Boys’ Night Out

When I was growing up, we would get together at one of our family friends’ house almost every week. Then, the men and women would split up into their respective genders and socialize until it was time to go home. That was what I grew up seeing. Men in the living room, women in the kitchen.

But when us children hung out, it wasn’t split up. Even though we all went through the “boys/girls have cooties” stage and the “you’re a girl, you can’t play basketball” stage (and let me tell you, I was a great basketball player, especially in fancy Indian clothes), we still played together most of our lives.

And now, when we all get together with our spouses, it is still more of a mix. Almost all of the women in our group work full-time which might be the great equalizer. Or maybe it’s the fact that we don’t see such a big difference whether we speak to one of our male friends or female friends. We consider our spouses our best friends and not someone we have to take a break from. Yes, we recognize that there is a difference and there are things you can talk to your own gender about (like giving birth) but overall, we all get together and just hang out.

So I thought that this was the way most people in our generation would turn out as well. And most of the time, this is what I do see.

And then I run across people here and there that will usually always want to be with his or her own gender. I’m not saying a girls’ or boys’ night out is a bad thing. It is definitely needed once in a while. But I was in a relationship for a very long time where I was excluded constantly because my significant other always (and I mean, always) needed a boys’ night out. I didn’t understand it. I thought I was with someone who considered me his best friend and yet, I was treated like I wasn’t a friend, but a hindrance to his social life.

Needless to say, that relationship did not last. I was glad to finally be out of it and to find someone who likes having me around. My whole social world shifted when I realized that there aren’t too many people who still have to be separated from their female counterpart in order to have fun. In fact, most of the people I know have more fun with their significant others present.

But it is interesting when you do run into those types of people again. I see it all from a different perspective now since I am not the one who gets pushed to the side because my significant other needs boys’ night all the time. I’m not the one who gets left at home because the boys are more important. I’m lucky enough to be someone’s first priority and not in a line after every friend he has ever had.

It does make me wonder how that relationship functions now though. When I see these girls and guys segregate, how does it make the girl feel? Does she know she is with someone who will always put her needs second? Or is it by choice and she would rather be with her girlfriends than her significant other as well? Would she rather sit next to her husband/boyfriend or with the girls?

I know that different perspectives exist and I’m honestly curious because it’s not something I’ve ever understood. So if you have an opinion or can explain it to me, please comment below. I’d love to discuss why this whole thing is what it is.

Small Talk

We’re Indian. Which means that even if we don’t know someone, we kind of sort of know them. So when we run into them at social events, we have to make small talk. It’s how we socialize. It’s how we get to know people. And it’s how we make sure that it’s not awkward when we see them again.

I spent a 30 minute ride home with a family friend who I’ve known my whole life in almost complete silence. Her daughters are really good friends of mine so I asked how they were doing. And that was the end of our conversation. We just had nothing to talk about. I couldn’t even think of what to say so I just sat in silence until I reached home.

There are times I will run into people that I have met before and be at a complete loss of what to say to them. Other than the standard “how are you doing” and “what are you up to”, I have nothing to say. I know small talk comes easily to some people but I’m not sure how.

I have a cousin who once told me that she manages to start conversations by just asking people about themselves. She found that people love talking about themselves and this helped her jump start any conversation. Is it that I’m not that interested in people? Or maybe it’s just that I’m too scared to start talking about anything. Maybe I’m worried what’ll people will think of me.

It’s interesting to me that that insecurity is still around. I’m at a place that I’ve established myself. I know who I am. And if I say something that everyone doesn’t like, should I even worry that much about it? I am well aware that everyone might not like me at this stage in life.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve done my job making new friends over my whole life and now, it’s harder. Now, we really have to make an effort to know someone else. Now, we have to try to find common ground that isn’t just provided to us. Before, we made friends of circumstance. We went to school with someone, they lived near us, we were in the same social group outside of school. It takes a lot to pass the insecurity we might have in order to make new friends.

Now, we have to work at it, especially if it’s a situation where you are truly there just to make friends. You have to put yourself out there. You have to find a way to make the small talk so that you can really get to know the people that you meet.

Small talk. Fun, huh?

FOMO

FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out.

All my life, I’ve felt (and still continue to feel) like if I don’t attend every social event out there that I’m going to be missing out on something. It’s gotten worse with Facebook because then you know what you’ve been invited to or what events you’re missing out on. You see pictures of these events and it looks like everyone had such a great time and you are nowhere to be found anywhere. I’ve run myself into the ground to make sure that I’m able to be at every event there is. There was a time in my life that I would volunteer for every dance performance, go to every party, be at school, be at work. Needless to say, the only way I realize that I had to stop overextending myself is when my body shut down on me. That’s when I realized that my health was more important than being everywhere and took more time in taking care of myself.

Why do we do this to ourselves? The world isn’t going to stop if we don’t attend everything. I think part of it is (at least for myself) that I feel like people will forget I exist. That comes from a fear of not being important enough that people will remember me. If I always put myself in front of others, then they can’t forget me, right?

It’s an insecurity about who I am. This fear can extend not just my friends, but my family and my husband. It shows the lack of confidence I have in myself to know that I am important to someone. I have to say yes to everything so that these people always see me. And the only way to change it is to really start finding some confidence in who I am as a person. It’s knowing that no one is truly that easily forgettable. It’s knowing that if someone loves you, that no matter what you miss out on, you will get another chance.

I think this fear of missing out also applies to the fact that if I don’t attend something, will I regret it forever? Will it change something in my life that I can never get back again? The truth is probably not. I have missed events before and yet, my life continues on the path that it does. What didn’t happen can never happen, if that makes sense.

Now, my kid comes first. I will miss out on a lot of things. Events like parties at clubs, bars, movies aren’t things that I can go to at this time. I have to just hope that I matter enough to people that they will still try to spend time with me when we can.

A New Mom Reclaiming Her Life

We all talk about how you shouldn’t lose yourself when you get into a new relationship. We work so hard to maintain our individuality while merging into a relationship so that we still feel independent but can enjoy the aspects of spending time with a partner as well.

Well, what happens when you have a baby? As a new mom, I found myself really losing who I was.

Even before I had the baby, I didn’t recognize myself. I define my self worth by what I do (and if I really do it well). I had been working for the last 8-9 years and I had been dancing for a really long time and finding peace and happiness in that. But, as soon as I was a few weeks pregnant, I left my job due to the distances I was driving and I wasn’t allowed to do any other physical activity other than walk due to doctor’s orders. It was really hard for me. I still did see my friends but a lot of the activities I used to do were limited.

After I had the baby, there was obviously the time I needed to heal and get used to having a baby around. So that’s all I was doing for the first few months. But it was hard. You give yourself so entirely to this little human being. All of a sudden, the only label you have is mom. All of the other things you were disappear. At least, that is how I felt.

I’ve never been able to function in a one dimensional sense. Even though I worked in one profession, I was involved in so many other activities that really helped my life be well-rounded. So this was really a difficult way for me to live. There are women who fit so easily into the mother role and make themselves so well-rounded within that role. I’ve seen moms who plan activity after activity for them and their babies and it sounds amazing. I wish I could do that. But, after a recent breakdown, I realize that it’s not me. I need certain things in my life for me to feel like myself. And feeling like myself is the best thing I could do for my child.

I felt guilty wanting to be back in the workforce or wanting time to myself. I still haven’t gotten up the courage to have a girls night out without my baby. I want her to be with me at all times. But I have taken steps to reclaim who I was. I joined a gym and get an hour workout in a day which has done wonders to my self-esteem. I am looking to find other moms to hang out with. I have a found a new dance class that I’m really excited about. I also have taken steps to see if I can find a job that fits a schedule that would allow me to be home for my child whenever I want.

As much as I really wish I could do the stay at home mom thing with great joy, I know it’s not me. I need to find the things that help me feel like me so that I can really show my baby my best self, the person that I’m proud of, the person I want her to be proud of.