Self-Doubt

I recently wrote a post with the question of whether or not I am a toxic person.

Logically, I know that I am trying to be the best person I can be even though it doesn’t always show. What I didn’t know is that my self-doubt would increase tremendously since I lost the friend that forced me to confront this question. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I can understand it and realize that it happened and there’s not much I can do what happened in the past but I didn’t realize that it would follow me for months.

It’s not the first time I’ve been through a loss of some sort. It’s happened before and crushed everything I knew about myself. I remember feeling like I disappeared for a while. I had to really work hard to find myself. I went through therapy and really worked on myself and I became someone I liked and respected. After I entered my 30s, I thought I knew who I was. I had read enough books and really took a look at my life. I found things and people I loved and believed that I had settled into who I was supposed to be. I had accomplished some pretty cool things that I was proud of and moved forward.

There’s been a lot of changes since that point. It’s been almost 8 years since I turned 30. And somehow, I’m back in the middle of a bunch of questions. I have constantly been meeting new people through my kids’ schools and classes and through the dance classes we teach. And through it all, I thought I knew myself and had accepted the fact that not everyone would be my best friend. That was okay. I knew who my tribe was. I knew the strength of the bonds I had formed.

But now, I’m questioning the basic core of myself. Am I someone that people want to be around? Am I someone that my kids like? Am I someone that I can respect?

I have fallen back into the trap of questioning myself after every social engagement. I worry that I said the wrong thing or did something that offended someone. The logical grown-up in me knows that whatever happens happens and it’s okay as long as I tried my best to be a good person but the emotional anxiety in me has risen up immensely.

Do I have to go through the same work again to be comfortable with myself? How do I learn to trust myself again? What if no one ever likes me? (Oh man, that thought makes me feel like a teenager again.) How do I know that this won’t happen with other people?How do I know if I’m disappointing or hurting someone else enough that they will decide to stop being my friend as well?

How do I manage this self-doubt?

 

Say Yes

I have trouble saying yes to things. Last week, my husband suggested that I go get a massage while our kids were napping. My neck and shoulder had been hurting and I could feel knots everywhere. I couldn’t resolve the pain even with the help of medicine and rest. I was causing more pain in my hands by trying to massage out the knots myself. The next logical step was, of course, for me to get a professional to try to help get the knots out.

My first reaction was to say no. My first reaction to every suggestion is instinctively to say no.

Why is this? Why do I feel like I can’t say yes to anything? I don’t know if this is a part of my personality or if it’s something I’ve picked up as a mom. I wonder if a part of me thinks I don’t deserve what I’m being offered. I feel like I have to sacrifice what I want or something good for me in order for me to be a good person.

Is this something that we, as women, do? Do we turn down things automatically before we even think about whether we would want to do them or not? Why is that? Do we feel like we aren’t deserving of every opportunity that comes our way?

I also wonder if it could be the fear of something different or new. Does the idea of stepping outside our daily scheduled box make us feel uncomfortable? Am I going to start questioning myself when something that scares me meets with head on with an opportunity? What would convince to say yes?

A little while ago, I read Shonda Rhimes’s book “Year of Yes”. She found herself receiving all sorts of opportunities because she didn’t turn down the requests she usually did. She is one of the most successful women in the entertainment industry and still, she automatically said no to things that forced her outside of her comfort zone. It changed some aspects of her life.

I know that getting a massage isn’t exactly facing a big fear for me but leaving my kids seems to be. I overthink every time I make plans away from them. I don’t exactly why this is but I’m glad that I can at least acknowledge it and hopefully, I can say yes to a few more opportunities that come my way. I want to be able to face my fears and see what saying the word “yes” will do for me.

The Positive Of Social Media

When you scroll through social media, it’s easy to be jealous of what you perceive other people’s lives to be like.

I get this way all the time especially since my life at the moment revolves almost completely around my kids.

Then, I realized something. The person I was consistently wishing I was like is someone I could talk to because she has been through what I’ve been through. So I did. I messaged her and she and I spoke for a bit about what I’ve been feeling and where I was stuck.

This is someone I knew entirely through social media so I had no idea if she would be someone I could confide in or if she was someone that would get me. But she did. She told me about how she felt when she was in the same life situation as me and how she moved on from there. She told me about her coping techniques. It was helpful.

I know there are a lot of negative things you could pull from social media but there are a lot of positive things as well. If we see someone doing something positive, instead of being jealous, we can try to learn from them. We can find a way to use other people’s experiences as resources and help ourselves get through whatever we need to get through.

 

The Internal Struggle of Loving Yourself

Have you ever struggled with yourself? Maybe constantly battling with feeling valid or just a whole lot less invisible?

This internal battle is no joke. Loving yourself isn’t easy.

It’s easy to be numb and go through your day every day and not realize that something isn’t feeling right. It’s not easy to realize that you are numb and how can you find a way to feel again? Even better, how can you feel good about yourself again?

I don’t like who I have become. I’m doing my best as a mother, wife, business owner, and dancer. But I’m not doing my best as me. That’s probably because I’m so focused on doing well on everything else, I haven’t found the time for me to know myself anymore.

Life changes so fast that if you don’t actively keep up with yourself, you are easy to lose. All of a sudden, I don’t know who I am anymore. I know my labels. But who am I? The person I can see at the moment, I don’t like very much.

I know that I have to look inwards and figure out what makes me happy internally. I have to figure out how to move myself past this phase. If I’m internally happy, I can be a better mother, wife, business owner, and dancer.

It’s work and it’s tiring on top of everything else. But honestly, I don’t want to be miserable. I want to love myself. Because it’ll make it that much easier to accept the love that everyone else wants to share with me.

The Guilt Trip

Do you know that woman that finds a way to passively aggressively guilt trip you when something doesn’t go her way? She can turn anything around so that even if the whole thing wasn’t about her, it becomes about her. Instead of just addressing an issue at face value, she keeps pushing and twisting so that she can become the victim.

I know her. I used to be her.

In my last few relationships before my marriage, if my significant other didn’t do something the way I wanted, I found a way to fight and make it about me. I used to be act like things were okay but then freeze him out. I used to guilt trip and guilt trip and guilt trip. I did it to my friends too. But I finally realized though that a good relationship is based on direct communication rather than trying to force someone to understand you without talking to them.

Recently, I’ve made some mistakes. Honest mistakes that I didn’t mean to make but since I’m human, they happened. I also owned up to them and apologized for them. Now the people on the receiving end decided that instead of just accepting my apology and understanding that it happens, that they needed to make subtle comments on the fact that I screwed up.

I know when I’m being guilt tripped because I start having these arguments with the people guilt tripping me in my head. I think about what I want to say to them, explain to them so they understand why my mistakes happened. I want to yell and scream at them until they understand why it’s not my fault and that obviously there is something wrong with them if they had to guilt trip me. And this conversation goes around in circles in my head.

I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want to have these conversations in my head and I really don’t want to have them in real life. Is it really worth arguing with someone who guilt trips? They obviously think they are the victims of whatever happened.

I like what The Four Agreements says. “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.” It’s true. My mistakes weren’t meant to cause anyone harm. They were true mistakes on my part. So I will go ahead and believe that these people need to guilt trip me because of something that they are going through. Maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s something in their past, or maybe it’s just the way they think.

All I know for sure is that I don’t want to go through life feeling like I have to guilt trip people to make myself feel better. I don’t want to be passive aggressive in my communication methods. I would rather resolve a problem directly and move on. As my husband once told me, “You can be lame or you can have fun.” I choose to have fun every time.

LA Chicks

I was out at a dinner with a few girlfriends yesterday and one of them brought up the fact that she was being favorably compared against a typical LA girl. Meaning the person making the assessment was telling her that she seemed so much more down-to-earth and not as fake as the typical LA girl can be. I’m not sure if this comparison was based on a South Asian Indian LA girl or just LA girls in general.

I thought it was worth bringing up though because I was born and raised in LA. I’ve never lived anywhere else (except for 2 years in college until I realized I’d never be happy anywhere but home). Am I that typical LA girl? What does this typical LA girl look like? There is obviously some stereotype out there about us but I’m honestly not sure what it is.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about this mysterious girl. I’ve heard about this girl chasing men based on the things he has and not the type of person he is. I believe this girl also is not exactly the nicest to her fellow women. She’s self-centered and believes the world revolves around her but doesn’t realize that she tends to make it about herself. At least, that’s what I think.

If you know anything else about these LA chicks, please do share because I’m not a 100% sure who they are. It could be that if they are full of drama, I walked away from them on my own because I couldn’t handle it. It could be that it’s just a stereotype that someone created a long time ago and isn’t really a reality anymore.

I just feel a bit sad in the fact that I am categorized as an LA chick and that’s a bad thing. As far as I know, I don’t fit the stereotype. I also wish I wasn’t judged on where I was raised or how I dress or what you think you know about me.

Some of us are still pretty normal. I think.

Dowry

So, yes, it still exists in India. One of the drivers we met in India told us that he was working as hard as he was because he had three daughters that still needed to get married. That means that not only does he have to pay for the cost of the wedding (which will be over-extravagant and way beyond the family’s means) but he has to give the groom’s family a variety of gifts.

The official definition of dowry according to Google is the property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage. In India, as far as I know (and you can correct me if I’m wrong), the groom’s side asks for a bunch of things from the bride’s family as part of the requirement to marry her. Yup, that’s right. The bride’s family is required to give him all sorts of stuff in order to marry her. Now you tell me how that makes you feel if you’re a woman.

My mother-in-law told me the other day that the ratio of men to women in India is now 6:1. That means there are so many more men than women there. Women are valuable and in high demand. So why and how the dowry system still exist? And I know it does because I’ve heard accounts of people dealing with a situation where the demands of the groom’s family are getting out of hand.

My big question is what if that driver invested the money he was saving for his daughters’ weddings into their education instead? Wouldn’t that then provide these girls of a way to become independent and financially support themselves? They wouldn’t need to marry unless they wanted to. They wouldn’t need a husband to take care of them. They could choose a partner based on mutual respect and equality.

Is that even a possibility? Could you imagine what would happen if so many more women were able to take care of themselves?

If these women could get an education and financially support themselves, would they have the confidence to refuse to marry someone who was asking for a dowry?

What Indian People Think

Sometimes, I read what other people write about being an Indian raised in another country. It’s scary to see what they think. I read a couple of articles written by these Indian people about how we are losing our culture if we are born and raised in America. We defy our parents, we ignore our traditions, we don’t want to participate in anything even remotely Indian.

I’ve written a few articles about this in various forms already. Just because I’m American does not mean I’m not Indian. Yes, there are things that have changed since the good old days where the daughter or daughter-in-law would just blindly do what her elders asked but that’s called progress. It’s called knowledge.

In exchange for me not being the world’s best cook or the Indian woman that cleans all day long, I am independent. I know how to financially support myself. I never needed to get married to someone in order to survive. Instead I chose to marry someone who supports my passions and interests and we have a relationship based on friendship and love. We are here because we want to be not because we have to be.

On that note, I chose my own life partner. I really got to know myself myself and having gone through previous relationships only helped me understand who the right person was for me to take this journey with. In exchange for that, I won’t resent having missed out any part of life. I won’t feel stuck in a relationship because it was my duty to be there. I will love myself and my partner because I have gotten the chance to chase my dreams.

Yes, I don’t agree with or listen to everything my elders say. In this day and age, with all of the information out there, the ideas that we had grown up with might not be the same or even accurate anymore. I also believe in making my own mistakes. But guess what? Neither of us, my elders or I, know everything. We all have to learn. It doesn’t matter if they had done something before us and we are in the process of doing it now. Times have changed! Things have changed!

It’s frustrating that those of us who were raised in a different country still get judged for it. The truth is that our parents left India to make a better life for us. Our parents wanted better opportunities for us. So then why do we get judged when we take advantage of these opportunities? You can’t expect us to move forward in one thing and still be behind in something else. I can’t be an educated woman and then be expected to sit at home, cooking and cleaning all day (unless it’s truly what I love to do). With knowledge comes change. With knowledge comes progress.

I think it’s time that the Indian people who keep thinking we are losing our culture and traditions realize that it’s not that we’re losing them. It’s that our culture and traditions are evolving. Things will change. They always have. Even if you believe that everything has been the same for thousands of years, I can promise you that it hasn’t. Even in India, things have changed over time.

So please stop judging us. Accept change. It’s the only way that you’ll really ensure that the things that are important to you stay around (unless you expect me to wait on you hand and foot because that’s not happening).

Halloween: Frumpy or Sexy?

Simran: I saw a great post on Reddit today on the evolution of women & halloween.

Halloween is coming and we are shopping for costumes for our baby’s first halloween. It has to be CUTE! A tootsie roll, a puppy, a little monster, a cute bunny… AHHH! So much cuteness, I can’t take it! But there are hardly any good options for my wife to complement her cuteness. Majority of the things out there are short skirts and skin-tight dresses. We are looking to make our little one Snow White. Come on, let’s hear it… “awwww”. So my wife thought she would be the evil queen. Enter the evil queen costume hunt:

halloweenEvilQueenCostumes

 

I think the safest thing is the apple she’s holding.

Yeah there is stuff out there that is a little more conservative but enter psychological price manipulation:

halloweenCosutmePrices

Sexy is cheaper!

As our little girl gets older her options turn into shorter and tighter fitting costumes. They go from “aww what a cute little girl” to “dayummm girl”.

That’s it! My little girl is wearing knee high funky socks that don’t match and skirts that go up to these knees. I rather be weird and funky than an objectified.

SofiaVargaraAt theEmmys.

Shailee: When we got our daughter a Snow White costume, my first thought was that I’d be the Evil Queen from the movie. She is pretty cool with all that magic she can do down in her basement. So I googled “Snow White Evil Queen” to find outfits. My two options are something that is completely revealing or something that is huge and frumpy. We are planning on taking my kid around the neighborhood trick or treating. I honestly don’t want to wear something that makes me feel like I’m not even a woman anymore. We are also having super hot weather over here and wearing something that big would guarantee I come home as one big sweat stain. And I never wore costumes that sexy prior to having a baby so wearing them now isn’t even an option. Besides, I just don’t think it’s appropriate to go around the neighborhood where a bunch of kids are trick or treating wearing something that barely belongs in a club.

So I’ll turn to my third option: making the outfit myself. That’s the only way I can get something middle-of-the-road that I’d feel comfortable wearing. It’ll take some work but I’ll feel better in that than either of the options I can buy ready-made from a store. I’ve had to do this before as well. A few years ago, a few of my friends and I decided to be Batman villains and I chose Poison Ivy. I made a green dress, attached leaves to it, and had green leaves and vines drawn on my body where there was some skin showing. I was comfortable.

I’ve always appreciated the costumes that are innovative and unique more than something that just shows skin (of course, I’m not a guy so maybe I’m the wrong person to ask). One year, I saw a guy wearing the Quail Man costume. It’s still one of my favorite costumes that I have ever seen.

As long as I’ve known, Halloween has been an excuse for women to wear extremely sexy costumes (let’s be honest, most don’t buy the big, frumpy ones). Why is that? Why do we use it as an excuse to wear less than we would on a daily basis? Is it insecurity? Do we need to feel like we need to show skin in order to compete with the others dressed sexy when we go out partying for Halloween? Are the women in the sexy costumes the only people who get attention?

I want to set a good example for my daughter that you don’t have to wear a sexy Halloween costume to get attention. You can get the same attention by using your imagination and creativity.A couple of years ago, my husband made a Wall-E costume from scratch. Last year, he made us a coffee mug and donut costume. We received plenty of attention because both costumes were so unique. My hope is that she gets into Halloween every year and really has fun coming up with creative ideas. My hope is that she has enough confidence to know that she doesn’t need to show a ton of skin in order to feel good about herself.

When Will I Be Normal Again?

This post is hard one for me to write. Especially when I hear other moms talking about how wonderful their lives are and how being a mom is all they ever wanted. Let me make sure one thing is clear. I love my child and couldn’t imagine my life without her. I’ve been waiting for her for a long time and am truly happy she is here. But I know I can’t be alone in feeling this way so here goes.

It’s been about two months since I’ve had my baby and yet I still don’t feel like myself. I know it takes time to get into a new groove and to really find yourself again but it’s hard waiting for that time to come.

I want to teach my daughter to have confidence in herself and really learn how to carry herself in a way where she knows who she is. It’s a hard thing to teach when your own confidence is so low. This time period is one where we, as new moms, are still recovering physically, we are a mess emotionally, and we are sleep deprived. It’s no wonder that having confidence in yourself is a struggle.

I want to feel good about myself but am having a hard time doing so. My body is still returning back to normal and I’m still not cleared to exercise. I don’t recognize myself physically. And this results in me feeling unattractive and like I don’t even warrant a second look. We all want to feel validated on how we look even though rationally we know that we did just put our body through something major and it’ll take time to get back to what we remember.

A lot of validation for me also comes through in what I have accomplished. Lately, my accomplishments only come in the form of whether I got my baby to sleep through the night. It’s hard when you see others still going out and doing things that seems amazing or further their career and you don’t get the chance.

I know that these feelings are temporary and I am proud that I’m raising a child. I think about whether I want to go to work right now but I couldn’t even imagine being away from her for a minute.

I’m hoping that catching up on sleep and my life slowly returning to something I remotely recognize will help boost my confidence back to where it used to be. No one said being a new mom was easy but no one mentioned all of these changes that you feel as a woman.

i know this time period is dedicated to my child but, at the same time, I want to feel good about myself so I can show her what a strong woman looks like. It’s important to me to be able to show her the confidence I have in myself so she will know how to develop that same confidence one day.