Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Double Century

It's a big achievement or a miniscule one depending on the way you look at it.

This is my 200th post.

200 days of pouring my heart out, debating, questioning, musing, and venting.

200 days of support from all you readers who make this enterprise so much fun.

I started writing on a daily basis because I didn't want my writing skills to rust.

I, also, wanted a forum from where I could express my opinions without any marketing or educational agenda attached to it -- that's what I do 9-5 every day.

With your help I have been able to rediscover my voice, remain honest in my writings, and renew my faith in the concept of the public square.

It isn't easy to write every day -- to think of something meaningful to share with a wide variety of readers from different countries, backgrounds, ethnicities, age groups, and cultural beliefs. Being a writer by profession makes it a tad easier, but nevertheless it can be daunting sometimes to wake up in the mornings and have my mind go blank.

No inspiring thoughts, no raging debates in my head, no points of contention to be made. During the course of the day, though, I've found that someone says something or I observe/read something that triggers a train of thoughts -- some "normal" life event that helps keep the
momentum going.

And before I know it, I find myself typing furiously. It is for that reason, that I think reaching this milestone is a big achievement.

On the other hand, there are so many bloggers out there who have five-six years' worth of rich content, thoughtfully presented in little daily doses of inspiring prose ... in front of them, this is but a minor accomplishment.

Big or small, it has been a fruitful enterprise.

In the course of my blogging I have discovered many thinkers -- some of whom I agree with, others that challenge my belief system.

It has, indeed, been a pleasure making the acquaintance of my readers, many of whom are bloggers like me, and others who stop by to share their insights when they get a chance.

All of you have enriched my life in a way that I hadn't thought of when committing myself to this blog.

When I reached the
century mark a couple of months ago, I instituted the Photoblogger of the Month award that was embraced with open arms by all of you.

To commemorate this milestone, I will introduce "
Mansi asks:" a bi-monthly series that will present a probing question.

When I was on Facebook, I used to ask a question daily -- sometimes intentionally provocative, other times innocently so. Not all the questions were deeply philosophical -- some were just for fun.

The one thing they all had in common was that they invited engagement.

Even if I asked something as inconsequential as "What did you have for breakfast?" I'd have people volunteering information about muffins, parathas, toasts, and multigrain cereal.

I chose not to respond to any of the questions I asked, unless someone specifically called me out for an opinion.

Now, it's time to change that.

I will dive in head first and postulate but what will make this series effective is your participation.

So, look out for the "Mansi asks:" series and be sure to chime in.

In the meantime, here's to big and little things that make one happy.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Unrequited Love

I spent the day with Jesse today. He is such a wonderful man. I feel quite lucky to have found him in my life. It never fails when we are together, he always wants to hold my hand, tell me how lovely I am and that he wishes he could marry someone just like me. He always adds he knows I am married and would never want to disrespect my husband however, I am pretty sure he is flirting with me. It’s the way he looks at me, laughs at all my jokes and wants to walk arm in arm everywhere we go. Then there are the things he says to me.

“You are one of the nicest women I have ever met.”

“Thank you, Jesse!”

“I really mean it. I so enjoy spending the day with you. You always make me feel like I really matter to you.”

“You really do matter to me, Jesse.”

“Well, I appreciate that. I’d marry you if you weren’t already married.”

“Well, Jesse, I don’t think Bob would like me marrying somebody else but thanks for thinking of me.”

“Don’t worry. I will always behave like a gentleman when we’re together. By the looks of your arms, I think you could deck me.”

“Um……thank you?”

“Besides, I’m ninety-three years old. How much trouble could I really cause you?”

“Well, Jesse, I have a funny feeling if left to your own devices, you could cause more trouble than anyone could imagine. I’m just saying….”

There May Be Snow on The Roof
But There's Still Fire in The Furnace

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Celebrate with me!

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
Today, September 25, 2010 is the one year anniversary of Healing Morning blog. I checked the dates about a month ago and have been giving thought to what I would write when the specific day rolled around. This past year has opened up the world for me beyond anything I could ever have imagined or dreamed for myself, and blogging was an integral part of this process.

I am, first and foremost, a writer. I have done many different types of work in my adult life to pay the bills, but at my core, I identify myself as a writer. The process of blogging gave me a genre that celebrates writing in a very unique manner. I work as a freelance technical and creative writer, and social media management consultant, so writing is incorporated into my daily work life. Blogging straddles the two worlds of professional and personal writing for me. I manage social media and write blogs for a wide range of clientele, and I also write here at Healing Morning for purely personal satisfaction.

It is here at Healing Morning that I express my innermost thoughts, emotions, ponderings and dreams. Most writers have aspirations to become published authors, and I am no different in that regard. I am currently working on a manuscript that I have every intention of getting into published and promoted book form. Blogging has given me a worldwide audience and valuable feedback that I firmly believe makes me a stronger writer with every single article posted. Writers gain polish by doing more of the same...by simply writing, refining and writing some more.

There is equal satisfaction in growing readership and meeting fellow writers/bloggers from all over the world. I have developed incredibly strong, beautiful friendships with many bloggers here in the United States and across the world in myriad countries. The friendships blossom in the most lovely way as we all exchange stories, read one anothers' writing, post comments and genuinely appreciate the interaction that blogging gives us.

I have learned even more to trust my own instincts, and as a result, fairly early on in my blogging experience, I co-founded Authentic Blogger on Facebook. Authentic Blogger is one of my proudest accomplishments, as it provides a supportive community for fellow bloggers to post their work, grow their own readership and gain more exposure in the blog-o-sphere. Our group grows a bit more slowly than some blogging groups, but we like it that way - being authentic is the whole purpose and Mission Statement of the Authentic Blogging concept. Through this group, I have met more talented writers and have a rock solid relationship with my co-founder and business partner, Duane Scott. Like many other blogging friendships, this is one in particular that I am confident will be a lifelong relationship.

I hear that there are thousands of blogs started daily that become 'orphaned' in a short span of time, meaning that the people who created those blogs just abandon the effort and walk away. At this point in time, I do not see this ever happening for me with Healing Morning blog. It is an intrinsic part of who I am. The very title describes me in infinite detail. 'Healing' encompasses my very heart and love of a holistic approach to life and extending myself to others in a peaceful, loving, optimistic fashion. 'Morning' is a play on my name, Dawn.

The day that a girlfriend and I sat at a local Panera Bread and she showed me how to set up a blog shell, I never dreamed that I would be where I am today. The name, Healing Morning, came about in the most natural manner and I look back now and marvel a bit at how absolutely perfect the title remains. I will never change it. I am definitely a creature of habit, so I tend to hold on to certain things for recognition purposes on a public manner. This is vital in the world of blogging, I think, so Healing Morning will always be a strong identifying factor for who I am as a writer.

Where will this new year take me and Healing Morning? In the past year, it has introduced me to new people and experiences on a global level. I am proud to report that I am a contributing writer for Aromatique Essentials e-zine in Australia - this is the wonderful brainchild of my dear friend, Julie Nelson who is talented in all things aromatherapy related. I am also a contributing writer to the blogging website called Live and Inspire Magazine, based in Malaysia.  I am a contributing blogger on Writers Rising blog, which introduced me to even more wonderful blogging friends. Never could I have dreamed up such opportunties for my writing to span the world in this manner, and to be very well received. Any writer will tell you such experiences are deeply personally satisfying as well as just plain delightful! To know that people around the world are reading my writing and enjoying it enough to extend invitations to me to become a contributing writer for their projects is the highest compliment I can think of receiving.

Yet another completely unexpected and somewhat overwhelming opportunity that came from Healing Morning blog was my first radio interview on Starclear Radio. The focus of Starclear Radio is to shed light on all manner of spiritual experiences, and it gave me the chance to dip a toe into the larger media and publicity pool and realize this is something that I am capable of doing successfully. The interview went so well, in fact, that I was invited to return for a full hour long show in January 2011. The confidence of Starclear's co-founders, Jeffrey Seelman and Amy Lamb, in me was warming and encouraging. This again shows the incredible power that blogging and social media put into our hands. Without venturing forth into the world of blogging, I would never have crossed paths with Amy and Jeffrey. It did happen, though, and is another reason to celebrate this first year of blogging.

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
 There are endless reasons for me to sit here, smiling as I write. My world has broadened and become enriched in so many ways that I imagine my Spirit has extra facets deposited all around. I envision my own Light and writing talent to be a cross somewhere between the soft, lambent glow of a lustrous pearl and the bright, exhuberant blaze of a multi-faceted diamond. I have a calm, quiet sureness with my writing that is married to a dash of on the ceiling energy and appreciation for the occasionally absurd moments in life. I like to think that reflects in different ways in different blog articles.

I look forward to another year with Healing Morning blog. More friendships, new experiences and new triumphs await. For now, I celebrate the past year and I thank each and every person who has taken time to visit my blog page, leave kind comments and clicked to follow my work. I invite you all to celebrate with me!
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 266: Walk through the Pounding Rain

When the rain comes (rain being a metaphor for anything difficult) the tendency is to run for cover. Why not walk through the pounding rain? Why not walk out in the midst of it all exposed? What could happen to you? Maybe something unpredictable is in your cards; a turn of the tables, so to speak.

This morning at around 9am, my husband was eager to go walking. I looked outside at the clouds of doom and raindrops already starting to fall and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball in my bedroom with warm, fuzzy socks on.

Instead, I threw my non-waterproof raincoat on (sin in Seattle) and headed out into the elements. In the car driving over the Ballard Bridge, the rain was coming down in sheets. This was not walking weather, yet we were on our way.

Once at the park, there was no turning back. We were hiking and that was it. The rain started to let up a little as we got to the beach. All the sudden, amongst the barnacles, broken clam shells, seaweed, and a mad circle of seagulls, I saw too little eyes peering up at me on the beach. I almost stepped on this tiny, little thing.

What was it? Could it be a baby Harbor seal? The mother had left it on the shore in search of food. The little guy looked scared. It made little squeaks at us. I knew not to touch it or move it. If the mother smells human hands on her baby, she will abandon it. I was worried, however, that the mother had forgotten where it was. It was so far up on the shore now.

A sudden break in the rain had revealed this angelic creature to my husband and me. I couldn't help but take it as a sign. Seals, as you may have read from earlier posts about my book writing adventure, have a important meaning to me.

I had to go out in the pouring rain to find this jewel. My jeans were now thoroughly soaked, but we kept walking. We were committed to the walk and no sleet, hail, lightening, thunder, or hurricane was going to stop us.

Lately, I've been a bit saddened. I haven't heard from several blogging friends who used to comment regularly on this blog. Where did they go? Are people still reading it or am I writing it just for me. Should I stop writing it? Should I put it aside? Do I have anything more to say? All these thoughts go through my head and then I remember one very important thing.

I've committed myself to this walk. Let the rains come, I'll continue on. When things get difficult or boring or monotonous or I feel like I'm at the end of my rope and I'd rather turn back, go inside and hide under the covers, that's the time to continue I've learned.

The seal was a hidden jewel in the rain today. Something I wouldn't have seen if I decided to stay indoors. When we least expect it we will find that everything we were hoping for is already there, waiting for us in the pouring rain.

Also on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What do you believe?

Recently I was interviewed by a high school student for a class assignment. His topic was Religion: Creed, Community, Calling and he asked me a lot of questions pertaining to my upbringing, my exposure to religion, my parent's views, and my own beliefs.

In telling him how I've come to an agnostic standpoint, I realized a lot of things about my own belief system ... how it developed over time and why I don't feel guilty anymore about not
being religious.

My parents weren't as devout as, say, my grandparents.

We visited a temple once a week or once every two weeks (there wasn't any set day or commitment), mom chanted the Hanuman Chalisa (a specific prayer for the monkey god) every morning after showering (a practice she started when I was severely sick as a four-year-old and which she continues to this day), dad didn't eat egg or chicken on Tuesdays (it's a common custom for those who worship Hanuman), and we would do puja on Diwali (the biggest and most important Hindu celebration).

Aside from these things, I didn't see my parents fasting for every other god (with hundreds of thousands of gods to worship, they'd never be eating anything!), nor did I see them travel to specific places in India just to visit temples (as a lot of their peers did).

I knew I was a Hindu and that Muslims and Christians went to their own temples. They revered a different god and celebrated different festivals -- but that didn't stop me from sharing lunch with them.

In fact, I loved the sheermaal (saffron-flavored bread) a Muslim friend would get on occasion and had told my mom I wanted a church wedding when I grew up.

She smiled and said that's what Christians do.

"Does it mean we can't?" I'd asked.

"No, it's their custom. Our custom is different," she replied.

"But it doesn't mean we can't do something that's different, right?" I inquired.

She dismissed the conversation by saying, "No, it doesn't mean we can't. But there's a lot of time to your marriage."

I was only nine years old.

But even as mom and dad hung on to their beliefs, their religious customs, they never once forced anything down my throat. I celebrate Eid with my Muslim classmates and went to mass with my Christian friends.

The beliefs my parents tried to instill in me had more to do with humanism than Hinduism: don't be malicious, don't hurt anyone intentionally, don't steal, don't lie, respect differences (of caste, religion, beliefs), and be generous.

Some people say that's what Hinduism is about. It's a way of life.

Perhaps. But organized religion has made it so difficult to weed out the lifestyle from the customs. Customs that feel like shackles more than anything else.

I've never understood fasting for religious purposes or been able to come to terms with the hypocrisy of worshipping all these goddesses but then giving second-class treatment to women in real life.

Even as a kid, I questioned the rationality of religious edicts and growing up the questions never went away.

But I couldn't voice them without hurting a lot of people. You see, while technically one has the choice to follow a religion (or not!), our social structure doesn't allow us the guilt-free liberty to exercise that choice.

While my parents wouldn't force me to go to a temple, the general expectation would be that I'd accompany them. More so with my in-laws given how overtly religious they are. They'd be hurt if told them I questioned the existence of god. More so because I am a woman.

Men are supposed to be progressive and liberal. Women are supposed to be the moral compass and leash men in.

I wouldn't be able to have any rational discussions with them and at the end of it, it would come down to a question of faith.

Their faith in something that defies explanation. Mine lying within myself and those around me.

Some people might think that my coming to the United States prompted this sudden change of heart. Not entirely true.

My belief system didn't change per se, but my detachment from organized religion intensified.

In Iowa City, I didn't feel the "need" to go to a temple or to pray ... and with that realization came a sense of freedom. I felt that I could talk to people and question the existence of god without fear of repudiation.

I understood that fear was the main reason why people were so religious ... fear of family, society, failure, death... Religion provided folks with a support system. A false sense of security but a very real sense of community.

I didn't need that, but without asking for it, I automatically got affiliated with another community -- that of the non-believers.

And it certainly wasn't a sudden change of heart.

It was a series of discussions with my husband and with non-Indian peers and colleagues that allowed me to explore my beliefs and challenge the ones I had grown up with.

The only "religious" thing I still do is the Diwali puja -- folding my hands and chanting hymns I don't understand. And the one and only reason I still perform that annual ritual is because it's comforting.

I am halfway across the globe from my family and all the memories of that festival have centered around that ritual...it is those memories that I harken by going through the motions at home.

Some people have told me I'm spiritual. I'm not sure spirituality is an all-encompassing general term ... Everyone has their own take on spirituality and what it means to them.

I still haven't deciphered what it means to me, although others have told me that my travel experiences, my writing, and my thirst for knowledge are all the things that connect me with my spirituality. They tell me it's my calling.

For me, though, this whole spirituality thing is still inconclusive.

So, what do I believe? I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to explore their self before choosing which (if any) religion or spiritual belief to subscribe to. And it should be ok if they don't subscribe to anything. We don't have to have names and labels for everything, do we?

Self awareness leads to self confidence and when you know your self and know the reasons why you're doing what you're doing, life automatically becomes more meaningful.

You stop living in fear and you give to others not because you're told to, but because in your life journey you have come to realize that it is the right thing to do.

We spend so much time blindly following customs and traditions in the name of religion; we foster hatred for those who follow a different religion, and yet we don't fully understand our own belief system.

We don't know who we are, what motivates us, what inspires us, what our purpose in life is.

I believe in myself and in humanity. I believe all of us have good hearts.

If each of us took some time to introspect, to reflect, and to question our actions, we'd be a much more peaceful world community.

So, what do you believe?

This article is also published at Desicritics and can be found on my blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Is Love Enough ?

Most who read my Blog would be aware that my marriage went through some interesting times over the last four years which resulted in me now being separating permanently from my ex-wife and best friend of 17 plus years.

In more recent times I have watched another best friend’s marriage disintegrate into a bitter, hateful situation when both sides are always defensive and looking to get the next point over their partner. Their relationship has descended into a win at all cost “ War of the Roses ” and both parties have resorted to using their 3 kids as cannon fodder against each other ( even if they are unaware of what they are doing ).

Another friend is currently going through a domestic abuse hell from her partner that has resulted in criminal charges against her ex-husband and she is now living 24/7 with the fear of him turning up and finishing the job he had started.

And then last night I was talking to a another ( 20 year plus ) friends wife only to be told in secrecy that her marriage is a complete sham and that from the moment she walked down the aisle she knew it was the wrong thing to do but felt trapped and unable to get out of the marriage. She informed me that her wedding day tears walking down the aisle were not tears of happiness but tears of sadness and regret of what was happening.

The sad truth is I’ve only listed four marriages above but in reality I could run off a list of twenty or more friends and associates who’s marriage did not stand the test of time.

Yes, I too know people who have been married for very long periods, including my parents who have been married 50 years and my sister who this week is celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary, but they are the minority, an ever decreasing group who have to date stood strong against all that time, marriage and life has thrown at them. Some are still there out of genuine love, some out of long formed habit and some out of fear of being alone.

How does this happen between two people who once loved each other openly and unconditionally ?

I have many thoughts about relationships but since my marriage did not survive you may not want to put too much weight onto my beliefs, many are probably off the mark but all are qualified by real relationships that I have either been a part of or have observed first hand.
I think the first big killer of any relationship is the fight for control within a relationship, I have not yet seen a relationship that is 100% amicable where both parties agree on everything all the time. That I think most would agree is impossible and a fantasy world saved for day time sitcoms.

Every couple will have disagreements, every couple will attempt to “ Negotiate ” a compromise and every couple over time will feel like “ They ” are the ones that ALWAYS have to compromise, every couple will start to resent the inability to have it their own way and will feel more and more like “ Their opinion doesn’t matter anymore to anyone ”, individuals start to feel dis-empowered, lost and without a voice. The power battles start and suddenly the decision over which show you both watch or the colour of the new blinds takes on an illogical level of importance that is more deeply rooted in the need of each individual to be heard than it is about the actual topic.

Another big issue I feel is an ever growing phenomenon in marriage for the need to “ Change ” or “ Fix ” those silly little flaws in our partners. Just about, actually ALL relationships that I have observed have started independent, but before long at least one side of the relationship ( if not both ) attempt to change the other half, to “ Mould ” them into a mirror of themselves. While opposites attract it makes for hard work to constantly negotiate a compromise and inevitably one will attempt to conform the other so that the day to day existence of a relationship becomes less work and easier.

Can you remember when you first moved in with your partner ? Can you remember the small insignificant things that shouldn’t have mattered but in reality drove you mad with frustration. Did they leave the toothpaste lid off ? Did they not close the wardrobe doors when they were finished ? Did they want to watch their shows all the time instead of your shows ?

I believe that in most relationships this is natural and one side will always be willing to give that slight bit more than the other. The issues come into a relationship when one side feels that they have paid their dues and given more than their share of ground for the relationship but are constantly asked to give yet more.

Finally I think the third big killer of marriages is “ Jealousy ”, unless it was an arranged marriage ( which is a whole other story ) we all would have met our partners at some type of social gathering, be it Church, the Pub, Through Friends ect .. we as humans are social creatures, we thrive on connecting with others, in fact we cannot survive in isolation.

Yet despite our partners having multiple friends of both sexes when we met them it is amazing how many partners don’t TRUST their partners to remain social outside of the marriage. I ask you this question, “ Would you allow your partner to go out to dinner and a movie with a member of the opposite sex alone ? ”.

If your answer is no I would ask YOU why ? Do you not trust them ? Do you not trust the other person ? Do you not trust yourself in the same situation ?

Without trust in any relationship you have nothing.

It is YOUR issue that YOU need to deal with and carry the burden of. It is not for your partner to carry your insecurities for you or to resolve. You do not own your partner and therefore have no rights to restrict or control their life.

On a lighter side, I have a young nephew about to marry one of the most beautiful souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, they really do seem to be the real deal, a couple that will stand the test of time. Everyone is excited about their wedding day which is such a refreshing feeling in today’s cynical world.

They really do stand as a beacon of hope for us all and of what is right about this world.

So please raise your glasses and toast with me to “ Mathew & Lilly ” as a reminder to us all of what it was once like and of how it should always be.

4 years in India, 2 years of Shambhavi, 1 wandering woman

This September I’m commemorating the fourth anniversary of living in India. I don’t say celebrating, because it is a bittersweet landmark. Four years of intense soul-searching and questioning of life’s very fundamentals.

I can say with more confidence that I am celebrating my two year anniversary of attending the Inner Engineering program and being initiated into Shambhavi Maha Mudra, which has catapulted me on yet another journey–this time a never-ending inner one, facilitated by this and my other Isha Yoga practices. I can also saw with certainty that had it not been for this initiation, I would not have made it this long in India! Below, you can read more about this rocky journey…

“I don’t want to go,” I said as we were on the plane to India in July 2005. That was the first of many trips. But alas, there has been no turning back.

As I awoke this morning, the same nagging “I don’t want to be here” tormented me. I have a very strong escapist urge: to go back to the comfort and convenience of the West, where I’ve been for a mere two months.

It’s baffling to me how, before I left in July, my attitude was so different. I was as settled as I ever have been here. My mom says it’s human nature to adjust; people even got used to living in concentration camps. The parallel, though controversial, is somewhat appropriate. I’m both victim and agressor.

I spoke to Savira, a fellow blogger and yogini from Living Laughing Breathing, who is also re-adjusting to life in India. She aptly said that there’s a battle waging within me between the part of me that wants to be here and that which doesn’t. I’m not sure the two sides can ever be reconciled! This culture shock has taken me completely by surprise–I would’ve thought I was beyond it by now and nothing about India could phase me.

But it seems I’ve gone soft, lost my defences. The smells, the noises, the fear and utter disgust all bombard me like I’m back to square one. How can I actually be choosing this life over other, more sheltered, more straightforward ones? Even I’m baffled and can’t provide a rational answer.

Maybe my life should go back to normal, whatever that means. Maybe I should settle down and stop seeking more. Maybe I should start having clear goals. Maybe I should know what I want out of life and have a clear plan of how to get it. But I don’t know. Is that such a crime?!

This article is also published on my blog. Hope you join me there...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nothing Good On The Menu

Or: How to Manage A Loved One With Major Depression

Depression is ferociously difficult for everyone involved, in that ordinary measures don't even bear consideration. A sensible person sleeps when they are tired, eats when hungry and drinks when thirsty; when sad, might weep or pause for melancholy reflection; might laugh when amused, retort when offended, change the channel when bored, etc. The mildly depressed will dutifully follow their doctor's orders and consume their medicine on schedule and perhaps even receive a modicum of surcease, blessedly returning to such prosaic matters.

The profoundly depressed view such normative responses to stimuli with deep suspicion; their own emotional perceptions having brutally waylaid them their entire lives, people around them quick with platitudes, condescension, disbelief or resentment, they are not conditioned to be 'solutions-oriented'. The deeply depressed withdraw into ever-increasing alienation because with one's back to the wall that's at least one direction that the lacerating winds of psychic agony won't come from. In extending a hand of solace, offering a bridge to fellowship, the healthy person's most sincere gestures appear to the seriously depressed person as threats.

Guilt is a potent self-fulfilling entrenchment for the person with major depression. It's bad enough feeling overwhelming guilt just for breathing and taking up space; the unavoidable inconvenience that one's illness causes others is like salt in the wound. We really don't want to be any trouble, thanks we'll stand, I'll give you $100 if  you let me sleep in your garage - just for one night. And no amount of backpedaling, shit-eating or genuflecting will sooth the sting - there we are, still breathing, much too loud.  And make no mistake, it's an incredible pain in the ass dealing with us, overtime with no pay. Nothing is ever simple, no interaction or transaction free of the most byzantine and unnecessary complications. It's even worse if our illness is constellated with others - borderline PD, schizo-affective, adult ADD, and so on.  We forget the appointment or date or birthday or anniversary, miss the bus, take the wrong bus, lose our bus pass, etc.; then we descend into a slough of despond over it, become almost violently defensive, attempt suicide or cut ourselves with razor blades, overdose, set fire to the garage, etc.

Sure we take the pills. Most of them. Most of the time. But pills just take the edge off - make the madness slightly more manageable - they don't get your shit together for you. If the pills are working, eventually we'll have to get out of bed; if they are not working, we have to actually pick up the phone, call the doctor and tell her they're not working. Either way, we have to actually take them, as prescribed, to find out.  We have to actually take a shower, get dressed, and go to work in order to find out whether or not we can.  And that takes more courage than is quantifiable.

There aren't really any hard-and-fast rules for handling life with a person managing major depression or major depression plus whatever.  Either they were up front with you from the get go - "Before we go any further, I think you should know something about me..." - or they lied about it, or they were lying to themselves about it, or they didn't know, i.e. hadn't yet been diagnosed.  We can go for years thinking it's not us, it's just that life and the universe generally suck so bad it's pretty much unbearable, and we will tend to surround ourselves with people who share this viewpoint.  Being told that we are actually sick and the world is basically neutral is such an intense revelation, it might actually make us sicker (and our behavior more problematic) for a while.  None of the old coping mechanisms for maintaining a good front are effective any more.  It seems to take forever to adjust to all these strange new chemicals fucking up our brains in ways that even the doctors don't understand completely.  We go back and forth between paranoia and trust on every issue, major and minor; we blame everyone else for everything, then blame ourselves for everything, and eventually after a big swim find a middle ground to stand on.

Understand that the person in your life going through this doesn't want your pity, your coddling, your caretaking/codependent behavior, to be rescued, or to not be held to any of the normal standards of relationship one may reasonably expect from anyone without an illness.  What we do want is for you to remember that we're sick.  It's useful information.  That way when we actually accomplish things, you can think to yourself, "Wow, he actually did that."  Not that we want you to hold us to a lower standard than others, as explained above.  When we fail, understand that we don't need to be cut slack any more than anybody else - "What did I expect, after all he IS crazy..." - just remember that, ha ha, yeah, we probably already know we failed and don't need to be reminded.  What we DO need to be reminded is to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back in the ring.  Don't give us some treacly rah-rah routine - this isn't the Jerry Lewis Telethon - we're not a starving child you're supposed to be horrified for on those TV commercials trying to capitalize on your guilt.  We're just people with a particular set of challenges, JUST LIKE YOU.  So don't take care of us, just remember what we're going through, and maybe that knowledge will help you to be prepared for hard-to-manage behaviors, like spending our last dollar on cupcakes for the kid when we should have saved it for the bus.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sept. 11, 2010: Let the healing begin

1815 IST, September 11, 2001. 6:30 to 7 p.m. was break time.

I had been preparing for the Test of English as a Foreign Language and the Graduate Record Examination for three weeks now.

The exams were later next month and the pressure to do well intense.

If I failed to get a good score, my parents would have me married, squashing my dreams of pursuing journalism professionally.

Music was my only saviour right then. But not having a music system at home made me turn to the television.

An image caught my attention: clouds of smoke billowing from two deceptively familiar towers from the popular TV serial Friends.

Was it? No! Oh my God! No!

I switched to CNN. The World Trade Centre was no more.

Terrorists had attacked America. The invincible, powerful, glorious land of opportunities had woken to a black Tuesday.

It was sheer panic on every news channel. And it seeped into me.

Thousands of miles from Ground Zero, I could feel the tension, the tears, the agony, the shock.

Sirens blowing -- that was the only sound.

Statistics began pouring in a while later and one could see the Indian broadcast media focusing on the number of desis trapped in the debris. Names and numbers from agencies that employed Indians in the twin towers were being splashed across. Several discussion panels were being hurriedly arranged.

The talks were centred not so much on what had happened, but its aftermath.

Everyone was awake. I remember not having dinner that night. The sombreness of the event had touched everybody.

For me, it was a state of anxiousness.

Here I was, up all nights practicing American English, quantitative reasoning and verbal analogies, and there America was burning. A hundred possibilities raced through my mind.

Perhaps, I could just continue freelancing for magazines. Or do a course in India somewhere. Maybe I could just listen to my parents for once, and get "settled"…

To take my mind off the chaos being broadcast, I went online. Although we didn't have Facebook or Twitter then, every single news website had only one headline: America Under Attack.

Online, the emphasis was on "I am safe Amma and Appa" messages. The STAR news message board was inundated with frantic one-liners from the kin of those studying or settled in the U.S.

Rediff.com had put up a special chat room to facilitate such messages. MSNBC was broadcasting live coverage of events in downtown Manhattan, especially for its Indian audiences.

I distinctly remember CNN's website being down that night. They had put up the bare minimum they could on their homepage. That was their way of coping with the whopping traffic the site was receiving.

The Net only added to my panic. What was I to do? Would my parents agree on sending me to the US after this? Would the American embassy shut down? Would I even get a visa? Would there be terror strikes in India now? Would I be killed just like all those people who rammed into the towers?

Questions -- so many of them! Answers – none.

It was only after I got an email from someone in Vadodra, Gujarat that I began thinking what the tragedy meant for others. The e-mail requested me to forward the message to as many people in the U.S. I knew, and bid them to do the same, in an effort to reach a relative in New York who was not answering his phone or responding to emails. This was a human connection. It was not so much about the politics or the economics of the world in frenzy – it was about people.

I felt rather small that moment. Thousands of people had lost someone close to them in a tragedy the modern world had never witnessed before. The barbarism was unparalleled – and here I was thinking how it would affect my plans.

This selfishness was extended to the way the local media was working, too. Although the news was 'America's nightmare' the stories were about 'India's concerns'.

For America this was all so new. For Indians facing terrorism for a long time, it was just one of those really bad days. Not that the media did not sympathize. Not that the common man did not care. But we had our own issues.

What implications would this attack have on Indo-American relations? Would there be increased cross-border firing? How would Pakistan react? Would America drop bombs on Afghanistan now? Would there be a Third World War? These were just some of the questions popping up.

A national daily ran a report next morning. It said reserve battalions in Jammu and Kashmir have been deployed and the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh and those in peninsular India were on high alert following the attack on the U.S. The headline of the piece was "Terror strikes India."

The implications of the terrorist attack on the world's greatest superpower were far reaching -- more than the masterminds behind this attack, could ever think of.

I've witnessed eight anniversaries in the U.S. since and the memories are still as vivid, the pain still as fresh.

Only now, we're turning against each other with more hatred and greater passion.

This country is seeing more intolerance, more skepticism, and more unrest. We're letting the terrorists finally achieve what they set out to do on September 11, 2001. We're helping move their agenda forward by letting that terror live inside us.

Our first instinct then, as it is now, was to look out for our own. To preserve what we held dear to our hearts. To do what served our self-interest best.

But not at the price of democracy. And never by putting humanity on the line.

Sitting halfway across the world, it was those images, those stories of men, women, children and families that struck a chord in everyone's hearts ... I didn't know anyone personally but I found myself crying at the unnecessary tragedy that had introduced itself into these people's lives.

And today, sitting in the country where it all happened, I find myself shaking my head at the unnecessary debates about a mosque being built on Ground Zero. My mind doesn't even know how to react to plans of burning the Quran.

I hear the constant chatter about how fearful we are, or should be. I read the tweets, the headlines, the barrage of messages that tell us to never forget 9/11.

We won't. We can't.

What happened this day nine years ago will be etched forever in the hearts and minds of everyone who witnessed it, no matter what part of the world they were in.

But it was the past. And we have the power to choose the future.

How will we honor the memories of the lives that were lost on 9/11/2001? By "avenging" the death of almost 3,000 Americans (remember they were not just "white" Christians, but also Jews, Sikhs, Italians, Indians)? Or, by recognizing that we are a nation of immigrants and in our diversity lies our strength?

I still see reports from India every day of countless soldiers in Kashmir falling prey to a political battle between two neighboring countries. As diplomats engage in a war of words, young men from small cities kill and are killed by nameless strangers.

Nameless strangers -- that's what they are to me, to each other, to you.

Nameless, faceless strangers -- those 3,000 people who died on 9/11 ... that's what they are to most of you.

It's senseless why those people died. It's asinine that so many people around the world continue to be killed in terror attacks every day. But it's even more senseless to fuel that fire with our own ignorance and fears.

9/11 brought a lot of people together -- let's remember the outpouring of love and support America received as a nation. Let's not forget how it united this country, irrespective of religion, race, or class.

Let's focus on the good.

Let today be an anniversary that celebrates courage and humanity.

Let it be a day of remembrance and renewal.

Let it be a day of healing, of understanding, of tolerance.

Let 9/11 stand for something that's strong and beautiful.

Let it be about the people, not the politics, the powerplay, or the world religions.

This article is also published on my blog and at Desicritics.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The word "impossible" is a fallacy

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Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer. - André A. Jackson
My dear friend, Marie Blackstock Rhoades shared this quote on her Facebook wall a few weeks ago. It prompted a thought for me that grew into the foundation for a blog article. I typed it into my Drafts folder, fleshed it out a bit and then left it until today. I feel this is always a timely topic to ponder. I'm not saying this is true 100% of the time, but I will say that I have learned over my life that a great deal of the time, the word 'impossible' is a fallacy.

Years ago - back when computers were still be managed w/ DOS language (shudder), I worked for an environmental engineering group. Nightmarish conditions, because they hired a lot of retired engineers who had worked for 30+ years in Oak Ridge, TN (Secret City, Manhattan Project) and had been trained to be inefficient. So, here I was, working w/ these men and translating their daily instructions into Fault Trees for Nuclear Meltdown - building an inverted pyramid w/ the apex/tip of the pyramid being meltdown and the widening cone of the pyramid being all the individual points that had to first happen before meltdown occurred.

It was tedious work, using (at the time) a new software imaging program that wasn't user friendly or intuitive. The engineer I was assigned to would give me sheets of instructions to transfer into fault tree status and I'd work on it and return it to him. I'd argue and tell him he was asking for things that couldn't fit into a specific parameter and he'd ignore me and say he needed it by 5pm. Great, right? We've all worked in environments that weren't supportive and we all know that we have to swallow rude comments and lack of support and find a way to get the job at hand done. So, I'd go back to the computer and wrestle with it, get it figured out and accomplish what he asked for.
Photo courtesy of
Weeks into this project, a younger engineer came to me with the printouts I had worked on and sat down and said, "How did you do this?" I looked at the printouts - huge reams of ink plotted graphs - and thought, "Oh no, what have I done? Created something that really WILL kill a whole city if the instructions [for the Fault Tree] are off?"

His next comment: "Look, don't worry - you haven't done anything wrong at all. What you have done is actually not possible to create with that software package and we need to know how you did it."

Me: "What do you mean, it isn't possible? The engineer I'm working with told me it was."

Him: "He's an idiot and he KNEW it wasn't possible. He treats all his assistants that way. We've told him over and over to not do this to new people in his group; he always dumps the hardest stuff on new people and blames them when his deadlines aren't met. But this time, that didn't happen. He came in ahead of deadline. His written reports are flawless and extremely well written, AND these plot graphs are something that isn't supposed to be possible with that software package. We just want to know how you did it so we can take notes and create a new training system. You made the program do something it wasn't designed to do and the designer even told us today he'd never seen anything like this. He said the program shouldn't be able to perform in that manner."

I can remember just staring at him in confusion, then finally laughing. Little old me who knew zero about programming, coding or how to coerce a software program to cooperate had somehow circumnavigated the system, admittedly out of blissful ignorance, and created some landmark achievement that had nuclear engineers stunned and impressed. All because I didn't know that this feat was 'supposed to be impossible'.

So, in a long-winded manner, this is a good example of the above quote. I did something that, in theory, was impossible because I didn't KNOW it was impossible. All I knew was that I was given a task, a deadline and was working with someone who threw me off a cliff and expected me to fly with no warning. So, I found a way to achieve that. I still think of that, all these years later, when times are tough. I redefined 'impossible' and created a new version of 'possible'.

We're conditioned at a very early age to doubt ourselves. To not speak up when our intuition is telling us a better method of approach is available. We subdue our inner voice to fit in and become another mindless sheep in the vast herd. For some people, this type of existence works quite well and I am not slamming that fact, or denigrating those people. For me, simply existing isn't an option. I want to live my life out loud, knowing that I am constantly making waves, moving forward, conquering new goals and achieving new dreams. That moment in my past was another of those pivotal, Life Changing points. I learned that I have a much more agile mind than I gave myself credit for all those years ago. These days I listen to my own inner voice and I honor myself in the ways that allow me to thrive and flourish.

I seek experiences that other people warn me are not smart to try. I reach for goals that many delight in telling me that I'll never achieve. I ignore 'well meaning advice' because 99.9% of the time, that advice is being offered as a means to deter me or break my dreams apart. I know that within me is an incredible well of talent. There's a bright glowing core of energy pulsing and sending out vibrant streams of possibilities....and that core of energy is uniquely mine. I've had moments of accomplishment that underscore how important self belief is. I have strong intentions for more triumphant moments to occur. I say this because I know and repeat today that a great deal of the time, the word 'impossible' is a fallacy. The word 'impossible' is just a word.
Bing images
When naysayers get in your way with their dire warnings and predictions of failure and doom, I suggest you cheerfully ignore them and chart your own course. RETHINK IMPOSSIBLE. Create your new version of possible. How we choose to react to words and unexpected events, as I have said many times before, is what defines us. It's your life, after all. Your story to write, your canvas to paint...your doorway to step through.

I choose to continually define myself as that person who writes her own reality.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Visit from Earl while I was Away

Beauford Delaney, "Throw it in the Creek" c. 1938

Oasis Reflection;
Turbulence and Change
 I remember standing on a street corner with the black  painter Beauford Delaney down in the Village, waiting for the light to  change, and he pointed down and said, “Look.” I looked and all I saw was  water. And he said, “Look again,” which I did, and I saw oil on the  water and the city reflected in the puddle. It was a great revelation to  me. I can’t explain it. He taught me how to see, and how to trust what I  saw. Painters have often taught writers how to see. And once you’ve had  that experience, you see differently*James Baldwin, Paris Review 84

A lot has been happening lately, and life events are encouraging me to look in new ways.

The painting above references the folk wisdom that if something gets bad enough it should be thrown away, "Throw it in the creek." This is a disturbing thought, because I keep thinking of the Bosnian girl whose brother filmed her throwing black and white puppies in the river. You wonder how could those puppies be bad? I'm making an unsettling connection, but I've just returned from taking my daughter off to college. I don't know quite what to do with myself right now; however, I am delighted that she got into a good school and that she is enjoying her new life. Ultimately, that is what makes me the happiest. Still, we don't realize how our daily lives are shaped by our loved ones until they are away.
My college girl entering Mystic Pizza

While I was off the island of Puerto Rico, Sr. Earl, the hurricane, came to visit. My husband called me during the storm, which he was driving through, and gave me a blow by blow (pun?) account! I hear the loud wind while I yell, "Don't talk to me! Drive! You might get hurt!" Then he says, "All the lights are gone. I can't see the road." Finally, I told him I couldn't take the stress anymore- and it was making me not hungry-so please hang  up the phone. Oh, I know how bad that sounds! But it was such a surprising response from me that he did get off the phone.

I was at Mystic Pizza when he called. Do you know the restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut? It was the location of the movie, Mystic Pizza with Julia Roberts. The movie features three teenage girls who all work at the pizzeria and are trying to figure out what to do with their lives; one is reluctant to marry, another attracts the son of a wealthy family (Julia Roberts), and one is saving up for Yale University. I kept thinking of the story, while we were looking around the area. I never realized that Connecticut was such a sea oriented society. We stopped at the Portuguese Fisherman, and had a very large breakfast! (but no seafood!) It's only open for breakfast and brunch. (I think it should be called a diner now instead of a restaurant.)
Waffles cannot be contained on the plate! Huge serving sizes!

The entire area seems to be patriotic and though I may be mistaken, it also seemed conservative. The flags were at half-staff because of an officer who was killed in the line of duty. (I first wrote half-mast but I think that term is best used on ships.) When I was seventeen, I served in the US Navy for four years and I think that this coastal area of Connecticut could be called a Navy town- only it's Coast Guard all the way! I felt that familiar but distant feeling of being around many people who are connected to the military in some way, either business or family. Veterans were proud of their service, and one waitress talked about her boyfriend overseas. Everywhere, the presence of the military was strongly felt. I asked a group of young men for directions and one carefully groomed man stopped in the middle of the road to make sure I got the correct directions. A car honked at us for making them wait, but I just thought that guy was so helpful with his southern accent and polite manner, he probably was in the Coast Guard, (Yes, I know all servicemen are not gentleman- I was in the Navy, after all!)
When I arrived home, the yard was full of hurricane debris; branches and abundant piles of long pine needles. It smelled a bit like Christmas. It took a half day to clean up the yard. I was thinking about hurricanes as I raked and washed.  

A hurricane moves in a wide circle, the outer rings bring light rain, and as it picks up strength winds blow and bend trees. If it passes directly over, there is a time when it's profoundly hot, humid and the wind is still. It's a false calm because the storm is getting closer, but if you understand the hurricane's process, you have time to organize for the next ring of wind and rain to arrive. Usually, it's light rain again but then quickly turns into a dangerous storm. In the mountains, trees fall, mud slides, and a telephone pole may fall. But an amazing thing happens- you find the nicest people out on the road waving flashlights and yelling to passing cars (and complete strangers) that the road is blocked. "Slow down! Turn around! Be careful!" And though you cannot hear them, you know they must be warning you of approaching danger because they are risking their own lives while standing out in the storm. You slow down, see the telephone poll, and turn around as my husband did on the night that Earl brushed passed Puerto Rico. He was saved from a car crash because of those people shining their dim flashlights and yelling to save a stranger with all of their might.
The windy rings of change are turbulent, too, but don't you love it when you find heroes along the way? It's in the difficult times that we know how best to serve each other.These were my thoughts as I cleaned up after the storm. I'm having a storm in my life, but it's good. I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for!
Waiting at the San Juan airport.

Writer's Rising authors (and readers), thanks for reading!
I'm sending you good thoughts.

*Thanks to writer, Cynthia Newberry Martin, for the quote and inspiration.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Small Triumps

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
Yesterday on September 4th, 2010, I lived a new experience. I had my first radio interview on Starclear Radio, which is the online radio channel brainchild of Amy Lamb and Jeffrey Seelman. Starclear Radio is a channel that focuses on all manner of metaphysical, spiritual and paranormal topics. I was very honored to be asked by Amy to be a guest on their show. While I have dealt with media interviews in the past for clients and various companies I've worked for, this was the first time that the focus of the interview was on me.

Amy and Jeffrey are very skilled interviewers and they gave me this platform to talk about my writing, my blog here at Healing Morning, my Facebook group Authentic Blogger, and to introduce myself and my thoughts and opinions on a wide range of spiritual concepts. Many who are close to me are aware that it has been a lifelong goal to become a published author, and most are also aware that at any given time I have one or more manuscripts in progress. There is a specific concept and manuscript that I am currently writing that I hope will be my first published work. The process of getting published is full of challenges and fitful starts and stops, but I feel strongly this interview on Starclear Radio is a very positive stepping stone.

Most importantly, this experience has proved to me that I am capable of doing the media and promotional side of things. I've always been great at promoting others, but the thought of being the one right there in the spotlight had me concerned that no one would be all that interested in what I had to say. I now know this to be untrue, as I was inundated with emails, texts, phone calls and posts on various social media sites during and after the interview, with family and friends telling me I did a great job.

Today, Amy and Jeffrey sent me the link to the recorded show from yesterday. I will be able to use this link as a promotional tool for myself, for Healing Morning blog, and to perhaps use as a calling card as I search for the right literary agent, the right publishing house, the right publicist, etc. I admit that listening to the show was interesting, as our recorded voice always sounds a trifle odd to our own ears. All in all, I was very pleased with the easy, comfortable flow of discussion and conversation that happened during the interview. I give utmost credit to Amy and Jeffrey for keeping that smooth flow going and making the whole experience so enjoyable.

I am happy to say that I have been invited to make another guest spot on Starclear in the near future and I am hopeful that I'll have good news to impart about reaching that goal of being published by then. Until then, for those who may not have had the chance to tune in and listen to the live Starclear Radio broadcast, here is a link to the recorded and archived show.


It was a small moment of triumph for me, showing me that, yes, I am on the right track to pursue my dreams. As I mentioned to some friends on my Facebook wall the other day, one of my favorite things to tell people is this:

Be unapologetically passionate about your dreams. - SDS
Photo courtesy of
Bing images

I am taking my own advice and embracing this small triumph with a smile. I am celebrating the moment! It is well met, appreciated and enjoyed, because I recognize it is opening new doors to as yet to be imagined facets of those dreams. I look forward to the continuing journey.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gender stereotypes: do you subscribe to them or challenge them?

The original tagger called this "Sinners Against Gender Stereotypes" and explained it, thus:
Please list at least ten things you have ever wanted or done which your gender is not supposed to.

The tag is called ‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’. And you must tag twelve blogging friends or else you will be cursed to wear blue pants if you are a woman and pink shirts if you are a man – for next twelve years.
I'll point out two things at the outset:
  • I'm not a big fan of the word "sin." And using it in this context is a little offputting to me, since the lifestyle I've chosen and the individual I am is not a result of my sins against anything. It's just who I am.
  • I won't tag 12 blogging friends, but I invite you -- man or woman -- to share your experiences/anecdotes of ways in which you've charted a path for yourself that's against conventional ideologies of what men and women should ascribe to.
  • Also, bear in mind that I am, in now way, saying I’m better than other members of my gender who subscribe to the stereotypes that abound. I’m just sharing with you who I am. Take it or leave it.

    That said, here are some stories from my life that expound on this topic:

    1. I never played "house." While many four-year old girls around me brought out their utensil sets pretending to have tea parties and elaborate dinners, I sought to play doctor or lawyer or mechanic. Ladles and saucepans bored me. So did dolls. I was more intrigued by board games and building blocks.

    2. I'm competitive. To a fault. Most women I know give in when it comes to their loved ones. Not me. Stubborn as a mule, I will not let up on my position even for my mom. (Sometimes, especially if it's my mom.) I like to win and I don't believe in conceding for "the greater good." If you don't have the chops to play fair and play hard, then don't play with me. Also, don't be a crybaby when you've lost.

    3. I like speed. If I were in India, I'd say speeding, too. I wasn't ever reckless, but enjoyed the thrill that comes with weaving in and out of traffic and pushing one's vehicle to the limit. It's such a great adrenalin rush. Don't think I'll ever drive again in India (and yes I conform to the laws here even at 2 a.m.), but I do want to drive down the Autobahn once before it gets regulated.

    4. I don't fancy malls. Almost every woman I have known loves spending time in the malls or doing window shopping in "boutiquey" towns. I can't stand it. And I don't understand it. Why would you want to tire yourself walking for endless hours inside an air-conditioned enclosed structure when you could be out there taking in beautiful views hiking up a mountain? Retail therapy is lost on me completely. Read my confessions of the "non-feminine" kind here.

    5. I talk straight. I won't say "you know...the male part..." coyly. It's a penis. And it's fine to say that word. So, is saying breasts or clitoris or vagina. They're all body parts. Get over it already!

    6. I do not know my fabrics (organza, cotton, chiffon, polyester – they’re all the same to me). I also do not know my castes, religions, or religious observances. And I certainly do not fast unless ordered by a doctor.

    7. I won't allow you to shut me up in the name of our culture. I have a voice and a distinct identity ... just because you think I am supposed to be a demure, shy, spoke-only-when-you're-spoken-to domestic servant, doesn't mean you're going to get that from me. I am all for respecting our elders, but don't expect to use your age as a way to dictate to me who I should be. You'll be disappointed.

    8. I don’t like manicures, pedicures, facials, or waxing. I get the last one done only because I am borderline hirsute (at least I think that) and the monthly ritual makes me feel clean.

    9. I will not use my womanly charm to get anything done or receive favors. I rely on my intellect, sharp wit and occasional humor. Also, I’m a big fan of earnest hard work and equality.

    10. I believe in myself. I don’t need a male figure to tell me how good I am. I already know.

    I could go on and on, but it’s time I pass the mic.

    What do you have to share?

    P.S. This post can also be found on my blog and at Desicritics -- hop on over to see the comments there. Also, if you're so inclined, there is a Facebook group dedicated to Sinners Against Gender Stereotypes.