What About Your Friends? (Throwback to TLC)

There are some days that it really hits that I don’t have that many friends. I definitely have a few good friends but I’m not getting 800 invites per weekend to do things. People aren’t throwing parties in my honor, I’m not getting a ton of texts a day, and my weekends aren’t crammed with random events.

To be fair, having kids also limits your social life a little bit but I don’t want to blame them since this has spilled over from my life pre-kids.

My friends have now evolved into people who will come running any time of the day if I need them, people who will be there to the best of their ability between their busy lives, people who I can be completely open to about what I feel and think.

And while I love that I do have some really good friends, sometimes, it does hit me that I’m never going to be the popular girl.

I guess I never was. From the second I was in school, I have never been the center of anyone’s crowd. I’ve never been the person that everyone needed at a party. I’m not the person that would up anyone’s social standing (if there is still such a thing). Even my “groups” from college or different dance teams have moved in a different direction. And while I was there though, I was always on the periphery. I was the one person who was good friends with one of the people in the group which is how I was a part of it.

Honestly, I suck at making small talk with people. And to be completely blunt, sometimes, I’d rather be home with a good book or watching tv than be in a social setting full of people I don’t know.

For example, a few years ago I went to a party without my kid for the first time since becoming a mom. I was so excited to be able to be in the party scene again. But when I was there, I spent all my time hanging out with a good friend who I still saw on a monthly basis and talked to all the time anyways. I did small talk with a bunch of other people who I knew but wasn’t really friends with and then just hung out with the person I was most comfortable with and liked being around. It made me wonder what the point was of being at this party.

Recently, I watched someone who has a lot of friends at their social events. I kept trying to figure out if she was just more extroverted than I or maybe nicer than I am. Maybe she is just easy-going enough to be able to accumulate a lot more friends. Maybe she just has more time since she isn’t raising 2 smalls kids. (Although again, I don’t think that is a fair assessment because these personality traits of mine were there before I had kids.)

I also started wondering if sometimes, people just hang out with each other so they have “friends”. Do some of them in the group really even like each other? Or do they just tolerate it because it’s their group?

I don’t really have a conclusion to this. All I know is that this is where I am in life. At this point, I don’t really expect it to change. Maybe between the time I was a teenager to my 20s. Or my 20s to my 30s. But now, on the downside to 40, I doubt that I can change this part of my personality. I don’t even know if I’d want to. I’ve made the effort this far in my life and maybe it’s time for me to just be.

This might just be who I am.

How Do You Talk To An Indian Auntie?

I can’t relate to Indian aunties. If I run into them at different events, it’s literally a “Hi, how are you?” situation and then I’m on my way. I’ve tried the small talk thing but honestly, it’s usually a fail.

I always thought that it was the fact that I was younger and it was something I’d outgrow but after going to recent family events, I’m now accepting that maybe it’s just me. Even now that I have kids and we have more in common than before, I still don’t know what to say to them.

It seems to be mutual. They are nice enough to exchange the social norms with me but that’s as far as it goes.

And I’m not really sure why this is. I can connect to some people but maybe I just don’t have much in common with the aunties. I have some friends who seem to be able to talk to everyone. They are able to be friends and make people laugh and it’s no problem at all. I just don’t seem to have the ability. Maybe it’s also partly that I never developed a relationship with some of them past being their friend’s daughter.

I also started thinking that maybe I’m not an easy person for aunties to relate to. I don’t know how to be myself and connect to them. Maybe it’s a generational gap, maybe it’s being raised in India versus being raised in America, or maybe it’s just a personality thing.

Who knows? I wish I could figure out what makes it easy for us to talk to some people and really difficult to talk to others.

Until then, we just hang out with those who make it easier for us to be ourselves.

 

Facing The Way You Feel

Analyzing yourself is hard. Really looking inward and trying to understand why you are the way you are and feel the way you feel is hard.

I’ve looked head on into my feelings a few times before but it usually happened during a breakdown after years of suppressing them. I would get to this point where I would just explode because I had tried to be so strong while ignoring the way I felt. It’d be a lot to clean up after because after my real feelings came through, all that was left of myself was a broken down mess.

I realized after I had done this a few times about a few major parts of my life that I needed to find a better way to deal with everything. It’s so easy to fall into complacency and build this strong shield around yourself to function on a daily basis.

Recently, I have started feeling like if I don’t maintain that shield, I will break down again. This time is different because I’m mostly just struggling with parenting my kids. I love them and I know that this is what I need to be doing right now but sometimes, it’s just so hard. I also know that this part of my life will just take some time to even out.

I also know that if I really try to look inwards, it’s going to be somewhat of a mess in there. So for now, I try to find ways to cope and survive. I find the small joys in my days and take those for what they are.

I know that I’ll have to address my feelings head on at some point but I don’t think that the time is now for me. It’s partially true that I’m doing this for my kids but it’s also partially true that I’m a little scared to see what’s in there.

I hope your journey into addressing your feelings is more successful and that you are able to find what you really need.

Turn My Brain Off, Please!

You know those people who are able to do whatever they want without a second thought?

Yeah, I’m not one of those people.

I always always second guess everything.

I feel guilty about not staying within the lines.

If I do something that isn’t okay by someone else’s opinion, I feel horrible about it.

This was definitely worse when I was younger. I definitely judged myself through everyone else’s eyes and opinions.

After a certain point, I realized that I couldn’t live my life according to everyone else. And while most of the time, I can be okay with whatever happens, there are times when I overthink everything. I start analyzing and overanalyzing and eventually, arrive at the conclusion that everyone doesn’t like me or something I did.

So I guess my point is that sometimes, I wish I was one of those people who could just turn my brain off and experience life without worrying so much.

The Next Step

Last week, I wrote about mental health and yesterday, I mentioned how it’s important to be able to cope with the feelings that you might be having.

I also wanted to dedicate an article to what the next step is.

If you don’t feel like you figured out ways to cope and actually feel better, it might be time to seek help. There is nothing wrong with needing professional help. As I mentioned before, if you are willing to see a doctor for your body, why would you feel bad about seeing a doctor for your mind? It is a part of who we are and it also needs to be taken care of.

So what’s the next step?

When I finally admitted that I needed help, I literally just got on the phone with my insurance company. A lot of insurance companies have a phone number for mental health on the back of their card. And when I say I got on the phone with the company, I mean that my friend and I got on the phone because I still needed the support. It was a hard decision to make. It made me feel like I failed at something because I wasn’t able to deal with my issues by myself.

Sometimes, you need someone to help you stand yourself up again. And it’s okay.

So I called the insurance company’s mental health line and asked them who they covered in my area. They literally started at A and gave me 5 names and numbers. I called the first number on the list and made an appointment.

It’s important that you like your therapist and feel like they can help you. I needed someone to listen and to help me navigate my murky feelings. I needed someone who could help me take steps to become me again.

I was lucky that the first name that I called was the first person I saw was the therapist I ended up seeing for the next 4 years. Even when I felt better and more like myself after a year or two, I kept on seeing her every so often just as a tune-up. I saw her as I went through a few other phases in my life and she helped me get through them.

The only reason I stopped was because I moved away and physical distance made it difficult. I haven’t found another therapist because I haven’t felt the urgency to see one yet. After having 2 kids though and not quite feeling like myself for a while, I am thinking about finding one near me.

I want to be the best version of me I can be and be able to give that to my family. So I’ll do what I can to find that person again.

Coping

Life is hard sometimes.

I don’t want you to feel like just because you have everything you physically need that it can’t be hard as well. Many of us deal with emotional issues on a daily basis. And it’s just as important. It’s easy to argue with ourselves and list down the positives that we have and therefore, ignoring the things that are difficult for us. I believe that you should definitely acknowledge the positive but instead of ignoring the negative, find a way to deal with them. Find a way to make it better.

Me, I’m constantly struggling to feel my value in this world. My brain can argue with my heart and list 100 different ways I am valuable to many people. But I really need to feel that contentment. I have been diagnosed with depression at least once in my life. I haven’t felt the need to see a therapist again about it but I am aware that I probably am fighting against it constantly.

I cope with this struggle by exercising. Not only does it help me get out from inside my head and heart but it makes me feel good about myself physically. Dance is also a big one for me. Just being able to fall into the music and leave myself for a few hours is really helpful. I’m not thinking about anything except what my body is doing. I’m not really thinking about anything. I’m just feeling.

I have a sister who does a lot of coping by being out in nature. It helps her to deal with whatever she needs to deal with in her life. Whether it’s hiking or traveling, just being outside helps you to realize how much positivity there is in the world. I once did a hike where I had no cell service the entire time. It felt good to disconnect and emotionally recharge.

There are a lot of ways to cope with the emotional anxieties that we face. These are just a couple of examples that work for my family.

I hope you find whatever helps you cope.

Mental Health

Mental health. It’s such a big part of our day to day lives but it is the thing we take the least care of. It’s an interesting thought. We will workout, eat right, and go to the doctor to keep our physical bodies healthy but what do we do keep ourselves mentally healthy?

It’s hard to recognize that your mental health is important, especially if you’re Indian. As a society, we don’t acknowledge that our mental health is something that can be positively or negatively affected. We weren’t raised in families where we talked about the way we felt (although I do feel things are changing now).

It is important though. It’s important to talk about and address what we feel and how it affects our lives.

For example, as a stay at home mom, I go through difficult periods due to all of the changes that happen. Just as I finally got used to managing my life as a mom to my first kid and became comfortable with my life, I had a second kid and everything got thrown off again. Now I have to get used to a new norm and balance. I felt like I lost a little part of me when I had my first kid. It just doubles with a second because now there are 2 people who are relying on you for everything. And as much as I love my kids, I also need to find a way to love and feel good about myself. If I am not strong for myself, how can I be strong for my kids?

The first step is always recognizing that you aren’t at a good balance mentally. Then, you can decide on what you need to do to figure yourself out again. Sometimes, it just takes some time and focus on yourself. Sometimes, it requires help from outside.

There is no shame in admitting that you need help with your mental health. If anything, I believe that it makes you a stronger person because you recognize that you do need help.

So be strong. Know yourself.