It’s been ages since I wrote anything at all. Admittedly life and a full moon rising took over. I’m not watching any significant full moons, but that’s just code for shit hitting the fan. I am writing this, even as SP Balasubhramaniam brings the Salman of my childhood alive in Saajan (it’s the music). I’m increasingly resetting the bar of how hard adulthood is really supposed to be.
Thank you. But I’ll do without the blue or red pills. I’m pulling up my Michigan winter socks, and getting myself ready for the bull fight, #girlboss style. Here are some women who inspire me as I pull myself out of an emotional gutter. A lull is natural, but getting out of it is what characters are made of.
Women Who Inspire Me Today
1. Katie Sturino’s humor/ confidence
I got lucky last week, as I heard a panel organized by Shinola and Michigan Women’s Foundation in the Cobo center in Detroit. Founder of 12ish style and Megababe, Katie Sturino is funny and inspiring. Her stage presence blew me away. It’s so nice to hear people who talk about real things that no one wants to venture into. It’s also good to meet funny women who bring a positive energy which isn’t reliant on self-deprecating humor but an inherent confidence.
Weight is a touchy subject for me. I grew up in a community, where deeply intrusive comments on someone else’s body were normalized. Fat/thin/tall/short jokes were rampant in media and really coming from the society. At some point, thinness (and not fitness) became a standard. I still struggle with the issue of body image and also fall into the trap and react in a misleading fashion myself. It’s hard to be sensitive a hundred percent of the time, but Katie makes you want to look deeper and try.
2. Rajni Jacques’s Authenticity
This isn’t the first time I’ve lived in a country/state where I’ve not looked or felt like the majority. But I had not really considered the effect it can have on a sub-conscious level. Rajni spoke in the same panel that I also saw Katie Sturino at. She spoke from a place of experience and authenticity.
Authenticity sounds like a buzzword today, but you know it when you feel the need to physically nod at everything that’s been said. I have never felt the need to reiterate how important it is to see/know mentors who’re like you/who you identify with to grow further in your career or life. If I were the only woman of color in the room always, it does need additional effort to be heard.
Again, not for the first time, I’ve seen all kinds of stereotypes being pushed on me in various countries. I come with an Indian accent, so I must have something to do with IT support. I love IT support but I’ve often found it hard to tell people (even realize in that moment) that the outright assumption is basically racist. I’ve often felt the need to prove myself much more than a white woman. And I’m not bitter about it. Many of my friends are white and grew up in this country. But it’s a fact that I can not choose to ignore. It’s nice to get that feeling validated every once in a while. And Rajni made no attempts to sugar coat this reality.
3. Tyrese Coleman’s Profound Reality Check
I urge you to let this sink in: Reading Jane Eyre while black. I grew up reading a lot of British authors and have read everything that Jane Austen ever wrote. I’d often bury all my teenage angst, body consciousness and shyness into books. It was a respite from the bullying I endured. I’d always imagine myself as the heroine in a George Elliot/Austen book. And only with white people around me, speaking various forms of English which isn’t the language of my heart.
It’s only in my recent reading years – in the 2000s that I finally moved into reading books from diverse authors from the sub-continent. Some who I could relate to – from the color of my skin, to the expected behavior of grown-ups to mythology, places, sounds and smells. And my world changed. The stories I now love reading aren’t just set up in fake worlds where people drink fancy lemonades. My favorite stories now smell of copious amounts of talcum powder and nap times on hot summer days. Skins are unabashedly baked brown, and chai is not called chai tea.
There’s merit in escaping into relatable worlds. And when they don’t exist, you roll your sleeves and care enough to create them.
Almost also made it to this list Julie Maroh’s passion. Julie Maroh’s ‘Blue is the warmest color’ is a fascinating book. It shares a delicate, passionate and heartbreaking love story and reiterates why we need to know being different is nothing to be defensive about.