Me…yes it’s me!

What?  It’s been a year?  I don’t quite know where I’ve been.  My favourite excuse.  Life!  But it really isn’t a good excuse, is it?  It happens whether we embrace it or kick it out on its rear end in the rain.  But here I am.  I guess Eric Clapton can do that to you….well, me anyway.  Lost in his concert on youtube, surging with inspiration.  I need to bottle this enthusiasm and spray on a little each morning.  Here I am.  Here you are, I assume, if you are reading this.

I am back.  I’m not sure for how long.  But here I am.  And here you are.  I sit in my favourite coffeeshop in the world (maybe I’ll own it one day, or maybe one of my own).  I’m having a “where is my life heading” moment.  I’ve had this feeling since I was 15.  I was one of those who knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life very early on.  No, writing wasn’t it.  But writing sure has been the delicious chocolate cream cheese frosting slathered over my purpose in life.  It has given me the opportunity to work along side with my purpose and use the voice I was given.

Have you had these moments in life?  You sit, or maybe I sit, staring into an unlit fireplace, excited about the potential of life, knowing that the years are slipping by.  Motherhood is changing.  I am changing.  The world is changing.

And perhaps, this might be the end of my contemplation for today.

(The joy of blogging?  “Not being obsessed about editing”, she says, as she subtly scans what she has written)

Love Thyself

Have you ever noticed that some of the most important words begin with L?  Love, Life, Laughter…..

It was tough deciding which word to choose for “L” but in the end, an event on the weekend prompted me to choose Love, specifically, Love Thyself.

I had an Indian event to attend on Saturday, and as always, I spent many stressful moments trying to decide what I should wear.  This may sound trivial, but to someone who has always had an issue with weight and self-image, it is a disturbing problem.

This started a week before when I decided that I really wanted to wear a sari, something that I’ve not done in 9 years.  For those of you who have worn a sari or have seen someone in a sari, you would know that this beautiful garment (I think it’s the most womanly piece of garment that a lady could wear) has the embarrassing ability to expose all those little bits you may just want to hide.  So I started trying the sari on every day, trying to convince myself that I could do this.  2014 has been a year of firsts for me and I was determined that this would be added to that list.

Unfortunately, on Thursday, I started to cave in to the voices in my head and decided that I would wear a regular Punjabi suit/Salwar Kameez instead.  But I knew that this decision would haunt me.  Friday went by in a blur, with the busy preparation for the event on Saturday.  On Friday evening, my answer came to me in the form of a video clip that had gone viral.  It was about a couple, who were Boston Marathon survivors, getting married.  The lady had gone through more than 15 surgeries for her leg injuries and is facing the prospect of amputation.  She looked looked beautiful in her wedding gown and the glow of love in her eyes outshown everything and everyone else at the event.  There was my answer.  A woman without a leg, living her life to her fullest.  And then, there was me, feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t have THE body instead of celebrating that I had A body.

On Saturday, I surprised my husband and thrilled my children when I came out of the room adorned in my gorgeous sari.  I have to say, I hardly felt conscious at all that night and received many kind compliments.  Perhaps, they saw past the exterior and into the heart that made this proud decision.  This was a huge moment for me.  A revealing of sorts.

When do we stop loving ourselves?  When we’re born, we love ourselves enough to cry to make our needs known, expressing the need to love and be loved.  We thrive in the love bestowed upon us and the smiles showered down on us.  But somewhere along the way, we allow ourselves to believe in the hate.  Believe in the words, the expectations and the standards forced upon us.  We start believing in the superficial definition of beauty and forget the true meaning of it.

Am I beyond this illusion we live in?  Far from it.  But am I taking a step in the right direction?  Yes.  I’m a taking a step and then a few more.  Love starts from within.  Love Thyself.  For if I cannot love myself first, then how can I love others and be a role model to my little girls who will inevitably face the same issues.

Bav

 

If…….

If only the Sky looked blue,

If only the Grass was green,

If only Birds could fly,

If only Fish could swim.

 

If only Rain came down,

If only Snow felt cold,

If only the Sun provided heat,

If only we had two Feet.

 

If only we had Hearts,

If only we had Minds,

If only we had two Hands,

If only we remembered how to be Kind.

Girls

I always wanted a sister, but never had one.  So I now live my dream through my two little girls.  One can never predict which one they will get when they’re pregnant.  Yes, there are feelings, hunches and old wives’ tales, but it’s the ultrasound or the “it’s a boy/girl” that confirms your future as a parent.

I grew up in a culture that placed importance on having a son because it is the son who carries the family name through generations and the son who performs the last spiritual rites for his parents when they die.  Truth be told, I’d rather have a good daughter perform my rites than a bad son doing them.  It used to drive me bonkers if someone asked me, “Are you going to try for a boy?” as if it was a matter of driving to the grocery store and picking out a baby from the baby aisle.

I do admit that I’ve wondered what it would be like to have a boy, whether he’d be naughtier or what he’d look like with our combined genes.  But this was more out of curiosity than a need or want.  Am I sad that I don’t have a boy?  N.O. W.A.Y.!  I would not trade my girls for the world.  They are my sunshine in stormy weather.  They make me lose my hair and fill my life with wonder and joy, all at the same time.

Parents live with the illusion that having one gender over the other will provide them a form of fulfillment.  There are lots of parents, mostly fathers, who enjoy the “playing sports” aspect of having boys and then there are others who enjoy the girly activities with their girls. Most parents, myself included, hope that our children will always be close to us, in proximity and emotionally.  But this is just false hope.  I love my mother more than life and here I sit, 8461 miles away from her, living my life with my new family.

I feel sad that the value given to a female in this world is, at many a time, worse than inhuman.  I am  not a feminist, but I do believe in  humanity being one.  My heart bleeds to read about human trafficking, female infanticide, the mis-treatment of women even by other women, the biased benefits awarded to males over females.  I watched a documentary recently about female infanticide, looked at my girls and wept.  Newborn baby girls were suffocated upon birth.  Can you even begin to wrap your mind around such an act?

Do you know what makes me even more sad?  The fact that educated people of my generation still subscribe to this gender differentiation.  What is the point of book knowledge when there is a lack of human knowledge?  Stop for a moment, put your hand on your heart and think about whether this has crossed your mind, that you would have liked to have had a boy, or that boys should do some things, but not girls.

Some of us may be in a position to directly help girls or women in these circumstances and that is what we should do.  The next best thing I think we can manage is starting with this lesson at home, with our children.  Teaching our girls and boys about treating each other as human beings rather than formulating a method for them based on gender.  It’s my genuine request that parents sit up, take this seriously and start raising good human beings, boy or girl.

Growing up as a female myself, this never bothered me that much because I knew I would be able to take care of myself should the need arise.  But having girls?  Now that’s a whole different story.  I pray that  they never have to face gender challenges in life, but if they have to, I hope I would have equipped them with the strength, knowledge and love to emerge victors.

Flower Formula

Formula

1.  A mathematical relationship or rule expressed in symbols.

2.  A fixed form of words, esp. one used in particular contexts or as a conventional usage.

3. A list of ingredients for or constituents of something.

We have formulae for so many different things in life and yet we struggle to find one for our own lives.  We buy books, watch inspirational documentaries, attend talks and retreats, subscribe to self-professed leaders/gurus/new age saints, but we forget the one teacher who knows us the best.  Ourselves.  Why do we find it so hard to believe that answers could lie within us?

Human beings tend to find following the path of the known more comforting that exploring a path unknown despite the possibility of finding something better.  I don’t think discarding all these avenues of knowledge and support is the answer.  Instead, I think each of us should write our own formula.  No two souls walk the exact same path.  Therefore, I would imagine that picking, choosing and adding what fits us best will lead us back home.  Following blindly without true understanding may be a formula for disaster.

The flower formula is my current answer to my dilemma.  Each of us is a flower connected by a common thread, love.  What we get to choose is to fill each of our petals with aspects in life, of importance to us, that guide us in our life’s purpose.  Strangely, when asked to complete this exercise, no one chooses to fill their petals with negativity.  Try it.  Draw a flower and fill your petals.  And the beauty about flowers?  The petals can be many.

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Death

Death.

It lurks in hallways.

It sneaks up on you.

Touches your shoulder but retreats when you turn.

It taunts you.

It rips the souls out of loved ones, shatters their spirits and leaves them picking up the pieces for years to come.

It walks away giving them forewarning that their time will come.

The only certainty in life.  That every one of us will kiss death on its lips at least once in this physical lifetime.

Death, it’s inescapable.

It’s only consolation, the chance to meet departed loved ones.

Till we meet again Appu, your little girl.

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Breasts, Boobies and Beyond

Every female travels this bumpy road (Yes!  Pun intended) in their lifetime.  Men!  Not all men, but men!  Here’s an insight into the journey of the boobs through the various ages and stages in life.  A journey beyond sexual gratification.

Big boobs, small boobs, no boobs.

Want a bra, but don’t need a bra.

Need a bra, but don’t want a bra.

Warding off lecherous eyes.

Look at me when I’m talking to you.  My face is up here.

Second base.

The alps, airport runway, hooters, double lattes, jugs, honkers.

Home run.

Tenderness.

Mammary glands.

Colostrum – the mother of milk.

Breastmilk.

Breastfeeding – expectations, joy, pain, misery, more joy, disappointment, depression, nature’s gift.

Thrush.

Mastitis – excruciating pain.

Nipple cream.

Waterfall ducts, blocked ducts.

Down south, up north.

Sexy bra, Grandma bra, Nursing bra, No bra.

Breasts exams.

A small holiday.

Mammograms.

Lumps.

Fear.

Breast cancer genes.

An odyssey beyond the breasts and into the heart.  Travel this road while you travel the globe or globes in this case.