Through the glass she looked


She was the innocent child thrown out to the wolves and learnt to crave his knife to lead the pack instead. Adventure was her snowflake that beckoned her to come out and play. Through the looking glass at the end of the tunnel she stood; taking her breath away was the last thing on his mind. She was never his or her own. She belonged to something far too unknown. She detested recycled stories of boy-meets-girl. Yet, she got entangled in his dream catcher and all she could do was stare. Weak men ran away from her cause they lacked the strength to fix the broken. He was a fixer and knew exactly how many and where the stitches go!

Just Let Things Be?

I’m learning not to force things to happen.

I’m learning to just let them be, to let them align with my life when the time is right, to the let the universe bring them to me without having to run after them; because if you have to run after something, it means that it doesn’t want to stand still, it doesn’t want to be caught, it doesn’t want to stop at your door. I’m trusting God that what’s meant for me will eventually find me no matter where I am. I’m not going to be passive but I also won’t fight a losing battle.

I’m learning to let love find me.

I’m learning to stop decoding messages and mixed signals and signs and wait for the clear message, the message that is so obvious and easy to understand, the message that doesn’t make you question or second guess anything and the message that you’re truly waiting for.

I’m learning to let those who don’t want me in their lives go, I might even hold the door open for them because I don’t want temporary visitors anymore, I don’t want to share my bed with someone doesn’t want to spend every night with me and I won’t share my heart with someone who doesn’t want to protect it. I’m learning to let love find me when it’s real, when it’s simple, when it’s mutual and when it’s passionate.

I’m learning to be patient with myself.

I’m learning to take it easy on myself and my plans. I’m learning to be kind to myself when I slip-up and patient enough to make my dreams come true. I’m learning to forgive myself for my mistakes and let them be memories instead of labels. I’m learning to let these mistakes prove that I’ve tried for things that weren’t right for me, that I didn’t always play it safe, that I went for things I was unsure of and that I took chances.

I’m taking the wisdom I got from all these mistakes; the wisdom that taught that mistakes often happen because we are forcing something that is not meant for us and we are trying to get something we probably shouldn’t have.

I’m learning to stop trying so hard to control my life.

I’m learning that it is okay if I don’t have all the answers or if I’m not where I want to be. I’m learning to let life take its course instead of trying to steer the wheel in another direction. I’m learning that I won’t always get what I want but life will give me what I need. I’m learning to treat life as a friend; trying to understand it, trying to love it when it’s difficult, trying to accept it even when it’s frustrating me and trying to appreciate the experiences it has provided me with, the memories it gave me, the laughter it brought me and the sadness it put me through just to grow.

I’m learning to let things be and I’m learning to look at life as a person; a person who is also still trying to figure it out, a person who is flawed and a person who wants to be better on most days but falls short on other days like everyone else.

I’m learning to let the force of life move me instead of forcing it to stop.

This is the art of ‘Something Borrowed’.

I’m sorry, thank you, it’s ok and other words that have made you a malfunction

I recently saw an advertisement for a popular jewellery brand in India that caught my muse and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed.

The concept is simple, a woman is getting ready to receive her young entrepreneur award and is heard giving her “Thank you” speech for it. She starts off by saying that this is the first time she is giving her “thank you” speech and is nervous as she is more prepared for all the “sorry” speeches she’s had to give as an entrepreneur. Then she goes ahead and thanks every person who made the possible for her.

This caused a knot in my stomach and I went on a different trip about it. Hey! I’m allowed to and I am not sorry about this in any way.

As kids, we are taught to be polite and say your please, thank you and sorry with utmost poise and this flows so thick into our blood that it just becomes a reflex moving forward.

I’m sorry (while accidentally running into someone at the street).
I’m sorry I’m late.
I’m sorry I won’t be able to make it to your party/wedding/gathering/catch up/anything social.
I’m sorry I don’t understand you.
I’m sorry I am sick. I’m sorry that I feel sorry.
I’m SORRY.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with you. Thank you for your time.
Thanks and Regards (at the end of every email I have ever sent)
Thank you for the things you dint do or couldn’t do.
I’m sorry I was in a bad mood when I said those things to hurt you. It’s ok I understand. THANK YOU for your understanding.
It’s ok. It’s all ok!

It’s quite hilarious if you see it that we literally live our lives just being sorry and thankful for things that don’t require those words to be used that often and fail to understand the importance of using them where they are necessary. This is how I’ve malfunctioned. In a lot of cases, this is how we have malfunctioned.

I have been sorry for so many things I needn’t be. Why? Cause it’s the shame that people make you feel and apologise for, like I just showed someone my period stained panties.

I am sorry trust me! But there is a difference between sorry I made a mistake and sorry I am a mistake.

Many times, I’ve apologised cause I felt guilty that I was a mistake. I was shamed for making a mistake and thus, I became the mistake. I don’t have wounds to show for this. After apologising for the hurt you caused actually to yourself and not the other person, you don’t get flowers or gifts to get well soon, instead you get “cheer up” and an expectation hanging above you as a sword that you won’t repeat it.

The enemy is invisible here, but like a basic human instinct, we all feel the need to put a face to the enemy. So, the best face forward is YOU. You identify yourself as the problem and not that you may have problems, thus, making yourself the enemy here. Why? You let people shame you, talk you into apologising, say thank you for their understanding and say it’s ok to yourself and move forward. Wow! This is multiple malfunctions in the same sentence to the main protagonist in the story of being SORRY – YOU!

You hear people talk about overcoming and seeking things on TEDx talks and think wow that’s courage. But, do you ever see how much of a shame, apology, weakness blaming and struggle they had to feel until they got up and stood up for it?

During the process of this, imagine the number of times they uttered sorry, thank you for understanding and it’s ok until they decided I am sorry I treated myself that way. Thank you for ensuring that I understood that the process was wrong and not me. It’s OK now that I have chosen to forgive myself for this. They weren’t always courageous, strong or a vision of perfection. They have taken a beating, several times in a day actually. The self care, self loving and self confidence has taken a huge beating every time they have felt the need to apologise, thank or be ok with something that isn’t ok.

This is when they said ENOUGH. Restarted their self care and stood up for themselves. Not charged a battle against others but stood up to be an inspiration to others battling with unsaid words such as what they express in TEDx. I love that their shame is now an inspiration. This is the only place I know in the world that SHAME isn’t negative.

Imagine, if I stood up in a street full of people and screamed with desperation and frustration for a good 2 mins. Break for 1 min and then explain in a another 4 mins how during those earlier 2 mins I was bipolar but conquered it in 1 min break time and here I am talking about it now. I would be branded bipolar, psycho, creep, fucking insane or any one of the other words that have already crept into your mind. SHAME. See negative! But, in a 1080HD pixel screen, your shame is seen as courage, inspiration and mentoring to others.

SORRY. THANK YOU. IT’S OK – These three words when used too often together or separately lead to other words or personality traits as one calls it to be formed.

Regret. People Pleaser. Emotional. Vulnerable. Anger. Anxiety. Sadness. Self Worth. Self destruction. Malfunction. Loser. Over a period of time, you have so many words that begin to cloud your own thoughts that you believe, ‘damn I owe an apology to every one I have wronged. How nice are they to understand me though I was being such an asshole! It’s ok, now I am going to apologise to each and everyone I meet!’

Now, when you are over your head about this and then take a deep breathe and realise this is exhausting. I can’t do this anymore. Make it STOP! I can’t use these words so liberally anymore, you break or to be put in perspective: Find a break through.

You don’t fit in and make limited attempt to fit. You aren’t one in the crowd anymore. Now you’re seen as that person who is in a bad mood all the time, have become detached and are living a life that you really need to feel sorry about. Why? Cause you are being selfish and being sorry, thankful and understanding only about yourself. You are now self obsessed!

These are the things no one tells you about. The damage you caused in real to the people whose routine you have now shaken up when you stopped giving into the 3 societal rules. You meander into your own woods, doing your own thing, picking up sticks and stones like you used to as a kid. This is when the adults damaged you and taught you those 3 words that ruined your life.

Children aren’t my favourite things, yet, they are so carefree and themselves in the truest sense. From fear, greed, lust, materialistic weightage and emotional baggage. They do what they feel. I missed childhood when I began being a adult at the age of 5.

In the process of using grammar and words when necessary; I lost a lot of good people or things and bad ones along the way. I learnt the tricks of my trade, not necessary that everyone uses the same means. You won’t see me give TEDx talks about this.

But, whenever I feel like being sorry – I clean the toilet, cupboards or do laundry. The sense of detergent cleansing my soiled clothing gives me immense orgasmic pleasure.
When I feel like being thankful – I donate. Food, clothes, time, money or whatever I can. I spend time laughing with people I like and I shop with the thankfully extra bucks I have.
When I feel it’s ok – I eat! I engage with food in a way that satiates my need for using extra words, time or emotions on people that don’t deserve my fries in the first place.

This is my life. This is me. And I’m not sorry for it. I am thankful that I realised the damage and malfunction I caused in the process and it’s OK that I went through it all. Cause the pot of gold I found at the end of my rainbow is worth every piece of shit I went through to find it.

Thank you!

For Anyone, Single or Coupled

Something Borrowed!

Some may say I am lucky for finding a loving healthy relationship, however, I do not believe in luck.

What I do believe is that everyone deserves to give and receive love—real love that is honest and kind and makes you a better person. What I see or hear too often is that people are not fulfilled and they are choosing comfort or suffering instead of living their best life.

Now I realize that love and relationships are only a piece of the puzzle in order to live a fulfilling life, but these four tips are important to help you on the journey.

1. Stop making excuses.

If someone cares about you, they will make you a priority. Bottom line. This means that they will either answer all calls/emails/texts or get back to you as soon as they can. They will also fit you in their schedule no matter how busy they are.

In fact, they will want to see you so badly that it will just work out and you will be surprised how easy it is in this crazy, busy world to find the time for what’s important. This special someone will also want to do things for you, yes you. And kind, thoughtful things at that. And no, not the materialistic meaningless things. I’m talking small little things that make your heart fill and your mouth crack a little smile.

When these things are happening in relationships, communication and trust will naturally be formed as well and those are must haves when it comes to love.

And the most amazing thing about all of this: when they do this for you, you will do this for them and a loving, real and happy relationship will be created and maintained.

So, stop justifying why someone isn’t doing these things for you because guess what? They should be doing them! Be true. Be love. Don’t settle.

2. Live your own life rather than society’s.

I believe that a major factor in unhappy relationships is the need for people to conform to society’s expectations.

You must let go of what you thought you’d be or who you thought you’d be with. How can someone else tell you how your life should be when it’s your life, not theirs? You must also let go of the standard relationship cycle: oh no, I’m growing up so I must get a career that I don’t enjoy, find someone to date, move in with them, get engaged, buy a house, get a dog, get married, have kids… Because that’s what most of my friends are doing right now and that’s what everyone thinks I should do, right? Wrong.

If you are confident and happy in your life, you should be able to let go of society’s expectations and make room for your own. Times are changing and this is your life so why conform to someone else’s?

3. Know what you want and who you are.

In order to get what you want, you must know what you want. Sounds simple right? But getting to this point is a process. You must experiment and go through many trial and error phases in order to learn what you don’t want before you can see clearly.

You must also let go of what you think you want and know that even those people who seem to always know exactly what they want will end up changing their mind at some point as they evolve. We all think we get it and then we have experiences and grow up and learn what we really want and then it works out. For those of you who are lost, start doing things you enjoy and figure yourself out first and it will come. Patience… Yep it’s a tough one!

4. Do not settle.

One, two and three all tie in to this one as well.

You must be able to be yourself fully and live your life the way you want to live it. If you are with the right person, these things just happen naturally. You can’t change people. Understand that if you stay where you are, there will be long term unhappiness. However, if you leave, these feelings will only be short term. Wouldn’t you rather be unfulfilled for a little while rather than a long while? Choose love over fear.

To sum up: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” ~ Stephen Chbosky

And no matter who told you otherwise or made you feel otherwise, you all deserve the best.

Now go live and love—honestly and fully!

Exactly the way you want to.

Strong is the New Pretty: Kate Parker’s Fearless Femininity

Kate Parker’s heart-warming, energetic photography series showcases what it means to be a girl nowadays. She turned her lens on her daughters as a way to encourage them to escape the stereotypes imposed on young girls and celebrate their strengths and interests. She says, ‘My girls are strong, loud, crazy, silly…as a mother and photographer, I celebrate them.’

Photographer Kate T. Parker first started shooting her daughters Ella (9) and Alice (6) with the hope of teaching them that ‘Whatever you are…that’s Okay…You don’t need to be pretty, perfect, or compliant to be loved.’ Parker used this message to empower her girls when she started taking their pictures three years ago.

Initially, the project started as a desire to record her daughters and the memories or their childhood, as well as practice with her camera and different lighting situations, environments, and times of day. However, after a year or so, it organically grew into something different. Parker recognized that the images where the girls were authenticallycaptured were the strongest.

As a former college soccer player, sports have always played a huge role in Kate’s life, a passion that she’s clearly passed on to her girls. She feels that bodies should be celebrated for strength rather than attractiveness; it is what they are able to do that makes them beautiful: ‘There is so much emphasis on how we look that I love the opportunity to think about my body in terms of function.’

Her message to her daughters is to ‘be strong, be yourself, be honest and celebrate who you are.’ She feels we should encourage every girl to ‘be an athlete, be loud, be a leader.’ Parker wants to portray the message that you never need to be ‘girly’ to be loved or accepted. She wanted to empower her girls by encouraging strength, confidence, kindness, and toughness.

Parker’s photography is an antidote to what we often see – stereotypically beautiful girls photoshopped to perfection. This photo series shows the beauty, uniqueness, and strength of her girls and their friends as they truly are – ‘messy hair, dirty faces, angry, joyous – whatever it was, I wanted to capture it.’

Parker is passionate about encouraging females to ‘be themselves and own their power.’ She hopes to show through her photography what wonderful, unique individuals her daughters are. She believes that ‘it is important for girls to know their strengths and know their voice.’

Her photos epitomize the overlooked ‘fearlessness’ in young girls. She says, ‘There’s a lot of pressure for girls (and women) to look a certain way, act in a certain manner and I wanted to let my daughters know that who they naturally are is enough.’

Parker’s favorite photo of Ella is before her first triathlon. She was nervous and unsure of herself, so Kate wanted to show her eldest how she looked through her mom’s eyes – ‘strong, confident, and completely badass.’

Parker has also created a fascinating photo series about a group of 7th grade girls inGeorgia who challenge gender roles by playing football against the local boys every weekend. She uses these images to show girls, and women, that character, bravery, athleticism, and strength are more beautiful than prescribed views of beauty.

Parker’s photos celebrate who her daughters are, not how others expect them to be. ‘They don’t have to have their hair done, clothes matching, or even be clean to be loved or accepted. Strong is the new pretty.’

By Polly Rider

What it is like to be guarded…

There’s a reason why my walls are built so high, and there’s a reason it will take you longer than expected to bring them down. There’s a reason why I’m guarded.

I’m guarded because I’ve been hurt before. We all have. My weakness is that I carry the pain with me as a constant reminder that it could happen again. And while this is such a cautious way to walk through life, while instead I could be wildly sprinting, the wild sprint has made me fall and trip before, and the scrapes and burns were painful. So painful that it takes a while to try and run that fast again. So I walk, and I walk carefully noticing my surroundings because I worry if I were to ever fall that hard again, I might not be able to get back up.

I’m guarded because I’m scared of what you’ll think, but not scared enough to admit it. I fear your disapproval like a little girl fears the monster under her bed, and right now I will just keep quiet to avoid any disturbance. I’m guarded because no one has ever protected me as well as I protect myself. My own armor has been stronger than yours, or his, or hers, and it will continue to be until someone shows me otherwise.

I’m guarded because I’m no stranger to failure, and while it has made me stronger, it has also made me more aware of how all of it can go wrong. I’m guarded because I’ve mistakenly invested my trust in those who took it for granted, and because of their disregard, I no longer hand out trust so easily.

I’m guarded because I see the damage coming before it even happens, and I know that the lucky ones will tell me how unreasonable, pessimistic, and sad this all sounds, but even when you try to tell yourself that this time is different, the reminder seeps back in. Life will bring hurt and pain, and people will disappoint you, but no one has the ability to break down your walls except for you. I’m guarded because I’ve chosen to be that way.

I think when you’re young, you’re hoping that this person will be the right one, the one you’re going to be in love with forever, but sometimes you want that so much you create something that really isn’t there. But I didn’t understand then. That I could hurt somebody so badly he would never recover. That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair.

That is the way it is with a wound. The wound begins to close in on itself, to protect what is hurting so much. And once it is closed, you no longer see what is underneath, what started the pain. I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.

20 minutes of your attention span is all I got

There’s a picture on my phone of us, hidden among all of the discarded pictures, selfies and screenshots of quotes and saying that make my chest heave a sigh. There is a little sparkle in your eye that makes my heart melt into a puddle of dissolved cynicism and pessimism.

Each time we had sex you would push me in a way I didn’t know I could be pushed. I loved every second of it. I would drink up every part of you and scream into your shoulders – even those muscles did nothing to silence the sounds you brought out of me. I’ve always been loud but you took it to an entirely different level. But more than the sex I was addicted to talking to you until the sun started to come up. You once said that coming over to my place took planning because you knew that what with anyone else would be a 20 minute thing would last for 5 hours between you and me. I think I fell for you a little bit each time we’d start arguing before either one of us had gotten a chance to put our clothes back on.

We were never an anything. Never had a label, never had a definition. The most I was able to stake claim in was stolen glances that I invented meanings for and the three feet of book piles in between us. I created somethings out of “hey you” text messages that came my way at 3 AM, pretended like I was the only person you were breathing into on Tuesday nights, grasped for some sort of sign out of the way you would kiss the back of my neck after you peeled my shirt off.

You asked me to not bullshit you and said you would never lie to me. I’m not sure if I have a right to be upset, because is not saying anything, the same as telling a lie? You never made me feel bad about being honest until it got a little too real and then you went off into the world without even telling me you were going. I was honest with you and now I’m going back to only being honest with my keyboard.

Each day that goes by where I don’t text you is like a little victory. I mark it on a calendar and collect imaginary chips for days I haven’t had you in my life. I’ve always been one of those people who was all or nothing and with you I was unapologetically all in. But I was playing alone and now I’m working on recollecting the pieces of myself I never should have expended and my dignity that I watched slip away when I cared about you in a way you never cared about me. Each day that goes by where I fight through to urge to admit “I miss you” is seen as a win in my book.

But regardless of me swallowing down the want and the need to try and force you into my life I can’t bear to delete that picture of you. You hadn’t gotten rid of your facial hair, had that ridiculously adorable look on your face that brought out your sparkle, and I liked to pretend that you told all of your buddies, “That’s the girl who gave me the scar on my arm from holding onto it.” Every now and then when I’m a half bottle of rum and coke deep and wishing that your legs were touching mine I scroll through and find it and remember how much I really liked having you in my life.

You were important to me. You changed me. You made me remember what it was like to be excited to see someone and what it was like to miss somebody. You made an impression on my heart that I still can’t quite define and I’m not sure if it’s ever going to go away.

So for now, the picture of you is going to suffice. The memories of you laughing and making fun of you are what I’m going to hold onto instead of grasping for someone who isn’t there. I’m getting to the point where thinking about you doesn’t make me want to throw myself into a place of desperation. I’m almost to the place where I want to talk to you again and knowing that you won’t kiss me after we yell at each other about work doesn’t make me feel abandoned.

But I’m not totally there. So for now, I’m not ready to see you. I’m only ready to think about you once a day and remember that until I’m ready to try and bring you back into my life in even the smallest of possible ways I have your picture and nothing to apologize for.