Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oh, Frankie!

When I was in middle school I had virtually no self-esteem.

Of course, I wasn't alone. But when you're 13, it feels like it.

I had been a really cute kid. But then things drastically changed. My teeth grew in severely crooked, thanks to a gum surgery (a benign tumor was removed). My front teeth grew in sideways. When I opened my mouth I looked like a freak. I stopped smiling when I was nine.

I hadn't grown into my nose yet. It was wide and had a hump and not at all like the dainty little upturned noses my blonde peers flaunted.

My hair was long, stringy, and frizzy. The humid south Florida weather promised I would never see a good hair day, no matter how many products my mom gave me.

I was pretty damn miserable.

I had crushes on boys, but they were pretty cruel to me when they found out. One popular boy even shouted "woof!" when he discovered I had the hots for him. If that doesn't shatter a sixth-grader's self-image, I don't know what does.

I suppose you could say being an awkward, unattractive pre-teen developed my character. I became extremely sarcastic. I didn't have many friends. I holed myself away at home, spending weekends writing humorous stories and fake magazine articles on the computer, instead of going to the mall with other girls my age. The Jennifer you know today was founded on that time period.

But I desperately wanted a boy to like me. I didn't even want a boyfriend. I just wanted a boy to LIKE ME. I wanted to feel pretty. I wanted to feel like I wasn't the biggest loser on the planet.

On the first day of seventh grade, that changed.

Frank, the new kid, sat next to me in algebra class. He was cute, in a non-threatening sort of way. He didn't use hair products and he didn't dress like a douchebag. He wore flannel. He had a strange accent. He had kind eyes.

I cracked a joke in class, and while my other classmates stared at me blankly, Frank laughed. Not at me, but at my joke! I couldn't believe it! It was a miracle!

Later that day in the cafeteria, my friends and I looked up to see Frank holding his lunch tray, hovering over us.

"Can I sit here?" he asked.

I nearly knocked my milk over the table, I was so eager to make room for him.

"Everyone here seems really superficial," he said, narrowing his eyes at a group of popular girls applying makeup at the next table. "I'm from New Jersey. I'm not used to palm trees and all these fancy houses."

After the girls I was sitting with went to hang out in the sunny quad, Frank and I talked. He was so easy to talk to, which surprised me. Other than my cousins, I didn't have much experience talking to boys my own age.

We became fast friends. He ate lunch with me every day. He laughed at all my jokes. He talked a lot about New Jersey. He was clearly very homesick. I didn't mind though because I didn't know much about the east coast. I found it all very interesting. I couldn't imagine not going to Disney World every weekend. I couldn't imagine a beach without palm trees. It all seemed very odd and exciting. Industrial and cool.

We started hanging out after school. I even went to a school dance with him, as friends, and taught him the Macarena. I couldn't believe Frank had never done it before! It was like hanging out with a Martian! Even President Clinton knew the Macarena!

And of course, from the moment we became best friends I knew I was madly in love with him. I had never been treated so nicely before by a boy who wasn't a relative. He made me feel so special.

Suddenly, my life changed.

My parents took me to Bennigan's for dinner during a weeknight. I should have known something was up because we only went there for special occasions and never during the week. I was halfway through my delicious hot wings when my parents dropped the bombshell.

We were moving to Nebraska.

Haha wait, what?

My dad had been offered a much better job up there in Omaha. One he simply couldn't turn down.

I was devastated.

I awkwardly parted ways with my friends. Saying goodbye to Frankie was the hardest. He promised me he would write.
And guess what. He did.

For a month, we wrote each other once a week. Neither one of us had e-mail back then. It was all snail mail, which, looking back on it, made his correspondence even more impressive.

But I was miserable in Omaha. I thought about Frankie all the time. I slept with his letters underneath my pillow. It was torture knowing he was there and I was here. That I was in love with him and he didn't know.

So, I decided I needed to tell him how I felt.

I recorded myself singing "Don't Let Go" by En Vogue onto a cassette tape and I mailed it to him.

It seemed like a really good idea at the time. It seemed so rational!

I didn't take into account that my singing voice sounds like a dying cat. I didn't realize that my wailing "there's gonna be some LOVE-MAKIN', HEART-BREAKIN', SOUL-SHAKIN' loooOoooOoove" was severely inappropriate.

After I mailed him the tape, I never heard from him again.

I was crushed.

At the time, I couldn't figure out why. Didn't he like me back? Wasn't my message obvious? Did he not like R&B?

I was flummoxed.

Of course, looking back now, I realize that I pretty much made the worst decision in the history of the world. And I laugh hysterically thinking about it.

Oh, man. Poor Frankie. I wish I could have seen his reaction when he hit play. I must have scared the shit outta that poor boy.

I wonder if he still has the tape.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Miss America (behind the backlash)

Yesterday, history was made in my country.

The first woman of Indian descent was crowned Miss America.

As an American who also has Indian blood, I was incredibly proud. But that taste of victory was short-lived. From the moment Nina Davuluri was named the winner, articles started to appear all over the Internet revealing racist tweets against the 24-year-old.

There was no time to smile. No time to feel pride. Nope. It was here's the crown, and then a barrage of hate.

What really pisses me off is that these racist tweets only represent a tiny, pathetic little fraction of the United States (.005 % of the population) but when you put all those tweets together, they seem like the entire country is on a full-blown rampage against brown people. Because the media magnifies it and blows it entirely out of proportion.

What a lot of people don't realize is these articles are meant to shock other Americans by saying "Look! There are still people in this country who are jaw-droppingly ignorant!". That's all.

But, unfortunately, now the entire world is horrified of people in the United States. They don't understand that these tweets represent a tiny percentage of uneducated Americans.

I think it is very important that people all over the world understand that most of these racist people on Twitter do not really hate Indians in particular. It's a general racism which stems from something much more abstract and complex. These people are uneducated. They were raised in a hateful environment. These are people who can't afford to go to college. They are not book smart. They couldn't point out France on a map. And seeing more and more brown people come here and do incredibly well (i.e. become doctors living in huge houses) makes them bitter.

These racist people were not raised to do well in science and math. They were not encouraged to do well in school. The only jobs they could find were menial work (like tele-marketing) and then those jobs got shipped over to India.

Oh, and then the 9/11 terror attacks happened. Brown people all look the same to these racist people. They don't know the difference between Iraq and India. A brown person with a funny name is an Arab to them. A Hindu is a Muslim. Even with the world at their fingertips, they don't bother to educate themselves about these things online because they DON'T CARE. They just want to hate.

What is more ironic is that the way the majority of Americans view these hate-spewing rednecks is the same exact way the majority of Muslims view the terrorists. They're disgusted, horrified, and angry. But, the rest of the world clumps them all together anyway.

Please don't clump all Americans together. These tweets do not reveal reality. They reveal circumstantial stupidity.

What breaks my heart is that these few people who tweeted racist remarks are stealing the spotlight away from the winner.

Our Miss America plans on being a doctor. Did you know that? Probably not.

There are millions of little girls out there, of Indian descent, who watched television last night, mesmerized by a dream coming true. Proud of where their parents and grandparents came from. Excited for the future because another Indian-American girl proved right there on camera that anything is possible.

You can be Miss America. You can be beautiful. You can be a doctor.

That's the real story.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


I know a girl who was kind, funny, and sweet

But her life was merely deceit

She had long blonde locks then cut them short

She might have had babies she had to abort

I wanted to be her best friend

I didn't know her presence would end

(so abruptly)

The lies caught up with the image

We were left to pick up the wreckage

Was she...? Did she...? She was, she did

It breaks my heart the secrets she hid

Cheating, lying, scandals, and sex

Paying her bills thanks to horny rednecks

(it seems)

I want to believe it's not true

I want to believe that's not you

In times of desperation I can understand

But not when it comes to cheating on your man

Maybe we're wrong, maybe we're right

But why would you block us out of spite?


This is a terrible poem and I know it

If you're not guilty, why don't you show it?

I'd like to think you weren't faking the sweetness

But either way, it's a terrible mess

I guess you really just don't know someone

Until you hear the truth and they're long gone

(without a word)

It's okay. Don't cry.