What do you get when you give an 18 year old the same internship as a group of 21 year olds?
This is already a risky blog post to write, considering my fellow interns are familiar with my writing (I am hoping they haven’t found my blog yet). In addition to that, it’s hard to find the threshold in writing about your personal life when you know that there are people willing to read about it, but while you also know that you could get into trouble for saying too much.
I have to be careful.
I stand up for my culture in ways that some people may find over-dramatic or unnecessary, like the time I had to email a Residence Hall Director because I was upset that one of the dorms held a Lollapalooza-inspired event which included music, Frisbee, and henna tattoos. It’s frustration that arises from situations like this that some people may mistake as exaggeration or over-sensitivity but my love for who I am and my pride for the Indian culture are the driving forces in my choice to ignore comments made about my decision-making.
But while I engage in passionate arguments about cultural appropriation and while I re-tell stories of micro-aggressions towards myself, I also find myself complaining about the Indian community often.There’s always been a humorous but also fascinating force that drives Indian people together. After moving to new towns every four or five years in my life, I’ve discovered that in each of those towns my family has found its way into the Indian communities of each of these places almost effortlessly. In 2011 my mother and I moved to Memphis, Tennessee and our relationship with the Indian community was inevitable – but also inevitably bad. Talking to my grandparents and family members in India about the number of poojas (prayer services) and Indian holiday events held by members of the community made them laugh. “Here in India people don’t have poojas as often as people do over there,” my grandmother once said to me over the phone, chuckling. Granted, poojas may be a way to hold onto our culture while we are sitting thousands of miles away from our motherland, but I also often tell my American friends my problem with this:
“You coerced me,” he said. “I felt coerced.”
Never in my life would I have thought someone would say those words to me. I, unsurprisingly, played the defensive. Unsurprisingly since I was in high school at the time and was going through a phase of stubbornness and angst. Plus, I didn’t remember the situation like that; I remembered it consensually. But you see, if the tables were turned, I would have condoned this boy for playing the defensive. I would have told him to accept that what he did was wrong.
I often find myself wanting to write blog posts that carry a heavy political or ideological tone, but I always have to remind myself (and my readers) that I didn’t start this blog to create cohesion through my opinions but through my feelings about pretty much everything and my experiences of pretty much anything. Basically, this blog is for me. I’m glad that my writing can help other people but overall I write to find peace within myself. Maybe it’s not smart or methodological to write about my feelings in a raw and unprepared way on the internet but this will do.
Yesterday afternoon I found myself in an apartment, by myself, in Chicago, surrounded by boxes and storage crates. My boyfriend had just left to drive back to Ohio after our ten minute hugging session and so not only was I “by myself,” I was just completely alone.
I haven’t written in days, and I am so sorry about that. It’s just, I’m leaving soon. Im leaving this bubble of familiarity and comfort and knowingness and I haven’t quite digested it, yet. I would hate to write under a façade of stability or certainty. I don’t feel very stable or certain right now. Basically, I am going to college.
I HAVE HAD REALLY BAD EXPERIENCES WITH DESI GUYS, OKAY?
Before I get into anything – let me present this thread from Twitter to you:
There was a HUGE blowout on #BrownTwitter, and from what I saw, there was a lot of conversation about Brown/Desi guys and their lack of respect towards Brown/Desi girls. Although generalization can never lead to diplomacy in a conversation like this one, I can say that I’ve met plenty of Desi guys here in the U.S.A., and I’ve always felt as if they just hold us Desi women on a lower pedestal than Caucasian women (emphasis on the fact that I am relaying experiences that I’ve had with a Pakistani boy and two Indian boys. This essay is based off of those experiences). We aren’t sought after like Caucasian women are; in fact, we are expected to reciprocate any interest that a Desi guy shows us – because well, we’re both brown. The attraction is quite inevitable, isn’t it? But this attraction is temporary, and although inevitable, it is far less than the attraction a Desi man can feel towards the more exotic creature: a Caucasian woman.
I thought that I was a great writer. I passionately spent my nights scribbling thoughts in my journal or typing up essays on my laptop. Then, I thought that I was the worst writer (We regret to inform you…Please offer a place on our waiting list). But then once again, I proceeded to build my confidence to write back up, piece by piece, mindful that yeah, I am a great writer.
That space in between those two self-assured phases in my life was a very painful one, due to college decision letters. Those rejection and waitlist letters made me feel as if I wasn’t good enough. I had amazing grades, glowing recommendations, plenty of extra-curricular activities (all of which I was actually passionate about, rather than them being words to pad my resume). The one thing I was most confident about was my writing. I knew I had amazing stories to tell, opinions to relay, and an innate sense of humor to share. Of course, I also harbored two things that felt seemingly mutually exclusive – a check mark on the box next to ‘Asian‘ and absolutely no financial ability to attend a competitive institution. But I thought all of the other things could save me – especially my writing.
Me and a very sweet friend – I was told by a numerous amount of people who saw this photo that I “had gained a lot of weight,” and that my “arms look fat.” I think I look great.
I’ve always been in love with my culture and all the pieces that fit into it – the food I eat, the clothing I can wear, the languages I can speak, the religion I practice, and the values that I am enveloped by. But one of the things I would like to put a stop to would be the body-shaming.
When you write a story, whether you’re spinning one through creativity and imagination, or narrating an experience, what is most significant is how you tell the story. The best part? It’s yours to tell.
One of the most difficult aspects of narrating a story, a story which includes people other than yourself, is that people can argue that you’re telling it wrong. “It didn’t happen that way!” “You’re telling it all wrong!” “You sound so self-absorbed!” The thing is, it’s your story. Your point of view; your feelings, thoughts, words that you felt and relayed – moments that you’re tracing, moments that you remember in your own way, because they’re yours. No one can tell you that your emotions are wrong or that your opinions are invalid. How could they – when you’re the one that felt them, and you’re the one that forms them?