Forty-Something Years in Ninaland


Answered Phone Calls…

New phone technologies: corded phone and bright blue simcard from mobile phone

When I was a kid, me and my friend would prank call people for hours and hours. In fact we started prank calling one of our friends. Let’s call the girl we called on the phone, Samantha. We told Samantha that my name was Erica. I was the one talking in a weird Mid-western accent I made up. I told Samantha that I wanted to be her friend.

I would make up facts about this character Erica, all in hopes of eventually torturing Samantha. Samantha began to befriend this Erica and would wait for our random phone calls. My friend would sit on another phone and listen to the entire conversation. This was before Caller-ID.

Then Samantha started opening her heart, and Erica started to be mean. I don’t know what possessed me to be mean to the girl, but I did it with all my might. I never really thought of myself as a “Mean Girl” until just now. Samantha cried on the phone and Erica told her to stop being such a baby.

Why? What posses a girl who wasn’t very popular and pretty insecure, to be mean to another girl. Why are girls mean to each other? Was I just another girl? A girl with a mean streak.

We are all capable of some kind of evil, especially I think when we are children. My friend thought it was hilarious that I was taunting this girl. What exactly does the word hilarious mean? Why is it funny to be mean?

Eventually Erica told Samantha it was over, she would not be her friend anymore. I think me and my friend were getting tired of the ruse. Samantha cried again and Erica laughed.

I remember Samantha very well with her long blong hair in a ponytail and her above ground pool in her backyard. We would bike to her place and swim in her pool. Me and my friend used her for what she had, and didn’t much like who she was. I don’t remember her personality at all, I just remember her hair and her pool. What does that say about me?

Along with Samantha me and my friend called various strangers and did fake voices, making up fake scenarios. I don’t know why it was fun to bother people on their phones.

It was a game we played. I wish I could be young again and just play. What does it mean to play? Maybe it doesn’t mean anything at all, and we as adults try to put meaning into everything. Maybe recess is just recess.

Maybe I was mean because I could be. Maybe it was that simple. But was that me? Is that mean girl a part of me?

I’m trying to remember the last time I was mean? What does it all mean?

I like to think I don’t have a mean bone in my body, but that little girl is a bone in my body. Does it even matter what you do as a child? Does it matter who you were as a kid? If we could all be kids again would we still bully each other? Would we know better?

Would we remember how to play? Do you wish you could play?

We didn’t have ‘play dates’ when I was a kid. We just randomly played all the time. Now I want to be able to play, I want to be that free.

I would never let myself go to that point. I think maybe that’s why people have kids, so they can see a part of themselves playing.

Instead of playing we stir rice, and iron clothes. We are constantly doing something besides having fun. Fun is hard when you grow up. Having fun is something that has to be planned out like a dinner party. There must be place mats and assigned seats. We must discuss politics; we must not discuss religion.

We must wear the right clothes in order to have fun, and wear the right smile. And tell the right story. We must be funny. We must have charisma and charm.

We can’t be ourselves in our fun. Playing pretend is the only game left in town. This town is not fun.

When we are in love we play, we pretend, we laugh. It can be the one thing that brings play back into our lives. Our mundane, superficial, lives.

We are yearning for this love, whether it be falling in love with a dog or another human, love will take us to fun. Love is our entrance into the circus of our souls.


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 November 10th, 2015  
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Mr. Miyagi: Wash On, Wash Off—-Repost

dad and nina

Have you ever seen The Karate Kid?  I know Mr. Miyagi.  That’s my father.  When I came back home from college and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, he made me pull weeds and plant flowers.

Pull weeds and plant flowers.

That’s his way.

There are really only two things in my religion which my dad taught me about:  Seva and Simran.

Seva is service.  It’s not just service to the poor; it is service to anyone in your life.

Simran means to REMEMBER god.  What does that mean?  It means I think to remember that everything around you including yourself is a manifestation of god.  A creation of god.  To remember that means to honor the world and life and the self.  Oh and also god.

Pull weeds, plant flowers, seva, simran.

I say these things over and over again to remind myself of what and who I am.  What I should be doing in this life.

Once we had to remove the scriptures from our prayer room because we were selling our house and we didn’t want people to disrespect the room with their shoes etc.  I went into the room that we call the Baba Ji room.  I went in that room when the scriptures were removed and just sat there.  My dad came in and said to me, “You know you can still pray in here.  This is still the Baba Ji room, the Granth (the scriptures) is still here.”  I looked at him and started to cry, about something unrelated.  But he knew.

He knows how to tell a tale too.  Probably where I learned it.  I asked him once what the scars on his face were from when I was very young; he has some indents on his face.  He told me he was in a bullfight.  He told me he won.

He thought it was hilarious that I would mix up the words, chicken and kitchen.  He would purposely let me get it wrong.

Pull weeds, plant flowers, seva, simran, humor

Regarding my writing:  If my father says to me one more time: “You know the girl who wrote Harry Potter was on welfare.  Can’t you write a bestseller?  Just one.”

Pull weeds, plant flowers, seva simran, humor, success  Before I went to college he sat me down:  “If you get involved in drugs, alcohol or sex I will not pay for your education.  Do you understand?”

He always says about everything:  “It’s the principal.”

Once he told me his boss said, “Everyone is a prostitute, it’s just a matter of price.”

Everyone except my dad.  He never sold out.

Pull weeds, plant flowers, seva, simran, humor, success, morals

He loved when I sang to him, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.”

People he appreciated my singing at a young age.  He adored me when I was a kid.  Apparently I was a fun baby and would say “Hi” to everyone and make friends at grocery stores and everywhere we went.  My father was proud of me and still is.

“You will go to Columbia,” he said to me the day I got in.  That day his father died.  He was so happy when he found out I got in, and when he found out his 98 year old father died he was sad but taught me how to take the good and bad.

He is a humble man, not with too much pride.   “You have to tell them at work that you have done something or they won’t notice.”  They noticed him, when he was blind he won awards.  He was the best manager: he won the respect of his employees.  But he never tooted his own horn.

He does not usually argue, he converses, engages in conversations.

When I told him I wasn’t really into our religion but I was into spirituality he was upset but he said to me, “As long as you are on a path, stay on that path.”  I told him my path was where all the paths intersect.

He used to tell me, “Organized religion and organized crime are two sides of the same coin.”  Our religion, Sikhism, is small, “Don’t worry it’s not organized.”

When discussing health:  “Every white powder is bad for you…whether it be sugar, salt or cocaine.”

About my relationships:  I talk to my father about dating.  His general guidelines:  “He should be educated and make at least $100,000.”

He stopped drinking so we would not drink.  He had a beer though on Mackinaw Island after he accepted that both his daughters drink and there is nothing he can do about it.  He toasted us.

About my depression:  Every morning he would wake me up.  “Regulize your life.  Discipline.”  The word Sikh means disciple.  He is a Sikh.

He doesn’t wear a turban, but I don’t wear one either, but that is another conversation for another blog.

He is the most spiritual man I know.  He does what we call Ardaas at the end of his reading of the scriptures, (he listens to tapes) and then he makes an Ardaas or request for his family.  He prays that his family live in peace.  That’s it.  Nothing More.  “I don’t want to do selfish prayers.”

Every time he eats a meal, he closes his eyes and silently prays this prayer:  “Jai parsaad chaatey amrit kaaye, tis Thakur ko rukh man maayaa.”  The one who gave you this 36 kinds of food, keep him in your mind.

The list of things he taught me goes on and on.  But what will really stay with me is this:  Pull Weeds, Plant Flowers.

Mr. Miyagi is my old man.  In many ways he taught me to fight the good fight.

I am his oldest son.

I was never good at math and he was very upset with that, “Calculus can solve the meaning of life, everything is calculus.”

That’s cool, I don’t know for a second what it means since I literally fell asleep during my A.P. Calculus exam in high school.   But my father is so passionate about math, he would sit for hours and help me solve problems in school.

He has solved a lot of my problems.

I love him deeply, but still don’t know how to tell him that.

But he knows.


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 November 5th, 2015  
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I am faceless standing here in my metaphorical mask, waiting for a bus on the corner of two streets, I don’t remember their names.

Then a man says to me, “I’m a Mormon, but I don’t want more than one wife.” He literally said that to me. Why would I care, but I do care.

“Excuse me?” I say. The man has a face. And he can see me.

“My sister married an alcoholic…” I could have been one, an alcoholic. There was a year or two I came close to the borders of self destruction. But I chose not to drink my life away.

“I’m sorry,” I say to the blonde man on a skateboard who is riding, he rides while I am sinking in my own pool.

“She could have done better but now she’s got two kids,” he says nonchalantly as we wait for the bus on a sunny morning in Virginia, on our way to Washington D.C.

“That’s too bad,” I mistakenly sound interested. I hide under a black leather jacket that’s too tight. I want to draw his face. I want to make sense of the drama in his blue eyes.

He goes on and on about how he might not believe in god. God, I think might not believe in me. I want to tell him I’m mysterious, that’s why I wear this mask of a smile. You don’t know what’s underneath this smile. My ghosts: my heart is a planet, an entire planet, it’s so big, it’s spinning, but there is no sun. No way to make my heart shine.

I want to stand on his skateboard and ride away. I’ve never used a skateboard before. I would probably fall off and make a fool of myself. A fool I am, I feel like I have a broken guitar tuning me. I can’t sing.

We get on the bus and the man starts talking to the person next to him, I’m not special, I was a fool to think he liked my face.

Does he know I hate my body? Do they all know? Do I wear that knowledge like skin? Under these folds of skin, I hide. Like an ostrich I hide my head in the sand, thinking no one can see me if I can’t see them.

I can barely see anyone who is facing north. Anyone who is looking up. Anyone is everyone. I barely know my own name but I remember the color of his hat, the man with the skateboard was wearing a red hat. No one will know that but me.




Randomness…it’s us in a swirling planet with all these people everywhere. They all shit, everyone’s shitting. On the same earth, there are those that shit quietly and others that make noise. But we are all victims of our own bodies.

I can’t be in this body much longer if I want to really smile. I don’t really smile; I fake my existence. I fake my dreams. I’m a liar in my own dreams. I can’t have anything real, even a real conversation is blurred with my inane thoughts. The inane vs. the insane.

We are wearing clothes, that are made out of threads…small threads. This body is just a vessel that holds me, holds my intelligence. There is an intelligence in every cell. My cells know me. They know my name.

I want play tennis sitting down, with a racket made of threads and a ball of dough. How weird am I? It cannot be mentioned, the weirdness in my mind. It cannot be understood. If I understood it maybe you could.

We are, we are, we are one. You are me, I am you. There is no difference between us. There is no boundary except our skin, and our skin is wrinkling. We might as well be made of plastic, sitting on sidewalks, breathing our own breath. Telling each other lies.

We are toys, like Barbies with no figure. I’m a deformed Barbie doll. I am not perfect nor am I flawed. I lie between the two. I’m perfectly flawed. I’m beautiful but boring. No I’m not pretty enough, enough for this universal pretty contest we call life.

I’m not a contestant. I won’t sing your song for you. You must tell your own story. You, stop looking at me, look in the mirror and see yourself.

You are the only real thing in the room.

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 November 4th, 2015  
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For Everything There is a Season…

freeimage-4274075-highI have been posting less often because I have other things I have to do and blogging became very time consuming. It’s windy outside and I’m wondering what I’m doing with my life. Where all the time goes, where all the time went. I’m not sure. I’m not sure I understand time.

It’s invisible, much like many things that we worship. I think we worship time. We think about the past and the future so much, we might as well worship it. When in fact the only time is right now. How do you feel in this moment? Is everything OK in this very moment? If you can say yes, then time is an accessory.

I have been sitting on a wooden chair for three and a half hours. That’s a lot of time. I’ve been doing work this whole time and now my butt hurts. Literally I have to get up and move so I can not be in pain.

But what is the real pain I’m experiencing? It’s not the three hours, they whisked by. It’s this last half an hour, where I have been thinking about how long I have been working. And sitting. And staring at a computer screen. You might have the same feelings about your life.

So I changed chairs, I’m on a recliner. I think it may help the pain in my ass. Although the real pain my ass is this computer. I think about getting up and dancing, but I won’t. Not because I can’t, I’m in my living room. But because I’m not happy enough. And now is not the time.

“For everything there is a season turn, turn…”

I’m in a bad mood, not even bad, just a mood. Maybe I would call it pensive. Truthfully I’m a little hungry on this new diet, I’ve been working for too long today. I’m annoyed at my mother and the weather and life all around.

“Oh yeah, life goes on…long after the thrill, of living is gone.”

Believe me in this time, in this today, the thrill is gone.

I saw a girl with no shoes on today; she has no fear. It’s the end of October in Michigan: people are wearing boots. I want to be barefoot too. I hate wearing socks, that’s something I don’t know if I ever told you. And I lose socks, constantly, there is vortex in the universe that has all my socks in it.


And I lost my electric toothbrush. That’s not like losing a sock; that was expensive. I mean where could it have gone? It’s probably in the trunk of my car, there’s a bunch of mysterious crap invading my trunk.

It’s the little things that become big things, things that don’t matter that much occupy space. And they take time up, precious time in our minds. I could be spending this time thinking of more important things. But I can’t. I’m avoiding my life right now. Avoiding the things that matter.

There’s some stuff I said at home that I regret saying. I feel hurt that I hurt someone else. That’s all I want to say about that.

“Everything is gonna be alright, rock a bye, rock a bye…”

There are prayers playing in the background, my mother is listening to them with her head covered. I understand a few words here and there. Why don’t I pray? Apparently it works: there have been scientific studies that prove that those people who pray for others heal better in hospitals and stuff. I saw it on Oprah.

So I suppose if I pray for myself, it might work.

I’m stuck, stuck in this world. Neither here nor there. I’m between praying and not praying. I’m in between caring and not giving a shit.

I can’t really watch the news anymore, can you? It’s terrible what’s going on in this world. This very website you are reading this on could be destroyed in a cyber attack. What’s happening in Syria is horrific. I want to move, to another planet.

It’s got to be better somewhere. I hear the word, “Namastang,” in the prayer my mother is listening to. They are saying “Namaste” to god. “Namaste” has become very popular lately because of yoga. I’ve even seen rock stars put their hands together and say “Namaste.” I think it means the god in me acknowledges the god the god in you. I think all these things are the meaning of all these things, don’t write me letters about how I misrepresented religious stuff.

If we would all recognize the god in each other we would all be better off. Forget praying, how about we recognize. I don’t mean it’s bad to pray, I just know a lot of people who pray a lot but can’t see the god in other people.

It’s not like I recognize the god in say, like Donald Trump. If anyone forgot to get a soul it might be him. But really, even he is just a person after all. A misguided fool he might be, but there is a part of him that is even god-like. I think if I can see the god in The Donald, I can see the god in anyone.

I mean when you think about the scum of the earth, like maybe child molesters, even they contain a part of god. Perhaps if they were treated like they have a soul they would have never become sickos. I don’t know if I’m one to talk, I am in favor of castrating child molesters and rapists.

Where is this going anyways? Where am I going with this? My mind is wandering aimlessly today. It’s extremely dreary outside, as if I’m in a horror movie and something bad is about to happen. I want to go back to bed and hide in my covers. Sometimes I have to fight that urge, the urge to hide in my cave. To be depressed. Some days I have to fight depression. It’s hard to fight with your mind, using your mind. It’s an inner struggle. Man vs. Himself we would say in literature class.

Fall is beautiful, but sometimes it is sad. As if you have to say goodbye to the trees, they have a small death. It’s as if the environment goes into hibernation, and the world expects me to stay awake.

The leaves are crumbling on the grass, and I’m trying to stop myself from falling down too. I would like to be like a burnt orange leaf in the wind. Struggling to find a place to hide before someone burns me.

What’s the point? You might ask that…I wish I knew…



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 November 2nd, 2015  
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