Don’t Get Lost in the Sauce

Whenever I go on vacation I come back refreshed and ready to take on the world in a whole different light. The Hawaiian way of life is something to be emulated, something we can all learn from. The people of Hawaii (both native and immigrant) know how to really rejoice in the beauty of simply being alive. Everyone’s step is a little bit lighter and smile a little bit brighter. Maybe it’s the year round sunshine. Maybe it’s the cultural and deep familial connection amongst the community.

But it’s something we can all stand to learn from, it’s something we all need to adopt into our own way of life.

I know it’s not easy – and of course when things are generally more mellow and go with the flow you’re going to be more relaxed and happier. And I know it can be easy to lose yourself when your day to day means you have so many various demands.

Especially when being a woman, a woman of colour – can sometimes mean you have to be a jack of all trades. It’s expected for you to cook, clean, tend to the children, engage in extra-curricular activities (for both you and the kids), and have a career as well – all while keeping your family and husband’s family happy.

Some people do it all, and make it look easy too. But if you’re like me, (and the majority) – then sometimes it can just become all too much and you have to know when and where to dial back.

First and foremost, learn what bits of yourself you’re willing to give, and what pieces to keep to yourself. If your life situation is that of having high familial obligations (you’re a wife, mother, daughter, and daughter-in-law) then by definition you are more what they need to be, and less of what you need to be for yourself. But you can still hold on to what makes you you and check all the boxes of what’s required of you.

Take time out of each day to just meditate. To dwell on where you’re at in life, and where you want to be. If it doesn’t add up, if you’re not happy with things – then begin to make small, subtle changes that’ll take you the direction you want to go.

For example, if you feel you’re constantly devoting most of you time to making others happy, begin allocating certain times throughout the day to do what makes YOU happy. Read, write, take a bath, or just be still, but just BE in the way that makes YOU happy, not anyone else.

Second, be aware of what makes you tick. A series of events or actions that irritate you or cause frustration on the daily will eventually add up and contribute to the essence of your vibe. You put out what you receive and vice versa. So if there’s things that bother you in your life – change them. Don’t let them take over the forefront of your mind; and turn you into this scary angry moMster.

For me, messiness grinds my gears. I literally can’t breathe in a dirty house. If the jackets, shoes, and bags aren’t tucked away – my muscles tense, my eyebrow furrows, and I just can’t hear my own thoughts or breathe easy.

So what do I do? I clean. I get up everyday and tidy up and put things in their place because I find when my mind races, my hands move just as quick – and to begin my day with the accomplishment of cleaning and setting things right – helps me feel like I CAN control my environment and how I allow it to make me feel.

Third – go easy on yourself and keep perspective. I used to have this knee jerk reaction of getting way too wrapped up in the fine print. I focused so much on the here and now that I forgot that life is forever changing. And if you don’t stop to take a step back and examine things from a different perspective you’ll never actually get anywhere.

Sometimes I get frustrated with the smallest thing, my daughter didn’t finish her bottle – well you know what she’ll drink more the next time around. My son watched way too much tv today – it’s okay we’ll have a park date tomorrow. My husband has to cancel or reschedule our plans – that’ll just make our time spent together all that much more meaningful.

There’s always a way to look at things in a more positive light – if you just allow yourself to draw back from the details, you’ll be able to see the big picture in all its glory.

Life’s short. Put yourself, your kids, and what makes you happy first. Leave your doubts and worries behind. Feel the moment but don’t let it consume you. And last but not least – don’t let the opinion of others dictate how you see yourself. Any time is the perfect time to change things up – all you have to do is decide when enough is enough and that you won’t be a victim of your circumstances anymore. Let go of what’s holding you back and get where you want to be because there’s no better time than right now to actually start living.

Perhaps then we can bring that Maui sun into our life even on the rainiest of days.

Mom Life Times Two

Lately I haven’t been able to bring myself to write much of anything. Aside from my daily log of baby poops, feeds, nap and wake up times – I just didn’t feel like opening myself up and pouring out what was going on in my head.

I even stopped working on my novel because I was too darn wrapped up in feeling sorry for myself. But I think I just needed a knock in the head, or rather my toddler to chuck one of his gazillion toys at me to snap out of my mombie woes.

So yeah, I’m still in the thick of it. The crazy sleepless, physically and mentally exhausting time that is the first year of a child’s life hasn’t even begun to soften up.

Although, I do feel my head has finally come above water now that the newborn phase is over. My daughter was most definitely a colicky baby and the poor girl’s digestive problems were causing her to screech and cry at an ear piercing volume for the majority of the day and, unfortunately, the night as well.

But as each week passed, things began morphing and settling into a slightly calmer but still demanding pace. As I have spent the last few days engaging in a lot of self talk I’ve realized I’m being an absolute ungrateful pansy.

Instead of complaining about the difficulty and exhaustion of life with a 4 month old and an almost 3 year old I need to embrace this new role as a mom times two.

I spend every waking moment googling how to get my daughter to sleep through the night when my toddler son doesn’t even do that every night yet. It’s time to just suck it up and roll with the punches. It’s time to dust off, shake out these self-pitying thoughts and accept that for now, life revolves around these kids. Day and night. Whether it’s 4PM or 4AM, they need me. Because I’m their everything right now, and you know what they’re mine too.

This doesn’t mean I should completely revoke my right to b*tch about having to get up for the umpteenth time to try to settle my baby or snap when my son makes a face at the third dish I present to him. It’s okay to vent, and it’s also okay to take a breather and accept help. After all, you can’t pour from an empty pot. But what you can do is take a step back, and realize that all these moments that seem torturously difficult are the ones so many yearn for. And I’m so very blessed to have the family I do and to have the honour of being these two crazy little munchkins mommy.

Writing may have taken a back seat, for now, but I also think it’s time to replenish my expressive side by combining the two most important things in my world right now – the need to connect, and the need to care for my children. So from now on (as many have requested) the Amrita Literature page will be known as a mommy blog 🙂 …

Stay tuned to hear about what I have learned so far from two very different kiddos, and what products have helped me tend to their vastly different needs.

Thanks for sticking by in my absence,

I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to your new year!

– Amrita Lit

The Lit Life | Ep. 04

Here is the latest episode for The Lit Life Podcast. If you enjoy listening to “against the grain” viewpoints and care about issues like racism, stereotypes, and hypocrisy in the Indo-Canadian culture — then have a listen!

Don’t forget to share your reaction in the comments section, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and like my Facebook page – Amrita Literature.

New Podcast Every Thursday!

The Lit Life | Ep. 02

On this episode of The Lit Life I discuss lazy Walmart auntiya, what it means to be called a “sh*tskin,” and what my personal goals for the next little bit are and what I hope yours will be.

Click here to listen: http://youtu.be/KuwG8TjpHYs

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The Lit Life | Ep. 01

In this Episode: Learn about who Amrita Lit is, what the novel Chasing Kismet is all about, and what you’re in store for if you subscribe to this podcast! It’s time to get L I T in a whole different way people…

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The Balancing Act

As you all know I recently released my South Asian Fiction Adventure novel titled Chasing Kismet.

Along with many messages of congratulations and praise, also came a few offhand snide remarks along the lines of, “oh WOW I can’t believe this is actually good!” Or “did you seriously write this all yourself?”

-__-

Over the last few years I have developed a thicker skin than my insecure young adult self had (dang, when did I leave the YA zone)? And I’ve learned to take the negative with a grain of salt just as I don’t allow the rave reviews and soaring sales get to my head. Because no one falls quicker than a person whose head gets too big to carry, or someone who just can’t phase out the haters.

None of that is what I really want to talk about here, though. What I really want to explain is that there was no magical shortcut way for me to have produced this book and have something to forever be proud of.

Really – what it took was a big ol’ balancing act of keeping all my priorities and responsibilities straight. It wasn’t easy “keeping all my ducks in a row.” And that’s why they weren’t most of the time. Usually, when you take on too much – certain things suffer while other aspects of your life flourish. The secret to keeping it all together is learning what to put on the back burner and when to switch it up before you totally eff up the “lesser of your pressing priorities.”

For me, what I have to balance is my professional obligation to my husband’s family business, my role as a mother, my personal writing goals, and taking care of myself too.

Now I won’t lie – if I’m kicking ass at one or two of the things mentioned above, I’m usually sucking badly at the rest of it (typically my personal health and appearance takes the biggest hit).

But I still consider it a win if my son’s happy and fed, and if I manage to stay on top of my office work on a weekly basis.

But if you step back from this all- and really think about it, it’s quite funny that men never really have to struggle to find a balance between personal and professional aspirations. Usually, they’re one in the same and quite in sync with one another. For some reason only women have to conjure up some serious inner strength and mental stamina to pull off this seemingly impossible balance act called – having a family AND a career.

The ultimate responsibility of child rearing DOES always fall upon a mother, so any hopes, dreams, and aspirations outside of that role, usually fall by the wayside unless you try your ass off to make sh*t happen.

If you want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to make it all work. I knew from a very young age, pretty much at the age of 11, when I read my first real novel “The Underground Railroad to Canada” that I wanted to have my name embossed onto a glossy cover one day too. The immortal lasting effect of literature was something that just mesmerized me. As did my passion for wanting to create social change, or atleast sparking the mind of the individual who would do so.

So there you have it, a dream was born – one to be a real, actual, “big time” author.

Of course it took longer for me than most to publish this book and I have by no means “made it” in the world of literature. Not to
mention that having a child does throw your whole existence for a loop, and of course I faced countless instances of fret and worry about how I would be viewed as a married woman writing fiction about taboo subjects in my culture – but once you release your own demons, there’s nothing holding you back.

All that’s left is to put your pen to the paper, or in my case fingers to the screen, and let your heart bleed out your truest desires until your dreams become reality.

Purchase Chasing Kismet here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1540886131

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The Black & White Truth About Drugs

The other day I was driving somewhere and saw a church sign which read, “Help fight fentanyl.”

It struck me as odd. I wondered why they would make such a statement. It’s not like fentanyl is some big scary monster standing on hind legs chasing people around whilst forcing itself upon them.

Taking drugs is a conscious decision. Sure a lot of the lives being lost lately due to drug use are teen lives – to that at least I can say these teens don’t have the proper decision making skills as their pre-frontal cortex hasn’t fully developed yet. Which is the area of the brain in charge of controlling your likelihood to behave impulsively.

So they have an actual physiological excuse for such moronic behaviour.

But to everyone whose a grown ass adult abusing your body by taking drugs – I do not feel in the least bit sorry for you.

Hundreds of thousands of people would kill to have a fully functional healthy body to be able to live out their lives in. Like those suffering from terminal illness or other disease. And yet you so carelessly pump your bodies full of garbage and then you feel you’ve been done some sort of injustice when there’s a lethal substance traced through those harmful chemically created substances.

It’s absolute bullshit.

The media needs to stop portraying people dying from the overflow of fentanyl in the streets as some sort of victims.

You reap what you sow. You want to take drugs, deal with the possibility that snort, pill, or shot – might be the last high or breath you ever have.

Rant over.

Choose life. Choose using your damn brain.

Glass Ceilings

Work will work when nothing else works.

Think about this saying anytime you find yourself in the predicament of feeling like nothing you do amounts to anything. Because I kid you not, I have found myself looking up at my own personal glass ceilings more times than I’d like to admit this past year.

Over the course of 2016 I have enrolled and backed out of two different post-baccalaureate programs (Masters of Speech Therapy and Masters of Counselling Psychology), nearly locked myself into a ten year lease for a coffee shop business, considered opening various online business such as a artificial jewelry store, a social media marketing expert, and even dappled in the possibility of becoming a pre-school teacher.

Now I won’t call all of these start-up ventures failures. Because I only half way dipped my toes into each of these ideas –only to be pulled back by the nagging feeling that I was abandoning my one year old to put my own goals ahead of his well-being. Instead, what I’d like to summarize this year as is a year of learning exactly what feeling “lost” can do to you. I was so desperately searching for a way to create my own autonomous identity that I didn’t realize I already have one.

Taking for granted what is right in front of you is something I am all too good at. In between chasing my kid around trying to get him to put some clothes on or finish his last spoon of oatmeal – I also help assist run my husband’s family business. Correction — my family business.

It took me a long time to reach this mentality (that what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine) but I think I am just about there. And it’s become very clear to me (all of the sudden) that just because I haven’t had to start at the bottom and claw my way up, I should appreciate the fact that I am being handed a ready-made occupation with all the fixings to boot.

Despite the fancy office, managerial duties, and mega flexible workhours –I still can’t kick that incessant longing from deep within (perhaps planted by parental expectations) that I need something to call my own.

That my friends, is where my literature comes into play. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –it is so very important to find something that is just yours and only yours, which helps define who you are as a person. For me, my strength is being able to effortlessly express myself through articles, blogposts, and even a fiction novel which will be launched in Spring 2017 (stay posted for details on that).

But if you find yourself constantly going down various pathways in life only to change your mind half way there, that’s completely OKAY. As long as you keep trying to find that niche which is right for you while gaining a fresh new perspective along the way.

The only thing holding you back in life are your own glass ceilings. Don’t let your fear of failure keep you from shattering them.

As always thanks for stopping by and please do take a moment to follow my social media pages to stay updated with details about my book launch!

-Amrita Literature

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Just Remember One Thing: Never Forget Your Roots!

My husband has this silly saying he occasionally repsonds with during conversation.

At first I dismissed it as just another try hard Tupac line I really had no interest in being enlightened by. But then he would somehow make it applicable to just about any scenario in which we were discussing someone with a out of this world ego, selfish persona, a individual who seems to have just “changed,” or anybody who thinks their too good for the colour of their own skin or where they come from.

That’s when I realized the value of ones roots — and how detrimentally devastating it can be to those around you (and even yourself) if you do in fact; forget your roots.

What it means to have roots and be proud of them is to know who you are and what makes you that way. It’s to take pride of the circumstances which have contributed the building of your character, values, and attributes.

Be those traits good or bad – you must pay homage to the foundation from which you have risen no matter where you end up in life.

This means you don’t simply allow people who were once your closest friends fall by the wayside and become mere acquaintances, you don’t forget to appreciate all that your parents and closest loved ones poured into you in order for you to be YOU. It means that no matter how wide your wings spread, or how far you may go in life – you always remember to appreciate your roots. The bits of you which still exist deep within your soul but you may not have the conscience morale to face and allow to still be visible to world.

It’s not about being bigger, better, and growing out of your past. It’s about learning to bring those parts of you into your present, and never allowing anything or anyone tear them away from you.

Integrity is seldom to come by these days. And I am so very proud to have a husband firmly grounded in his roots, so very so that they stretch into the ones being formed while we raise our son – creating a indestructible base for him to grow from.

So as you read this – I must ask you… When’s the last time you thought about who, what, and where you come from, and what’s holding you back from appreciating all of that?

One cannot excel to everything the world has to offer without flourishing from the inside out first.

How to face the fears you never even knew you had!

When I was younger my sister had this amazingly intriguing video board game called “Nightmare.” Every now and then I had the honour of being allowed to sit in on one of the game sessions between my siblings and older cousins.

It was a great deal of fun. They’d turn down the lights. Play the tape with this dark and dreary undertaker character leading the game on our fuzzy TV screen, and try spooking one another into thinking he was just about to pop out the screen and into the room.

Typically, I’d get too scared about half way through and run off crying but they usually allowed me to partake in the very first step of the game. Everyone had to write their worst fear on a card and place it in the middle of the board. My teenage siblings would almost always pick from the generic list of feared objects and jot down things like “spider,” “heights,” or maybe throw in a funny one like “your face.” And that would be the end of that.

But I recall this one time I was spectating, and one of my eldest cousins wrote down his fear and quietly put it down. Being the cheeky seven year old I was I pounced to sound out the words and my brother peaked over my shoulder and read it aloud to everyone. It read, “to never lose my way.”

For some reason that statement, my cousins deepest darkest fear, stuck with me into the years of my life in which I could actually fathom what those long difficult to sound out words meant.

At the time, he had recently faced some hardships in his life. I suppose he felt he had “found himself” after overcoming them, but still had the fear of “losing himself” again dangerously looming.

I only recently stumbled upon this dust collecting game in the corner of my parents office closet, opened the box, and low and behold that same scribbled statement was still jotted down on one of the players cards.

I began to wonder about my own fears. Was I afraid of being lost? Or maybe I already was and I just didn’t know it. I have come to realize that you don’t typically notice you’ve veered off your expected life trajectory until it’s much too late. But I think it’s safe to say that’s not the case for me. Sure there’s been some unpleasant bumps, and unexpected turns in the road — but all in all my journey is proving to be rather extraordinary.

I encourage you all to think about your own fears, think about whether you’re where you want to be in life. Because sometimes all it takes is some re-positioning to get to where you wanted to be when you were a young kid with all those tomorrow’s stretched out in front of you.

Yes, I know – I’m a old nostalgic soul who always speaks in an utterly dramatic way that has a way of rudely reminding you of your fragile mortality. But I just have this insatiable quest to help others seize whatever moments they may have and feel the utmost happiness in each and every day before it’s too late.

It’s okay to have fears, it’s okay to reflect, what matters is that you’re not too afraid to admit when you’re lost, and care to re-assess the direction you’re headed.

Thanks for bearing with me during my ups and downs of emotional enlightenment. At times, I feel as though I write out my own woes in the hopes of helping at least one individual sort through their own.

Hope you had a spectacular weekend and as always thanks for stopping by!

– Amrita Literature