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?”

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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

Like my page on FB: www.facebook.com/amritaliterature 

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Throwback Thursdays

What is it about reminiscing about the past that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Is it that life was just simpler and better back then? Or is that just the way we remember it? Blocking out all the bad and only carrying forward what we WANT to remember life to be like at that particular time.

It’s good to reflect. It’s a way to re-evaluate your life and what you’ve come from and where you’re headed. But what about those people who seem to be STUCK in throwback mode?

They’re yearning for the better days of yesteryear unable to see past the fact that that time is OVER. Unable to turn the page and move on to what life now has to offer them.

Whether its regrets about certain relationships, job opportunities, or any other type of crucial life decision – when is it time to just let go?

If you find yourself constantly feeling guilt or remorse over something from the past, or if you’re one of those “remember when” story-tellers – perhaps it’s time to start living in the here and now.

You’re never as young as you are in this very moment. So make each moment count. Don’t wish for a time that has already passed you by. Set goals, aspire, reach to be better, live for what is to come, not what has already been left behind.

Memories are great and all, but don’t get so caught up in them that you forget to make new ones.

Hope you all have a wonderful long weekend and as usual thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

 

GOALS: Girls Who Are Doing It Right

This blog is typically known as being a place for me to sound off about everyone and everything that ticks me off.

But I thought I’d change it up a bit and write about something positive for a change.

The other night I was watching television and I came across the late night show with Jimmy Fallon, and to my extreme surprise the guest star was the popular youtuber “Superwoman” aka Lilly Singh.

A lot of people know this girl to be someone who puts up videos showcasing common Indian themes in a comedic manner. But what a lot of people don’t know is that this girl is a self-made multimillionaire.

I remember the first time I came across her youtube page. My very first thought was that this girl was a joke. Then I couldn’t help but wonder what her parents thought about her putting herself out there like this. I think I even left a snide comment or two under one of her videos.

And now I’m in awe about how far this individual has come solely on her OWN.

I write a lot about the dangers of falling into the hype of love and marriage and become a co-depedent failure of a woman.  But then I realized there are some people who are doing it right, people are just too busy hating on them for anyone to realize these are the people who we should be aspiring to be like.

There’s plenty of successful business women in our own hometown who don’t get nearly enough praise as they should for their achievements.

There’s the extremely well known girls behind the perfect contour and highlight of nearly every local bride. The founders of Pink Orchid Studio.

These girls paved the ways for dozens of other make-up artists to create quite lucrative careers for themselves in this trade. While utilizing the benefits of social media and artistic creativity these dedicated business women have truly created a successful brand.

Not to mention how refreshing it is to see two girls work together without any drama and reach the top by utilizing one anothers strengths sans jealousy or competition. Unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence amongst women.

Following suit in capitalizing off the ever-booming wedding industry is Poonam Saini of Poonam’s Kaurture.

Although my parents own a East-Indian clothing store themselves I’ll be the first to say what this girl has achieved is extremely impressive.

She had a vision for what she wanted her brand to be and didn’t stop until exactly that was what she put out to the world.

And the world is exactly the stage she’s now showcasing her pieces on. Extremely impressive and someone to definitely look up to if looking for some motivation.

I just think too many of us focus on all the wrong things in life. Being complete mind numbed followers of what’s expected of us. Get a degree. Get a job. Get married. Have kids. And that’s that.

But it’s time to realize that chasing dreams and breaking norms isn’t taboo for minority women anymore. In fact, it gives you an edge to be someone of an ethnic background and doing it big in today’s day and age.

So next time you have a crazy idea, just follow it, see where it goes, and you never know – you might actually find yourself in a place you never thought you’d be after some hard work and determination.

I salute these women for their achievements and I hope one day I can be an accomplished individual with some hit piece of literature with which I too can leave my mark in the world.

 

5 ways to improve your life RIGHT NOW!

Before you click away, I promise you this isn’t a cliche post about the new year being here and this being all the ways you can reinvent yourself.

Instead, what I am aim to do here is share what has worked for me to not just improve my life but change it drastically.

1.) GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND GET MOVING! 

There are no words to explain how incorporating exercise into my daily life has improved my physical and mental health. We hear it time and time again but there’s a reason everyones always harping on about working out – its because it works. It really can change a horrible day to a better one. It can change your outlook from being miserable and sullen to optimistic and cheerful. It’s like a dose of happiness in the form of dedication, vigour, and sweat. So join some sort of fitness class – for me yoga has been a beckoning savour to my sanity.

Closing myself into that heated room and forgetting everything I did before class and everything I have to do after class while pushing my mental and physical self to the absolute limit changed my life! I promise it’ll change yours too, just find what works best for you. Run, walk, skip, hop, lift weights or just shake your booty for half an hour a day- just MOVE.

2.) KEEP A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT 

I’m a person whose hands start moving before my mind does. If something is bothering me, there is something so gratifying about being able to sweep and push away physical remnants of junk in order to clear my mind of all the crap floating around and stressing me out. I love being able to sort, organize, and just CLEAN until I feel better. It gives me a sense of control. That at least I can sort out some aspect of my life. Plus, when you’re in a clean environment, your thoughts are clearer, your attitude is better, and you are able to focus more on other important things rather than being suffocated by the surrounding mess.

3.) PUT EFFORT INTO YOUR APPEARANCE

I’m a little wishy washy on this one. As I sit here in my umpteenth messy bun of the day and my husband’s oversized t-shirt some may say I am full of it when I tell you to look good to feel good. But I honestly know for a fact that when you have combed clean hair, freshly applied lipstick, and a nice pair of jeans on – you just feel more put together, and more capable of handling the trials of your day. Looking in the mirror and liking what you see boosts your confidence, and a confident soul is a powerful one.

4.) ZONE OUT THE BULLSH*T 

I know, I know, it’s easier said than done. But it is so essential to a healthy mindset to just not pay any attention to things that drag you down. Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil is the best way to approach life sometimes. Anyone who is a nuisance or annoyance to you shouldn’t have so much power over your emotional well-being. Tell yourself they’re beneath you, and do not gratify them with creeping into the depths of your mind and emotional state.

5.) SET GOALS, AND ACTUALLY REACH THEM 

Life is all about creating the best version of ourselves. Take each day as a chance to sharpen and define your vision of what you want out of YOUR life. Continually reassess what’s around you and how it makes you feel. If one too many things don’t sit right, create change. Set goals and strive to achieve them. Always be on a journey of growth!

Well there you have it folks! The secret to the perfect happy life – yeah, I know not really. But you can get pretty darn close if you apply at least some of what I have listed above.

What’s all your opinion on these five tips? Do you have some of your own you’d like to share, or do you think I am spot on with this? Feel free to leave a comment below sharing your thoughts!

Settling to Lose Yourself

It seems as though there is a tendency for some women to lose themselves in a relationship. What I mean by this is to be an individual who goes from having idealistic dreams about their futures to eventually lowering their expectations and standards when it comes to choosing a husband. This probably has to do to with societal norms hovering over ones head. Not to mention the more concrete nagging form of familial pressure to settle down and get married just about as soon as you finish blowing out the last candle on your 25th birthday cake. You begin to feel like a ticking time bomb as at every family function you are reminded that you have not yet found “Mr. Right.” So you just snatch up whoever and say “you’ll do” and secretly vow to mould them into whatever closest version of the man of your dreams you’ve been envisioning since you were a little girl (thanks Disney).

In East-Indian culture women are meant to stay far away from their male counterparts during their childhood and teenage years. Parents try their very best to delay “the dating years” until it is for the purpose of marriage – and usually even then after about five dates you’re expected to have your mind made up either way. So now we are deprived of truly getting to know what type of individual we would be compatible with, and we do not have the opportunity to even become comfortable with being around the opposite sex. Unless you spend your time sneaking around in private in which you are not really truly engaging in a open and honest relationship.

So, what does all of this do to us when we are all grown up and ready to “settle down?” Well, I believe it sets the stage for disappointment and you may end up in a situation in which you’re left wondering how in the world your life became a certain way. In my personal situation, I was raised in a very westernized family and had a completely naïve view of what married life was going to be. I hadn’t factored in the possibility of joining a family instead of just marrying someone and riding off blissfully into the sunset of a happy married life with one another. So there I found myself as an extension of someone else’s life, struggling to fit in while still remaining my own person. This can be a tricky and challenging time in life, especially since I decided to not pursue a career in my field of study (boy were my parents ever so pleased with that!) and decided to join the pursuit of my partner’s dream and help him build his business.

Luckily, I have an office job, and one of my “passions” just so happens to be writing, so I realized that I could still hold on to my  identity and keep my own aspirations whilst helping him reach his goals as well. Writing has been such a positive outlet for me and the feedback I receive has been truly encouraging. I am sure this tendency for women to find themselves rudely awakened from their dream-like hopes of adulthood will slowly change as generations pass. Surely I would raise my child to be confident, comfortable, and most importantly realistic in their search for “Prince Charming.” Maybe one day “happily ever after” will not be such a far stretch after all.

However, the real “take home message” here is to never rely on another individual to be the ultimate provider of your happiness. Always keep in mind that by having something which is just your own will allow for an escape from a less than optimal situation you may find yourself in. There is no need to place the keys to your happiness in someone else’s hands, you can make your own future complete. You can still have comfort while not feeling like you’ve settled, you can still be in charge of your own destiny.