23 June, 2014

Fly baby, Fly


We are fantastic the way we are and sometimes we need to be reminded about that. There is nothing that I have to say except a few idealistic statements and realizations that I know to be true.

The big bad world out there is ugly and heartless, that’s absolutely true for most parts. But in the bitterness of our harsh realities we often forget how there are small pockets of happiness and pure-hearted goodness that are going to warm our hearts amidst this drought. We forget that much like us there are others who are suffering in their silence hiding behind the unbreakable shield of their smiles.

And maybe, they are distrustful of everything just as you are because it seems unfair. If we all get stuck in that cycle of distrust and loathing, can we blame anyone for the eerie sensation of hostility when we thrust ourselves into the open? 

Have a little faith. Go in blind. Leave it to the Universe. Hang your boots in the air and surrender. Let go of your expectations. Don’t follow the script. Make your own story. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

You see what you want to see. I chose to see beauty, wonder and awe. And I find it in places that I never thought I could. I chose to see the smiles and not the frowns. I chose to look straight in the eyes and see their souls and not cast my eyes away out of embarrassment. I chose to dream and hope for unachievable aims knowing very well that it would break my heart if they wouldn’t happen.



I dream and dream unabashedly. And as the globe spins to take us from night to the day, I know that I’ll get there even if it’s at an infinitesimal speed.

Fly baby, Fly.





30 March, 2014

Butch.

Following up on an article i wrote a couple of weeks ago, i found another human being who was addressing the same issue in a different vein. A San-Francisco based photography project called "Butch" spearheaded by Meg Allen highlights the "identity and presentation of female masculinity as it stands in 2013-14". 

According to Meg Allen's website the project is about : "It is a celebration of those who choose to exist and identify outside of the binary; who still get he’d and she’d differently throughout the day; who get called-out in bathrooms and eyed suspiciously at the airport; who have invented names for themselves as parents because “Mom” nor “Dad” feels quite right; and who will generally expect that stare from the gender police trying to figure out if they are “a boy or a girl”. It is an homage to the bull-daggers and female husbands before me, and to the young studs, gender queers, and bois who continue to bloom into the present."

I'll admit that i do that too. I look at people and try to box them into stereotypes which i've developed in my head. It helps me understand them better in an odd way because i think i have them figured out. We all do that. And this has got nothing to do with your upbringing, nationality, sexuality, race etc. We build those stereotypes irrespective of these factors because we want to know people and understand what they mean or stand for at a subconscious level. So, don't beat yourself up if you are guilty of forming or adhering to preconceived notions. 

However, i don't want to be confined with those limitations about people. Everyone is different. We keep evolving as a species everyday and if you don't open your mind to make room for these changes in perceptions and behaviours then you are leaving yourself out of this whole cycle of evolution. 

I don't know. Maybe, i'm getting a but ahead of myself but i strongly believe that it's the outliers who shape the future of any generation. Embrace anomalies. Embrace change. Forge ahead into the future.

Take a close look (Butch). They are beautiful.




Sources : http://www.buzzfeed.com/skarlan/photographing-the-butch-women-of-san-francisco

08 March, 2014

Introverted

I should be writing about women because it was International Women’s Day but no, I’m going to give that a pass. As you can very clearly see through my blog posts, I celebrate womanhood almost every single day to the point where I feel like “we run the world” (to quote the famous Queen B).

Today, I have a different cause to talk about. There is an on-going secret underground movement which has started gaining momentum over the past couple of years. There are dedicated blogs, websites, YouTube videos, books, research studies, trolls, Reddit threads etc. which further exemplify this movement. It’s called Introversion.

In a largely extroverted world, how do introverts survive?

Introversion is not an affliction. It’s not something one can choose to be. It is how you are. You don’t have a choice in the matter. What you do have a choice about is how you deal and cope with it to adjust with your external environment. Introverts are constantly being nudged and prodded by the world around to “cure” themselves. But much like, how homosexuality is not a disease that can be cured nor can introversion.








There are tons of preposterous myths surrounding this concept or state of being. Obviously the funniest one was about how an introvert can become an extrovert. The other one that drives me nuts is “Introverts are crazy people (read perennially depressed and survive on happy pills)”. That’s not true. I feel like shouting from the rooftops and busting every myth there exists but a lot of my other introvert friends are already doing that job for me, take a look at this link:


 When introverts see how effortlessly others can mingle with their social circles it makes them uncomfortable and question themselves. You start wondering if something is wrong with you and a lot of us fellow introverts have to go through this terrible social trauma during our teenage years, those critical years where you are developing your self-esteem. If you don’t navigate yourself well around it, you are left feeling handicapped. 

I went through that. I questioned myself a lot. I loved being with myself so much that I never needed anyone to be with me and I still have a major tendency to be like that. If you ask me one person who I absolutely unabashedly love to death (yes, Benedict Cumberbatch comes pretty close) then it would probably be, Me. I’ve invested that kind of time in me, probably that’s why. But I had to fight this. Man is a social animal. No matter how comfortable you are in your skin, you need others to survive and make a wilful existence for yourself.

I stopped fighting my internal battle of how I’m being perceived in a very Elsa kind of a moment.




I embraced myself for who I was. One day, I looked at myself and decided a few things.

I am not going to be bothered by what people think about me.
- I will make myself heard
- I will say exactly what I think
- I will laugh a lot more often
- I will act out all the things that I think in my head instead of daydreaming about them.

It wasn’t a one day process. It took me years to get this right and everyday I’m still practicing. It’s like I am that person who used to stammer as a kid but learnt to get over it. You practice, practice, practice and one day you’ll get it right. In your head, you know that you are still a stutterer but you can work around it.

I love being around people. I genuinely do but I have to take a step back sometimes and I’m okay with that. I’m trying to walk the tight rope. But at least, I’m trying.

A lot of others just give up on it. That’s what I have a problem with.

“Maybe, I should talk to her. Na.. it’s okay. She doesn’t care.”
“Oh the professor got that sum wrong! Someone else will point it out to him.”
“He completely ignored me. I feel hurt. He should apologise. It’s cool. I don’t want to deal with that shit.”

These are some of the internal struggles that we as Introverts go through. There is a gap between thought and action. We need that extra push of energy and will to do the next step and more often than not, we don’t do it. My question is Why?







We miss out on so many oppurtunities because of this one drawback. I’m not saying that we should convert ourselves into Extroverts. No sire! But we need to go that extra mile and force ourselves to action our thoughts. The world needs to see the awesomeness (I can’t believe I just used that word) that we are. They need our critical thinking abilities. They need our insights. They need our observation skills. They need people who are perceptive of almost imperceptive changes and details.

We need to make sure that we are nor bull-dozered by the Extroverts of the World. Not because we are in a competition or a race but because we can do a much better job sometimes, thanks to all the books that we’ve been reading. All those hours you spent in making inconsequential connections and drawing patterns are the need of the hour in most businesses today. All those notes you scribbled at the back of your notebook about random facts and figures has turned into a well-established industry today. The Arts have always celebrated the creativity and eccentricity of talented Introverts, the other are catching up.

If you want to stand out on a public platform in the age of virulent social media, you need to have substance. Anyone can talk but can you be heard? You need to have concrete matter to be of significant consequence in any sphere. People are smarter today than they were yesterday. Showmanship alone can no longer grab the increasingly shortened attention span of the masses.

This is your chance. Step out of your shell and see the light of the day. The awkwardness is only momentary, let it pass. No one needs to know if you are an Extrovert or an Introvert. What they do need to know is - You.

Links you might want to have a look at:-

01 March, 2014

Androgyny.

I had to stop working on my homework assignment and immediately pen this rant as soon as I saw this phenomenal ad. You might not completely agree with me and I’m not even sure you’ll understand what the brand is trying to say through this commercial but the rebel in me got excited.

This commercial for Crocker Jeans shows Erika Linder, an androgynous model, as Him and Her. The tagline of the campaign is “Whatever.”

Check it out:





I don’t know what it really meant, to be very honest with you but the very thought of not being confined by our genders is intensely gratifying and liberating. Everything around us is more or less created or defined by our stereotypical gender roles. In this age where women are finding an equal foothold is various arenas of business and culture and men are re-defining their purpose and roles in different spheres of life, an ad like this reminds us that we don’t have to be defined by our genders.

The best relationships that I’ve had were ones in which I never bothered about the gender of the opposite person. You’re a girl? You’re a boy? It doesn’t matter. Do you have a head above your shoulders? Do you have a soul in that consolidated mass of cells? Yes. That does matter.

More often than not, being a woman I have made certain deliberate decisions which maybe I wouldn’t have made if I were a man. And I’m not confused about my gender but I didn’t ever want my sex to be an excuse for not making tough decisions. I didn’t ever want to think that I’m a girl, I should take it easy. That excuse is for sissies. Ha! See what I mean. We are constantly confined in this vicious cycle of stereotypes and don’t you think that limits our potential as human beings in some way?

Maybe, this is the young blood in me urging me to talk like this. Maybe, a decade from now I’ll be sitting in a rocking chair nursing my baby and I might just be the worst kind of hypocrites you might have met but I like knowing that I have the freedom to think like this. I can look back at myself and at least know that I was or am a woman who didn’t hold herself back.

Not too long ago, I was having this discussion with a friend about how most of the popular figures that have pervaded the public memory through time were predominantly men. Philosophers, artists, politicians, dictators (not that I would want a woman to be a dictator), businessmen  and so on… of course there are exceptions and when I debate this issue there are a certain handful of names that I do call out but then I have to rest my case. There are several TEDx talks on this or some form of this issue. And, I don’t want to know why this ratio of change-makers is so skewed towards men. You can rationalise it in a million ways but I’m not here to do that.

I just want us to look at ourselves as human beings, people, minds, souls or whatever you would want to call it. I want us to be aware that we are so much more than what these forced definitions tell us that we are.

Androgyny…

Androgyny to me is not a man wearing women’s clothing or a woman wearing men’s clothing; nor is it about a girl being a “tom boy” or a guy being “effeminate”. Androgyny to me is being the person that I am meant to be and breaking that cage of gender specificity that I was born in to.




Androgyny… Whatever.





08 February, 2014

I promised

I’m not in a hurry. I don’t want to compete. I’m not even sure if we live in the same world. When I stood at the center of Times Square, I didn’t want to run away from the overwhelming crowd of amused faces nor did I want to be one of those faces.




Have you ever got that feeling that maybe, you live in a parallel universe which runs 5 times slower than the rest of the world? How else do you relish every second of time that you’ve got? If you walk at the same pace as the rest of the world, every day will rush by as a blitzkrieg. If you run ahead of them, you’ll reach the finish line before anyone else and once you do… what next?

I’m not in a dream. I’m not asleep. I’m not better than you. I’m not any worse. I live under the same blue sky as you do. I breathe the same oxygen as you. Then, why is this sphere of vision so different from yours?
Why does it matter that it is different?

This year I didn’t make any resolutions. I just promised to myself that I’ll take deeper breaths, laugh loudly without holding myself back, smile at familiar strangers and make them believe that it’s not so bad.

This year I promised to myself that I’ll blow up more bubbles and balloons. I won’t burst them with the pinpricks of cynical realism. I’ll make as many plans as possible and follow them up with all that I’ve got. Even, if they don’t materialize, I want to be able to say that I wanted something.

I don’t want to be carried away by the thrust of the gushing force of this deluge of life. I want to float but not be carried away. It’s a choice. It always is.



I promised to myself that I’ll be honest and open, just enough to make you shy. I promised that I’ll try to stand in your shoes even if I can’t walk in them. I’ll dance even if there’s no music.

I promised that I’ll be more human and celebrate my mistakes as much as I gloat over my victories. I’ll try to blur the boundaries for why can’t I laugh when I’m sad and cry when I’m happy?

You don’t live just once. But you live twice. One life is where you are driving through the rigmarole and the other is where you live your dreams. At this point, on this morning, I know for a fact that anything is possible if you truly believe.


I hope that one day you wake up to that morning as well and if you already have then let’s rock and roll, baby, shall we?!