Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

The Color Pink

Mar
18

I just watched the Indian movie

Pink with my parents. It was not what I expected in an Indian movie. It was not Bollywood style at all. There was no love story and there were no songs that the actors sang. Yet it was still an intense, provocative and important film.

It changed my entire perspective of India and Indians. My parents often threaten to move to India, especially when Trump makes a foul move towards immigrants. They always ask if I would come with them. No, I say. Hell no.

I’m a  single, childless, 41-year-old woman with an arts degree. It’s hard for me to go to Indian parties to face Uncles and Aunties with their loathing eyes: To them, I am an unmarried, unprofessional woman who openly drinks and probably sleeps around. India is full of these condescending people, let’s be honest. How could I live there?

For the record I don’t “sleep around” and what is upsetting about this fact is that I have the need to validate my dignity by stating it. If I did “sleep around” I would still be worthy of dignity. The movie Pink illustrates this fact beautifully. The movie promotes the notion that women should be respected regardless of their sexual practices or history.

The main character in the film states that she lost her virginity at the age of 19, that is earlier than I lost mine. I thought Indian people were backwards and I was so very modern. I’m a prude compared to many of the women in India. However what the film portrays is that Indian society is not moving as fast as Indian women. Many men, and much of Indian society, still thinks that women who have sexual relations before marriage and those who engage in drinking and dating, are “loose.” In our language, we would call them sluts, whores if we want to be really dirty.

I once called an Indian friend of mine a whore, very seriously, as an insult because she “slept around.” Now who is backwards? I think I’m afraid of Indian society because I’m afraid of the awful notions I myself have about women. I have never been one to have many boyfriends or sexual partners, however I still can’t talk to my mom about the ones that I have had.

She doesn’t want to know. Even though she knows. What this silence has taught me is to not flaunt my sexuality, to keep it conservative, to not wear revealing clothes or openly flirt with men I don’t know, or that I know. Publicly writing this very post scares me because adults in the Indian community that I know may be reading this. How dare I openly imply that I have had sex, ever. That there is a chance that their son or daughter had more than one sexual partner.

But what makes everything OK for these aunties and uncles in the Indian community is that most of their children are married. I am not married and sometimes think I never want to get married. Oh my god, I said it. The unthinkable. The only reason I think I may not want to get married is because I think marriage ruins many relationships.

The movie Pink shows us women who are struggling with their single identity, they are not married and are independent. They date, they drink and they go to parties. When one of them is almost sexually assaulted by a man, the woman hits him in the head with a bottle. I don’t want to ruin the story, but this story is a story that many girls can tell you.

Almost every woman, in the entire world, has received unwanted sexual advances at some point in her life. Whether it be from inappropriate people, like teachers, uncles, and bosses, it can also be from the very men they are flirting with and dating.

I have a relative of mine who made sexual advances towards me in my twenties. He to this day says I misunderstood when he came into my bed. It was a “misunderstanding.” I wish I could say his name out loud, shout it out loud. But there are too many complicated people involved and too much time has passed. And I’m too weak.

No woman deserves sexual assault. If she is wearing a bikini in the middle of the street, or wearing nothing at all, she does not deserve to be sexually assaulted. Even if she is your wife. In the movie Pink, the most gratifying scene is the closing statement made by Amitabh Bachchan where he just says “No.” The word no has no other meaning except for no. And when it applies to sexual consent, it is the deal breaker. If anyone says no to someone’s sexual advances, they must stop. Full stop. Period.

The movie made me think that Indians are evolving into believing more in the human rights of women. It made me less judgemental about India and Indians. Maybe I could live there for a time…

You may be wondering why the movie was called Pink. There is speculation that the word Pink in some countries implies “a vagina that is bought with violence” according to the Times of India.

Wow. What a word. Pink.

Pretty in Pink was my favorite movie as a kid. Pink was my favorite color.

I won’t let them ruin that for me. Maybe pink is the new black. I will wear it as a badge of honor. No one will violently buy or steal my sexuality. No. One. Ever.

I hope.

nina

Underneath the Car Tow-er

Feb
01

Car Tow-er

This is the time for unremembered memories,

cold snowy memories of days past.

I don’t remember the light pink snowsuit I had to wear

in kindergarten. I walked like a robot in it…

I don’t remember their faces,

the little boys who made fun of me. I never laughed,

I mean kindergarten wasn’t funny to me.

Later on, in my early twenties, I drove like a robot.

I remember that time I drove my little Corolla,

driving seventy in a snow storm

for absolutely no reason at all.

I went under a car tow-er

or so I called it

even though there is no such word

(In Kindergarten I learned words.)

It was a huge truck

that carried twenty or so cars on it.

I can’t remember which car was red, but there was a red car on top.

Then I hit a semi.

A man in another semi parked across the highway.

He got out of his huge blue truck and walked

amidst snow and cars, over the busy highway to see if I was alive.

He was black and he was nice, he looked like

he was about to cry when he saw me.

I swear there was a tear in his eye.

I wanted to hug him, tell him it’s ok.

He looked like he needed more comforting than I did.

He crossed the busy highway by foot,

he risked his life for me and I couldn’t even hug him.

Because I was afraid, afraid to be so brave as to hug

a stranger, even one who clearly was good.

Am I that good, would I have risked my life

for him, for anyone? Who else would risk

their life for me? He was old, but i should have

married him anyways. I should have cared.

I was alive, my car was totaled to a point

that looked like no one could have come out alive.

I didn’t have a scratch on me.

I thought I was invincible, unbreakable.

When I went to the mechanic’s shop

the white man wearing a baseball cap

looked at the car and looked at me

in awe. How did I survive, he asked?

My aunt told me she was praying

while it happened. Should we blame it on god,

blame it on the snow? Remember that song

‘Blame it on the Rain’? Should we blame

Milli Vanilli, it’s safe since they were

‘bad’ people anyways. One of them killed themselves

or so I heard. This was before fake news.

Snow, wind, and cold air captures us

it makes us red in the face and we breathe deeper.

You can see our breath in the air

I can see that black man’s breath and the boys,

the little white boys who laughed at my

snowsuit, they said I looked like a monster.

I’m not a monster I want to go back in time and tell them.

I’m a superhero who can survive amazing car crashes.

nina

The Note

Jan
31

I think this is kind of a funny story. I thought it would be nice to tell it for some comic relief in the stressful times we seem to be having lately.

So, picture it, I’m sixteen. When I was sixteen I had a year long bout of acne that scarred my brain, not my face. I caused the acne by using harsh products to clean my face. I later learned my skin is so sensitive it would prefer bottled water if I could afford to wash my face with spring water every day.

So I’m sixteen, it’s around my birthday and I am suffering from teenage angst, adolescent problems. I don’t remember why I was so upset, maybe it was the acne, perhaps the boy I liked didn’t like me back. Maybe I was doing really bad in math, I was really bad at math. Anyways, I did something very weird.

I wrote a note to myself. It went something like this: “I hate Nina, she’s such a fucking bitch, I can’t fucking stand her,” etc. etc. It went on with more foul language. So I write this note to myself, I guess it must have made me feel better. I was sixteen, forgive me. By the way, just as an aside. I know I used some dirty language in the note, but I didn’t really use a lot of profanity at that age at all. I still don’t know where that outburst came from.

So I decide that I’m going to fold up the note and I randomly stuck it in a drawer in our wet bar near the kitchen.

Fast forward to a few years later. My dad is making chai one morning and casually asks me, “Nina, do you have any enemies?”

“Enemies?” I thought about it for a second. “There was a girl in third grade who used to steal my stuff.” I kind of laughed to myself.

“No, not then, now. You know, maybe someone you had a fight with.”

“A fight?” I asked. It was a weird question because I was a girl. I guess girls get into fights, but I only fought with my mom. “Why are you asking me this?”

“Well we found a something…” he said and put some cinnamon in his tea.

“What was it?” I asked curiously, totally forgetting about the note I wrote myself.

“I cannot repeat it to you,” my dad said.

“What do you mean you can’t repeat it to me? Tell  me what it was!”

“It used some very bad language.”

“What had bad language?” I asked, again completely oblivious to the fact that I wrote this ridiculous note to myself.

“All I can say is that if someone is bothering you, you can tell us,” my dad said while his chai boiled.

“No one is bothering me!” I kind of yelled. “You guys are crazy! I want to know what you are talking about!”

“No that is not possible,” my dad said.

“What do you mean it’s not possible?” I was kind of yelling.

“I cannot show it to you.” He just stood there drinking his chai. I wanted to knock the white porcelian cup out of his hands.

“You guys are just crazy!” I yelled and went up to my room.

I got really upset, I thought maybe someone did do something that was really mean and they knew instead of me. I thought maybe someone did hate me.

I was doing something or another six months later. And it occurred to me, finally that I had written this vile note to myself a little while ago when I was suffering from adolescent angst. My parents assumed the note was from someone else. They didn’t know how weird their daughter was, that she would write a wicked profane note to herself. They did not know that there was a time I truly did hate myself, or so I thought.

What’s the moral of this story? There is no moral to this story. Don’t hide nasty notes to yourself in a wet bar drawer. Someone will find it.

This is just further evidence that I was always a bit of a weirdo. I don’t think it’s as weird that I wrote the note, or that I had negative feelings towards myself. The thing that gets me is that I put it in the drawer of a ‘wet bar’ that had no liquor in it by the way. We might as well call it a ‘dry bar.’ I put it in a place where anyone could have found it.

Did I want someone to find it?

I kind of actually don’t think I did. I think I just forgot about the fact that I put it there.

Why didn’t I destroy it? Was I going to put it in my scrapbook?

I didn’t have a scrapbook, I wasn’t one of those girls who kept mementos of her life. What kind of memento is a note to yourself that explains what a douche you think you are?

Did my parents think someone else came into the house and put that note in the drawer for me to find? Did they think someone gave it me at school and I put it in that drawer? It was all a mess.

Was I going to tell my parents that I wrote that note to myself? Hell no, that would have been scarier for them than if someone else had written it. It contained words I was not allowed to use. I didn’t even know how my parents knew those words. I feel bad for them, imagine if you thought your kid got a note like that from a fellow student? Nowadays parents might contact the principal. That was back in the day when parents let kids solve their own problems.

See, I was always a writer. I started my career by writing a cuss-filled note to myself at the age of sixteen. My writing has only become more self-conscious since then.

Ha ha, it just makes me chuckle. The wet bar of all places.

nina

A Letter to Mr. Trump

Jan
29

Dear Mr. President,

I know, I know you think you think you are protecting us and getting rid of terrorists by banning Muslims from entering this country. I believe you actually think you are doing the right thing. I think you are not a bad person who wants to do harm. However, in this situation, you are doing a lot of harm to all of us. To the entire world. First of all, you are fueling terrorists by giving them a solid reason to hate America: America is not allowing Muslims to enter this country. Secondly, you are violating the Constitution which states that it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of religion.

There is a saying that goes something like this: If there is a man is in chains, anywhere, none of us are free. That includes you, Donald.

The people, the law, and a great judge have stopped you from implementing this ban on Muslims. However, this might be a time to reflect on all of your objectives. Perhaps you have noticed this country is run by the people, not by you. The country is in fact not even run by the government, it is run by average citizens like myself.

I’m nobody, but in numbers when a lot of nobodies get together to protest unjust laws, those laws change. I know you are a doer, you want to do, change, and move this country towards, I’m actually not sure what you want to move it towards. If you think America was great at some point, remember in the past America was oppressing minorities and women to a horrific degree. What’s so great about that? Please tell me.

I’m not sure if you are beginning to become aware that your popularity is contingent on the fact that you make a great percentage of the people happy. In the last few days, you may have noticed: We are not happy. We are sad. Upset. Angry. Scared.

You are not a king, this is not a kingdom, you cannot just do what you want to do. We are all kings and queens of this land, and just a note from this queen, you need to back off. Take a minute. Take a breath. If all you are concerned about is getting re-elected poll the masses. You will find that 7 in 10 people believe that abortion should remain legal. You will find that that most of our concerns are economic and have nothing to do with minorities or walls.

You want to be great? Get us some decent jobs. Every human in this country deserves a well paying livable wage. Most people are pretty happy with the fact that they have health insurance, whatever you plan to do with Obamacare, please don’t take away people’s right to affordable health care. People will get really mad if you try to remove our essential right to pursue happiness. You can’t be happy if you are poor and sick. It’s that simple.

I don’t know if you want to go to another country and rule them. There might be a country out there that works and thinks like you. But America is different. We will not shut up. We will not back down. You can scare us, and anger us and even bore us with this madness day after day. But we will react and act. We are not people who sit around idly waiting for Godot. We all know Godot, or god never shows up at the end of the play. god is not going to take care of this for us, we are going to do the dirty work.

 

Speaking of dirt, let’s talk about the Earth that we are burning to its death. It’s hotter and hotter every year, perhaps you have noticed. I live in Michigan, which may quickly become a resort area if the weather gets any warmer. But I worry, I worry about my brothers and sisters who live in areas that are already so hot they can barely stay alive. I worry about India and Africa. We don’t just live in a country, we live in a world. Scientists will not sit quietly as you try to silence them. Climate change that is caused by humans is real. I wish you were right and it wasn’t a problem. I wish. But our wishes rarely come true when they go against the facts.

Speaking of facts. Do you know what the meaning of the word ‘fact’ is? Look it up. Google it if you must. Get it straight from the source. A non-fact is a lie. People who lie, are liars. Just an FYI.

You are worried about the media, right? I guess I’m part of the media since I’m writing a blog that thousands of people are currently reading on a daily basis. Let me tell you something, straight from the horse’s mouth. I am a mouth of the media, and I want to warn you that we can make or break you. If you do something right. Just one good thing. If you help this country move out of horrible either education, health, poverty, environmental, or violent problems, we will notice. You will get credit. The media gives credit where credit is due.

You may have noticed that you are in the negative in terms of credit with the media. Don’t piss us off anymore. Stop pissing off everybody. There is a running bet in this country that you won’t last more than six months without getting impeached. It’s not a joke. It’s not funny. This has stopped being funny the day you were elected. We are not laughing, the majority of Americans and people worldwide want you out of office.

Forget popularity, you lost that one when you opened your mouth too much. You can’t take it all back. The damage is done. You are speaking to a country that knows how to fight against injustice. Martin Luther King learned from Gandhi, if India was able to kick out the entire British regime, Americans can kick you out so easy.

Believe you me, your fate is in our hands, it’s not the other way around.

If you want to stick around as prez, you need to buck up and listen to us. We are talking, we are shouting, there is no way you can’t hear us.

We will rise.

Wait, what am I saying, we have risen.

 

Sincerely,

We the People

 

nina

Soulmates

Jan
28

How many loves do you get in a lifetime, how much love are you allowed? Some say there is one true love. I think there are true loves, one may be better than the rest, but there are many I think. You could have many soulmates, whoever you are. I think he was one of my soulmates. We’ll call him Saajan. I don’t know, can you pronounce it, I just picked that name out of a hat?

I think he was one of the loves of my life. I hope he wasn’t the only one because I lost him. I lost him to the wind and other women and wives. I would have rather been his ex-wife than nothing. But I was the girl that was nothing, maybe even meant nothing, to him.

Can you love someone one way? When he doesn’t love you back? Unrequited love. The love that you never get. They say it is romantic, the poets used to write about it. But it’s not. It’s horrific. It’s like having a tooth pulled, but only halfway, a tooth hanging in your mouth, bleeding to death.

He was a family friend. I’m sitting at Panera. There are others with their laptops too. I wonder how many of them loved and lost. The bittersweet fascination we have these love stories enhances our belief that love hurts, love sucks, love is for the birds. Let the doves, love. They know how to do it.

But don’t cry for me Argentina, or America, or wherever you are. I am OK, even though thus far I have not been lucky at love. I promise you, I will be one day, lucky. You make your luck. I gotta make this life work. How will I make love work when it never really has. How come it hasn’t worked for me?

I’m mad about it. Mad at fate. Who the hell is running this show anyways? god?

I wonder if god has ever been in love. Is that a ridiculous question? Yes I know, I know.

Well god invented love, the least he could do is experience it. The torture. The unfathomable beauty and pain. They say love is not god, but it’s not less than god either.

I’m not exactly sure why I loved Saajan. I mean he was alright as a human being, but honestly, some might think he wasn’t all that. So what was it? I don’t know, maybe our souls were connected, that’s what it felt like to me. I’m not sure what it felt like to him. I could never read him, I had no idea what was going on back there in that head of his. Did he love me, maybe just a little bit? I cannot verify that as fact. He didn’t want to be with me, I know that. It is in fact, a fact.

That’s OK, I’ve been rejected before. But not like this. I know I’m speaking in the abstract about him but he could be identifiable in the real world, I don’t want to identify his body. I want him to be dead to me. Which most of the time he is. Until I think about it every now and then. Kabhi Kabhi, mere dil mein, khayal aata hai. Every now and then my heart has a thought about you.

What else is there to say about him? Is it really better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all? I actually think so. I can’t really explain it, but it’s better.

Losing love is gut-wrenchingly horrific. Many are not sure it’s worth it. Just because of the American construct of love being a necessary thing for life, the epitome of life. It’s easier to say yes, I have been in love. But really it’s just behind losing a parent or child to death in terms of trauma.

So why am I here even lamenting about it? I don’t know, I’m a fool. I love love. Even if it has been some of the worst times in my life, it comes with it this euphoria the cannot be equaled.

So that explains why I’m looking for more love. Am I just looking for more pain? Is this like cutting, am I a masochist?

I don’t think so. I think we came on this earth to love, to fall in love with life and each other.

nina

The Five People you meet in Hell

Jan
28

The following is a work of fiction. All resemblance to real humans is completely intentional and not at all coincidental: 

It was a strange place, hell that is. It wasn’t dark and it wasn’t light. It seemed to be in between everything that was real. I wondered if I was still real. There are no mirrors in hell.

There she stood, still looking immaculate in her white sari and her hair pulled back with maroon lips. My mother had seen her as a child, my mother said she was once a good woman.

“Are you Indira Gandhi?” I asked in awe. Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India.

“I don’t know if I am still her, but that is what they used to call me.” She said. She looked visibly upset with her furrowed brow.

“Are you in hell because you bombed the Golden Temple?” I asked. I mean I had to ask.

“No, I’m here because I requested to be here.” She looked at me suspiciously as if she were telling me a secret but she wasn’t sure she trusted me. Her red bindi shined on her forehead.

“This is the only place I would be respected. I’m better than everyone here.”

“OK…” Weird but OK. “Who else is here?”

“It’s all men,” she said and looked at her manicured pink nails. You can get manicures in hell?  “It wasn’t my idea to kill those people. Those Sikhs.” She shook her head in dismay. “Men, they were all around me, it was their idea.”

“I don’t know enough about it,” I replied. All of a sudden it occurred to me that she could be lying, I don’t think she chose to be in hell. I think she was put here like the rest of them.

“Why are you better than everyone here?” I asked, in awe of her natural sophisticated beauty.

“You think you are better than everyone here, don’t you?” she asked me, again looking suspicious.

“Umm, no, I don’t know, it’s my first time here, I don’t know if I’m here to stay or I’m just visiting. It’s all up in the air right now.”

I fumbled as I spoke.

“You think the world is male dominated, you should see how this place runs,” she declared.

“I figured as much,” I smiled at her.

“Women are better than men, are they not?” Indira Gandhi asked me, little old me.

“Yeah, probably, I would say an astounding yes to that one!”

“Everything I did wrong, I listened to men. A man killed me, my own Sikh bodyguard.”

“I heard,” I didn’t know what to say.

“It’s a man’s world and a man’s hell. They set me up for death, the men.”

“OK.”

“Don’t let them kill you because you are a woman.”

“Of course” I stammered. “Of course.”

She disappeared into thin air as fast as she had appeared. She was like a genie in a bottle.

 

Comedian Johnny Carson, the king of U.S. late-night television as host of NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ for nearly 30 years — and the last face millions of Americans saw before drifting off to sleep — died on January 23, 2005 at age 79. Carson’s topical opening monologues and on-air banter with sidekick Ed McMahon and bandleader Doc Severinsen made his show a cultural touchstone, and his death saddened many in Hollywood who got their first big break on the program. Carson is shown on the “Tonight Show” in an undated photo. REUTERS/NBC NO SALES

Johnny Carson? Really? He went to hell? Why? Did he make fun of god or something?

“I can’t tell jokes anymore,” he said to me with his bald head shining in the sun. “This is hell.”

“That’s your hell? Really?”

“Yes. You know funny is so hard, no one knows how hard it is. How miserable I was trying so hard to be funny. It’s not fun,” he continued.

“It’s not fun to be funny?” I asked.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” he said and lit a cigarette. I wanted to tell him that stuff will kill ya, but then I remembered he was dead. “Don’t try to be funny, try to be real,” he continued.

“Isn’t reality funny?” I asked and he handed me his cigarette. I took a puff, I don’t know why. We are all gonna die. Fuck it.

“Reality is hilarious, you don’t even have to make shit up shit is so funny, it’s already there for you.”

“Have you seen what’s been going down around here since you left?” I asked and coughed after inhaling the smoke. I’m not really cool, my larynx can’t handle cigarette smoke.

“Yeah, it’s a comedian’s heaven right now. They are saying down here that the Anti-Christ is Trump. But I don’t believe in that shit. I don’t believe in Christ. Probably one of the reasons I’m down here.”

“Why are you in hell?” I asked still wondering what would make this comical man end up here.

“Because I was never real, in my real life.”

“You have to be real to get to heaven? I don’t get it.”

“It’s complicated. Just remember to be your authentic self,” he pronounced with a deep voice of authority.

“What does that even mean?”

“Don’t be a phony.”

“You weren’t a phony,” I commented.

“That’s what they all think…ask my wife.” Then he was gone. Just like he came into the world, he left my sight.

It wasn’t as hot in hell as I thought it would be. It was a normal temperature. The place didn’t really look that big to be honest. Maybe there are not that many people that go to hell. But I don’t believe in hell. Then where was I?

“Am I in hell?” I asked and knocked on this wooden door that appeared before me.

“That’s a wonderful question, wonderful question. It is the question of life, am I in hell?” a voice said in an old style British accent. A decent looking man opened the door.

“Who are you?” I asked and looked around the room, it was a mess.

“I’m God’s writer,” he said, he was wearing a black hat. “They call me Shakespeare.”

The Shakespeare?” I asked in awe there seemed to be papers with ink from a quill on all surfaces of the room.

“What do you mean you are god’s writer? Why did he put you in hell? What are you writing anyways?”

“I am writing the story of Earth,” he smiled and twirled a quill in his mouth.

“Is it a tragedy or a comedy?”

“Think of it as a Tramidy. A traumatic comedy.” He smiled, nodding his head up and down.

“How does it end?” I ask, fascinated by the whole concept that there is a writer behind this madness we call life.

“I haven’t decided yet. How do you think it should end?” he asks and looks deeply into my eyes. Shakespeare, god’s writer, wants to know what I think about how the world should end.

“I don’t think it should end.”

“A story without an ending,” he put his hands through his beard. “Hmmm…”

“Why are you in hell?” I ask again.

“Oh, this is where the interesting people are. It helps me with character development.”

And then he disappeared just as quickly as he had appeared.

And then there they were standing together, like brothers from a different mother. The usual suspects, the people you would expect in hell. Osama Bin Laden and Hitler. OMG that is so cliche. Of all the people to expect to be in hell, these two are the ones you expect to be in hell. You never get what you expect in life, but you do in hell apparently.

“Why am I meeting you?” I asked in a wavering voice as if even in this setting I feared them.

“The question is why are we meeting you?” Osama asked in a very heavy smokers voice.

“I have no idea,” I said, all of a sudden very angry at them. “You know what, I have something to say to you…you two…” tears spilled out of my eyes as I looked at them.”Why? Just why?” I asked and stared at their nasty faces.

“You wouldn’t believe it but we ask ourselves that question a lot,” Hitler said in a very strong accent. I guess it was a German accent.

“And what have you come up with?” I asked.

“We didn’t know they were people too,” Hitler continued.

“What kind of answer is that? What kind of excuse is that? They looked like people…” I stammered.

“We didn’t know they had souls,” Osama declared.

“Do you have souls?” I asked, flustered.

“We lost our souls when we were alive, we separated from our souls so much that we might as well not have had them,” Hilter pronounced.

“You bastards. Fuck you.” I don’t know, what else could I say to the actual devils?

“We deserve that…just remember we understand now what we did was wrong,” Osama added.

“I don’t care if you understand the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I don’t care about you. You can burn here.”

“We are burning,” Hitler said and tears came down his eyes. “Every single person we ever harmed will harm us in a next life. That’s a lot of people…”

“Good. Maybe there is justice and karma, and where is god or the devil? Can I speak to the manager around here?” I asked.

“You are all we got. You are all we got,” Osama said and shook his head.

I didn’t get it, I’m not the manager of hell, if that is what he was trying to imply. I’m not the manager of anything, I can barely manage my life. I wanted to ask him what he meant, but poof, they were gone and I was standing on a cloud alone, alone, alone.

nina

A Blog to Myself—Repost

Jan
27

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Blog to Myself

                                                 


Let’s talk about something really serious here, the things we do to hurt ourselves.  What are we doing to ourselves and why?  Most likely no one is hurting you as much as you are hurting yourself.

I’ll tell you what I do…I feel guilty about my depression.  I feel like it’s my fault, that I could have stopped it from happening, every time it happened.  I feel scared that it will happen again.  

But it’s not my fault, it’s not like I said to myself, “You know what would be fun…being sad!”  And if it happens again, it happens again.

I don’t want to tell you this, that I was a functioning depressive for many years.  Functioning meaning I got straight A’s in grad school.  I could be the life of the party.  But I was hiding my real self.  

Someone told me to blog to myself.  That’s kinda what I’m doing.  I don’t know if I will publish this…if I do please know that it was hard for me to say these things out loud.  

So tell me what do you do to yourself?  What things about your life and your self do you beat yourself up about?  You don’t have to tell me, you can tell yourself though.  

In my head, I know my depression is not my identity.  I am now convinced that the only thing that is my true identity is the part of myself that is aware of reality.  That part of myself that watches and participates in this show.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m not a good singer or performer, but I will tell you this:  I put quite a show on for many years.  I acted normal around everyone.  No one knew what I was hiding. 

Well, I’m done with that chapter, I’m on to the next adventure.  I want to be true to myself.  Even if I can’t sing and dance like the others that’s not gonna stop me from singing and dancing to my own tune.  Literally.

Everyone can sing along to this:  “You don’t know how it feels, no you don’t know how it feels, to be me!”  Tom Petty was on to something…

I don’t know what it feels like to be you.  I can only share what it feels like to be me.  But beware that I’m only sharing what I want to share, and that’s my right as well as yours.  

I can’t share what it’s truly like to be depressed because I’m too close to it, it’s too raw.  But let me tell you what it’s like to wake up from a depression.

The sky is bluer.  People are in three-D all of a sudden.  Songs on the radio were written for me.  People are lovelier. 

It’s like I’m in love.  I’m in love with life.  

They say you can’t see the light without the darkness. Maybe you can’t see yourself until you see who you are not.  I am not the darkness that I experienced.  I am a light.

You are too, whether you know it or not.  

Alright already all this serious talk is getting me hungry.  I’ve lost some weight by the way, probably because I’m happier and not emotionally eating. 
 

However, the most important thing I have been doing to be well is meditating and trying to be present.  Writing this very blog is helping as well.  Thank you for being there, wherever you are, whoever you are.  

Today I am grateful.  It’s good to count your blessings, I mean I really I have quite a lot going for me.  Things are good.  I even met a guy.  Of course, he doesn’t know I have a blog, mostly because I’m not ready to tell him I’m Bipolar.

How exactly and when exactly do you bring up your mental illness to a dude?  What am I supposed to say, by the way there was a time in my life I was bat shit crazy, but I’m totally sane now!  Seriously…

I mean I know I can phrase it like a pro, I have before.  But the truth of the matter is I could get crazy again.  I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that doesn’t happen, but what if it does? What if I push away all the good things that are going on in my life because I’ve lost my sense of reality?

Eventually this guy I’m going to “date” is going to read this and question himself and question me.  How do I work that out?

I don’t know, I really don’t know.  I have to trust that things will be as they are meant to be.  I believe the universe or whatever will do what is best for me.  And more importantly, I believe in myself in a way I did not before.

I mean this guy likes me despite that fact that I’m, well let’s just say I’m curvaceous.  I’m not even scared to be in a relationship, which I think I was for some time.  Although I’m not always a fan of my naked self, but I can sort of deal with it.
 
I don’t want to cry but I do cry sometimes because life is so hard.  For many years it was hard for me to get out of bed.  But that’s over.  I’m OK.  In fact, I’m good.  I am just about fantastic.

You know some people wonder why I bare my soul to the world, the reason I do it is because I love doing it and because somebody out there has to relate.  Somebody out there can’t get out of bed either.  Somebody out there is suffering in some kind of way and maybe for a moment, they feel like someone has been where they’ve been.

I haven’t been to Iraq and fought in a war like a couple of my good friends.  I have fought a war in my own head, though.  I’m gonna go 
ahead and say I’ve won that war.  I’m not gonna say it is per say over, I have to have my guard up, but in this way, I’ve conquered the enemy.  

And I found out who the enemy was.  It was me.

But wasn’t I counting my blessings?  I have so much, more than I can thank god for.  Maybe more than I deserve but I believe we get exactly what we deserve in this life, in this way…karma baby.

Karma can be a real bitch but I do think it is a universal law.  I mean I’m not like completely sure what the universe is up to or anything, and either are you.  However, I’m a dreamer and of the belief that it all ends good.  There is no way this story ends badly.

Yeah, we are all gonna die.  But I think we are connected to infinite beauty and love that never ends.  

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

I’m grateful for that.

nina

 Image courtesy of jscreationzs/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When he Plays Piano in the Dark

Jan
26

 

You, it was always you in a tie

sitting quietly playing piano

in the dark. Someone sang about that once.

You know that

I don’t believe in love at first sight

I believe in love at first fight.

When we yelled at each other

you could hear echoes through the town.

You could see our nasty expressions through the windows.

I remember how fast my tongue moved to hurt you.

You could see the auburn highlights in my hair

from far away as I swung it in my face.

The color of my lips changed

throughout the months we fought.

It went from a deep red

to a more neutral beige tone.

You never noticed my new perfume

or the fact that I stopped saying your name.

We fought about everything but the colors

of the sky. We should have fought more

about the paintings in the air.

The sun setting or the wind blowing in what direction.

Why did we not fight about the weather?

Instead, I found her stocking under our bed.

Her, you know her, the one that I picture

is the most beautiful woman alive.

Her, the one who walked in on you

and your music, you said you make

music for her now. You used to make it for me.

nina

The Patient Sikh: Part Six—Coffee Talk

Jan
24

This is an excerpt from a novel. For reference read the following posts: 

The Patient Sikh—Part One,

The Patient Sikh: Part Two–The Wonder Years,

The Patient Sikh: Part Three–Sonny

The Patient Sikh: Part Four– Song Lyrics

The Patient Sikh: Part Five–Your Song

It may be that all the conversations I’ve ever had have led to this conversation. How do I tell the guy that I am in love with, that I am in love with him? What if he walks away? What if he doesn’t agree? What if he is disgusted, by me? Why would anyone be disgusted by me, you ask? There are things you don’t know about me, things you don’t want to know.

Sonny is waiting for me at Espresso Royale.

This is it, D-day. The day my heart might die. How do I do this? Kill myself from the inside? Maybe he will say he loves me too. Doesn’t he care about me? Doesn’t he feel connected to me the way I feel connected to him? What is love anyways? I don’t think I like this love biz whiz.

I’m late, I can’t move my legs and get up from Bruegger’s Bagel shop. It’s right across the street from where I’m supposed to meet him. My future is across the street and I cannot seem to get to it.

What do I say to him? I have a deep agonizing torturous love for you? I don’t think that’s going to fly.

I’m doing it, I’m walking across the street. I’m walking when it says ‘Don’t Walk.’ I don’t give a shit. Run me over people. A green car honks at me, I give him the finger. I have the right of way, I’m not in a car. I see Sonny innocently sitting there, reading the paper. He doesn’t know yet, he doesn’t know that the woman who loves him is going to tell him and possibly ruin her life and their friendship.

“Heya you,” he says and looks up from the Detroit Free Press. I never really pegged him a newspaper reader, he’s reading the sports section of course. That makes more sense to me. Not that he’s not exactly the literary type, but honestly he’s not exactly the literary type. My hands are shaking.

“Hi,” I say and sit down across from him, next to a huge window, a wall of windows. I can see a guy outside dribbling a basketball. There is a woman holding her baby, her cute innocent baby doesn’t know what I’m about to do. She doesn’t know that there is a person in this building who will reveal her innermost secret.

“So what’s up?” he asks and takes a sip of a hot coffee that looks like a mocha.

“I have to tell you something.” I’m not good with introductions and transitions in conversations.

“OK,” he looks up at me in my eyes. “Do tell.” He puts down the brown mug as if he knows this is important and he shouldn’t be drinking coffee while listening to this.

“I have feelings for you,” I say it and look out at the window at a man on a red bike instead of looking at Sonny

“Yasmine,” he says. Here we go, give it to me. “You are one of my best friends, but I’ve only ever thought of you as a friend. That is how I think of you.” I’m silent. There are no tears in these eyes.

“I understand,” I say with all the might in my body. Understand? I don’t understand you, or love, or this awful, jarring pain in my chest.

“I’m sorry, I just…I just…you are my friend.” If he says the word ‘friend’ one more time I vow to slap him. “I love you…” Don’t say it, don’t do it. “As a friend,” he continues.

You don’t love me, you don’t know what love is, I don’t know what love is, this cannot be all there is to love. “I am sorry that I…”

“Don’t be sorry,” he says. Why do I think he’s lying? All those late nights we talked on the phone, when he told me how scared he was of failing. The level of intimacy that we had suggested to me that this could be more than a friendship. All I am to you is a friend. Fuck you.

“I must have misinterpreted…” I couldn’t finish my sentence. What did I do wrong? Why am I so wrong about everything? Everything in this world is wrong and I knew that at this moment.

“I didn’t mean to lead you…” and he couldn’t finish his sentence. There we sat, half finishers of sentences. People who cannot speak in a grammatically correct way. I call myself literary, I’m not. I’m a phony.

I want to tell him I love him. That I’m lonely without him. That there is nothing, nothing, and more nothing without him. Emptiness, a full life of emptiness. I see it now, I will be old and empty without him.

“I have to go,” I  say and stand up.

“Please don’t go,” he says to me and stands up too. I notice his orange flannel shirt is missing a button. There is a screw missing in my head. Every one of us is missing something.

I sit down, I have to listen to him. He is in fact, the man that I love. I hate loving him. I hate him as much as I love him.

“I ruined this, didn’t I?” I said and sat down on the tiny wooden chair that creaked.

“You didn’t ruin anything. We are still the best of friends, right?” he asked, he looked worried. Like I might say no. I was tempted to say no.

“Of course,” I looked away again, this time at the barista, she was making a hot drink, the steam from the milk was rising. My insides were steaming, rising. Is it because I’m not thin enough? I’m not pretty enough? I’m not sexy enough? I want to ask him why, why don’t you love me?

He took my hand in his. “It’s OK,” he said in almost a whisper. “Everything is going to be OK.”

That is all I ever wanted to hear from him. But I pictured him whispering that in my ear. I pictured us. We are not an us. This is us.

nina

La La Land vs. ninaland!

Jan
23

I just saw the movie La La Land. It was a good flick. It wasn’t phenomenal but it wasn’t all that bad either.  Better than mediocre and I got to look at Ryan Gosling the whole time. My life is not so bad. La La Land is essentially a story about what could have been, what should have been. But it isn’t the way it could have been, it is the way it is. And we see this in the evocative ending, the best part of the movie.

No spoiler alerts, but it made me think of my own life. What if I was already a bestselling author who was rich and famous. I bet you bucks I’d be really unhappy by now. Unhappy about something. I would forget everything I achieved, and worry again about where the comma goes in the sentence. Where do we take pause, where do we break, where should we create space.

That is the eternal question of writing, where does the comma really go? Where do we end the sentence? Why do we end the sentence? Maybe I’m a sentence.

I’ll tell you what, sometimes life seems like a sentence. A life sentence.

Writing is a lonely profession, sometimes it feels like I’m in solitary confinement. In fact, that is why I teach, to break up the silence. I try everything sometimes but the silence is so loud. I put music on, I put on the TV, but nothing can erase how quiet it is to be alone.

But it is very possible that if I didn’t have this alone time, I would not be able to write. If you took away my ability to write, you might as well kill me. I don’t always write because I want to necessarily, but because I have to, in order to breathe, in order to live.

Someone once said all we need in life is something to do, something to love, and something to look forward to. Writing is what I do, it is what I love, and I look forward to seeing how the world takes it in. I don’t want to be a bestselling author because I want fame, it is because I want to see the response of the most people. I want to affect people. I want to inspire them with words, maybe even change them.

What do I care about them though? Why should be concerned about changing the world? Because this ain’t no La La Land. I think we can all agree that the world kind of sucks at the moment. I mean your world might be great, maybe you are personally living in Disney Land. But most of us, in the land of the living, are living lives of quiet desperation, as someone else once said.

What do you think would make your life into a La La Land? I think I’d be a lot happier if I found a steady partner to love. Love and La La, go together, like two birds of a feather. Ha ha.

Do you think heaven is La La Land, you know the place that exists beyond existence if you believe in that place? Sometimes ninaland is like La La Land. It’s great to be in my own head sometimes, you should visit more often, it can be amazing over here. I don’t usually do unicorns and clowns in my land, but there are the occasional knights in shining armor and princesses who look like me.

La La Land is where our dreams are. Martin Luther King had a dream. I have dreams.

I dream of a world that I can be proud of. I dream of chocolate that has no calories and romantic love that has no pain. A world where one can eat and love without hesitation. I think in the end the only reason we are here to find food and find love.

I have found food, lots and lots of food in fact. Just an FYI. I have also found much to love in this life. So maybe I am in La La Land? Where are you? Where do you live? What land do you claim as your own?

Thanks for visiting ninaland.

nina