Grief

When Princess Diana died on August 31, 1997, I was 16 years old. In the time after that, I saw how much people grieved although I couldn’t quite understand why. It’s not like people really knew her. She was basically a celebrity. How could you feel grief for someone you hadn’t ever met or really even known?

Last Sunday, at 11:32 am, I received a text from my mom in our family group chat that said “Breaking news. Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter accident. Not 100% confirmed yet.”

I could feel the chills immediately take over my body. I did what I normally do when I hear a big piece of news. I start researching to find out if it’s true and what sources it came from. Obviously, there have been hoaxes before and I was hoping this was just another one. But as the day went on, the news was confirmed.

We were completely immersed in our personal family events that day so I didn’t really have time to process what had happened. The more we learned though, the more real it became. And when I went home that evening and finally had a quiet moment to myself, I felt it.

I don’t quite understand why I felt grief. I didn’t know Kobe Bryant other than he played for my absolutely favorite team on the planet. I never met him. I’m not very star stuck and am not really interested in meeting celebrities in general. With all of the drama and problems that Kobe had gone through and with the ego he had on him, I honestly didn’t really care to meet him.

So why? Why did I feel this way?

The best answer I can give is because we grew up together. I watched the Lakers from when I was a child but the Showtime era started before I was old enough to be a fan. I remember hearing about Magic Johnson’s HIV announcement and all of the questions that came with it at the time. I remember Johnson making a comeback and getting cut while playing and all of the players freaking out because he was bleeding on the court.

But Kobe, he came to the Lakers right after high school. Being only 3 years younger meant I was also in high school. I watched him learn how to play NBA basketball. I criticized what I thought were his stupid decisions (like marrying Vanessa at the age of 23 and having the power struggle with Shaq and Phil). I wondered as he went through his sexual assault case, wanting to defend him because he was a Laker but knowing full well that it was possible that he wasn’t innocent and that I would always side with the victim. I judged how long he stayed in the league and how he was drawing all resources to himself so we couldn’t put a decent team on the floor to win 3 more championships.

Then, he retired. I can honestly say I didn’t follow him so much after he was off the court as I did when he was on the court. I didn’t even know he made a movie until he won as Oscar. But when he did win it, I was proud like it was my friend that had won.

He was like that friend that you don’t see often or even talk to often, but when you do, it’s like nothing has ever changed. He would always be a part of our lives because he was a Laker. He was part of the purple and gold that runs in the undercurrents of Los Angeles.

It’s complicated. I know there are things he’s done that were wrong but I also believe that he learned how to change for the better. The more I learn about him now, the more I believe he might be someone I would have wanted to meet as an adult. He had drive, passion, and ambition. He was doing exactly what we all do with our kids every day, take them to their extracurricular activities and watch and support them.

The only way I can describe what I feel is grief. Grief over seeing someone I grew up with gone. Grief over seeing someone who was finding his new path gone. Grief over someone who had changed the history of our city gone.

I still have trouble believing it. I don’t know if I ever will.

Couples and Communication

So I’m going to tell you the truth about my new year’s eve. My husband and I had a fight. It sucked. We were both tired and we had been dealing with illnesses traveling around our family for a few weeks. There came a point where stuff we had been thinking about and not saying just all came out. It wasn’t the greatest way to start off a new year but we figured it out.

We try to both be understanding of each other but sometimes, that leads to resentment. Holding stuff in doesn’t really help resolve anything and then, one of us ends up really angry at the other.

The problem with this situation is that constructive communication is something we both had to learn. Putting our ego aside for the benefit of our relationship is something we both had to learn. Talking to each other with the common end goal of moving forward is something we had to learn.

Unfortunately, these aren’t lessons that are readily available in the Indian culture. We don’t know that we need to continuously evolve in ourselves and in our relationships. The end goal is usually to get married. No one explains that you have to keep working on your relationship after the wedding. It’s just assumed that you will stay together regardless of anything else. We are taught that we just need do what we need to do and that’s it.

But that isn’t it. Awareness and improvement are a relatively new concept in the Indian community. Happiness and emotional needs are also new concepts as well. So we have to realize ourselves that we need to be able to look at our lives and analyze it so we can make it better. As a couple, we need to be able to talk to each other and figure out a way to move forward that is beneficial to both people.

Marriage is something that should be fun. Sometimes, there are occasions where it isn’t so much. But as long as we talk and try to understand each other, it should be a short-lived situation. Then, we go back to having fun.

My husband and I sure did.

Egos

We’re all just normal people, right? We live our every day lives and do our every day things. Until we have a big idea and do something that positively affects the lives of many around us.

The ego is an interesting thing. I’m not talking in the psychological sense. I’m talking in the sense of when people have a big ego. Trust me, it’s not hard to get when people admire or appreciate you for doing something. From what I’ve seen, it is more difficult to stay grounded when things really happen for you.

Granted, that whatever you accomplished probably took a lot of determination and hard work. The achievement was probably well-deserved. So what happens when you start developing an ego about it?

I know people who are some of the best at what they do and are completely grounded. I know people who have worked for where they are now and somehow believe that this allows them to treat others like they are less. So it goes both ways.

I think the thing to remember is that everything passes. If you’ve achieved something, that achievement will eventually be yesterday’s news. Everything moves forward, everything keeps growing and changing. How long can you sit on that one achievement and expect to be admired for it?

I see people my age who keep trying to keep the limelight on themselves. It’s almost like the only thing they are trying to do now is feed their own ego. It’s sad that they aren’t even considering the side effects of this need. When I say side effects, I mean the fact that I’ve seen these same people walk over, take advantage, and really disregard the feelings of others. People get hurt in the process and these egotistical people do not take any responsibility for it.

I do believe that what goes around comes around. I think that if you have an honest heart and mind, that will show itself back to you somehow. You will get the respect and admiration you deserve. So keep doing what to do and know that it will pay off in the end.

The Need to Be Right

Why is it that we have to be so sure that we know what we are doing all the time? Why is it that we have to always have the final word in a discussion or have to prove that we have all of the correct information? Why do we have this need to be right?

When I was younger, I definitely was like this all of the time. I don’t know if I was trying to prove something about myself or what the deal was. I would argue and fight and make sure everyone knew that I had the best opinion on whatever the situation was. I did learn and grow out of it even though there are times when this part of my personality still comes out. 

I’ve watched other people do this over and over again. There are those who manage to involve themselves in other people’s lives or who will walk away from a good thing just because they believe they are right. I honestly think it’s fine to fight for what you believe in. But why do we have to fight when it’s not something that definitely needs change? I used to fight over which movie actors were the best or what songs were good. I don’t think this is a discussion that needs to be rehashed 100 times to prove that I’m right. 

So what’s the deal then? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we fight uselessly when it’d be just as easy to let things go? Is it our ego? Is it that we have to prove that we are smarter or more knowledgeable to others? Why can’t we accept that we are all human and there is a chance that we might not know everything? 

I think it’s important to accept that there might be value in what someone else thinks and says. It’s important to keep an open mind and realize that we might not know everything. I think there are some fights not worth fighting. Sometimes, letting things go helps us protect ourselves from getting hurt when someone else forces their opinion onto us. Separating yourself takes the emotion out of a situation that might not be worth it. Giving someone else the time to express themselves might teach us something new. 

There are some fights worth fighting and some that are not. Sometimes, our own peace of mind is better than any fight.