truth.' The world is a funny, funny place. Politics is a funny game.

Stewart may claim he is not an activist, but he has done something close to activism that maybe does not have a name yet. Being able to make people laugh at the twisted and ironic parts of reality is a gift. It really does make people see the world through a different lens.

One of the only real people on CNN is Morgan Spurlock who puts himself in the shoes of an average American. He even risked his life by eating McDonald's every day for a month, he literally almost died. That is superhero behavior.

And in the case of Jon, I mean if you can make us laugh at ISIS, the Mid East crises, and Ebola, you should get the Nobel prize in comedy. They should have a Nobel prize in comedy. Laughing our asses off at the absurd nature of life could save us. 

“I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever’s going on.”

The absurdity of the universe needs to be noticed and laughed at. It is absurd that the world is so messed up and Stewart never missed an opportunity to point that out. He presented the agony and the ecstasy of it by making us laugh out loud until we cried. 

However, there were times when Jon was dead serious. He gave a rant about police brutality. 

Call me crazy but I always get the feeling Jon actually cares. I don't get that feeling from Wolf Blitzer and his smart board. I never got that feeling from Brian Williams either. 

Jon Stewart has a better vocabulary than me and the average American. He did something legendary: he made the news tolerable. Thank you Jon, we won't forget you.


Images and quotes curtesy of the World Wide Web

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Re-Post Another Slimmer Story

Tank Slimmer: Wrinkles Due to Tight Fit and Acrobatic Removal              

This is the real thing:  This is my real life.  My diet went to shit last week.  I don’t know what to say, I want tea.  I want to calm myself and feel myself.    I want to live in a world where we don’t need so much tea and coffee and crack to calm our nerves.  I mean I don’t smoke crack but there may have been a time I was doing the pharmaceutical version of it.

But I’m here, and I’m lucky and kind of happy.  I mean I’m calm cool and collected. No one named nina is jumping around acting like a fool.  I like the British because they say things like:  “You bloody fool!”  Why all the blood, I don’t know, but I find it rather amusing.

I’m at Pete’s Coffee, which has apparently replaced some of the Caribou Coffees around town.  They have some Hawaiian promotion going on and some tables are decorated with paper Hawaiian skirts.  And they have exotic lays everywhere. I hate to be tweeny about it, (a tween is an adolescent).  I hate to be a tween but sometimes I want to just tell people a thing or two.

I want to say what’s on my mind.  I want to say to this cafĂ©:  This is a rather tacky and cheap looking version of Hawaii.  Nobody and nothing but me looks even remotely Hawaiian in this joint.  Of course I’m sitting here wearing a sports bra under a very see through white top with a long skirt.  I don't just look Hawaiian with my long skirt and sports bra, but with my computer I look like an intellectual belly dancer.  You know belly dancers have real bellies and I'm no exception.    

Of course I did buy a white tank top to wear under this top, however it was another  “slimming” device.  I wore it the other day before burning it.  I will tell you why:  It was obviously a few sizes too small for me (I was being ambitious).  When I put it on, I was huffing and puffing.  My face turned bright red as I pulled the thing over the middle of my stomach.  It was a sort of acrobatic feat.  I had to roll the fabric over the bottom of my tummy. 

I looked amazing.

Again my stomach never looked better. 

However, the problem began when I started driving.  The bottom of the tank top started to roll up on its own.  I had little in the way of power in terms of stopping the bottom half of the top from rolling onto right below my chest.  The only reason it didn’t’ roll all the up to my face was because my boobs stopped it.  So I was driving and simultaneously trying to roll this particular slimmer down.  All the while it is illegal in Troy, Michigan to do anything while driving.  This includes drinking coffee, anything that will make you drive with one hand.  There however is no clause for rolling down slimmers.  I have just created a new illegal act.

I was late for a party and too far away from home to go back and simply take off the slimmer.  I wasn’t at this point even sure if I was going to be able to take it off.  The thing is, it had gathered in a roll very tightly under my breasts and to be quite honest I was kind of unable to make it come off or come back down over my stomach.

I couldn’t exactly take it off anyways because I was wearing a completely sheer shirt and I was gong to an Indian party.  They were likely to first of all think I was being rather slutty if I took it off, being thought of as an Indian slut is not the route you want to go, especially in the judgey Indian community.  I’m sorry to my peeps but come on, we all know it’s true.  If I had waltzed in there with a shirt that you could see my lacy bra with…people would talk and likely take pictures and post them on Facebook.

It’s enough that I bare my soul on Facebook, but I can’t bare my bra too.  I just can't.  So I decided that I would have to somehow roll the slimmer back down over my stomach and try to breathe like a human while at this party.  It was a kid’s party by the way, my friend’s kid.  I don’t even remember whose party it was at this point, no it was my friend’s husband but there were kids there.  Who cares?  The fact that it had to be a PG kind of situation made everything worse.

So I got to the bar/restaurant and sat in the car trying to adjust my tank top slimmer. I got it so it was sort of rolling down and I decided if I could get it over the belly itself, it would roll right into a position right under my belly.  So I managed to fandangle wangle with it and I finally got out of the car.

Walking was another feat all together.  I had to walk and make sure the tank top didn’t roll up and end up like a big roll under my chest.  So I sort of held on to the bottom end of the tank top and finally made it inside.  I 'side hugged' everybody.  This little sweet beautiful girl hugged me.  No, no, no, I was not going to bend, considering my situation.  There would be no bending people.  So I sort of snorted at the kid and didn’t really hug her back.  I’m sure she hates me and thinks I’m cold.  I probably traumatized her little brain with my weird non-hug.

I didn’t want to hug anyone because my “abs of steel” kind of felt like steel, they were hard as a rock.  If someone really tried to hug me they might think I was wearing some kind of armor under my clothes. 

There she was: my old good thin beautiful friend.  She was dressed so lovely in a poke a dot dress I think.  Who knows?  I wasn’t paying attention to anything but the status of my slimmer.  She of course gave me a full on hug, it was a long hug, and I had to let go of the bottom of the tank top.  People it was a situation, that thing could have rolled up as fast as a rubber band snapping.  But there is a god and he was kind to me while I hugged her tight and prayed for the best.

So I tried to mingle, but kept my distance in case anyone else felt the spontaneous urge to hug me.  I was on the diet so I couldn’t even eat anything at the party except a turkey sandwich and some fucking salad. I say fucking salad because fuck salad.

So I ate my salad, with one hand conspicuously on my tank top, pulling it down with great force.  I tried to make convo and smile when it was appropriate.  I probably looked constipated and I felt like my breathing and digestion were being compromised. 

To make a long story longer, I told them I did not, under any circumstances want my picture taken.  You know what people do with pictures these days, they send it like five times around the world before you get a chance to scream and delete the picture.  Don’t ever “tag” my picture; I look like some kind of freak in photos.  The camera flips my face backwards and that doesn’t really suit me.  It makes me look like I have a bird’s nose and freaky cheeks.    Not to mention those extra ten pounds.  Trust me, it’s not the million and a half pounds I need to lose that’s the problem, it’s the extra ten pounds that the camera puts on.  I cannot afford another ten pounds, I just can’t.

So I told them no pictures and they hesitantly agreed.  Phew.   

So I went in the car and was on my way home and I just let that motherfucking tank top ride up to my chest.  I did not care to keep it down, it made my belly protrude out more, and I didn’t care.  If got pulled over by the Troy Police I would proclaim a slimmer emergency.  If they ticketed me for trying to slim while driving I would simply proclaim that it wasn't easy trying to be thin in this country.  Instead of my license and registration, I would take my Weight Watchers card out and claim that I was trying my best!  

The problem was getting home and getting out of the thing.  I should have thought of scissors.  I didn’t.  I tried to get the elastic shit it was made out of over my chest.  Let me just say, it was jutting into the middle of my chest.  Let’s just say I had to stop breathing and go the other way.  I took off a shirt by trying to roll it down over my belly and down to my legs. I almost started crying, I was defiantly praying at some point.

Madness I tell you, madness.  These are things we must go through in order to be slim, if we are not naturally slim.  I remember the moment I ripped that shirt off, oh the freedom of it! 

Now what do I do with it?  I could give it to charity, but that seems cruel and unusual.  I could burn it but that seems drastic.  I could keep it as a memento, reminding me of how I've struggled.    

The Surgeon General needs to put a warning on slimmers, just saying.   


(Join me on Facebook, Like my page: Author Nina Kaur)

Slimmer curtesy of Target

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Woman in the Mirror

"In my mind I'm a blind man doin' time," Tupac Shakur
What if you couldn't see? What would you miss? Would you miss looking at yourself? Would you forget what you looked like, what life looked like?

My father is blind, so this idea comes up every now and then...I know what he misses the most, our faces.

I would miss my father's face...

There are so many things to see and so many things that we see we take for granted because we have always been able to see. Imagine being able to see it all then just losing it one day. That's what happened to my dad. 

You know it's funny but I don't think about flowers much or beauty in general, however when I think about losing my sight I think I would miss the flowers. The question is, why are they not a part of my life now? I mean there are not many flowers in the dead of winter, but really Cancer patients will tell you that you should have stopped to smell those damn things more often.

And blind people will tell you to look at them. My dad used to like to take pictures of nature. I can describe a movie to him, but how am I supposed to really describe a flower? I don't even have the words and allegedly I'm a word smith.

When is the last time you really looked at something? I mean looked at it with everything you had? I mean really saw it?

Anything, I'm looking at my coffee right now. It's not even that pretty but I can see it. It's real. It's always the little things that matter, the swirl in your coffee. I'm looking at my skin right now and my hands. I don't notice them, ever. 

My skin is caramel colored and my hands are nice. 

I go about my life seeing things all day and don't even recognize their power or beauty. And what about ugly things? I didn't see any of the ISIS videos, not because I can't see, but because I choose not to watch them. 

Is my dad lucky he does not have to see how physically ugly some things have become? People setting each other on fire. I saw a woman in Afghanistan who had burn scars on her face, a man set her on fire because she wouldn't accept his marriage proposal.

NO. Stop it. I have this particular empathy towards burn victims. I'm scared of fire, scared of getting burned. It's hard for me to look at their scars.  

It is hard for me to look in the mirror sometimes, because I don't like the way my body looks. It never occurs to me that I'm lucky I can see it. It never occurs to me that it is beautiful.

If I could see myself the way my father sees me, I might see my real self. I might see my real beauty.

My father does not see me as someone who has gotten older and fatter, he sees me as his beautiful daughter. I want to truly look at myself and see that as well.

There was a time in my life that I would not leave the house without wearing make up, without at least wearing some kind of foundation. I thought I was ugly without make up, I wondered how people could look at me without it. I wondered how they recognized me without it.

Then I grew up and realized I was the only one looking at my 'flaws.' Now I go out all the time without make-up or with it. I go to work with or without, it makes no difference to me. I'm no longer embarrassed about the natural me. 

I stopped needing to wear heels, because I'm not short and I don't need the back problems my mother has because she wore heels. I stopped wearing slimming devices, mostly because they are uncomfortable. 

Often times the first person I see in the morning is my father. I see him but he cannot see me. He is a man over seventy, yet I think he is a wonderful sight. 

The truth is, when you love someone you stop caring what they look like objectively. You don't 'see' them anymore. Their flaws become invisible to you.

My father has some scars on his face from boils he had as a child. When I was a kid he told me he was in a bull fight, and that's how he got the scars. 

I still think of him as the man in that bullfight. The man who came out alive, with only a few scars. Scars I can't even see, scars that give him character. 

I have imperfections as well. Sometimes I don't see the rest of me, I just see my 'scars.' Whether they be wrinkles or a belly that is protruding too far out. 

However the truth is, all the people that love me, love me with or without my flaws. They don't care, why should I?

Maybe I'm a blind woman doin' time as well. 


Image curtesy of stockimages at

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Sing the Silence

If you can’t be a poet, be the poem. – David Carradine

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. – Carl Sandburg

I wrote a poem:

                 Sing the Silence

Pieces of me, are lost in the pieces of words. I don't want to stop. I want to make mistakes and not stop anyways.

Where am I in all of this? I didn't play the piano for you. You heard me anyways. my song.

These songs that we are, never to sing, only to be said instead of sung.

I am very short, very short when i speak to nobody. I say small things to the air. the air never defines me, it only echoes me lives with me, in me.

do you believe in ghosts? in gods? they might be the same thing

i love, i love, i love the winter in your eyes. the snowflakes I can see in your soul. it's snowing inside you but you are burning up

Where do we go from here? i never wanted to climb a mountain, you are my mountain, you are my words piled up

I want to see the sunrise, i hate when it rises and i'm not there. i'm there but not there

in the space where i need to be

punctuation is a joke
it's not even funny

there are pauses that need to be acknowledged, I suppose. 

there are flights i've missed and commas I never printed
you say you missed me
i thought we were simple people
we don't talk about that kind of stuff

Which one of us is me?
I thought I was you for a long time...
What is time?

this glamorous bitch knows nothing
of the present moment
she keeps singing about the past

what is she saying?
do you hear her?

what would you say 
if i talked out of turn
would you walk away from me

mr. would you stand next to me
and hear my song?

there's nothing to hear, you say...



Image curtesy of Simon Howden at

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mundane Thoughts...

I'm trying to breathe deeply: So I'm pissed that I have to work on the weekend, I mean like to go work, tutoring. I'm hungry, and I'm annoyed at my ESL (English as a Second Language) students because they don't know basic things. I should not show my annoyance, but I might because I didn't eat enough. I'm hangry. 

I'm trying to taste my food: There is some time in between and I have a ton of papers to correct, but I don't want to do that. I get nervous when I get hungry and I've had too much coffee. I just ate a Fiber One fake brownie. Nobody's fooling me with this fiber packed 'brownie.' But what's a girl to do, I ate Thai food yesterday. I want something more, but I can't just go to the vending machine.

I can't prove I'm alive but I could see if they have a good salad in the cafeteria. Well the cafeteria is closed, the vending machine it is. I found some popcorn and chocolate. The chocolate is helping to calm me down.

I want to laugh because I don't know why I'm telling you the minute details of my life, I don't know if you really care. But maybe you can go this way with me for a minute, have you ever just felt blahhhh?

Yeah that is exactly how I feel. Like nothing real is happening, like nothing matters. It doesn't matter if I stop eating chocolate and become a thin person, I will still be complaining about the same shit.

Even though I'm a little stressed, the writing is helping me. So a midst all the chaos and annoyance, I'm really still doing fine. 

Sometimes  I think that writing is not real work, because I don't get paid for it yet. However, it may be my only real work. It is my solace, my inspiration, my love. I love writing more than I love thinking, and I love thinking.

I'm happiest when I'm writing consistently. I don't, but hope to from now on. So now it's Monday, I didn't write yesterday. Yesterday was kind of an off day.

I think it helps to live very deliberately and purposefully if you want to write. You have to be alive. And there are times I want to shut off in the middle of my life. Especially when things are not going right. I know I'm gonna die one day, but sometimes I want to pretend to do it now.

I don't usually write when things are not right. I didn't do the dishes yesterday coffee cups are strewn in the kitchen sink. My mother commented on how lazy I am. I still haven't done the dishes. I didn't do my laundry, I don't have any clean socks. I took a three hour nap. I didn't really pay attention to the Grammy's the way I wanted to and fell asleep on the couch.

These little annoyances add up and can create an unbearable existence, if you let them. Yet, even after feeling a little strange I didn't truly feel the Unbearable Lightness of Being, I didn't feel so bad I wanted to quit and just lay in my bed until something better happened.  

Little things still make me happy. Intelligence makes me happy, I like having meaningful conversations with witty and smart people. I was texting in a group last night with two very funny friends. 

I don't know, this is all over the place. I was thinking I had a point, and maybe the point is no point. This is a glimpse inside the mind of a writer. Trust me sometimes it is beautiful, sometimes it's real ugly. Sometimes, unfortunately it's boring as hell.

I don't know, sometimes I hate every word I write. It's true sometimes I hate myself. These words strung together seem like meaningless bullshit. 

But this is my bullshit. I own it. I live it. In the end I better love it.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

She's a Good Girl...

"I'm kind of a good girl - and I'm not. I'm a good girl because I really believe in love, integrity, and respect. I'm a bad girl because I like to tease. I know that I have sex appeal in my deck of cards. But I like to get people thinking. That's what the stories in my music do."


I haven't read or seen "Fifty Shades of Grey," but I'm a little interested in why it is so popular. I wrote a novel that I'm trying to get published, there is a sex scene in it, but nothing like wild or anything.

I'm going to be honest, as an Indian woman I have this need to have a 'good girl' image. I still worry in the back of my mind that people my parent's age will think I'm dirty or nasty if I talk about sex. I think I might even worry that anyone would think that way about me.

I'm too old for this, I need to grow up and not care what anyone thinks. But the question is how do you have an adult conversation about sex in a forum like this?

I don't even know. This is not Cosmopolitan, I will not give you tips on how to make your love life better. I'm probably not going to reveal that much about myself, because honestly these things are personal.

So what angle will I take? 

Well one question I have is why are women always reading these tips on how to satisfy a man while men are just busy watching porn? I read a study that watching pornography a lot makes a guy less sexually satisfied because real sex is not instant gratification the way watching porn is.

So there is my whole thing about why you shouldn't watch that much porn, dudes. Women watch it too, but I don't think it's as often or regular. Although I met a woman who was a sex addict so I could be making great generalizations.

The thing about porn is the boobs aren't real, not much is real. Women don't really look or act like that in real life. Men are just setting themselves up for disappointment by watching it.

I mean I'm not a prude but I wish was freer. I wish I didn't feel like I have to put on the persona of a good little Indian Sikh girl who giggles when she thinks about sex.

In our Indian culture, to this day, we look our parents generation in the eye and pretend as if we have only heard about sex before marriage. I've heard of Indian girls who were so repressed in their homes in high school that they went sex crazy in college.

I was repressed in high school and college. I didn't even really like kissing until my sophomore year of college. A lot of women who are second generation immigrants have similar issues. We were taught to stay away from boys.

I think I might still have a problem with that at this age. I don't know that I know how to flirt. Is that why I'm single?

I pushed away many guys in my day. Honestly I was taught to be afraid of men. Am I still afraid?

Now that I think about it, my upbringing complicated by some bad experiences with terrible men has made me afraid of men and maybe a little of sex.

This is not good. This may be why I have gained weight, maybe I don't want to be attractive to the opposite sex. 

But I do, consciously I do. I don't know what my unconscious is up to but it may be sabotaging me. There are women who are all sizes and shapes and degrees of pretty who have boyfriends. Yet me and some amazing and attractive Indian women my age can't seem to find one.

It's true that I never flaunt my sexuality, and never have. I have been told that I look intelligent. I mean there are many people who are smarter than me, but perhaps I'm shoving my smarts in guys' faces. Do I look and act like a prude?

I used to really want to settle down with an Indian guy, but now I'm open to anyone. I don't think I am being overly picky.

I want an educated man with a sense of humor and a heart. However I don't think I'm asking for too much. There have been solid reasons I did not find someone to be with forever in my mid to late twenties...I was on and off my bipolar meds. In my early thirties I was in and out of depression and mania, and then recovering.

What's my excuse now? I'm pretty stable and happy now. I don't exactly look like a supermodel, or a porn star for that matter. 

I think I am the only stopping me from having a serious relationship. Well I have to say: good talk. This was very enlightening for me, I hope it was good for you too.

What am I going to do now? I got to put myself out there, for real. I'm ready. Sometimes it takes some people longer than others.

If you are single like me, and middle aged, you might want to think about this. If you are happy with being single, good for you. I'm happy, but I want a partner in crime. 

If you are coupled with someone, and are happy, count your blessings. It can be hard for those of us who don't have that yet.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Do The Right Thing

I guess it's Black History Month. I want to tell you about something that happened in the recent past. I want to talk about race today, without making anyone I know feel bad.

Let me tell you a story. I'm sitting in a car with a white friend of mine, I'm in the back seat with some friends. She swerves the car and almost hits a black dude who is walking by. It is late at night. The man starts walking towards our car, he looks pissed. 

My friend rolls down the window (why she did that is beyond me) and they get into an altercation over the fact that he claims she hit him, she claims she did not. I honestly don't know what happened. He spits in her eye, and then it happens. I don't know if I can write this word down. She calls him a nigger to his face.

I was shocked. I have never actually witnessed someone use that word to berate someone. I can't speak or move. This came from a woman who is intelligent, loving, kind and married to an ethnic man.

We get to our destination and my friend starts yelling about how we don't understand, how she works with "those people." She thinks she needs to get tested for Hepatitis because the man spit in her eye. I'm bewildered.  In shock.

I tell my other friends that this is all wrong.  Most agree with me, one friend tells me to shut up. Another friend of mine starts to cry, her brother is married to the white woman. 

I have to leave, but I didn't drive there. I can't think. I don't believe this.

The next week I tell this story to my black professor. She tells me to forgive the white woman. Try to understand her, she says. She says I don't know her own story, her own struggle with sexism and a life with white privilege. 

Forgive her? What if I do something wrong and she calls me a dirty Indian or something? I know this is not all about me, but in the end it is isn't it? If she could turn on a human and degrade them to that level, any human, she could do that to me. And she did not even apologize because maybe she wasn't a bit sorry. 

However, forgiveness is the right thing to do. Trying to talk people out of that kind of behavior is the right thing to do. I didn't do anything.

I see her every now and then, she is a lovely person otherwise. Was that just a bad moment for her? The thing that bothers me is that it was in her vocabulary. The word was there in her head, she just had to be provoked and it came out.

This happened a while ago, I never thought I could write about it for fear of outing the individuals involved. I'm not sure what to do with this story, or even how to respond. 

I guess this is my response: I'm sorry I did not stand up for an entire race of people. I didn't make a scene when injustice was played out in front of my face. Maya Angelou kicked someone out of her home for telling an anti-gay joke. I have close gay friends, would I do that?

Maya should kick me out of her home.

I want to be a phenomenal woman too. Tolerating racism silently is a passive form of racism. I don't know what to do.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hair and Heroines

Are you grossed out? Be honest. I told my students in my Composition I class to be honest when I showed them a slew of pictures of unshaven Sikh women from and the Huffington Post.

"I'm grossed out," said a one woman and one man in my class. "I think it's beautiful," said another red-headed woman. She told us she had scars on her body and her boyfriend thought they were lovely. He loved her imperfections. "I don't mind," said another European man in my class.

Is hair even an imperfection if everyone has it?

Sikhs are not supposed to cut their hair or shave their body. They happen to think that's perfect. 

After reading the article in, the same man who said he was grossed out said he respected these women and were inspired by their strength. The woman who said she was also not comfortable with the sight, said she sort of changed her mind about it when she read the article.  These women had overcome bullying and taunting from the general public.

Both of these students said however, that if someone is doing something just for their religion or their society, they don't respect it as much as if the women were just doing it for themselves.

Hold on a minute, if someone wears a turban just for their religion, maybe not even for themselves, I still respect it. I think respect has to be given to everyone's beliefs. If they are doing it for their religion, maybe they believe is what god wants, aren't they doing it for themselves too?

I mean I get the kids' point, that if the women are keeping their hair because they think it makes them beautiful and real and helps them express who they really are, respect should be given. If they are only doing it to please god it seems rather dicey. However respect is still due I believe.

There was a Sikh woman I once met who didn't shave her legs or underarms because she was a feminist. I thought she was awesome. Was she doing it for herself, or for this belief in feminism or for or sort of against society norms? Where is her self in all this?

"Women should not have to follow society's idea of what their bodies should look like," the student with the scars added. 

I agree. I'm Sikh but I still cut my hair, shave my legs and underarms and thread my eyebrows and take care of my facial hair. Am I weak?

I mean I think I look maybe pretty or something without a mustache, however I completely respect those women who think it makes no difference. 

It's tragic that we live in a society that wants them to feel ugly. I remember this woman who didn't know what to do about her daughter who could possibly have a condition that made her grow extra facial hair.  She didn't know if she should give her daughter this medicine that would make it go away. Her worry was that Sikhs think of hair as a gift from god.

I did not cut the hair on my head until I was twenty-six. I did however shave all my 'unwanted' hair starting at the age of twelve. I consider myself a Sikh, although I am by no means religious. I consider myself a feminist as well, although by no means am I a good one.

I guess my idea of beauty still involves hair styles and hairless faces and bodies and make-up. I understand that god didn't make me naturally that way. However, in my humble opinion we do a lot of unnatural things...However I have deep respect for my Sikh sisters who don't touch a razor or scissors to their hair. I hope they equally have respect for my opinion.

I walk around with the name Kaur (a Sikh last name for women) and I do not do it to identify as a Sikh, I chose it as my pen name because it is my middle name. And it means princess. And I'm a princess. However I don't sit here trying to represent the views of everyone in my religion. I only represent my views.

I told a dude to call me princess once and he said he would never because he didn't believe in aristocracy. Well I believe in feminism and I'm still a princess looking for her Singh, or lion. As sexist and old fashioned as that sounds.

You can call me a hypocrite, because I don't follow like one thing or whatever. Call me anything you want. I'm complex.

I don't have to go by your standards and you don't have to go by mine. We are all free.

Thank god for that...


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Beauty Marks

It is the absolute dead of winter.  Six more weeks according to the groundhog.  I don't even know what to do with myself.

How do you stay positive in the midst of this storm? I mean literally the storm. I used to drink more, but now I'm trying to be 'healthy.'

I put it in quotes because I bet you are trying too. I have to admit I ate fries at the college yesterday, they came with my sandwich. I still feel a bit sick because of it. 

Winter makes me want to eat. Let's be honest everything makes me want to eat. However, the fact that my car got stuck in a snowbank on my circular drive yesterday, when I was already late for work, did not surprisingly upset me as much as it could of.

I'm getting better at this toleration of life thing. I'm better able to flow with the mishaps. We had a discussion about plastic surgery in my class last night. Two of my students have had breast augmentations. We also had a debate about the legalization of prostitution. One of my students said she would become a prostitute if it were legal.

I gave this talk about how I've never been fatter, but I've never been happier. That when I was their age, I was so insecure about my body, which was in great shape, and I was insecure about who I was as a person.

I didn't like myself then and I objectively looked better then. I like myself better now and I have more wrinkles and fat. What exactly happened?

When you have to rely more on who you are then what you look like, in my experience, you become a better person. What does 'better' mean? I'm not as afraid of who I really am, and I'm able to express it better.

I laugh more then I have ever laughed before.  Because I can let go in a way I never could before. 

I am not saying that being objectively beautiful makes you a bad person. I'm not saying that at all. I know some brilliant beautiful people. However in my personal story, I've grown a lot after struggling with weight and struggling with my own peace of mind as well.

Ugliness is not the key to happiness anymore than beauty is. I will admit I was never hit by the ugly stick, so I don't even know what that is like. But I get up some mornings and look at the bags under my eyes and wonder how I got to look so scary.

Then I laugh. 

I mean I just don't care that much. Yes, I put on my concealer and I'm on my way. I hate to be cliche, again, but beauty really is only skin deep. 

Do I think I'm beautiful, just physically? Yes.

I could look a hell of a lot better, but I can see my real self through the mirror.

Do I think I'm beautiful as a whole person? Hell yeah. 

Sometimes these winter storms get you to think, think about things maybe we would not have time to think about if it were always sunshine and rainbows. 


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The gods must be crazy...

Let's say god is a dude. When I say dude I'm actually not implying male 'cause I call my gal pals dude as well. 

So let's say she's a dude. A relatively cool dude. Perhaps I shouldn't use the word dude when addressing god. But I will anyways.

I was told by a former friend of mine to stop using bullshit words like ain't in my blog.  She said it essentially made me sound stupid.

Maybe I am stupid.

I know one thing though, if I want to talk like a regular person I ain't afraid of looking dumb. I'm not that insecure about my intelligence.

Anyways, so the dude, the big dude, the one, the only, the magnificent is actually real in my eyes.

People have told me that perhaps I need god to feel secure, that it's a crutch and there is no god. I respect that opinion. I think I do need it, but I don't think it is unreal. That is my humble opinion.

Having said that I think our understanding of god is unreal. We don't think of him like a dude, like he's accessible. Like a gal pal.

My god is my friend. 

What does that mean you ask? I talk to god as if I would talk to one of my besties. I don't address him as Sir and watch my p's and q's.

I also don't blame god for shit. The weather is bad today because I chose to live in the midwest, not because god is trying to torture me. Most of the things that go wrong in my life are man made or woman made I should say.  

And I believe in karma, so the stuff I can't explain like having a chemical imbalance in my brain, I cough up to karma. I mean I don't think I was some kind of villain in a past life, but maybe I made mistakes.

I don't know.  It's all conjecture at this point and hardly matters. Now matters.

So back to the goddess. I like to think she's a badass. yes, i used that word to describe god.   

I like to think god is like kinda human-ish. Of course I'm totally wrong, he's not as twisted as we are. I used to think he was just as messed up as the rest of us and that was why the world was in this state. But it has occurred to me that he would say he gave us total free will and the reason stuff sucks is because we in fact created the mess and he promised not to interfere. 

So I tend to think that god doesn't suck. But the real question is, what is my relationship to god? 

When I meditate I feel like I'm meditating to a force of love, of unconditional love. In fact many times I'm elated when and after I meditate. 

I feel joy and bliss when I think about my connection to the universe. I don't think of god as judging me, I judge myself. I'm the biggest judger of them all, she is not.

I don't think goddess is ever mad at me. I in fact get mad at her sometimes. Truly you only really get angry at the ones you love.

i love god.

We all kind of know that god loves us, but it's a remote sort of knowledge. How do you actually feel that love?

I think that being present in the moment is loving. What I mean by that is if you love these moments that are essentially a gift from god, and you live in this moment and not another one, you will feel love.

Why you ask?

I don't know, it just works out that way for me. If I am here and present, and not stuck in some problem of the past or future, I'm free.

What does being free have to do with god?

Everything. Free will is our biggest gift. We can do whatever the hell we want and we shall reap the results of what we do. 

I know, I know, I'm a hippie and when I say that love is all there is you might roll your eyes. Love is all there is. 

We came here to love. Each other and the whole creation.

You know what I will say next: god is love.

i am love.

I don't even know you, but I might love you if I got to know you.

So I think if you are wondering if you are doing right by god, just love someone or something with all of you. Don't hold back.

Yes, you might get hurt. Do it anyways.

It's the only thing worth doing.


Monday, February 2, 2015

hey me!

I'm sitting by the window watching the snow fall. It is quite peaceful.  

I was watching Super Soul Sunday and Oprah said that real success is some sort of self actualization. What does that mean?

What does knowing yourself, accepting yourself and eventually loving yourself really look like? How does it happen?

I mean sure, I'm a nice enough person. But I still think ill thoughts about other people. People I love. What's wrong with me?

Do I like myself? 


I'm currently annoyed at my mother because she wants me to stand up because there is a certain prayer called Ardaas that's playing on her CD player and you are supposed to stand up during this prayer. I'm sitting on the couch and I don't want to stand up. 

She's offended. 

Besides being a lazy person, I can be selfish, self-centered and mean.

I have good qualities too.  I'd rather not list them because it feels vain. However, there are things to like. 

So how does one become one's own friend? I should do nice things for myself, like maybe my laundry before I have to go commando because I'm out of clean underwear. 

My self talk could be kinder. I've never really tried affirmations. Saying things in the mirror to yourself like, "I am great!" seems odd, it's not me. I'd rather be honest with myself. I don't know about great, but I'm good. I just am and that should be enough. I am that I am.

Who said there are requirements that you be outstanding in this life? As the Counting Crows said, "We all want to be big, big stars...we all got different reasons for that." 

I mean there is a part of me that wants to be a star. I want the world to read my stuff and love it. 

However in the end that does not mean those people that love my writing will love me. It won't help me love myself.

What will help me love myself? I kinda think these are the hard questions you have to ask yourself if you want to truly be happy. I mean I like Nina, if I weren't her I would want to be her friend. That's a start. 

I love that statement: I'm OK, you're OK. It's so untrue and true, none of us are OK and all of us are OK.  However it makes me feel like there is hope that everything is OK. 

In this moment, I'm listening to the kirtan or religious hymns my mother is playing in the kitchen behind me. I'm sitting in a high-ceiling room with floor to ceiling wall of windows watching the snow pour down.

What could possibly be wrong with that? And I'm writing which makes me feel whole. 

I mean I don't have a million dollars, I'm barely a thousandaire. I recently lost one of my best friends to a severe mental illness. A myriad of things have gone wrong....

But I will be alright. And this person, this person that will be OK, I'm starting to think she's OK in my book.

Thanks for reading my book.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Reality Bites

So the thing is, that after the euphoria of being elated that you are alive, "Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone..."  Oh yeah.

Reality is still reality, even after you have decided to change your own reality.  If you understand what I mean.  And part of that reality is what is going on in this world.  My question is, how much am I supposed to pay attention, and how much should I care about what's happening around the globe? What's the protocol here?  I mean I care deeply about people I don't know being tortured and slaughtered.  I'm not even being facetious. I'm dead serious, no pun intended. However should I care until the point that it affects my state of mind?

I'm having trouble processing my own existence, how am I supposed to be compassionate to others who have it worse off than me without getting depressed?  I'm so busy fighting my own demons, how am I supposed to handle someone else's?

I don't know if it is all brand new, this genocide and terrorism and disease.  The world has sort of always pseudo been like this, we just weren't sitting at the edge of our seats watching it for 24 hours straight with only mild commercial interruption.  

And the true problems, like child poverty are maybe a little more important than isolated incidences of violence.  Just sayin'.  I mean it's all important, who is to say what they should and should not report?  However they do tend to report shit that makes for good television and ratings.  We like drama.  It's no fun watching a kid die of hunger while we get fatter.

The world is probably not getting worse, we are just more aware. And with that awareness comes a guilt for the privileged. And maybe rightfully so, we should do something. But what? What is little old me gonna do?
Instead of being upset by it, I should probably get my lazy ass to do something good for someone.  I mean maybe just one person. Maybe just one thing. What can I do in my life to touch someone?

The other day I leant a student who couldn't afford a book in my class an extra textbook I found...I want to help one of my students who cannot write a sentence to save her life.  I don't just want to grade her, I want to teach her.  Honestly she seems like she has had a difficult life.  

Besides those two isolated incidences of mild kindness, I don't do shit for anyone.  I mean I help my blind father, but who wouldn't lend a hand to a blind man?  

I'm not a saint.

I could do more.  But I want to be honest with you.  It takes me a lot of effort to put on a good show.  I can be fabulous, whether it's in what I proclaim when I write, or it's to my students, or if I decide I want to be the life of the party.  

The fact is being Nina ain't easy.  All my efforts are kinda going towards that right now. Once I figure out how to be the best me with ease and comfort, than I can help other people be themselves.

Even if it is just through my writing and teaching.  Sharing a story can be really powerful.  Words change people.

But I got to change me first.  I gotta help myself.  I got to be kind to myself.  

I have too much...too many material things and I live what most people in the world would consider an extravagant life.  In the circles in which I travel, I'm average. But next to a woman carrying a bucket of water for four miles in a remote village, I ain't doin' so bad. 

I'm trying to understand what this life is about.  Is it about me being happy and sharing that happiness?  Is it about love, loving myself and loving others?  Is it all of the above?  

I've been through enough to know that life is not about success.  I am not traditionally successful.  And when I get to be, so what? When I sell that bestseller and someone threatens to kill me because I said something they didn't like about religion...then what?

There is a problem with everything.  

Except peace.

I'm OK with peace.  

I'm not a Ms. America contestant so I won't say that I want world peace. I'm not even Oprah who can generate world peace.

But what about word peace?  All I have sometimes are my words.  I hope they give just one person some comfort. 

I'm Nina and I'd love some peace of mind for you and for me.