Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Besties or bitches?

Women always complain about men being terrible communicators.

Ironically, we're terrible about communicating with each other.

When men get into fights, there's usually punches, blood drawn, and quick forgiveness.

With women, our fights are a little more...complicated. And unnecessarily drawn out.

First of all, we often don't tell the other girl why we're upset. That's our first mistake. We just figure, well "she should KNOW."

We talk shit behind their back. "Omg, she's SUCH a bitch." We complain about them behind their back. "I'm so tired of her crap." We lie to their face. "I love you too!" And then finally, when we can't take it anymore, we often just cut them out of our lives without a single word.

There's no heart-to-heart chat. There's no rational explanation. The friend is left potentially mystified, devastated, and justifiably outraged.

And oftentimes the reason for the fight is something so silly, that over time, with all the manipulation and back-stabbing, it has morphed into something incredibly pointless. But in the meantime, the hatred has deepened.

Like snowflakes, no two girl fights are alike. Each are complex, messy, and bizarre in their own delightful way.

I have lost so many friends through this process. Sometimes I've been the victim. Other times, I've been the bitch.

A few significant friendships of mine were shattered this way. Girls I considered my dearest sisters.

Remember Nancy?

She's a textbook mean girl. She had been talking badly about me behind my back for years. She never voiced to me why she was upset with me. She just simply vanished one day, out of my life, after five years of close friendship. To this day, I'm completely clueless as to what happened.

What's even worse is that literally, the very next morning after I wrote that blog post about her last year, I went out to the parking lot of my apartment complex and discovered somebody had painted the word "bitch" all over my car. It took poor Rian an hour to wash off.

Coincidence? I think not.

I wish with all my heart that girls would just fucking communicate with each other.

I wish that instead of defacing private property, Nancy would have just sent me an e-mail that said, "I read your stupid blog and I hate you. The reason we're not best friends anymore is because _____, you fucking bitch." At least then we would be off to a good start! I could write back either, "I had no idea that's why you were so upset with me! That was a misunderstanding!" or "Oh wow. So that's why you were mad at me? Well I didn't mean to hurt you. I had no idea it offended you. I'm very sorry." And we could have gone on from there. Either patched things up or decided collectively to part ways. I was never given that respect.

I'm not going to lie. I've been guilty of pulling a Nancy in the past. And I regret it. When it comes to a friend, there should always be straightforward communication. Do not be afraid to pour your heart out in a letter. Over the phone. Even through a fucking text message. Anything is better than nothing.

And what's worse is that this is the reason so many female relatives have fights spanning over decades. I once had two aunts who didn't speak for 15 years over a squabble they couldn't even remember. My boyfriend's mom and her youngest sister stopped speaking several years ago over something petty. You all know what I'm going through with my aunt. Eight months and that shit still hasn't been resolved.

It's pathetic.

Why are we so good at expressing our feelings with our boyfriends and husbands, but we're so idiotic at communicating with our friends? Our sisters? Our mothers?

I want to change. I'm trying.

I'm sick of being a mean girl.

Are you?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Where are you from?"

People in the United States are obsessed with color.

Yeah, we're a melting pot. Our pedigrees are like recipes. One-fourth cup of Ireland. One-eighth cup of Puerto Rico. Half cup of Germany.

But that doesn't mean anything.

If you're white, you're American. If you're black, you're American. But if you're not white or black...well, you must be something else then, right?

My father immigrated here from India 43 years ago. My mother's ancestors immigrated here from Sweden more than 100 years ago.

And my entire life, there is one question I have been asked more than any other: "Where are you from?".

Never mind I have an American accent. Never mind I'm living in the Midwest. Never mind my name is JENNIFER.

No, no. I simply must be from somewhere else. Because I'm brown.

Some of you may not really understand why it upsets me so much. After all, people are dumb and it's just a question. But to constantly be asked where I'm from in a country that is my home is insulting, frustrating, and sad. When I was a kid, it almost felt like I didn't really belong here, which was a very scary and lonely feeling.

What hurt even more is that my childhood best friend was a Polish immigrant. She had only been in the country for a few years. Her name was ridiculously foreign. People always fucked it up. But nobody ever asked where she was from. The girl named Jennifer got asked all the time. It was like Katarina was the American and I was the immigrant. Being around her caused a lot of resentment and bitterness for me. Why was she treated like the insider and I was treated like the outsider?

I hated being a mixed race kid. It was embarrassing always having to explain to everyone that the blonde haired, blue-eyed woman standing next to me was my mom. Always. Nobody ever assumed she was related to me. I was always unsure what to checkmark in that box when we took standardized tests. Was I Caucasian? Or Asian? Seriously, what the fuck was I? (This problem was eventually solved 20 years later when I was arrested and the police officer wrote down 'Caucasian female' in his report. I was thankful to finally know the answer, despite being in handcuffs).

Growing up, the world idolized Heather Locklear and Britney Spears. I so badly wanted to be a beautiful blonde American like my mother. No one ever asked her where she was from. I was determined that one day I was going to marry a white man so my kids and descendants would NEVER be treated like a foreigner in their own country.

(My first serious boyfriend ended up being half-Egyptian and half-Irish. So much for that.)

When I grew up, the world started changing and I started maturing.

There are now Indian immigrants everywhere in this country. There are gorgeous women all around me named Anika and Ridhi and Navya. There are so many that now when people learn my name is "Jennifer" I don't get asked where I'm from as often. I've become less exotic.

And I no longer have the desire to marry a white guy. I simply want to marry someone who makes me happy, whether he's black or Chinese or a global mix.

I love that Rian is a quarter Sioux. The stories that run through his blood are inspiring and heartbreaking. His grandmother, who grew up on a reservation, is one of the most fascinating people I've ever met. And even though I'm not super close to Rian's mom, I feel a bond with her that I don't share with many others. She is also half-Indian (the other kind) and from what Rian tells me, it wasn't easy for her either.

I've learned that to be a part of the melting pot, I need to embrace it. I need to respect it.

But I'm only one person.

The United States as a whole is still obsessed with color. My name could change to Jennifer Smith tomorrow and I would still have people curiously asking me, "where are you from?".

And no matter who knocks me up, my kids will be multi-racial. They will have color in their skin. When I was a child, I hated that fact. Now, I adore it. They'll be just like me!

Except there is one major difference. They will be far removed from India. They will be far removed from Sweden. They will be far removed from the Native American reservation, perhaps.

And when someone asks them, "where are you from?" they will have to just shrug, with a smile, and say

"the world."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer of 2006

I knew what he was going to say before he said it.

The panicky feeling of dread enveloped me, squeezing tighter and tighter. I nearly collapsed under its clutch. It had started six days before. He took longer to answer his cell. He wouldn't talk more than a minute. He didn't want to make plans. That warmth in his voice, reserved especially for me, was gone. He stopped saying "I love you."

It was so out of the blue.

There had been no fight. No obstacle had presented itself.

But there he was, standing on my parents' doorstep that sweltering summer day, looking sheepish and grim at the same time. He shuffled on the welcome mat. He didn't even want to come inside.

I grabbed his arm, desperately. Too desperately.

"I bought your favorite bagel," I cried out. "And that jalapeno cream cheese you love so much! Come eat lunch. Please."

He reluctantly stepped inside.

"I can't stay," he said, awkwardly. "I need to do something. I wanted to do it in person. Please don't make this any harder than it is."

I stood there in shock. A large mass blocked my throat from uttering any sound. Tears welled in my eyes.

"It's over, Jen," he said.

There were other words. I think there was even a fucking speech. I'm not sure. All I remember is crumbling on the floor in my white sundress like a giant tissue.

I was so pretty back then. Ninety-nine pounds. Twenty-two years old. Long brown hair.

"You can have any guy you want," he comforted me.

"But I want YOU!" I wailed back.

A panic attack arose in me. I begged him to reconsider. I told him he just needed time to think. He didn't even have a reason, other than he didn't think we were right for each other.


"I just do."

Pride didn't exist that day. I threw myself at his feet. He didn't care.

When he left, I ran into the kitchen and threw the bagels against the wall. I picked up the carton of jalapeno cream cheese and smashed it on the floor, glaring at the white and green clumps against the beige tile.

Your first broken heart is the worst one. I heard that somewhere recently. It made me half-smile, because it's true. You honestly think the world has come to an end. It's a shock. It's grief. It's your soul trying to readjust to life without him.

I didn't eat for eight days. I forced down juice. I dropped down to ninety pounds. I was putting on a bikini in my bedroom when my mom came inside. "How can you be so sad when you look so amazing?" she marveled, staring at my body. I looked in the mirror. I had never been so thin. It didn't matter though. Nothing did.

Eventually I ate because my hunger returned against my will. But I was like a prisoner, trapped inside my aching mind. My head physically hurt to think about him.

Later that summer, I got my first real job at the newspaper. It distracted me a little bit. I went on a bunch of first dates and then hit ignore on my cell when the guys called back.

That fall, a guy I knew from an American Literature class in college randomly Facebook messaged me and we became pen pals, sharing our lives and deepest secrets. We fell in love through black and white and have been together ever since.

I'm with the person I'm meant to be with now. It's a comforting feeling amidst all the other troubles occurring in my life.

But that doesn't erase the past.

Today, my dad bought me lunch and the minute I took the first bite, an overwhelming sense of sadness smacked me in the heart. A distinct feeling I hadn't felt for seven years. I looked down.

It was that damn jalapeno cream cheese.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The truth.

I've been gone for a really long time.

Have you noticed?

I know I don't really owe an explanation of sorts. I mean, bloggers are entitled to a break, right?

But if you're still reading this blog, it means you probably care, so I'm going to tell you.

I'm depressed.

There it is, in black and white. Well, pink.

I have several (fifteen to be exact, I actually made a fucking list) major problems going on in my life right now that cannot be easily solved. It's a complicated hot mess involving mistakes I made in the past, a severe lack of finances, and family issues.

And I'm crushed underneath it all.

As a result, I just don't care about anything anymore. I avoid my friends. I have no desire to write personally or blog. I'm not in the mood to learn about anything.

When I'm not working, I'm guzzling black tea and listlessly reading Jane Austen fan fiction novels. Or, you know, sobbing into a pillow.

Anyway, I thought you should know the reason for my unexplained absence.

Tonight is my first step back into writing. I don't have the energy to research doomed starlets or fabulous gay men anymore. I'm sorry.

But since I can't afford therapy, perhaps spilling my soul onto this screen will help me in another way.

I can't let my unhappiness win.

I don't want it to.