DEAR CALLING, I'M READY FOR YOU BABE

“You’ll get to a point where you can’t ignore your calling anymore.” — Me. Ha! Yes, I’m quoting myself.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. Over the years though, many voices, including mine, have told me my dream was far fetched. From the parentals asking me how writing would ever make me money, to a close friend who once suggested that I should change my name in order to be more “appealing” as a writer aka hide my brown-ness. There’s always been some sort of obstacle in the road.

Inspired by objection, I took that uncertainty and used it to map out a sort of “safe” career path for myself, making decisions about jobs based on income or working my way around the writing thing by convincing myself that I needed to do X and Y to get to Z as opposed to just going to straight to Z—hope I haven’t lost ya. I’m basically saying that I let fear and other people’s opinions convince me that I couldn’t make it, when all I’ve ever wanted was to sit in my bomb ass house with my typewriter in a room that overlooked the Tuscan hills while I banged out my third novel to Tupac’s Greatest Hits.

The other day I setup a writing session with my homie Erik and we had this same conversation. It seems to be that a lot of us (my peers) have approached our passions in circles without taking a leap of faith and just walking straight the fuck in the middle declaring: “Yo fam this is my space, I belong here and I will do this.” So the day comes where the urge to do that thing, whatever it is for you, is so strong and you can’t really ignore it any more.

I think it comes with a certain level of being able to be honest with yourself. To break away from the constructs of what society has convinced us what we should do and how we should do it. To listen to your inner voice when the world is telling you to dream smaller or not at all. The last thing I ever want to tell my (yet to exist) daughter is “Hey, go to school, get a degree, get married and be a wife for the rest of your life, the end.” Nah fam, fuck that.

At the start of this year, Vick and I decided to put ourselves as individuals first, focusing our efforts on pursuing our dreams versus making a rush decision to move in together because circumstantially, that’s what New York was forcing us to do. I feel you though, rent ain’t cheap. At the time it was hard and a huge test for our relationship but as always, hindsight does its thing and I couldn’t be more grateful to be on this path discovering what I want and making it happen with love by my side. It has taught me that self-fulfillment should be a priority, relationship or not.

Basically, it’s a really different time that we live in today. The harsh truths of the world and the reality we face has definitely pushed me to seek happiness outside of the construct of capitalism. That “life is too short bs” feels more important than ever. I’m no longer shoving my calling to the back of the shelf in the dark where no one else can see it because I need to shine my light and that’s okay as long as I don’t get in my own way.

SO HELLO UNIVERSE, HERE THE FUCK I COME.
 

SIKH MEETS WEST

Here’s what happened when I told my Punjabi dad about my Puerto Rican boyfriend:  

Sometimes, when I feel sorry for myself (lol), I go down the rabbit hole of feeling as if I was dealt with cards I could never win with. As if I didn’t already have an identity crisis (growing up British Indian), the concept of falling in love outside of my culture is something that’s always scared the shit out of me—for fair reasons. 

My dad has always reminded me that I am no daughter of his unless I marry an Indian man, a Sikh one for that matter, someone who is the same caste (more about this another time). You get this gist and yes, my prince charming options are narrower than me becoming Queen of England. 

My dad is a good man. No, fuck that, he’s a great man. He came to England from India with nothing, spent six months wandering all over the West until some nice guy stamped his passport with “British Citizen”. He was introduced to my mum through a family friend, met her on the day of their wedding and went on to raise three girls in an alien country. He did what he could what he knew and I understand why he feels so strongly about certain things. But still this marriage shit, drives me nuts. It’s 2018 fam. We have Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari doing real shit on TV. 

Anyway, dad isn't talking to me right now and it fucking sucks. I love that man so much and as much as I understand him, he doesn't understand me. I guess that how it works right? Parents aren't supposed to get it. I’ve been with my (superduperfuckingamazing) boyfriend for a year and a few months now. Everyone and their mother knows about us, thanks to Instagram, everyone except for my father—up until recently. 

Earlier this year when my parents came to visit me, I tried one last time to sway him on his life long views on how he thinks his daughters relationships should play out. 

Me: “Dad, what if, he wasn’t Indian?”

Dad: “Then you are not my daughter.” 

Sigh. 

I decided to carry on with life and vowed that when the time came and my relationship was ready for the next step, I’d tell dad and see what the fuck happened. I just didn’t anticipate it being a month or so later at 2am over the phone, me in tears and drunk. I guess I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. I felt like I was breaking, unable to share my happiness with the man who made who I am. 

It’s a weird world we live in. Three of my best friends just recently got engaged, and all I want is for my dad to talk to me and MAYBE start to accept my choice. I’m scared that I’ve lost him and he doesn’t know me anymore. I’m scared that I can’t grow and move forward as a woman without repairing this relationship. I’m desperate to be the one in our family to change our culture and help other people who are in the same boat. 

Dad, there’s a zero percent chance that you’ll read this but I know you know I love you more than anything. 

If there’s anyone going through anything similar, holla at me. Let’s get tea and talk shit about it. I’m here. And stayed tuned, I’ll keep you guys posted when I hear back. 


P.S. I started writing “This Brown Life” because I’m at a point where I feel ready to be honest with myself and the world. There’s a lot of things that happen to a person that shape who they are, and without context, oftentimes people feel so misunderstood. I wanted to create a space where I could share that, hopefully inspiring others to do the same in order for them to live comfortably in their truth (Vick, I stole that from you, thank you).

WHY I QUIT MY JOB

Feeling burnt out is weird as fuck. Have you ever felt like that? When you can’t seem to bring yourself to do anything because your mind is so polluted with your feed (social media, whichever platform you prefer, no judgements on all you seasoned Twitterers). But yea the burn out, it becomes hard to switch off, get motivated and actually do shit. 

I quit my job a couple of weeks ago now. I lost count of the actual time because I’ve been too busy running around the city pretending I don’t got bills to pay, but ultimately I did it to take some time for myself. A “break” if you will, to figure out what was next. It took me a while to get here but I think binge watching Chef’s Table with bae, dreams of moving to Brazil teamed with Bourdain’s death really left a sour taste in my mouth: like what the fuck am I doing if I’m not happy? And I don’t think you have to be happy every day, but at the very least I wanna be able to get out of bed in the morning with some sort of purpose. 

I got to this point where it felt like I kinda hit all the goals I came to New York to reach and now, this strange nothingness. For a while, I wondered if it was just fatigue; weary of the daily chase, thirst and hunger to make it in this crazy city mixed with the cocktail of evenings that has become my social life. On paper, I had it “all”: the man of my dreams, bomb-ass friends, an over-priced Bushwick loft (which I rent with roomies, duh), an all-black wardrobe, a liver with a high-tolerance level and a job. Even still, something just didn’t feel quite right and I started to feel imprisoned in my own American dream, cue insomnia and the first time I'd really ever experienced anxiety.

The next part I only recommend to people with balls aka those who are highly risk tolerant or believe in the universe to carry them through as opposed to actual logic. Pick up your rose quartz now, JK. It was mid-June 2018, I had no back up job and only enough money saved up to get me through the next couple of months yet I knew it was time to leave. My biggest learning lesson here is to trust your gut immediately when it tugs at you and tells you shit isn’t right. 

I had only just taken a new job four months earlier and was completely drained. My poor mum must be wondering what the fuck kind of lazy person she raised because she’s managed to stay put in one place for over 15 years yet here I was, done and dusted before my health insurance even kicked in. The truth is my heart wasn’t in it and the more I pushed my mind to concentrate the harder it pushed back at me whispering, “you need a break babe.” The thought of even admitting defeat left me feeling a little heartbroken. Note to self: This is not defeat. I only quit my job, I didn’t quit on myself. My job does not define me. THIS IS VERY FUCKING IMPORTANT. 

Just to be clear, I’m not saying leaving work is something everyone can and should do. Planning what’s next is key and have some financial backup is a bonus, coz we all know rent ain’t gonna pay itself. And what I think helps most of all is hearing first hand about someone who has done it and exactly what they're going through, aka me. We’re all quick to share the good stuff, it’s time we talked openly about the shitty things too, where real life isn't just a pretty filtered picture you share with the world.