P.S. I Love Me: Day 2

2. Write what you like about yourself.

Ah! We’re starting with the good stuff right away, it seems. I find that for many people –and certainly including myself– it is difficult to talk about yourself. We refuse to be associated with the implicit vanity that accompanies it. But, perhaps it is not all that bad a skill to have. Employers will always ask you to pitch yourself: What are your strengths? What can you do well? Why should I choose you? In the end, we must be able to reflect on the things we have accomplished and be proud of our skills, of ourselves.

I have personally always been proud of my ability to communicate. Throughout the inevitable dramas of middle school and high school, I have been able to express my feelings well to others without being ashamed or afraid. As I have talked about before, it is never a bad thing to let yourself be vulnerable– we are human after all. I think that mindset has always been with me and as I started to get interested in writing. I’d log my days in a journal, accompanied with roller coasters of feelings, and soon it became easy for me to pinpoint my own emotions and why I was feeling them, as well as communicating those things to others. The skill is certainly one that is important to have, so I am glad that I was able to develop it so naturally throughout my life.

 

Be it physical or otherwise, what do you like about yourself?

 

P.S. I Love Me: Day 1

1. A photo of you and why you’re doing P.S. I Love Me.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Getting through middle school and high school was tough for me. Academically, I was capable of handling everything that came my way, but on a personal level, I struggled with a lot of different issues. Now, I won’t say these issues were unique in any way; they weren’t. I was insecure with who I was and how I looked: the typical, really. If you can get any adolescent to tell you the truth on the matter, you’ll hear the same. Perhaps it was the media or my relatives or the society that shaped me, but at the end of it all, I was not strong enough to challenge those that made me feel inferior in any way. When it came down to it, I simply did not love myself enough. But things changed, and they did get better.

The person I was when I walked through the halls as a freshman in high school was not the same person that walked across the stage with a diploma in hand. I evolved in ways I had never expected to, and by extension, I learned to love myself a little more. I learned that it is okay to be selfish, it is okay to relax, it is okay to be proud, it is okay to feel and be vulnerable and come undone– all these things are okay.

The thing is, I didn’t get to that place without self-reflecting a bit. As a writer, especially one who started out simply journaling, self-reflection has become an integral part of my life, and I find that it helps in ways you never even know it will. I’m doing the P.S. I Love Me Challenge to grow more and to learn to love myself as much as I love others.

So now it’s your turn: Why are you doing the P.S. I Love Me Challenge?

P.S. I Love Me Challenge

Towards the end of last year, I spoke of sending love letters to the people you care about. The simple act of kindness is thoughtful and can be speak volumes to those special individuals who impact your life.

However, there is one important person that everyone always neglects when spreading love: yourself! How many times do we stand in front of mirror and criticize ourselves? How much time do we spend raking through all our embarrassing moments of the day as we’re falling asleep?

ps-i-love-meWhat better time than the month of love! This February, I’d like to encourage you to join me in the P.S. I Love Me Challenge.

Three times a week, I will give you a prompt (and answer it myself) that will encourage you to think about your life in a positive way.

So get ready for a month of sending some love letters to yourself. Grab a journal, a scrap piece of paper, or get typing in the comments section. I’d love to read your responses!

 

 

Love Letters

“You are the finest, loveliest, tenderest, and most beautiful person I have ever known- and even that is an understatement.”

–F. Scott Fitzgerald

I love old school things. Picnics, late night drives for nothing, flowers, star-gazing on the hood of a car, pretending that I am Liesl from The Sound of Music every time I see park benches. Things people call “corny” these days. Nonetheless, I admire these things. There is a certain simple beauty to these things that lifts the spirits.

By far, one of my favorite “old school” things is handwritten letters. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love receiving handwritten letters in the mail? Even just finding some lying around is a beautiful thing. In our handwriting lies a whole world of personality. It is the equivalent of how one’s voice sounds. Your letters might be connected and bubbly, or perhaps they are each distinct and slanted one way. Maybe you have awful handwriting, or maybe your print looks as perfect as the font that I am typing in.

No matter Love Letterswhat your scribbles look like, taking the time to sit down and create a unique message for someone with actual pen and paper will surely enchant your lovely reader. People do not need another email to skim or another grey text bubble in their phone to leave on read. A nice, handwritten letter makes for the perfect act of kindness, or even a charming gift. Because you see, love letters might be considered old-fashioned, but love itself is timeless. It doesn’t go out of style. The simpleness of the love in a letter is all you need to reach out and touch the hearts of some of the people closest to you.

Goal: Get some nice stationary and your favorite pen, and write a love letter to someone you care deeply about. (It might even make for a nice Christmas gift for people you work with or are only acquaintances with!)

Lost in Translation: pochemuchka

questionspochemuchka n. // russian

a person who asks a lot of questions

Often kids will have a phase in which they ask “Why?” to literally everything you tell them. “Don’t walk in the middle of the road!”, “Why?”, “Because it’s dangerous.”, “Why?”, “Because cars are coming right towards you!”, “Why?”, “That’s just the side that they are coming from.”, “Why?”, and on and on it goes. Apparently, I was one of those children. From having many younger cousins, I know how irritating and yet almost refreshing this can be (though in the moment, it is almost always the former). They are young detectives, exploring the world around them, attempting to fix the puzzle of seemingly obscure rules without any evidence or experience to tell them for sure.

Though we tend to lose the relentless questioning of “Why?” from when were younger, it is foolish to think that the Curious George died within us. Some of society’s biggest questions and discussions are centered around the very fact that we question and challenge what we know. We long to know more. Our biggest scientific and technological discoveries were born of the pochemuchkas of our world. So what questions are you asking?

Mood Music: Flashback Friday

I was feeling nostalgic today and I got some old school jams stuck in my head. It’s crazy to hear these songs and actually remember hearing them for the first time, or even just fixating on them when I was younger. These were some of the songs that I listened to over and over, on my little Barbie mp3 player, before Apple iPods were even really a big hit. I was an old school Disney child. None of whatever new stuff is happening now; that’s just embarrassing.

No, no. Instead, I jammed to Hannah Montana’s Best of Both Worlds and Zoey 101’s Follow Me. These were TV shows that defined my childhood and now makes me think of all the ways I connected to the characters of these shows, and even other children my age. Here are my Top 3 Throwback Jams:

  1. I Found a Way – Drake Bell – This was the Drake & Josh theme song, and for any other 90’s kid, you know that this show was legendary. This song makes me want to binge watch all the episodes all over again!
  2. Start of Something New – Drew Seeley and Vanessa Hudgens – This song is from High School Musical, and you’re wrong if you think I don’t still play this every New Year’s. Once a wildcat, always a wildcat.
  3. Funkytown – Lipps Inc. – This song was from Shrek, and I remember happily blasting it in the car because my mom loved the song too.

 

What are your favorite throwback songs? From Michael Jackson to Old Britney to Disney Channel songs, don’t worry about dating yourself 😉 Let me know in the comments below!

Reasons to Smile: Community

I woke up this morning, still in shattering disbelief of the events that have transpired here in the “land of the free”. It feels like a punch in the gut to know that soon, some of the most important rights and principles that we have fought for will be ripped away from us. Truth be told, I am scared.

More than that, I am hurt. I have always identified myself as an Indian American, and I am privileged enough to be able to straddle that line between Indian and American because of the sacrifices my parents made to create a better life here. It kills me that it feels so insignificant now. What did they do it all for if this is what we have become as a nation?

My dad worked –and still works– to put a roof over my head. He works, hard day in and day out, to put me through good schooling, so that I can get a better job as a woman here in the United States than if we had lived in India. This is an opportunity that he and my mom hoped for: The American Dream. Now I wonder, will it still be a valid opportunity in a couple of months?

How did we let ourselves get to this place where every victory we ever celebrated will be ripped away, as though it never happened? As I myself struggle to grasp how this happened, I find that a lot of parents are struggling to answer their children as they also ask: Why? 

Wading in a pool of my own anger and mourning, shaken by this existential question, my dad sent me a text:

“Do not make decisions or act without thinking while you are depressed.”

Funnily enough, he knew exactly how I was feeling. It was comforting to know that he felt the same, and still he had wise words to say in response to these unexplainable outcomes. It will always be strange to me how much strength and wisdom parents have, even in such moments of confusion. Miles away from me and he still had a read on how I was feeling.

Living on a college campus –particularly, a liberal one– the emotions are running high and the atmosphere is tense with disappointment and anxiety. Still, there is beauty amidst this chaos. We are adults, navigating this situation to the best of our ability, trying to find the laughter in the here and now. I see people hugging each other, crying out against all that has happened, but finding some measure of comfort in one another. I see open offers of company and consolation as we all attempt to accept this reality in some way. I see pursuits of blissful distraction through video games, loud music, and movies.

I am amazed and grateful to the people who surround me. My parents, my friends, my floormates, my community– they spread strength and positivity in the smallest of actions. And so to all of you out there who are high on emotions at this time, please, continue to do good, because that is something that no one gets to vote on. And to those grown ups who have to look at their small ones who are asking “Why?”, I am telling you that your presence and your words are essential today in the lives of your children. Educate them in the ways you can. Help them keep their emotions in check. Spend positive time together. Jump on the bed. Go for a walk. Dance around to a song. Show them what love looks like.


Additionally, to all my friends who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, women, survivors of sexual assault, and anyone in between– stay strong and please use the resources around you as needed.

National Suicide Prevention Line: 1800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741

The Trevor Project (LGBTQ+): 1-866-488-7386

Lost in Translation: cafuné

cafuné n. // brazilian portuguese

the act of tenderly running your fingers through the hair of somebody you love

This is honestly one of my favorite words in this series of untranslatable words. For some reason, we all find ruffling hair an act of love. Be it your significant other, your sister, or your baby cousin. So many times in my life, I’ve received hair-mess-ups as a sign of love, support even. My cousin even tried to do it before I left for prom (not cool!). So, although I may not have personally performed this loving act often myself, I can tell you that even the idea of it is quintessentially is a sign of love, and that I know from experience.

 

What other small acts of love do you appreciate? Let me know in the comments below!

15 Simple Ways to Minimize the Stress in Your Life

15 Simple Ways to Relax

Some time back, I talked about how we live our lives on the edge of our seat, too stressed out and busy to really enjoy the world around us. I hope you accomplished your goal of becoming aware of your posture. I hope you learned to lean back and relax a little. However, there are always more steps you can take to reduce the stress in your life. In my experience, some of the best ways include some alone time and indulging in something that you take pleasure in. Sometimes, it requires you to reflect upon yourself and your world. More still, you can spend time around the people you love doing little (money-free) activities. Remember, it’s all about the small things! So, here are 15 of my favorite, simple ways to minimize the stress in your life, and maximize the happiness:

  1. Light a candle in your favorite scent. (Bonus points for aromatherapy scents.)
  2. Curl up with your favorite book, magazine, tv show, or movie. (F.R.I.E.N.D.S for me!)
  3. Drink a hot cup of herbal tea. I’m relaxed just thinking about it.
  4. Sit with a friend and just chat. Two is great company.
  5. Take a stroll by yourself. Enjoy the alone time.
  6. Put on some music and dance. Good vibes only around here.
  7. Color! Grab one of those adult coloring books, or even a children’s one and pretend you’re 4 again.
  8. Read poetry. There’s something relaxing about the beautiful way poets pull their words together so artistically.
  9. Write down your emotions. Having to slow down and articulate the way you feel often lets you release a lot of your tensions.
  10. Take deep belly breaths. Meditation is the oldest trick in the book for relaxation.
  11. Clean your environment. I, personally, turn into a ball of stress if my room is messy. So, this is a great step!
  12. Do something that will make you laugh! I love watching comedians. My favorite right now is Trevor Noah.
  13. Indulge yourself in a relaxing bath or hot shower. What better way to avoid your responsibilities and bring down those stress levels?
  14. Sing your favorite songs. Nothing is better than releasing different emotions through song.
  15. Look at art. Museums, online galleries, anything!

 

Now, it’s your turn! What are your favorite ways of relaxing? Let me know in the comments section below!

Lost in Translation: tiám

tiám n. // farsi

the twinkle in your eye when you first meet someone

This is something that happens only when you meet certain people.

I love the idea that we are all made of stars and stardust, that the skies actually live within us. And I believe that if that’s true, then when our eyes twinkle, it’s the universe alerting us of something important. In this case, if you meet someone for the first time and your eyes are twinkling, that person is sure to be a big part of your life, in one way or another. When I see people speak of their passions, I see their eyes twinkle, and I know that the
universe is filling them with a brimming love that they can hardly contain in words. It is the mark of a truly special moment that brings out the eye twinkle. You feel your body wake up, as though a burst of electricity has just shocked your entire body. The last time I felt this way was when I first met some of my floormates. We had an immediate connection of interests that we bonded over. It was like an important puzzle piece of my life puzzle had been found and was about to be placed.

 

When was the last time your eyes sparkled? Let me know in the comments below!