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.

I Hate The Way I Look Post-Baby

I hate the way I look right now.

Granted, I had a baby 6 weeks ago. I was literally only cleared by the doctor to start working out yesterday. I don’t have as much time to do my hair or makeup with 2 kids running around.

But, in this world of social media, I see these women (and I’m talking about women I know or that are friends of friends) who look awesome and thin and wear the prettiest dresses. (Side note: I don’t compare myself to actresses or models. Their jobs required them to look good all the time so they have to make the time to work out.)

And it makes me feel really bad about myself.

I know it’ll take time before I feel good about myself physically again. It takes time, patience, and dedication, all of which I had and will commit to because my self-esteem relies a lot on how I look as well as who I am.

I know that I can’t be the only mom who feels this way. Our bodies go through so much to bring a life in this world and our most of our time afterwards goes into taking care of that life. It would be nice if we could feel great about ourselves after right away.

Normally, I’d try to find a solution to the problem in my post, solutions such as write in a journal or try to find ways to boost your self-esteem emotionally and mentally to make up for the physical for the moment. But it’s hard right now because sometimes, when you feel bad about how you look, you just feel bad about how you look.

It’ll just take time (and exercise) to change that feeling.

All we can do is be patient and work hard to achieve our goals.

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.

The Good Indian Girl

As an Indian girl, I’ve been taught by society to always be “perfect”. We are required to fit a whole host of stereotypes. We are supposed to know how to cook, clean, raise children, and even hold down a job now. On top of it, no matter how modern we are, we are supposed to hold our heads down when it comes to speaking with our elders or voicing our own opinions. Sharing your thoughts or having a different point of view makes us the not so good Indian girl.

But seriously, how long can we do this for? I can’t. This past weekend, at the wedding I was attending, I ran into a man who decided to say that the groom was on his last night of freedom. And me being me decided to reply “freedom from what?” I didn’t understand that statement. The groom was just as lucky as the bride in entering this marriage. If he thought that he was losing his freedom, he should not be getting married. It wasn’t the most thoughtful statement to make and I wanted to let that man know that it was unacceptable.

Should I have just let him say whatever we wanted even if it was insulting to the whole institution of marriage? Should I have just kept quiet while he put down the bride in the sense that she was taking away the groom’s freedom?

Lately, I’ve been dealing with a barrage of opinions on how I am raising my kid. Now, her doctor has said that she is in perfect health. So, the opinions are just that….opinions. There is nothing wrong with my kid.. But regardless, I continuously hear these opinions over and over again. As a stay-at-home mom, that means that the people who share these opinions believe I am failing at my job.

So am I supposed to be the “good Indian girl” and not say anything back? Am I supposed to just keep my head down and let people insult me? Am I never supposed to stand up for myself as a parent?

It’s time that people realize that this stereotype needs to change. And those of us who adhere to this stereotype needs to start standing up for ourselves. If we keep trying to fit the mold, how can we expect anyone else to change their view of us?

I am tired of being the good Indian girl. I just want to be real.

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.

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?