Monthly Archives: November 2012

Family Songs

The other day, my daughter wrote me this note.

All those xos mean she loves me to the sky.

I don’t know what it means, EXACTLY, but knowing her, I think it’s supposed to be about how much fun we have when we sing together. The feeling she has in her heart when her family is happy. Now I don’t want to put words in her mouth, so I will just leave it at that. I can’t be 100% certain of what goes through her cute little head, what she sees with her serious brown eyes, all the expressions that she sometimes hides from me under the mop of her curly brown hair.

Sometimes I can guess. But I will never truly know.

A while ago, I wrote a post about some difficult times that John and I have gone through. We are working through all of that, and sometimes I think we are doing really, really well. And other days, we are doing um… “not” so well. But, that’s what marriage can be like. Some days you look at the person and think something sweet like, “I am so GLAD I married my best friend.” You might even catch his eye as you’re driving and reach out to hold his hand and feel so giddy, realizing at the same time how lucky you are to have married someone who loves Neil Diamond as much as you do. And doesn‘t think it’s weird.

Those? Those are the moments that diamond commercials are made for.

The next day you look at this same person you have promised to spend forever and ever with and you want to pull your hair out.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably good that John and I both have a lot of hair. Yes. Thank God for that.

As Nico can attest to below.

Seriously, why didn’t I get him a trim?

So going back to Shaila’s note, I wonder how many times she looks at her family and doesn’t feel like singing. Where her heart doesn’t feel so good. And I wonder how many times the tension between John and me has caused that not so good feeling. That really scared feeling you get when you’re a kid and you see the two people who are anchors for your little boat, uprooted or unable to stabilize you the way you need. At least, that’s what I think it must feel like when you look up at your parents from that vantage point and see them argue.

Actually, that’s what I remember it to be like.

We are not yellers. Or screamers. When we fight you can usually see it in the firm set of our jaws. The slight clenching of the teeth. Or the way we look at each other. Kind of cold. Steely. We both like to have the last word. Seriously, we can both be real assholes sometimes. Sometimes we will find ourselves in an argument that escalates. And before we know it, we are taking tiny little swipes at each other, knowing exactly what to say to drive the other one BONKERS.

Ah, marriage.

But we make up. And when we argue, John and I both know that we will both retreat before hurting each other. And I think we feel safe with that.

But how safe do my kids feel?

While I am obviously super proud of my five year old rock-star/poet (she’s gonna be a gangsta, bitches!) for her clear writing talents, I am also a little sad because I realize that those moments she is talking about? Well, sometimes I kind of chase them away for her without realizing it. Caught up in my own stuff, our stuff, stupid stuff.

So I am not making a New Year’s Resolution. That’s crap because I have NEVER, EVER, EVER kept a resolution. But I will make a December resolution. To try to argue less. Anywhere, even behind closed doors. Because when you are a kid, a highly sensitive one to boot, you can still feel the tension behind the door. Your ears still strain to catch the tone of the voice. Your kids still know.

I will not let the stress of the holidays get in the way. Oh hell, now I am sweating. Ok, I will try with that one. Try hard.

I will sing and dance a little more with my kids. That one I can do.

I think it’s about time we whip out some “Forever in Blue Jeans.”

BEST SONG. EVER. Right, John?

Do you ever forget where you are and argue in front of your kids? Or argue until you feel like you have the last word?

Are you someone who never lets their guard down like that? In which case, how the HELL do you do it?

Pro-What?

You’ve been getting really political lately” – My husband, in regards to my activity on Facebook, Twitter and yes, this blog.

When John told me this a few weeks ago, I was like “Really?” knowing in my heart (yes, this bleeding, left leaning heart) that he was right. “What do you mean?” wanting him to tell me so I understood what he means by “really political.” You know, versus just “slightly political.”

Well, you put up a link to a post that is obviously written with a liberal slant on your Facebook page and then you ask people for their thoughts.”

So? I am asking for an open discussion.”

Well you never put up a conservatively written link and ask for anybody’s feedback on that,” he countered.

This is, in fact, NOT true. I will put up posts from “out there” Republicans like O’Reilly. Or Ann Coulter. Even Glen Beck. Republicans who I really don’t believe speak for the moderate minded side of the party.

And then I sit back and call them names and talk about WHY they are wrong.

HMMM. It seems like my husband may have a good point.

I know that with blogging, unless you are writing a political blog, it’s best to stay away from touchy subjects like politics or religion. They teach you that in like Blogging 101.

So, sorry. What can I say? Oops?

I have a problem with getting a little too into politics. It’s an annoying habit that I have. Ever since I took a sick day in the 7th grade when Michael Dukakis lost the Presidential Election to George Bush, I have realized that I have issues.

But since I was twelve, I think I have matured a little bit in my political outlook. I have come to the realization that while I identify myself more as a Democrat (oh goodness, this is like blog suicide right now, isn’t it?), I have also come to terms with the fact that it’s not as black and white as that.

I also realize that while I support “the party line” on some issues, it is not always with the same cheerleader type of enthusiasm I may have in the past.

I think I just look at these issues differently now.

I attribute my change of opinion, or at least my questions regarding it, in large part to becoming a parent.

You’re Pro What?

Ever since I can remember, I have always said that I am “Pro-Choice.” I have resented that my stance on being “Pro-Choice” indicated that in some way, I was “Pro-Death.” I would get even more annoyed at that because it seemed like such a hypocrisy since many traditional Pro-Lifers support the death penalty.

Nobody has the right to tell me what to do with my body,” I have said. And I still say it. I don’t want anybody – my neighbor, my dentist, the grocery checkout lady or the guy in the U-Haul next to me who is driving a little too crazy – what I can do with my fingers, my toes, my esophagus, not to mention my uterus.

I also don’t want anyone telling my daughter what to do with her body either. EVER. Anybody who even tries to better BACK THE HELL OFF.

So What’s My Deal?

Prior to having a child of my own, if someone asked me when I believe that life begins, I used to respond fairly confidently with, “Somewhere between the second and third trimester.

Since having a child, my view has changed when someone asks me that question. I don’t always answer right away, because I don’t really feel that confident in my answer anymore. It seems at odds with the confidence with which I approach most of my beliefs. Unlike the old me, the post motherhood me believes that it starts right away.

Yup.

As soon as the bullet hits the target.

It’s weird writing it for me and seeing it in print, but it’s true. A part of me feels like I should be modifying this to say, “After the first trimester” or maybe even, “Once the heart starts beating.”

It’s just that, I remember the voracity with which I would read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” oddly one of the most mundane books in the world to read EXCEPT when you are pregnant. Then it becomes the most fascinating piece of literature in the world to read as you sift through the pages and hungrily absorb the details about your baby being the size of a pea, an avocado and other sized fruits and vegetables.

I remember feeling the exhaustion and the effects of both pregnancies almost immediately. And each pregnancy seemed to have it’s own stamp. As if each child was already making its mark, its imprint.

On me. Really, really early in the pregnancies.

Straddling a Fence?

So it sounds like on the one hand I don’t want anybody telling me or my fellow sisters in this world what we can do with our bodies. On the other hand, I know that the day I discovered I was pregnant each time, I stopped throwing back things like vodka martinis and expensive wine, NOT because of the calories.

Because they were bad for the baby. The one that was growing in my belly.

And yet….

I fear what would happen if our government were to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

I fear what happens when a woman or young child who is raped no longer has the right to regain control when control has completely been taken away from them.

I fear what happens when a woman finds herself in a situation where she has no other option and must seek a back alley abortion.

I fear what will happen to the many children, now brought into this world where a parent cannot support them or does not want to support them.

I fear what happens when a woman who is faced with the likelihood of death is not given the option to choose whether she can live. I am especially thinking of the death of the young woman in Ireland, Savita Halapannavar, who was declined a D&C a few weeks ago, even though there was no chance of her baby’s survival. 

I fear that something as scary and frightening as “rape” will one day be defined for me by a primarily male Congress. I laugh at the Tina Fey quote below, but it’s a truth that I don’t feel comfortable with.

I also fear that if you tell someone that they can only be granted an abortion if they have been “raped,” after it has been defined by the powers that be (see point above) that we will see a frightening number of “Salem Witch Trial” like accusations going down, on innocent people.

So Where the Heck Does that Leave Me?

Good question. I thought I may have lost you there. These are murky waters.

I am “Pro-Choice.” Not because I am “Pro-Death,” because I don’t believe in the opposite of the “Pro-Life” movement. Nobody who is Pro-Choice is against life.

The problem I have with overturning something like Roe vs. Wade is that I can’t count on absolutes. And I greatly fear consequences of looking at the world in absolutes.

The fears that I listed above would all be consequences of Roe vs. Wade.

In fact, both sides (Pro-Choice and Pro-Life) are looking at the value of life and protecting those lives. We are just looking at the issues with our own lenses.

We just don’t live in a world of absolutes. We never will. It’s not as easy as Life vs. Death. Choice vs. Death.

What happened in Ireland a few weeks ago should not and cannot be allowed to happen in this country. The thought of any woman being in the same situation as Savita Halapannavar and not having a choice between life or death is terrifying.

So I support choice. Not lightly.

Not lightly at ALL.

And as I write this post, I greatly even debate whether I have the guts to hit “Publish.”

Closing my eyes. Here goes.

Kiran

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The Supermom Myth

When I was younger, I always had this vision of what being a mother would be like. I knew it would be hard, juggling that successful career, running around with my kids in parks, cooking homemade meals every night while still remaining to stay in shape through all of this.

Because everybody knows if you are doing that much work, you must be burning a lot of calories.

But being a mother is NOTHING like I thought. Nothing that I bargained for.  These were the realizations that hit me very early on.

1. Control. Or lack thereof. As someone who could be relied upon to be on time, stick to commitments, be out of bed early and even manage to throw a workout in before a 7 AM flight, losing this practically gave me angina. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten my family prepared to go somewhere to be stalled by a “What’s that smell?” from my husband or a “Mommy, I need to go potty!” or an even more reassuring, “Oops, Mommy, I missed the toilet!

So shit, if you are expecting to be on time for anything, you better be ready and prepared for poop explosions.

In regards to control? Well after a few kids, some of us also have bladder issues when we sneeze or cough.

Ah-choo.

Not all of us. I just heard about it from a “friend.”

2. It’s more challenging to stay in shape. Now I am not saying it CAN NOT, it SHOULD NOT, or it MIGHT NOT be possible. I am just saying it’s harder. And sure, you can drop your kids off at the daycare at the gym, but if you work, you feel guilty about leaving your kids with someone else again.

So you go to the Fitness Store or Sears  or something and buy an elliptical. You set up a TV with cable and DVR all your favorite shows. And every night you set the alarm because in the morning you will go down to the basement and watch Gossip Girl while getting buff.

BUTTHENIT’S6INTHEMORNINGANDYOUARESOTIREDBECAUSETHEKIDSDIDNOT
SLEEPAFUCKINGSECONDBETWEENTHETWOOFTHEMGODDAMNIT
ANDWHOGIVESASHITABOUTSERENAVANDERWOODSONORCHUCKBASS
ORBEINGFITJUSTFUCKINGLETMESLEEP.

Yeah. It can be kind of like that.

And then your husband asks you if he can cancel the DVR since you never use it anyway, which only makes you feel worse. Hearing his words makes your ass sag just a little more.

3. Running around in parks and shit. Oh this totally happens. It’s just that vision I had of running around with my hair done and bouncing all healthy like a damn Clairol commercial while running after my kids and taking pictures of them with my SLR camera is far from what is usually happening.

I am usually in my yoga pants. I may or may not have showered. My hair is not bouncy. It is, in fact, pulled back into a tight bun on the top of my head and I am not bouncing around the park with them Clairol, Revlon or even Suave style with them. I would have grabbed my SLR but I forgot it, damn it, but I’ve got my iPhone so I can snap pictures on that.

What’s that? Oh Shaila – you want to go on the swings over there and Nico you want to go 200 yards in the opposite direction to that slide? To that particular slide, because none of these other twelve slides will do? Oh ok, of course that makes sense.

After some negotiation, we are good.

Oh, what’s that? Oh you need to use the potty? Oh – well, we can use the Port-a-Potty right there. What? Oh you think that’s disgusting? Oh ok, let me magically make a shiny new toilet appear with this Harry Potter like wand that all mommies have. They came out of our vaginas the same time we had you. Oh, you peed yourself? Oh, ok. Let’s go home.

And then even though I have watched Food, Inc. and I know terrible things about the food industry, I will stop at McDonald’s.

Because.

Just because.

4. Cooking homemade meals and crap. Some moms are really good with this. Heck, I have a friend from high school named Deb and she is one of the most popular food bloggers in the whole world, the author of a blog you may have heard of called “Smitten Kitchen.”

I read it from time to time. The pictures on it are pretty. I also really like her granite counters. I wonder what kind of granite they are.

“Smitten Kitchen” just released by Deb Perelman. Buy it for Diwali! Christmas! Hannukah! Kwanzaa!

See what I mean? Those counters are really pretty.

Before I know it, the time I needed to cook a homemade meal is gone.

So I pick up the phone and call for delivery. The guy at the pizza place asks me if my cold has gone away and if I’ve scheduled that mani/pedi. I ask him if he gave that girl he was talking about a call. The one he told me about the LAST time we spoke.

Yesterday.

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

Anyway, these are just some of the things where my vision has not quite matched my reality. If I were to liken it to a novel, the title is no longer “Great Expectations” but more like, “The Little Engine That Could.” Just trying to get to the top of that hill.

I think I can. I think I can.

There are loads of other things I suck at, but there are only so many hours in a day and a blog post can only be so long. Maybe I will mention them to you another day. (Laundry, anybody?)

I do know one thing for sure. I think one thing that I am good at is loving my kids. I may not be the shiniest, slimmest, most glittery, in control, homemade meal cooking, organic-y kind of mama that I thought I was going to be. But I think my kids will forgive me.

I have given them life.

I remember the moments I held each of them for the first time and the expressions on their faces like it was yesterday.

I know the patterns of their breath when they sleep at night. I notice the cute little tics each has.

How Nico does this cute little shiver when he gets scared.

How Shaila makes “the love face” when she looks down at her brother in those rare moments where she is not occupied with throwing something at him.

 

The small things, the little nuanced behaviors that remind me of a family member on my side or John’s side.

I have held them close when they have been sick, I have felt the sweet touch of theirs lips against my own.

For what it’s worth. They are kind of stuck with me.

And to me, that’s worth more than anything else.

Even if I’m setting myself up for failure, I think it’s worth trying to be a mother who delights in who her children are, in their knock-knock jokes and earnest questions. A mother who spends less time obsessing about what will happen, or what has happened, and more time reveling in what is. A mother who doesn’t fret over failings and slights, who realizes her worries and anxieties are just thoughts, the continuous chattering and judgement of a too busy mind. A mother who doesn’t worry so much about being bad or good but just recognizes that she’s both, and neither. A mother who does her best, and for whom that is good enough, even if, in the end, her best turns out to be, simply, not bad.

― Ayelet Waldman, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace

I’m Wired and Tom Cruise is Weird.

There are times when the rain comes. The clouds come. When it feels like the sky won’t part long enough for any sun to peak through.

I have known times like this.

I was talking to a close friend the other day about depression, something her husband had gone through recently after some stressful stuff in their lives piled up too, too quickly to control.

It’s hard for me. I don’t handle things that way. I’m not wired that way,” she said, explaining that she wants to support him but finds it challenging, not understanding why he is handling their pressures so differently than her.

I understood completely. Before I was impacted by it, depression was just something Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields fought about (with a little intervention from Matt Lauer – boo-ya!). Depression was commercials that I forwarded on my DVR, sometimes catching the tail end of the ever reassuring “side effects include death, hysteria, inexplicable flatulence. In rare cases, liver, lung and rectal cancer have been reported.”

FUN.

I never really thought I was “wired” for depression either. I went through some raw and painful stuff in my childhood and throughout my twenties and almost made it through my early thirties unscathed.

But when it hit me for the first time in my life, after the birth of my first child, it took me a long time to find a way to climb out of it.

Some days I struggle with the climb.

Because I never thought I was predisposed to depression, I never understood what I was experiencing. The anxiety. The restlessness. The debilitating pains that started mysteriously shooting through my body, hurting my back. The overwhelming exhaustion – more exhausting than anything I had ever even felt throughout pregnancy.

I thought something must be wrong with me. And something was. But I was looking for answers that I could see. I took blood tests. Went through MRIs. Saw every specialist I could.

These days, after recognizing and understanding what I have, I am a lot better. I do think that sometimes when people exhibit mysterious illnesses which go undiagnosed or experience chronic pain, it can be a sign of depression. In some, not ALL cases.

I have stopped telling everyone at my Doctor’s office to just go see a psychiatrist, because that was just plain disruptive.

I don’t think any of us really know what we are wired for until we are faced with it.

I look out my windows at the clouds, glad that I can see the light beyond them.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This post was written as part of the Red Riding Hood link-up on Write on Edge. Today’s inspiration was “Rain”.

Go ahead and like Masala Chica on Facebook. Purty Please.

Oh – and watch Tom try to hypnotize Matt on national television. Why does Tom say, “Matt” so much, in that creepy voice? Weird, right?

The Color of Blindness

This is an old post, but I thought of it last night as I was in bed, bathed in darkness, right before my eyes closed.

Handsome in Pink

Let’s make a law that gay people can have birthdays, but straight people get more cake – you know, to send the right message to kids. – Bill Maher

My son likes pink. A lot.

He also likes to wear his sister’s plastic high heel shoes around the house and will carry her purse all sassy-like on his right shoulder.

Clip-clop. Clip-clop.

As we get ready for dinner and we ask him which cup he wants, it’s always the purple one.

With flowers on it.

The other day our amazing Au Pair, Heather, went to pick up Nico from school. She was wearing this pink sweater with Red hearts on it. Here is what it looks like.

      Heather’s Sweater. Forever 21.

The first thing out of Nico’s mouth when he saw Heather was, “Heather, I love your sweater. I just love it!” He brought his hands to his cheeks to express his enthusiasm as well.

He likes the Disney Princess fork the best.

He only has recently said he likes blue, most likely from peer pressure from his Dad. When his father is not looking, he still opts for pink or purple.

His favorite game is to play kitty cat. When asked what color kitten he would be, he says purple.

The other day he was sitting with Heather in her room trying to style her hair with a flatiron.

On the other hand, he also likes to throw around a ball, play catch and kick a soccer ball.

The way I see it my son is a well rounded kid. I like to think of him as a Renaissance Man of sorts. Or like, a Renaissance Baby. Whatever.

John and I have wondered. He is three years old now. And he has plenty of time to figure out where he is going. The display of some of these feminine traits in him does have us questioning his orientation from time to time.

We are not too worried either way. He is most likely mimicking his older sister at this point. Regardless, I have come to the peace with the following:

If my pink loving, red heart cardigan sweater loving son ever comes to me or his father and tells us that he is REALLY into wearing the red heart cardigan sweater, we will support him no matter what.

No matter what sweater color he chooses to love.

No matter who he chooses to love. I just pray, pray, pray that they are good, kind, loving people who will love him the way he deserves to be loved. Please, God, Please.

I know I am jumping the gun here, but when I have spoken to a few friends who are gay about when they knew, some said that they have memories as early as 3 or 4 of knowing they were different. One of my friends told me he remembered wanting to play with his mother’s clothes and wanting to put on makeup and play dress up.

I kind of look at the facts.

1) Wants to wear my clothes? Em, not so much

2) Wants to put on my makeup? Hell Yeah.

3) Dress up. Tinkerbell anyone? Check.

He hasn’t come out in any of my business suits or anything yet, but I am keeping a close eye on it.

It makes me sad to think of parents who disown their children when they finally learn or acknowledge this truth. I imagine it’s an extremely hard thing, not just for the child, but for the parents, who feel that some moral or societal compass supersedes the relationship between parent and child.

I saw this letter the other day, and I imagine a lot of what I would say would pretty much be in line what John Kinnear, author of the blog “Ask Your Dad” wrote in his piece called “Dear Hypothetically Gay Son.”

Dear Hypothetically Gay Son,
You’re gay. Obviously you already know that, because you told us at the dinner table last night. I apologize for the awkward silence afterwards, but I was chewing.  It was like when we’re at a restaurant and the waiter comes up mid-bite and asks how the meal is, only in this metaphor you are the waiter and instead of asking me about my meal you said you were gay. I don’t know why I needed to explain that. I think I needed to find a funny way to repeat the fact that you’re gay… because that is what it sounds like in my head right now. “My son is gay. My son is gay. My son is gay.”
Let me be perfectly clear. I love you. I will always love you. Since being gay is part of who you are, I love that you’re gay. I’m just trying to wrap my head around the idea. If you sensed any sadness in my silence last night, it was because I was surprised that I was surprised. Ideally, I would have already known. Since you were an embryo, my intent has always been to really know you for who you are and not who I expect you to be. And yet, I was taken by surprise at last night’s dinner. Have I said “surprise” enough in this paragraph? One more time… surprise!
OK. Let’s get a few things straight about how things are going to be.
    1. Our home is a place of safety and love. The world has dealt you a difficult card. While LGBT people are becoming more accepted, it is still a difficult path to walk. You’re going to experience hate and anger and misunderstandings about who you are out in the world. That will not happen here.  You need to know with every fiber of who you are that when you walk in the front door of your home you are safe and you are loved. Your mother is in complete agreement with me on this.
    2. I am still, as always, your biggest defender.  Just because you’re gay doesn’t mean you’re any less capable of taking care of/defending yourself. That said, if you need me to stand next to you, in front of you, write letters, sign petitions, advocate, or anything else, I am here. I will go to war for you.
    3. If you’re going to have boys over, you now need to leave your bedroom door open. Sorry kiddo. Thems are the breaks. I couldn’t have girls in my room with the door shut, you don’t get to have boys.
    4. You and I are going to revisit that talk we had about safe sex. I know it’s going to be awkward for both of us, but it is important. I need to do some research first, so let’s give it a few weeks. If you have questions or concerns before then, let me know.

 

That’s enough for now.  Feel free to view this letter as a contract. If I ever fail to meet any of the commitments made herein, pull it out and hold me to account.  I’ll end with this: You are not broken. You are whole, and beautiful. You are capable and compassionate. You and your sister are the best things I have ever done with my life, and I couldn’t be more proud of the people you’ve become.
Love,
Dad
P.S. Thanks to a few key Supreme Court decisions and the Marriage Equality act of 2020 you’re legally able to get married. When I was your age, that was just an idea. Pretty cool huh?
*******************

Nico has a long way to go before figuring these things out for himself. Hypothetically, if he were to tell me he was some day, I would wrap my arms around him and hug him as tight as he would let me and let him know with all my heart that he will still always be my favorite son.

(Easy since I don’t have any others).

It would sadden me that people would be quicker to judge him and that his path might be harder than for other young men, but I would be as supportive and as loving as I could be. Both John and I definitely would.

As John Kinnear says above, “I will go to war for you.”

Anyway, since this is all so darn “hypothetical,” you really never know what the future brings. For all I know, Nico will be into some goth chick with piercings on every appendage. There are some horrific heterosexual scenarios that could also hypothetically play out where I would just as gladly prefer he say the words, “Hey Ma, I’m gay.”

I am at peace with whatever decisions my children make in regards to their sexuality. I don’t want to have to picture the act or anything, but I don’t want to do that with heterosexual sex either. What kind of pervy mom would want that anyway?

Ewww.

XOXO,

Kiran

One Week Later

It’s been one week since the election. Some have wept tears of joy. Others have wept for other reasons. I would say that most of America has dealt with it the way you would expect, in a pretty straightforward, matter of fact way.

Amidst all of this though, there does seem to be a newly awoken anger. Perhaps it’s an anger that’s been here all along and has been fairly dormant. Perhaps my head has been so far up my own ass these days that I didn’t notice.

That’s possible too.

The anger just seems to have reached new levels.

Notwithstanding ignorant comments like the one from Bill O’Reilly which I wrote about last week, I feel like there is a volatility in the air. People remain highly sensitized and are clamoring to fight, to exchange words. To scream the loudest.

Guy Kawasaki, one of the most highly followed public figures in social media (former Chief Evangelist at Apple, Co-founder of Alltop.com) put a short post on LinkedIn about who he voted for (Obama) and why. The frenzy of comments that ensued in a “hate” fest on LinkedIn, a professional network where people look at your activity to see if they want to HIRE you, was ridiculous.

Wouldn’t you want to be perceived well on a network like that? Why would you tarnish your image by engaging in hateful diatribe?

People just don’t seem to care.

Not all, but yeah – a LOT.

The onslaught of hateful comments hasn’t stopped post election. The recent article posted on Jezebel, documenting the onslaught of outrageous racist comments made by teens on Twitter where use of the “N” word is frequent. Some tweets have even wished an assassination upon the President. That kind of shit talking really scares me.

Like the Whitney Houston song, “I believe that children are our future” and if this speaks at all for what our future remotely looks like, we are royally screwed.

Innocent comments on Facebook seem to trigger heated discussions that quickly become about right vs. left, pro-life vs. pro-choice, my momma vs. your momma kind of shit in minutes.

Yesterday, an old high school friend of mine posted this:

I agree with him, that is sad. Other than expressing his sadness, no other sentiment was provided.

Which is why it made absolutely no sense when a friend commented back with “Ummm…have you seen the racist comments coming from the left?”

To which my friend responded very reasonably, “Racism doesn’t know left or right.”

I am glad he was mature about it because of course I got sucked into it, directly violating Facebook Rules 7 & 9 (At least!).

So what the heck is going on? I was not a big fan of George W. Bush, but there are lines on language I would never cross when speaking about the President, much less write them so publicly.

Are we all just becoming desensitized to the screaming and yelling across party lines? Have we gotten to a place where there are no longer boundaries of appropriateness in political discourse? I have been called an idiot, a moron, a socialist, a communist, a bitch all in this past week.

And that’s been a good week.

Something’s in the air and it’s disquieting. I am telling you, I have heard the word “monkey” in reference to President Obama in the past few weeks than I have heard my whole life. And trust me, after Indiana Jones, I got asked about monkey brains a lot, so I have heard that word more than most Americans.

I don’t know. Maybe I am just being overly sensitive. I don’t think so though.

What are your feelings post election? What are some of the more ridiculous/sad/polarizing things you have heard? BTW – I don’t care if you lean right or left. We want to know.

Kiran

When You’re Only Lonely

Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you. – Khalil Gibran

Remember the other day how I wrote about what a pain the ass my daughter is  ? Well I kind of left out something really important.

It’s that while I can recognize that she can be a bit “much” sometimes, I literally ache when I watch her trying to play with other kids and being ignored, rebuffed or made fun of.

It’s a terrible feeling.

I love our neighborhood. I really do. One of the reasons we moved here was because we wanted to be close to other families and around lots of kids.

John and I had just gotten married when we moved to this house and so most of our neighbors had a head start on us. There were already lots of kids running around, playing basketball, riding bikes, kicking balls around.

An idyllic setting for us as we started a young family.

On our street, Shaila is the youngest of the girls. And though some kids will play with her when there aren’t better options around, she gets dropped like a hot potato as soon as someone older or someone “cooler” comes along for her playmate to join.

It’s hard. I see her face. I see the loneliness in it. She usually will look bewildered when she is abandoned, not realize even sometimes that the girls are “hiding” from her trying to avoid her completely and making fun of her.

She will usually go back to doing whatever it was that she was doing with her friend a second before, but this time alone. Drawing with chalk is her favorite – and sit by herself, lost in her own world as she draws away.

Alone.

Lonely.

I try to not let it bother me. Telling myself that this is just a phase and things must be better at school, or that this is just what happens to the youngest kid who doesn’t have an older sibling to defend her. And somehow, it’s easier that she doesn’t seem to know when she is being mocked, that the sarcasm from the older girls is sometimes lost on her.

Or maybe she does get it.

The other day, I was cuddling in bed with her when she started crying. She had gone over to a friend’s house and asked her to play outside and the friend had slammed the door in Shaila’s face.

Me: Baby, why didn’t you tell me?

Shaila: I don’t know.

She shrugged. I looked into her big brown eyes. I found myself wavering between wanting to knock somebody out and just crying with her. I knew both options would be wrong.

1) You should never want to get in a smack down with someone less than the age of ten when you are my age

2) I couldn’t let her see me cry

I think if you have had a normal childhood, you remember those moments of insecurity and isolation. The moment when you were the new kid in a group or you were trying to get up enough courage to go start a conversation with a new friend. You remember the times you might have been made fun of or teased and you remember how much it might have hurt.

Do you remember the kids in middle and high school who got it the worst? I always remember this boy named Carlos. He was honestly the cutest thing, looking back at him. But most kids saw him as an annoying little peanut. A peanut with an opinion, who wasn’t shy to speak his mind and didn’t sit docilely in the corner.

Carlos got made fun of all the time. I remember one day a taller boy spit in his hair and how hysterical everybody thought it was. I remember how one day, one of the most popular boys in our class shoved him into a locker and locked him in it. Again, it was all just hysterical.

I never laughed. But I didn’t really say much to defend Carlos and other kids like him when I was younger. I remember one time, I did rush to defend someone and was told “to mind my own business, you stupid Hindu,” and then being laughed at myself. I still would defend other kids, but with the knowledge that I could be as quickly attacked.

I look at Shaila and wonder, is she going to be like Carlos? What if she WERE to be singled out like that? What kind of mother would I be? What kind of fortitude would I have to get her through it as unblemished as possible?

Yesterday, I was cooking in the kitchen when John walked in. He informed me that while Shaila had been playing with her friends, better alternatives had come along and she had been dropped again, just minutes after she had rushed into our house, asking for juice boxes for all of her buddies.

He said she just stood there with the juice boxes after she ran out and her friends were gone.

Shaila: But I just brought them drinks…

I finished up what I was doing, wanting to keep my daughter company. I didn’t need to. Another girl on our block, a really sweet girl a few years older than Shaila, came over and played with her, almost like she knew that my daughter needed a friend. Shaila gave her one of the drinks. Maybe this sweet child had seen the other girl run off, hiding behind an SUV with a few older girls and laughing at my daughter.

Regardless of her reasons, I was grateful as I heard my daughter’s laughter. Her sweet little giggle as the older girl told her jokes and made her laugh.

She’s gonna be alright. As long as I keep hearing the sound of her laughter, I know that much to be true.

I don’t remember who said this, but there really are places in the heart you don’t even know exist until you love a child.” – Ann Lamott

Do you remember feeling bullied or left out as a child? What kind of wisdom would you hope to impart to your child to make sure they are not instigators, or to help them heal if they are the ones being hurt?

Photography by Tellchronicles.

Please like Masala Chica on Facebook. Let me know in the comments below and you have my undying appreciation forever.

Spilling it all for Things I Can’t Say.

Am I on Crazy Pills? Wait – Don’t Answer. Just Read.

Proof that Bill O’Reilly Will Always be an Asshat

Ok, y’all. (Yes, I know I am an Indian girl from New Jersey, but I have lived in Virginia long enough to say y’all).

I have not said much about the election this year. I have gotten annoyed at Facebook friends that have also been acting like asshats trying to shove their political beliefs down my throat and talking ignorant shit about BOTH candidates.  I know, I know, let’s move FORWARD.

Ok, I will. I promise. Just give me a second to say something first.

Bill O’Reilly has said something to upset me.

What? Bill O’Reilly? Stop the effing presses. Are you kidding me? When has he ever said anything offensive before? I will give you this, next to Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter, he looks like Gandhi, but still.

Bill. Said. Something. Questionable.

Now the only reason I am not saying that it’s “questionable” versus outright racist, ignorant, blatantly hostile, borderline hate-mongering is because of this. THIS.

People. Well, some people think I am overreacting.

What? Me, overreact? I am like the Dalai Lama. What the HELL are they talking about? I epitomize what the person who invented the saying “cool as a cucumber” was thinking, when they were eating that cucumber.

If you are not going to watch the video, here is the quote that he made when asked why Romney did not win the election.

“The white establishment is now the minority,” he added. “The voters, many of them, feel this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. You’re gonna see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama’s way. People feel that they are entitled to things — and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

Exhale.

I am not questioning any comments around demographics here. In fact, I will confirm the following:

Photo by Shutterstock

So, you might ask me, “Well, Kiran, why are you all bent out of shape? Didn’t he just state a fact?”

To which my reply would be, “ARGGGHHHHH. People!!”

No, seriously, my response is, “Look at the other words that fill in the holes. Look at the overall message of that statement. Look at the associations he is creating.”

Some argued with me that O’Reilly is by no means a racist (yeah, huh) and that I am taking his words out of context. But the thing is, context is what I have here.

People feel entitled to things.” Didn’t he just mention Blacks? And Hispanics? And Women? And of course all the other minorities that are part of the rainbow?

If his comment was specifically about people who are receiving entitlements and where their vote went, I could say that the context of saying, “People feel entitled to things.” might even make sense, though I would still be pissed. Entitlement programs are not always there because people feel “entitled” but they are there because people have no options.

Let’s also be clear that part of his message is that it is not the “white establishment” that wants entitlements. It is “the others.” Those crazy minorities who are taking over this country.

In another clip he also talked about “traditional white America.” You know what? I don’t even goddamn know what that means. This country is a country built on immigration, right from when the first ships came over and this land was taken from the Native Americans who lived here. Since then, populations have immigrated to the U.S. en mass. If you are saying that the majority of this country is no longer comprised of only those with a European heritage, I could even fathom that.

There are a few factors here. What we have, is that the scales of immigration have tipped. At some point, the immigrants coming in stopped being less European and became more heavily dominated by other countries. And there are “white” people in every country, so I hate, Hate, HATE this term. It’s extremely ambiguous.

Also, you know what else? A lot of “white America”? Well, they stopped being only a few shades of white. Racial endogamy, while still the norm, is no longer considered the “only” way. Inter-racial marriage has increased significantly in the past few decades. Hey, I am an Indian girl who married a guy who is Italian and Puerto Rican, so I am an example. My kids are still brown, but that’s not the point. My nephew (brown) just married a beautiful Italian girl (white). According to the way race is accounted for in this country, that child will not be considered “white.”

Or should I say, they will not be part of “traditional white America.”

You know, my dad and several uncles came here in the late 60’s. We are assorted shades of brown. My parents worked their ASSES off every freaking day that they were in this country. You know what this is? THAT, is “traditional America.”

Boo-ya.

I was born in this country. “White people” have come here after I was born but would be embraced into the “traditional America” before I ever will no matter how red, white and blue my blood is. The majority of the Black population that made up the electorate population are not recent immigrants. Most of them came over here a long, long time ago (and we’re not even going there).

But you know what? They are “Traditional America” now.

Another point I want to make is that while we are now seeing a turn in the population, the electorate population is still comprised of primarily of whites, though we saw minorities hold enormous influence over the outcome of the election. Those kids that the census results were talking about (see link) – well they aren’t going to the polls yet, O’Reilly.

The polls are still being driven by a majority white population.

Inhale. Exhale.

Ok. I am done. I went on a tangent. I know, I know. Too much caffeine!

I promise that I will NOT GET MAD if you disagree with me. If you tell me I am crazy, I will accept it. You will not be the first. I will listen, take it in and absorb.

I took O’Reilly’s comment one way. Others are taking it another. Where do you stand on this and why? What is this so called “stuff” that I want?

Let’s stay away from hateful or hurtful comments – let’s keep this a productive conversation.

Also – if you like this post, and want to read another, similar but more associated to the facts of the entitlement programs, please read this post by Andrew Heaton.  “An Election Win Courtesy of Welfare Queens and Takers.” (The title is ironic, yes). 

You will see my good friend John Ahn, Andrew and myself already mired in the against a real, hmm. Firecracker. 

Please come over to Andrew’s blog and help put your opinion in the comments. 

Andrew is one of my new blog besties. He just doesn’t know this yet.

Night ALL!

Kiran

Did Anybody Ever See “The Ring”?

This is going to sound really mean. So I am going to try to sugar coat this as much as possible and really say this as delicately as I possibly can.

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING. JUST REMEMBER “SEVEN DAYS.”

Hmmm. Looking for the words.

My five year old daughter is a complete pain in the ass.

I know. I KNOW. That’s really bad to say but that’s the nicest way I can put it. And I am even feeling generous right now.

Don’t get me wrong. She has those moments that all parents talk about. Those “magical” moments, where a parent looks at their child and realizes that there must be a God. I think even Atheists must feel that twinge of doubt when these moments occur. Those moments, where it feels like someone just squeezed your heart and you have to catch your breath because you can’t believe it’s even possible that you brought this amazing, independent, loving, precious, cherubic angel into the world.

I LOVE those moments. They are awesome. Those are the sparkly and glittery moments of parenthood. Where you want to dance around and throw confetti. Dance the Macarena. Or maybe just think in your heart, “How have I been so blessed?”

But those moments usually happen for me when she is sleeping. And she is not talking. And she can’t kick violently. Oh, and she is not yelling. Which is really just talking loudly, I know.

But still.

And Shaila (if you don’t know our family yet, I feel like I need to tell you her name while I have a big whining session about her) is very good at all of those things.

Yesterday, I took her three year old brother, Nico and her to the Doctor. I brought our Kindle Fire with us so that they could play games (yeah, smart thinking, Mom) and of course, they immediately start fighting over it.

Now Shaila is prone to soap star theatrics. She would make a better actress than Susan Lucci and could probably win more Emmys too. Because she instigated the fight and then tried to whack her brother across the head, I decided to put her in the corner of the Doctor’s office in “time out.”

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Shaila, you know the rules. No hitting. You have to sit in time out.

At this point I pick her up and try to seat her on the corner of the Examination Table against the wall. And then of course, Girlfriend kicks me.

Me: Shaila, you do not kick. You will be in time out longer now.

And then the tears come. Buckets.

Shaila: NOBODY LOVES ME!!NOBODY LOVES ME AT ALL!!EVERYONE JUST LOVES NICO!I DON’T LOVE ANYBODY ANYMORE BECAUSE NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME!I AM JUST GOING TO RUN AWAY TO WHERE PEOPLE UNDERSTAND ME AND LET ME PLAY TIC TAC TOE ON THE KINDLE BY MYSELF!

I didn’t explain that her search would be futile. But of course I did the reasoning thing. Like, duh. Why bother?

Shaila: NOW LOOK MOMMY.YOU MADE ME CRY.NOW I’M GOING TO BE CRYING WHEN THE DOCTOR COMES!I DIDN’T WANT THE DOCTOR TO SEE ME LIKE THIS. HOW EMBARRASSING!YOU’RE EMBARRASSING ME!

Kind of cheeky, huh? Here is Girlfriend, yelling loud enough for the whole office complex to hear her and think I am beating her to a bloody pulp and she’s concerned about her appearance in front of the Doctor.

And so the Doctor comes in and examines them both. Nico was in there for a cold, Shaila for a rash, so the Doctor does not examine Girlfriend with a stethoscope or examine her ears or anything.

After the Doctor walks out, guess whose upset? Yeah. You guys are getting good at this.

Shaila: I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS!I CAN’T NEVEN (yes she says neven), NEVER EVER, NEVEN BELIEVE THIS!!NEVER, NEVEN IN A MILLION, 200 BILLION AND 1 YEARS!!

She crosses her arms over her chest and makes a face similar to Samara from The Ring.

Me: What?

Shaila: SHE DIDN’T EVEN CHECK MY HEART OR MY BREATH OR ANYTHING!!NICO GETS EVERYTHING!!

She starts snarling, (I am pretty sure that’s what I would call it) at her brother when the Nurse came back in to give Shaila a flu shot then. Nico couldn’t get one because of his cold.

Yeah, I am sure you can guess how that went.

The nurse and I had to hold Shaila down as if we were at an Exorcism. There was sweating and crying and tears, oh lawd, so many tears.

Most of them were from me as Girlfriend kept getting me square in the gut and shins a few times.

Now that I am a mother, I look at movies like The Exorcist and wonder if the daughter was really possessed or was just “strong-willed” or “spirited,” words we commonly use to describe our daughter. I am really starting to think “possessed” is really just a synonym for those words.

Look, before anybody goes and starts calling CPS on me, I just want to stress again that I love my daughter. Like, when she is awake, I love her up to the moon. It’s just that when she is sleeping, I love her all the way to Mars or somewhere else in the galaxy.

So in either case, my love is very strong.

And I appreciate what I have every day. Two healthy, hugely independent, highly suspect, insanely manipulative children.

I DO count my blessings every day.

It’s just that, for now, I also am counting my bruises.

Kiran

The content written by the author in no way implies that the behavior of her children has nothing to do with her parenting skills. In fact, she is quite sure she has done irreparable damage already, starting back to when she gave up on her “Yoga for Pregnancy” videos.

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MEET KIRAN

I'm Kiran, I'm a dreamer. A writer. A singer. A mother. An ugly crier. An Indian-American. Who loves Gandhi. My stories are full of truth that is sometimes hard for me to say out loud. This blog is where I overcome my fears and live (and love) out loud. Read More....

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