January 2012 archive

Get Me Some Man Pants, FAST.

A little over a decade ago, I bought a guitar so I wouldn’t do recreational drugs. When I realized that I wouldn’t just learn through osmosis, I decided to pick it up and teach myself some songs. Mostly Indigo Girls, Patty Griffin and some Dar Williams – you know, the really “bitchin” stuff.

Well, let me be clear about one thing. I use the term “learn” loosely. If by saying learn, I mean that I could actually hold the guitar in my hands and make sounds to accompany my voice, then we are both on the same page. I was no Jimi Hendrix. Or even Taylor Swift for that matter with the 8 open chords I knew how to play at the time.

During one of the indie performances I went to see, a young woman named Kris Delmhorst played, opening for Dar Williams. (I say these names assuming you do not follow Indie folk artists like me. If you do, ROCK on. Totally bitchin!)

I fell in lurve. (This is what I call love when I develop non-sexual crushes on really cool women).

So now I am in “lurve” with Kris Delmhorst. I would drag my friends to go see her at all her shows in the Northern Virginia area. I would be near tears like I was at a Bon Jovi concert, while my friends would be trying not to fall asleep.

I brought my friend Deana, a pretty solid fashionista, to one of the shows. While she was impressed with Kris’s singing, she was not impressed by Kris’s fashion sense and as what she called them, her “man pants.”

Some people just don’t get true “lurve.”

Anyway, fast forward a few years later. Kris is back in town playing at a Washington DC venue called the Birchmere. My boyfriend at the time, John (now my husband – he was okay with this whole “lurve” thing) came with me. We had some beers and split a pizza and I was pumped to say the least. Kris ended her set, and another artist took the stage.

As we turned to leave, we walked out through the concert hall’s gift shop. And that is when the stars aligned (or didn’t) and my heart just crashed in my chest.

There was my true lurve. Standing right in front of me in her awesome man pants.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my GOD?” I said to John through clenched teeth. “What do I do!?”

“I don’t know. Go ask her for her autograph?” He asked dubiously.

As if it was just that simple.

“No I need to have her sign a CD!” I was frantic now. What if she left? What if my true lurve walked away?

I looked at John.

“Go buy a CD! Hurry!”

“But we have one in the car,” said John. Why does he always try to sabotage me?

“GO GET A CD NOW!” I said in my best Linda Blair voice. I am fairly sure John thought my head was going to start spinning, so he hurried off to get the CD.

I tried to play it cool, idly looking through a bunch of other CDs from other musicians, leaving pools of sweat from my palms all over the poor artists’ heart and souls and CD covers.

I was a mess. A hot one, because my palms were so sweaty.

John came back with the CD and we casually (?!!!) walked over to get her autograph. She was talking in her totally chill manner to a couple, with her hands in the back pocket of her man pants. I was enamored.

Her pants were just as unflattering in person as on her CD.

So cool.

And then she was done. She smiled at us and reached out to shake our hands, reaching also for the CD to sign it.

GO TIME.

Like Eminem says, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo.”

Oh, shit.

So there I went. Seizing that opportunity, yo.

“Oh my god, I just wanted to let you know that I am such a fan of yours and I saw you open for Dar and then I went to Iota and Jamming Java a few times, and oh my god, I just want to let you know that you are one of the reasons I picked up guitar and I just love you, even your pants and if you ever, ever need a back up singer, you see – i am a singer too – and I can do backup vocals for you and we would be great together – it would be magical.”

I looked at John. He seemed bemused. To his credit, he did not blush or deny that he was with me, though he seemed to be  few feet further behind me.

I don’t think I let her get a word in edgewise as she tried to collect herself. She probably wanted to know where I got my pants from.

But I wasn’t done.

I reached into the pocket of my own non-man pants and pulled out my business card.

Yes, people. I used to have a singing business card.

She reached over as I threw it in her hand – she really had no other choice as I crammed it into her non-suspecting hands.

“SoAnywaysJustCallMeorEmailMeandMaybeWeCanJam (did I say that?)TogetherIfYouAreBackInTOwn.OhGreattoMeetYou.BYE”

And I ran out of the store so fast. I couldn’t believe it.

I actually spoke to Kris Delmhorst.

I turned to John (who did NOT look embarrassed at all) and said, “Well, how do you think that went?”

“What do you mean? Kiran, you gave her your card. How do you THINK it went?”

Oh. Was that kind of weird? Was I NOT supposed to do that?

Hmmm.

Here is my card that I gave her.

Suffice to say, she NEVER did call.

Here is a performance of one of my favorite songs. Man pants or not, I still lurve her. Listen and you will know why.

“But sometimes I take your picture and I turn it to the wall
You are still a cliff and babe, I still know how to fall.”
– Kris Delmhorst, “Broken White Line”

I wonder if she still keeps my card with her and turns it to the wall. I guess I will never know.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8FLepRWcRI

P.S. John has been asking me for years to write this post. It is one of his favorite moments of mine where I look like an asshole. 








You Can Try, BUT

“You can try, but you’re never going to get in.”

I remember hearing those words and feeling crushed. I was 17 years old and I was a pretty determined kid. My parents had agreed that when it came to college, I could go wherever I wanted in the country, because of their desire to give me the best opportunity when it came to education. If I got into a top tier school, would be willing to take on some financial aid and it was generally affordable, they would cut the umbilical cord and let me go.

Somehow, I decided that I was going to go, that I NEEDED to go to the University of Virginia.

My rationale was simple. It was FAR. At least 6 hours far.

It was beautiful. Full of Thomas Jefferson’s vision, architecture and history – the majestic grounds of the school were some of the prettiest I had seen.

It WAS a challenge. For a middle-class kid from New Jersey who just wanted a chance, I knew it would be hard – to get into and to achieve at. But I was determined.

****************************************************

“You can try, but you’re never going to get in,” my guidance counselor told me. I know she meant well and wanted to prepare me with getting the right back-ups in place, but I still remember how she could speak of my imminent failure with such conviction.

Little did she know that just by saying that, I was going. No question about it.

And I toiled. And I worked. I pumped through the application, laboring endlessly on the essays but finding that magical inspiration which turned out several essays I was extremely proud of. I knew I killed the application on the extracurricular part – lots of President, Captain, Treasurer titles amongst societies and teams that confirmed I busted my butt a lot.

When I sent that application in the mail for early admission, I crossed my fingers and prayed. But just in case, I continued  to work on my applications for Northwestern, Columbia, Stanford, Berkeley and Brown. (All other schools I was told not to even consider).

One of my best friends was also applying. We would talk about how great UVA would be together and how these two Jersey girls would take the Southern campus by storm. At the time, I was woefully unaware that people from New Jersey seem to permeate every college campus in this country like ants. Apparently, my friend and I were not the only ones who wanted to “RUN.”

The letter came. I got accepted. My friend didn’t.

I was sad, but excited. I felt guilty, but validated. I felt disappointed to not be going with my friend, but also felt like I was taking a leap off a big, scary cliff.

By myself. And it felt pretty freaking cool.

I could rock this.

I rode that crest of happiness for a bit till I went back to school that Monday.

In Calculus that day, my friend and I sat in our usual seats, drinking our diet Snapple. When our teacher, Mr. Buxbaum asked everyone how their weekends were, my friend told him about what happened – that I had been accepted to the university we both dreamed of going to and that she hadn’t.

I don’t think I will ever forget his reaction. He kind of closed his eyes and took a long breath. His hands were clasped together under his chin and he shook his head over them, grinding his chin into his knuckles. When he opened his eyes, he shrugged his shoulders, still shaking his head and said:

“Well, who is the minority?”

Here is my balloon. Here is a needle. Go ahead, Mr. Buxbaum – just pop it. Not just to reassure my friend but to also reassure me that my years of busting my ass meant nothing. Make sure you say it in front of the class as well.

That I achieved a big dream of mine because I was brown.

I felt a lot of shame. The crest of that wave I was riding crashed. So did a lot of other things.

**************************************************

A few years ago, I was having a conversation with my neighbor who is a friend of mine. She was saying she would love it if her sons could go to UVA. (I now live in Northern VA, never made it back to New Jersey). While I had gotten in as an out of state student, she explained to me it was much harder to go as an in-state student.

Unless things have changed, I know that the standards for in-state are always going to be lower in terms of standardized testing scores. But yeah – i get that if 100 people from your high school are applying there, it might be tougher.

I tried to explain that, but stopped. She wasn’t trying to invalidate me. She was just wanting the best for her own kids and explaining how she felt.

********************************************************

“You can try, but you’ll never get in.”

“Well, who is the minority?”

There are days when I wonder why I am scared to pursue things I might fail at. Why I let that spunky 17 year old girl from New Jersey disappear. But a part of me knows she is there somewhere, still standing up for herself and fighting what she believes in.

Its just that the weight of all the words from detractors over the years has started to feel heavy. And it shouldn’t.

There will always be detractors in your life. They can hold you down, they can try to drag you down (Kind of like the Chumbawaba song, “I Get Knocked Down”) but you just have to take the words and release them. Or at least acknowledge them and say to yourself,

“You’re WRONG. I AM special. I AM a rock star. Don’t put the weight of your disappointments on me.”

Detractors are often not just “saying it like it is” as many like to say. They have their own disappointments. Their own dreams that have faded. And sometimes its a little hard to watch someone dream and maybe succeed while they have given up.

Probably because they also had they own detractors.

I wish more children and youth received this message:

“You ARE special. You ARE a rock star. Don’t let anyone take your dreams from you. And don’t let anyone tell you that when you achieve them, you didn’t deserve them.”

Because you will achieve them. If you stop listening to your detractors. And over time, the biggest one to challenge what we want to do, what we want to achieve, what we have accomplished?

It becomes, well, ourselves.

Build yourself back up. That child with the dreams?

That child deserves it.

YOU deserve it.

Kiran









Thinner

I have struggled with food my whole life.

When I was little, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. It was more of a nuisance that interrupted the time I would rather spend playing.

As a pre-teen I abused it and found comfort in it, mistakenly thinking I could fill the empty places in my heart with another bite.

My junior year in High School, I walked away from it and found power in turning my back on the calories and embraced the solace in running.

But I often didn’t know what I was running from.

Or to.

In college, I mistakenly followed what I jokingly called the “Sorority Girl Diet,” eliminating fat but eating my fill of jelly beans and bagels and ensuring that beer was part of the regimen (at least from Thursday – Saturday nights).

I would like to say I found my way in my 20’s.

But as I sit here in my 30’s, with two impressionable children who I have the power to influence, I realize I am just as messed up today in how I view food as I was in my teens. Not much has changed.

I can’t remember a day when I thought I was “thin enough.” Even as I look back at pictures of myself when I was my fittest, I try to remember what was going through my head at the time the pictures were snapped.

Not good enough.
Not pretty enough.
Not thin enough.
Ever.

My husband asks me to acknowledge this strange relationship I have with food. Perhaps he didn’t want me to write it on this blog, but oh what the heck. It’s hard to admit to crazy, but I can truly say that when it comes to food, I have always been a nutjob. Completely.

Utterly.

I sometimes feel shame that as someone who has seen poverty first hand, in such extreme circumstances in the villages of India, that I would reject or abuse what so many people don’t have access to and are literally starving for.

I bought a magazine at the store the other day. Like a junkie being pulled in by a vial of coke, I found myself adding it to my cart.

“Starving to Be Sexy” the cover said, showing images of celebrities who have fought their battles against any body fat and appear to be successful, flaunting clavicles, pelvic bones and ribcages that defy any unwanted calorie to even try to slip by.

“Isn’t this crazy?” I showed the magazine to my niece when she came to visit me.

“Yeah, but it’s what people expect. Of course they feel the need to be thin.”

As I found myself being drawn back to the magazine, I realized that it’s not so much that I think those celebrities are crazy. The rational part of me does, of course.

But there is also this part of me that relates to them. And where I have never been able to get “thin enough,” these celebrities have.

And it made me jealous.

How does this happen? I ask.

I think of myself as intelligent (reasonably). Not vapid (most of the times). Rational (cyclically).

The irony of one of the images actually made me laugh. One of the celebrities on the “Starving to Be Sexy Cover,” is reality show actress, Audrina Patridge. Wearing the same bikini that she recently wore on this month’s cover of Shape Magazine, a fitness magazine. One of the other celebrities touted as “too skinny,” Leann Rimes, just appeared on the cover of Shape Magazine, perhaps five or six months ago.

So let me get this straight. On the one hand, we look at these images and are being told that these women have gone to an unhealthy extreme. At the same time, we will see these same women highlighted on covers of purported “health” magazines.

It’s confusing, right?

I realize that the things I say glibly around the house are making an impression on my daughter. And that I need to ensure she doesn’t have this same messed up relationship with food that I feel like I have had.

So I try not to say things. I try not to show her just how preoccupied I am with food labels or show her any of my insecurities I feel when I look in the mirror.

And I hope she never goes through these mindless cycles that I have gone through.

Self-loathing when I “cheat.”
Hunger when I punish myself for not being strong enough.
Judgement when the scale taunts me with a number I want to deduct another 10 pounds from.
Or maybe even 15.

I am writing this post to say that I am one of many women who is too hard on herself. Too quick to judge myself. Too quick to punish myself. Insecure enough to buy in to the images that are telling me what society values in women.

But one thing I am NOT is a woman who plans to keep her subscription to Shape Magazine.

After years of trying to embrace healthy, I think that it’s time to acknowledge what “healthy” really means. And its not about the photoshopped celebrity on the cover.

It’s about acceptance.

Kiran

(This post was originally posted at my old blog site on July 17, 2011)








Lie in Our Graves

You might wonder why I am writing a song about graves on what is actually my birthday. Give me a second, and I promise I’ll get there. I like to take, as Patty Griffin says, “The Long Ride Home.”

The Amphitheater – 12 freaking bucks! And no I did NOT go. Duh.

The Storytellers

I have a problem.

Well, to be fair, I have many, but right now I want to speak specifically towards one. I think it would be unfair to burden you with more since this might even be the first time you are visiting my blog.

I like to let the crazy out slowly. Gradually.

So, the problem du jour is my spending problem. I like the color of money. But apparently not enough to save lots of it in our bank accounts. I also don’t feel a need to stare at piles of it on the floor. Instead I make sure our credit cards get a frequent workout and find lots of creative ways to spend that green stuff.

Which I think is a talent.

Add to cart, enter coupon code, enter payment info, submit, confirm order and take it from the top! Its a great cardio burning workout and you can break a real sweat.

John is not happy about this and does not appreciate my credit card assisted cardio.

If he sees me in a new shirt, he will kind of narrow his eyes and ask, while trying to sound very lighthearted (doesn’t work), “Oh, nice shirt babe.”

Don’t think I don’t know where you are going with this, babe.

“Have you had that for a while?” he asks. “Or is it new?”

And this all really annoys me. Irks me. Why doesn’t he trust me? I know how to spend money. But he won’t understand that the shirt was on sale and the color does amazing things for my skin tone. Plus he also doesn’t realize that on top of everything, the shirt goes awesome with the new necklace I bought with it.

You know the shirt to go with the necklace. Or the necklace to go with the shirt.

It’s kind of the whole, chicken before the egg thing.

So in my confusion, and knowing full well that he knows the truth, I do what any smart wife would do.

I lie.

“Oh this old thing?” I say, which is absolutely true if you think that old is at least a week old. It’s all relative. After all, there are some insects for whom that would equate to centuries!

“No it’s been sitting in my closet forever.” (Forever = whole week).

“Oh, I’ve never seen you wear that,” he says, suspiciously.

“That’s because you don’t pay attention, honey.” See how I turned that around? That takes skill.

“Well it looks nice,” he says, walking away still watching me out of the corner of his eyes. Probably to make sure I don’t buy anything while he walks from one room to the next.

Snort, yeah, good luck with that, John (I’ve got Amazon one click set up on my iPhone)

In all seriousness, I am getting a handle on this need to spend. I don’t think of it as a problem with spending as much as a desire to be really prepared in the event of an emergency disaster.

Because you can NEVER have too many Ann Taylor cardigans when a natural disaster happens.

Anyway, another thing I actually do save our money for is annual family pictures. Every year, John and I get a family session done with our family friends, Julie Monticello and Emily Hellmuth. Julie and Emily are an amazingly talented sister team. They are bubbly, relaxed, amazingly easy to work. Most importantly they have gob loads of talent.

They have a way of capturing a fairly non-camera friendly family and transforming us into the most photogenic versions of ourselves. No spinach in our teeth, no lazy eyes and no studio posing, which we are honestly just terrible at. Like, Chandler Bing terrible.

Julie. She has 6 kids. 6 KIDS.

Ideally

I have always been hard on myself and the expectations I place on myself. There are times where I struggle with the realization that the desire to succeed is in fact some form of self-punishment. Punishment in that I create near impossible situations to accomplish.

This causes me a great deal of angst.

I have always lived in the world of “ideally.” I have held myself to an often impossible standard. Some of these standards are driven by societal expectations, others by arbitrary deadlines and confines I place on myself.

Do any of these situations sound like they might be familiar to you?

Sharing a dinner with an amazing beautiful, brilliant and accomplished friend lamenting the fact that she is still single. Because ideally, she would have met her dream man by 30 (not 40) and had the 2.5 kids she always expected to have.

She is a city girl, so ideally, she would not have picket fences, but a laundry machine would be nice.

Ideal, even.

A young married woman struggles with issues bearing children. Ideally, she would have had at least two by now, but its been impossible to conceive and the one time she got pregnant, she miscarried so early on.

She struggles under the weight of this consuming need to love and hold the child she dreams of.

Instead she presses her abdomen as she shudders from the coldness and unforgiving nature of the womb she has been dealt.

Ideally, she wishes God would hear her pleas and grant her this gift so many women stumble upon without even really trying.

Ideally, she would like to conceive, but would be open to adoption.

It’s just not ideal. Not to her anyway.

A woman goes to bed alone. Her kids are sleeping and she sighs a tired breath as she inhales her loneliness and exhales out her frustration. This was not supposed to be her life. Ideally, she would have a husband who saw her, respected her. She thought in her twenties that by the time she was thirty she should be married with kids, ideally. Have a nice house and a great job.

Those things have all happened. But her idea of “ideally” is far from ideal. The check boxes have all been marked, but there was so much nobody told her, so much she didn’t understand.

She takes off her reading glasses and turns off the light, alone with the thoughts that haunt her every night.

On the surface, it looks ideal. But boiling under the surface, below that layer of her mind where her thoughts run like a river, there is a parallel stream of regret that clenches her heart and makes her ache inside.

_________________________________________________________________________

I have often chased after what seemed like required milestones in my life with the “Ideally” lenses on. When you put on the “ideally” lenses, they skew things a little. You see life the way you think it should be, the way you want so badly for it it be.

But life is rarely that predictable. And the missteps we often take in our rush to the summit of “Ideally” are often hard to backtrack from. Retracing to a new “ideally” seems impossible for many.

I sometimes get asked questions along the lines of “Ideally, what is it that you are looking for?” I think if you had asked me many years ago, my answer would be pretty clear. But life happens and you realize that the weight of “Ideally” runs the same risks of trying to accomplish perfection.

And perfection scares me. It leaves me in a pile of angst and insecurity, completely unsure of myself. Its a whole lot of pressure that I don’t need in the high expectation filled life I lead where I feel I often let myself down the most on unrealistic expectations of myself and others around me.

If you are waiting for perfect from me, you better get in line and plan to wait a while.

Grab a seat.

Bring some popcorn, even.

As a mother, a professional, a business owner, a wife and friend, there are few things I do perfectly. I bust my little Indian hiny trying to get there, but I have come to terms with the fact that both the number of hours and the energy I can dedicate in this life are finite. And my best will just have to do.

Ideally, that will be as close to perfect as I can get.

I bet you are thinking, well you MUST think your kids are perfect. So lets do a brief inventory, everything from their little limbs, to their big brown eyes, to their distinct little voices can bring me to tears.

Because those little limbs can pack a mean punch, those brown eyes can weep tears the size of marbles over not being given the right color Skittle (who knew today was the day Orange was the best?) and those voices can say some pretty mean stuff to a mother, who IDEALLY, would not want her kids to talk fresh.

But I think that perfection is a heavy burden for any of us to bear. I can’t and won’t be the one to place it on my children, Shaila and Nico. Let’s face it, being perfect is damn near impossible and to be honest, its a bit boring, isn’t it?

Its great to have dreams. Its great to want things. But I think if we tried a little less to live our lives in the world of “ideally” and spent a little more time listening to our hearts and ignoring the voices in our heads and around us that say things like the things I have heard said to friends below, we’d be a whole lot happier.

“Oh, you’re not married? Oh I’m so embarrassed – sorry! You’ll meet Mr. Right one day!” Pause. “Or, um, Mrs. Right?! You’re not gay, are you? It’s just so unusual to find straight women in their forties.”

“HOW many kids do you have? Oh, none?! Well, hopefully you guys get cracking soon. Its harder the older you get, you know!”

“When are you guys getting married? You seem perfect together! I know we only saw you together that one time, but I could tell by the way he held your hair over the deck when you puked that he really loves you. You better nab that one!”

“Oh, you look so good. Have you put on some weight? I can tell you must be under pressure. You’re just not at your ideal weight.”

Give the voice you hear and often block out, the one deep inside you, a little more credit. Give it a listen. And remember, you don’t have to follow my advice.

But ideally, you will.

Kiran








Get Your Pretty On

That’s my daughter, Shaila. No, I am not picking lice out of her hair (though sadly, I have my own memories of that and can tell you vividly what RID smells like).


Roses. RID smells like roses mixed with gasoline. And then as if someone took a whiff of those roses and then threw them in a sewer to die.


Tell you more about that another day. It’s promises like this that keep you coming back for more, I just know it.

,

On a more positive note, going back to Shaila.


My daughter is a lot of things. On good days I call her fearless. On bad days I tell myself she takes more after her father. (I don’t know why that makes me feel better, John. Just trust that it does the trick and I can get through the day better).
Lately there seems to be a lot more good than bad. Which is AWESOME, don’t get me wrong. The thing is, I feel like I am constantly reminded of how everything is just a phase in childhood development. Given that rationale I might have to believe that this includes some of the good as well as the bad.


So I am going to cherish whatever sweetness I can get from her (in case it’s short-lived) and inhale her sweet smell which is so much better than rubber cement.


Rubber cement smells better than RID, just in case you want to know.


And just absorb the amazing spirit she has right now.


When I look at her, this is what I see. A spunky dreamer. An inherently kind child (she has her moments where is more “one of a kind” than “kind”) and loving and ALWAYS willing to share her Legos. She’s sensitive – I caught her crying during “Ice Age” during the scene where Queen Latifah remembers where she is from as a deserted wooly mammoth.


Tears fell from my eyes as I watched the scene when I suddenly realized Shaila was sobbing.


It was then I realized how much we are alike. Shaila, of course, would not admit why she was crying and would only admit to having dirt in her eye.


Stubborn. Determined. Adventurous, even.


And the best laugher ever.


So my daughter, this little spitfire of a girl – well, she came home and told me something that made me sad. And that I am hoping is kind of a phase.


Listen to this.


She has blonde envy.


Like, major, major blonde envy.


I don’t know if you noticed, but we are pretty, well, NOT blonde. Again, we are many things and blonde just isn’t one of them.


My beautiful, gorgeous BRUNETTE daughter who is four years old, already believes that blonde hair is prettier than brown or black.


She has come home recently to talk to me about one girl in particular in her pre-school class, speaking almost reverently about her “golden” hair. The precious child in question is in fact, quite a cutie. I can already guess she will be in some way connected to the Homecoming court many years from now and definitely has the makings for the cheerleader squad.


I don’t remember having blonde envy as a child. I had “pretty girl” envy – which I think is pretty normal – but I grew up in a town with lots of exotic beauty. When I say “exotic,” I mean white brunettes – that’s about as much excitement that the town of Old Bridge, New Jersey could take when I was growing up. If you went beyond a certain level of olive in darkness, your looks were discounted.


Kind of like mine. And in those cases you hoped that you had brains and sports to carry you through because otherwise, it was a pretty non-rewarding high school existence.


So I was at the library a lot.


But being pretty is more feasible today than it was in the past. Special pills, treatments, surgeries, medical spas that can suck out your fat over lunchtime are all the trend. And why wouldnt they be? We live in a society where beauty standards have become elevated as women “fix” themselves to the point of external perfection. In this quest for beauty, so many women can chase after all the things they always wanted to be or have.


Busty – go get some big boobs. Flabby – go get that lipo done on your hips. Blonde – Dye your hair from brown to ashy blonde.


All doable and in many ways, encouraged by the images our children and yes, we women, see on the television screen.


As a young woman who never thought of myself as pretty, when I got to college and realized that a few people thought I was semi-cute, I tried to cling to those fifteen minutes of pretty as hard as I could.


And it was hard for me to keep my pretty on after I popped both kids out of my nether-regions and found myself frankly a bit traumatized by the whole thing.


I have cheated in the process to keep my pretty on. Shaila sees her Mommy who once had curly hair with Keratined hair that shines and is the straight hair of my childhood dreams. I pluck and smooth and deliberate over flaws that I have been conditioned to believe are going to make me, well…


Ugly.


But the funny thing about striving to be pretty, is that once you start to value yourself in that way, you can really never be pretty ENOUGH. It will be hard to explain to my daughter why  focusing on aspirations that are shallow in nature and reflect only the most physical change in the mirror, can only make you feel so special. And that the summit is a hard one and in fact impossible one to reach, because the validation in the mirror is not really what we are ultimately seeking anyway.


Its validation of ourselves, our worth.


Our existence.


Shaila may one day want to dye her hair blonde. Or PURPLE for that matter, just to piss me off. I won’t stop her from trying to satisfy this need because I did it and well, I feel like she needs to make her own mistakes. I can’t be such a hypocrite with her. She needs to work this out on her own.


She will hopefully learn that its a journey most women need to make in some capacity to understand that there is only so much change you can do to yourself before you stop recognizing – and perhaps – liking yourself.


So Shaila, if you ever read this, here is the newsflash, darling. You are gorgeous. Like so beautiful that I hurt sometimes when I look at you. I ache because I know there will be self-doubt at times or perhaps reflections of all the things you AREN’T.


No matter what, we embrace you as you are. Don’t lose sight of who you are and what makes you so special. Its not going to be your hair or your sweet little dimple on your left cheek.


Its going to be your joy, your bravery and your ability to look in the mirror and always like – no, love, the person you are.


I guarantee you that if you do this, you will come farther than many people ever will.


Mommy will always hold you tight.



We cling to youth and what’s not ours,
External beauty as if it matters,
In the end, what we have is deeper
Than any reflections within our mirrors – Kiran Ferrandino








Heartsong

Do you ever feel like your day just kind of ran away from you? I sit here and it’s 11 PM. I know I should be in bed, because I know the trouble I have when my kids get up. I want to stay curled up under the covers and no amount of coffee can make me move from out and under the lovely, comfortable, soft and downy warmth of my bed which all make me want to ….

snore.

Sorry – that’s about how easy it is to pass back out in the mornings, so excuse me while I get some coffee.

It’s just…

Well, I feel like whether you are a working mother or a stay at home one (I will include daddies in this too, because I know plenty who fulfill both roles), by the time everything (and I mean EVERYTHING, as if I really did sweep every last bit of rice off the floor) is done and the kids are FINALLY in bed, I feel a little like…

“Ok what the HELL just happened?”

Because the day is done. Finito. Pretty much gone. And while I had some great highs in my work day (maybe some lows) and some amazing moments with my kids (or not), I just feel like, when the heck do you get to do the things that YOU need to do. NOT the laundry. Not the bills. Not even time on the phone with family.

I mean the things that make you more balanced as individuals – you know – journaling, exercising, writing, playing music. Just examples, please don’t throw a rock at my head because I left off basket-making or pottery or anything. Those are very noteworthy as well.

Everybody has a heartsong. So how do you find yours? Or recognize that maybe it has gone someplace to hide with the sentiment, “hey she is not ready for me now with all this crazy stuff going on, but she will be ready by the time the kids are both in school” so you can put it in the drafty part of your closet right next to the old BCBG dress you refuse to donate because you JUST KNOW you will fit into it again.

Someday.

Are you delaying singing that heartsong or maybe just saying goodbye to your dream?

Are you maybe, just a teensy bit scared? Of not being successful? Of risks? Of what people might think?

Still a mother.
Still a professional.
Still a wife.

But also…

Still a dreamer.

I have friends who have found their “heartsong.” It’s the ability to take what they have passion for in their hearts and make it integral part of their lives in some way, a way that it is woven in that it cannot be denied or perhaps made into less of a priority. For them, fulfilling these heartsongs has allowed them to live to new potentials they would never have known. Yes – they were mothers, but beyond mothers, they are also artists and needed a push in finding that song.

I think that I want these moments because right now my heart is kind of “skipping” in terms of playing the song. Its got a lot of static and it just sounds like a really crappy recording, probably similar to the recordings I used to tape off of Z100’s top 5 at night on my radio/cassette player.

I can hear it, but because maybe its singing a few different tunes, I haven’t found my “song” yet.

Is that crazy? Do you believe that you have a heartsong that you were meant to pursue? Something that always brings you back to a dream that you feel is unfulfilled.

Now listen here. If you tell me your heart always wanted to be Eva Longoria, I know that this will be a LIE because she only rose in popularity in the last six years. It needs to be a legit heartsong. A yearning, really. A yearning to pursue something which you have captured and mastered in your dreams in a way that you are comforted by the thought, and saddened by its absence in life.

For friends who I have who have taken that leap of faith, I must say that I applaud you. You are braver than me, and definitely more talented than I will ever be in the areas you found your heartsongs.

You make me want to be brave and own up to my own dreams.

And do you think that maybe if we listened a little harder to that song, and muted all of the other crap in our lives while also paying less attention to all of the areas that we are weak or make excuses for – that we are denying ourselves and our families a better life?

Just because YOU would ultimately be happier.

The journey to find your heartsong is a tough one. Sometimes realizing you have not achieved it makes it hard for your heart to sing anything, even happy Christmas songs. But you are brave and you can do this. Maybe in 2012 we can all listen a little bit HARDER and sing a little bit LOUDER.

It’s not easy. Hard things never are. That’s what makes them hard.

But soooo worth it.

I may not know my heartsong yet, but I can sing a bra off a drunk girl in a crowded bar. (True story, I HAVE done this). So I think its important that I really give this whole thing a try.

Don’t you think you should too?

Dig deep. Don’t tell me resolutions. Tell me your dreams. What have you always wanted to do? What made you stop? Could you, WOULD you – if you knew that it was an option?

If you could, but you won’t, why not? Are you scared?

Please don’t stop dreaming sisters and misters. You are brave. You CAN do it. I will try with you and I guarantee that if we do – we will sing this song in really kick ass harmony together. Like a “Feed the World” meets “USA for Africa” kind of harmony.

Sing your heart out. Just don’t let you heart ever stop singing. Even if right now, it may only be a whisper.

Kiran








1 2