Punctuate Life

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The Chennai Chronicles – Part 2 (People and Places)

32 days in Chennai. 32 glorious days. I met many old friends and made several acquaintances. So many that I can’t possibly write about every person I met. I just picked a few experiences that I think others would like to read about. But just so you know whether I met someone for 10 minutes or spent an entire day with them, I hold all of my friends close to my heart. Each feeds some part of my soul and enriches my life in a way only he/she can.

Even before I started from the U.S. I was determined to meet my soul sister N. We couldn’t meet in 2011 and I was upset I couldn’t make the trip to Pondicherry. Ever since I found her in 2010 (see http://www.punctuatelife.com/2012/02/19/finding-a-long-lost-love/) she has been my rock as far as my writing goes. She is always there for me, encouraging me and making me believe that I had it in me to write stuff that people would actually want to read. So much so that now ‘I’ think I’m capable of writing a book!

P wanted to take me but he had some urgent matters to attend to. So I drove down to Pondicherry (the very same place where Life of Pi was filmed) with my parents, my brother and the kids. I was seeing her after 10 years and the whole experience was surreal. It felt like we were in a dream. She was a hostess par excellence. We could smell the aroma of all the delicacies wafting from her kitchen even before we stepped into her house. Vada, chicken 65, tea, coffee, special Bengali sweets and kheer. And her sweet smile never left her face. I can see it now. I can feel the purity of her love which elevated me to heights that I never dreamt were possible for me. If you have but only one friend in this lonely world then let that friend be like N.

She took us all out to lunch at the ‘Rendezvous’ and refused to let us pick up the tab. She just wouldn’t hear of it. Such is the generosity of her soul. She wouldn’t let me ride in the car. So I rode with her on her bike, which was a ‘Pleasure’ literally! She did not want to waste one second of my trip and I was fighting sleep so I could talk to her face to face. Like lunch wasn’t enough, she hauled us off to a pastry shop for dessert. And to top it all a specially made Bengali kheer was waiting for us at her place. All in all we were filled with the sweetness of her hospitality, love and sumptuous food by the end of the day. Before I knew it the day was done and this meeting that I had planned and prayed for came to an end. I left a piece of me in Pondicherry and hope we meet again. Until then I will cherish this trip in 2012 that leaves a sweet aftertaste in my mouth when I just think about it.

I met R after nearly 20 years. She left for another school and that was the last I saw of her. We connected years later through a yahoo group from school. It so happened that she was travelling to India around the same time I was. So we decided to meet at a coffee shop. She came with her son and her sister. It was wonderful to see her after all these years and we chatted like old friends. It’s funny but all the girls who went to school with me share this common bond that ties us together no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done. When we meet or talk on the phone years later, we make a spontaneous and instant connection. It’s like all those years when we thought we were not connected, there was an invisible bond between us!

A few days later I met my dear pal A (of the Bisi Bela Bath fame) who was also in Chennai for a vacation. I almost thought I wouldn’t be able to meet her. She was splitting her time between three houses – her parents’, her in-laws’ and her sister’s. She was my dearest pal in MU and after we got married I moved to the U.S. and she moved to Australia. I kept wishing she would move to the U.S. and years later she did! And she was just 3 hours away from where we were staying. So we met at least 3 to 4 times a year. When I moved to Florida I really missed her. But it wasn’t so bad because we always talked on the phone. She was supposed to go to India last summer but her trip got cancelled. In hindsight I think that happened so I could meet her! It was a rushed meeting at a common friend’s place but it was good to see her after 3 whole years!

My aunt from TVM came down to spend a week with us. We did some fun shopping and did some sight seeing as well. We squeezed in a trip to the Chennai museum too. Sadly, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the museum. I marvelled at the architecture of the buildings – something I never really paid attention to as a child. The bronze gallery with it’s ancient idols from the Chola and Pandya dynasty were the best exhibits. I also enjoyed the art gallery with its Raja Ravi Varma paintings. Also  noteworthy are the ghoulish life-size paintings of British governors that seemed to come alive and appeared to be staring right at us.

I met my dear friend J and spent an entire evening with her at her home after enjoying a delicious lunch cooked by her. The kids played together and we laughed and giggled like old times. Giggled till our tummies hurt.

There were some unexpected surprises thrown at me (of the pleasant kind).  The first was S who is a distant cousin whom I’d met years ago at a wedding in Kerala. We hit it off and kept in touch through letters for some years. Now she’s married and is also into writing. She dropped in for lunch one day and it was fun catching up.

My long time friend G from elementary school,  made a sudden trip to India and we both did not know that the other was in Chennai. Call it divine intervention in the form of the isthri lady ( person you give your clothes to be ironed, not to be confused with dry cleaners). She turned up one day and she knew us right from our childhood days and knew we were friends. So she told me G was in Chennai (on the very same street!) and the next day she brought me her phone number. So I met G, her dad, her husband and her kids. God decided to throw in a bonus, so I met Uncle M and Auntie M who kinda moulded my views about vegetarianism many years ago.

When I was with G my mom called saying an old friend A had come over to meet me. She is my brother’s best friend’s sister. And we were phone friends when she lived in NJ. We had a lot in common and I really missed chatting with her when she left to settle in Chennai. What touched me the most was that she left her sick kids in the care of her husband and hurried to come see me!

This time in Chennai I felt like I was wrapped in the love and kindness that everyone extended to me. I didn’t want to leave that comfortable place. So a big thank you to my wonderful friends and family for a wonderful 32 days!

 


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Don’t Forget to Count Your Blessings

Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done… I remember singing this song in school and never really paying attention to the words and the powerful truth hidden in them. The power of gratitude was something alien to me, since I spent most of my life taking things for granted and whining about the things I didn’t have.

It’s easy to take things for granted, even things you really struggled to bring into your life (if you are not careful).  Just happened to me a few weeks ago. Remember it took me a long long time to get my driver’s license and how thankful I was for it? It has only been two years and I have shamelessly forgotten the time, effort and emotional trauma that went into getting one. It has been such a gift. A gift of independence. A gift of confidence. A gift of convenience. I get a taste of what it is like to not be able to drive every time I go to India. God am I thankful for my driving privileges!

Sometimes when I crib about all the work I have to do around the house, I forget all the work my husband does. Like paying the bills, keeping the cars (even the one I drive) in top condition, buying groceries and doing dishes when I’m sick or the kids are sick and I have my hands full. Thank you God for a loving and caring spouse who has got my back 24/7.

This week had me battling a sore throat and hacking cough. I do take my good health for granted and this was a reminder to take better care of myself. Thank you God for 51 weeks of good health and thank you for my wonderful neighbor who hastened to send hot rasam to soothe my throat and warm my heart.

I have been blogging for nearly a year now and I remember how happy and grateful I was for the blog. And I’ve also seen that feeling slowly fade away. It’s being replaced by a feeling of everyday mundaneness. And so it is with everything that you hold precious in your heart but don’t take the time to appreciate. So thank you God for my blog and all my readers who remind me of how human I am. It feels like I am surrounded by their love and support at all times. It is a feeling second to none and for that I am deeply grateful.

Before I put my pen down and head off to sleep (which I have no trouble with – Thank God!) I have to thank God for my beautiful children. They remind me of the importance of play and the simple joys of life. Their innocence and love keeps my heart alive and open. Thank you God for my children, my two bundles of joy. Thank you God for my wonderful friends who reach out to me when I most need them even if they are miles away. Thank you God for my family. Thank you God for the many blessings yet to come…I’m done and now it’s your turn to go. Count your blessings. Name them.

And once you count and name your blessings be sure to let all the people who are on that list know that you love them and are deeply grateful for them in your life. Silent gratitude serves no purpose. Shout it out from the mountain tops if you must…you sure will light up someone’s day!

May gratitude fill the hearts of all my readers and open your lives to many more miracles of love and grace – God bless everyone!


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What Do You Do With Your Sweet Bundles of Joy?

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.  – Khalil Gibran
I’ll be the first one to admit that I am not the world’s best parent and that I really shouldn’t have a say in how you bring up your kids. But I will tell you this, you are not alone. You aren’t just handed a baby without the adequate tools to take care of him/her. Some of it is instinct that you are born with and switches on the moment you hold your baby for the first time and some of it you have to acquire.
In the days that I was a young mother, blundering around, not knowing the first thing about parenting – I did get guidance. I simply did not know it then. I did not know it till I started writing this post. I cribbed about being far away from home and not having access to my Mom’s wisdom on raising babies. I think I was too busy cribbing to see that all I needed was being provided to me. I started getting a free issue of “Parenting” magazine every month. It covered everything from diaper rash to car seats. When the kids got older and behavioral issues started coming up I would watch the show “Super Nanny” on TV. Jo handled everything from bedtime troubles to sassy-mouthed babes. And after seeing those kids and the kinda hell they made their parents live in, I felt I was blessed with two little angels!
Smart Discipline
All said and done you can’t really apply everything you read in a magazine or see on TV to your specific scenario.  I didn’t agree with things like making your child cry herself to sleep so you could have your queen-sized bed all to yourself. Our kids slept with us until they were 2 and 4. Sometimes I broke the rules, spanked my kids. Sometimes I did something and I knew instantly that I was doing something that worked for my kids and me. Now when I look back I think most of what I learnt was by trial and error. It’s like feeding your baby a new food. When you start off you don’t know which one will end up being your baby’s favorite or which one your baby will spit out every time! Same goes with discipline. Some of it will work, some of it won’t. But that doesn’t mean you abandon discipline. You just try a new way. You know you are doing the right thing when your method is:
a. Easy to implement
b. Does not result in drama (from the kids or from you!)
c. Everybody is happy in the end. Kids don’t say – No fair! You don’t think they got off easily.
Some of you just want to love your children and leave the disciplining out of the picture. Bad idea! The earlier you teach your kids the law of cause and effect or the law of Karma the better. This law exists whether you believe in it or not. Like gravity. Kids need to know that what they say or do has an impact on someone or something. When you give time-outs or ground your child for bad behavior, you are letting him know that bad behavior will not be rewarded or tolerated.
I didn’t always use time-outs or grounding. I yelled, I screamed, I threatened and spanked. I cringe when I think of some of things I have done and I am deeply ashamed of them. One day it dawned on me that here I was telling them not to yell at someone, not to hit someone in a rage, not to threaten, when I was doing all of the above. I needed to be a good role model for my kids. I needed to be the person I wanted them to be. Some parents say – I want you to better than me – and try to justify some of the bad habits they are into. That just doesn’t work. Kids neeed you to be honest with yourself and honest in your dealings with them.
Set the expectation
Kids sometimes don’t know how to behave or don’t know what is expected of them. So why wait till your child starts running around in the parking lot or starts a scene in the library reference room. Before you step out of the house tell your child – the library is a place to be quiet. Remind them again in the car. Prevention is better than a wild child running loose!
Honor your child’s uniqueness
Every child comes with a blueprint to navigate life. We sometimes forget that. We want to live through our children and push them to achieve. It starts when they are babies. We put them on a clock and compare them to every other baby around. 4 months – solid food. 6 months – sit up.  8 months – crawl. 10 months -walk. God forbid your child doesn’t meet those deadlines – you panic, think something is wrong with them and rush them to the doctor. Believe me when I say I have been down that road. God gave me babies that missed most of the milestones by at least a month. Neither of them walked on their first birthday. Potty training did not happen on my schedule. All of it made me think I was not a good parent. Now at the ages of 7 and 9 both of them know how to use the bathroom and it doesn’t matter whether they got potty trained at 15 months or 3 years! Again the rule here is not to stress yourself and your baby. Your child will eventually walk, talk and do all the stuff they are supposed to do. Just enjoy the ride and don’t put childhood on a schedule. Don’t impose.
Be there
To be a good role model, to discipline your child and most of all love your child, you need to be there for him/her. When I say be there I mean be there without your cellphone and with the TV and laptop switched off. Your child needs you. The more one-on-one time you spend with them the happier they are. You are their sun, their world, their Milky Way, their everything. Let the phone keep ringing and go to voice mail, let the dishes soak. Just spend some time with your child. Totally present. Totally attentive. Your child will be happier. You will be happier. Cos they won’t be clinging to your legs while you are trying to cook or do the laundry.
It takes a village to raise a child
So true! So don’t sit around the house with your schedule revolving around you and your child. It always helps to connect with other moms and dads. Share your stories of triumph. Share knowledge that you have gained through experience. These days you even have support groups on Facebook. Something I didn’t have way back then. I had to go visit my friends so my babies didn’t get stranger anxiety (unheard of in India!). It also gave me a chance to vent.
I don’t want you to agree with me on this one, I want you to challenge what I have shared and share what has worked for you. What was your most challenging moment as a parent? If you don’t have kids, what bugs you the most about kids that just won’t behave?


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Letting Go…

Ever heard of clingy Cancerians? Well, I’m one of them although I’m loath to admit it. I even go around advising others to let go!  But Life caught up with me one day and shook its finger at me. And I had to admit that I was far from walking the talk, practising what I preach.I did not see the log in my eye but most definitely noticed the speck in my brothers’ eyes!

You see ever since I moved to Florida, one area of my life has been bleak, stagnant, with not much action going on. Now before you get the wrong picture, I’m talking about making friends. I know it takes time to make friends but when I realized it had almost been three years since I moved, I knew something was wrong. I hung onto my old friends from Boston for too long – still hanging on a little maybe. So all the people I met didn’t have space to enter into my life. I did not know this then and so I kept wondering what is wrong with me? But you know me and how much I love positive thinking. So I turned it around and said nothing is wrong with me. Damayanti, you are wonderful and beautiful and friendly. Something is wrong with the other folks! And so it was. End result? No friends and a nagging doubt if my theory had any truth to it.

Then after trying very hard to socialize and meeting with almost zero success, I gave up. I just withdrew. Enough is enough. It’s better to be lonely than in the midst of bad company. Now there was nothing wrong with these people. Just that we did not have anything in common. And then the most magical thing happened. S moved to our community and we became friends. Our boys played together while we happily chatted away. She loves to cook and eat and share recipes (foodie is on the top of my friend list!). What’s more, she follows my blog and gives me instant reviews without me even asking! Now if only S would have a baby girl. No scratch that. If only she had a 9 year old girl to play with my daughter!

I really didn’t know what I did to invite such wonderful friends into my life and again the answer came in a book. Henrietta Anne Klauser says that you must let go of old clothes in your closet to make room for new ones. She however hated the idea of having to give something in order to get something. I on the other hand have no trouble letting go of things that have served their purpose, but people, especially friends are hard to let go. I’m a new-friends-are-silver-old-friends-are-gold type of person. I have to be really miserable with someone to actually let go!

Like an epiphany the same idea showed up in another book – this time fiction. In the “Peach Keeper” one of the characters lived in a big house all by himself. His girlfriend thought he didn’t need such a big place. To which he replied – Everyone needs space to let something good come in. That somehow struck a chord with me. I had withdrawn from all the wrong kind of people and made room for the right kind of people to enter my life.

The same idea is conveyed in the book “The Secret”. There was this single woman looking for love. She did all the right affirmations, used positive thinking, visualized having her soul mate in her life. But nothing happened. That’s when she realized she had no room in her home for her soul mate. She started making room in her closet, in her garage and even slept on one side of her bed. And guess what? A few weeks later he waltzed into her life.

So if something hasn’t showed up in your life, start letting go. It could be physical stuff or emotional stuff. Sometimes even people. Whatever is not working in your life right now – let it go. Make space. Make space for something good to come into your life. Then trust that the Universe will deliver what you have asked for or something better.

You don’t need to hold onto the bad job or bad relationship thinking “if not this then what?” The fear of not getting another job or not wanting to live alone keeps you stuck in that bad situation. So let go and allow your highest good to enter into your life.

 


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The Help (Part 2)

I had to write this because I did not mention one stellar person in my last post (Let’s Help “The Help”). Probably because I never did consider her the help. She has been around for such a long time that she is part of our family. When my friends came home I always introduced her as my ‘other’ grandma. Her name is Vijayalakshmi. My grandma called her Thankam. I call her Ganga. All the kids who came after me adopted the same name – Ganga – and so it stuck.

When I said she was around for a long time, I mean a really long time. Like right from the time she was a kid of say 9 or 10. She came from a well-to-do family. But tragedy struck, taking her father away and leaving her mother with a house full of kids to fend for. Ganga was pulled out of school even though her teacher thought it was unwise to deny such a bright child an education. Her mom simply couldn’t afford it and sent her off to work in my great grandmother’s house. My grandma was just a girl then and a couple of years older to Ganga. Ganga almost instantly took a liking for her and wanted in her heart of hearts to follow my grandma wherever life took her. Her wish was granted and she became my Dad’s nanny. My Dad is the son she never had. In the queer way that I was raised by two grannies, my Dad was raised by two mommies. One doting and fussing over him, while the other was disciplining and demanding.

By the time I arrived my grandma was widowed. She had moved from Bombay to Guwahati and then to Barauni and finally to Madras (after grandpa died). With Ganga always in tow. She shared my grandma’s love for me, dogs and entertaining. She is an excellent cook and could dish up a feast in a trice that would put the chef at Taj to shame. She loved gardening and single handedly managed my grandma’s garden. All grandma had to do was make regular visits to the nursery. Grandma went to work and dropped me off at school. Ganga packed lunch and took care of me when I got back from school. You get the picture right? They were a team.

Every night my grandma would talk to Ganga about her day and she would add her two cents’ worth to it. Such was their relationship. They had been through thick and thin, untimely deaths to joyous birthdays and celebrations. From the village of Kollengode to the plush bungalow in Barauni and then to her cozy two-bedroom home in Madras. I’m sure if she had to, Ganga would have laid down her life for my grandma. One time she almost did.

After a long day working at the gas agency, my grandma would come home with a bag full of cash earned from the sale of gas cylinders. Ganga usually opened the gate and stood there waiting for her. Or she would sit on the porch telling me stories. One night when my grandma got off the car, a man came charging and grabbed the bag of cash from her. Ganga quickly grabbed the bag from the man and held onto it tightly under her arm. The man proceeded to beat her with an iron rod he had. But she did not let go of the bag. By then, the driver got out of the car and charged at the man. The robber gave him the slip and disappeared into the dark. Ganga had a few bruises but was  otherwise unharmed.

Things have changed since I left Chennai. Ganga retired and left for Kerala. She would come running to Chennai everytime I visited. Her sisters children are in Kerala but she hardly bonds with them. Her heart aches to be with my Dad, with me, with her true family. My heart yearns to be near her and take care of her, the way she took care of me as a child and as a mother (after I gave birth to Anjali). Maybe God will grant me my wish, maybe he won’t. But I will always be grateful for my ‘other’ grandma – my Ganga.

 

 


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Marriage 101

What with it being our 10th anniversary this week, I simply had to write this. For all you people out there who think marriage is something straight out of the pages of a Mills and Boons novel – think again! Sure you’ll have several steamy scenes playing in your wedded life but to imagine that your whole marriage could exist between the covers (no pun intended!) of a Mills and Boons novel is plain foolishness. And I was that foolish when I got married.

My expectations were way too high.  So were his! End result – huge clashes, waterworks, calls to India. Interference from India. To put it mildly our marriage was almost falling apart. I threatened to walk away convinced that we were incompatible. And this was the man who had me on my hands and knees, eating out of his hands and hanging onto his every word. What ever happened to all that spark, attraction, head over heels in love dizziness? It was just gone and I didn’t know where to go looking for it. The funny thing is I have never read a single Mills and Boons and so I never understood where I got my warped ideas about relationships.

So what saved my marriage you ask? Hate to admit it but it was P (initially and later on the new and improved me had to step in!) . He simply didn’t believe in divorce. Divorce is not an option and will never be an option. He said when something bad happens in a relationship you should stop and think about all the good times. When you are hopping mad at your partner remember the good things they did for you. No one’s perfect. People say and do crazy stuff but it doesn’t mean they don’t love you. They are just having a bad day and taking it out on you. Took many years for me to see the truth in what he said. This is not to say you have to stay with an abusive, co-dependant, alcoholic, philanderer! But in all other cases you can apply the P rule.

My refuge during the what I call the ‘adjustment years’ was prayer. Everytime we fought I prayed. I was certain that God had sent this man into my life because I saw signs before my wedding day right when I was having pre-wedding jitters. It just didn’t make sense. So I had angry conversations with God – why did you send me this man who doesn’t understand me and treats me so-so? I am special. I need to be treated special! The answer to this I got several years later. I was immature when I got married. A 23 year old who had lived all her life in Chennai and didn’t know anything about anything. It so happened that God intended marriage to be my platform for personal transformation. It’s true marriages are made in heaven but you have to do the work to keep it there. So I stuck it out, didn’t quit, stayed long enough to learn the lesson and grow out of it. It’s not so much about Kama Sutra as it is about Karma Sutra. What you put into a marriage you will get out of it.

Another mistake I made – I was trying to be the person P wanted me to be even though that wasn’t what I wanted. I lost myself in the first few years of marriage. And that was a source of great unhappiness for me. Took me a long time to love myself and BE myself before playing all the roles I had to play in life. The moment I did that I met with a lot of resistance. Why? Because people don’t like change. Even the people around you. But if they love you enough and see how passionate you are about the NEW and IMPROVED you, they will come around and be supportive.

You have to be patient and be in a place of love and compassion. What if the tables were turned? What if P quit his job and wanted to be a rockstar? I would be totally paranoid right? Even though he thinks that’s his ‘calling’. So that’s how he reacted to my new fangled blogging idea. Well, there was little or no paranoia involved but a lot of – are you sure? and I don’t know if this is a good idea! But I knew from the nucleus of every cell in my body to the recesses of my soul that this is what I was meant to do. This is my calling. So does this mean I have to choose between him and my purpose? Do I have to end this relationship? The very thought brought me to my knees. Because P is a great guy, a great Dad, a great provider, always there for me and my kids and such a committed person. He goes to all of the kids’ doctor’s appointments, music recitals, soccer games ( he does it all and still keeps his job!). So I did what I always do. I prayed and prayed and also strongly conveyed my enthusiasm for this new idea and my vision to make it a reality. I knew in my heart that this man loved me and although he may not go to the moon for me, he would do other meaningful things.

Again, I was tested and I remained patient. I waited and kept the faith. Two days ago, on our 10th anniversary we registered my new domain and got web hosting for my new blog! Yes I know what you are thinking…Why couldn’t you do it yourself? Why did you need him? For all your feminist values D!!! But that’s what marriage is about. Togetherness, love, growth and compassion. The fibers of his life and mine are enmeshed in an inseparable fashion, so much so that you cannot tell them apart. Now, finishing eachother’s sentences, we haven’t gotten there yet! Maybe in another 20 years.

To summarize…

If marriage were a door to a strange and exciting land, a sign above the door would say these words – Enter at the risk of losing yourself, enter only if you are willing to do the work, enter if you want your life to be changed forever and enter if you wish to be held in the tender embrace of love for this lifetime and many lifetimes to come. DO NOT ENTER if you wish to reside in the pages of one hot and steamy Mills and Boons novel!

All my friends who are happily married please share your insights below. My single friends are also encouraged to comment and to my friends who are struggling with their marriage  – there is hope. Hang in there.


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For All My Single Friends

Funny that this note started out as Love 101 – everything you need to find and keep the love of your life! But then fate intervened and I read this book called “Empowering Women” by Louise Hay. Changed my life (just yesterday by the way!)  So let me start by apologizing to all my single friends. I’ve been a blundering fool. I’ve judged, I’ve compared, I’ve used outdated standards to measure the worth of women such as yourself. Beautiful, talented, self-sufficient women who can very well do without men. The notion that you are incomplete without a man has to be thrown out the window. I’m sorry but I held onto to that belief too – unconsciously. It’s a lie that we have accepted as the gospel truth.  We are not here to marry or procreate. That is not the ‘sole’ purpose of our lives! At least not everyone’s life.

If that were the case I would have been blissfully happy and continued to be a stay-at-home mom, cared for my husband when he retired, stayed a dutiful wife till my dying day and then shed my mortal shell and lined up at heaven’s gate. Puh-leez! Mind you for centuries women did just that. It was not ‘genteel’ for women to work or sweat! Women had to stay home and knit, cook, sew and take care of kids and support their ‘man’. But the good news is you don’t have to do that. However, if you search your psyche you will find remnants of these outdated ideas. Media plays a big role to propagate these ideas.

Take a moment to reflect on the last 5 chick flicks (FYI I hate that phrase!) you watched.  What was the storyline? How to find a man? How to please a man? How to fix your flaws so you can find a man? The taming of the ‘supposed’ shrew? Isn’t there something wrong with the picture? No wonder women feel the pressure to marry and have babies. They think that it is the only happily ever after scenario! They feel the stigma attached to being single. The clock is ticking they say. I have to settle down. Something is wrong with me (this is the most horrible conclusion you can come to). I’m too social. I’m too smart. I’m too sensitive. I should stop being me, then I can have a good man in my life. Infinite excuses. I’m sure you can come up with some unique ones yourself.

Stop! Don’t start whipping yourself with insults. It’s time to love yourself just the way you are and enjoy the life you have created sans men. I implore you not to look to a man to ‘complete’ you. You were born whole and complete. I’m not asking you to take a vow of celibacy but please don’t beat yourself up and think you aint worth nothing if you aint got a man. Love yourself and all that you have accomplished. Having a man in your life could have slowed you down, could have changed your course, he could have imposed his grandoise plans on you. He could have tried to ‘fix’ you to fit his needs!

If there is a man who complements you he will come along soon enough. If not, be happy anyways. This is what God intended for you. Stop fighting it and stop hating yourself for being single. Surround yourself with people who love you and honor you, not well-meaning friends who want to fix you up with some guy they know.

I see I’ve ruffled a few feathers. You are thinking what do you know about being single, you got married at 23! Well the grass is always greener on the other side girlfriend. Marriage aint a piece of cake (but I’ll save that for another post!)

Don’t let anyone make you feel like a lesser mortal. I’ve known that feeling. People thought I was wasting my time staying at home and taking care of my kids. I didn’t have a job so it meant I wasn’t smart enough. I couldn’t drive so something was wrong with me. You see if you let the world decide what you are worth, it is going to find ways to diminish you. And I am here to say you are perfect just the way you are and that you are right where you are meant to be. To conclude love comes in many forms. Bliss can be found at many levels. A ring aint what your heart is aching for sister!