The need for change and DofG – Sep 2

Today, I am thankful for:

  • Working out in the gym in the morning, since it helps me with managing pain and stiffness and the endorphins help me feel better all day.
  • I’m visiting my sister S1 and brother-in-law in Canada for a few weeks and it was nice to spend some time and hangout with my sister in the evening.
  • We went to visit their friends last night and had a good time hanging out with them, their parents who are visiting from India, and meeting their new born baby. I loved the delicious Indian food from a restaurant we recently discovered and I drank rum and coke after ages.

Two brilliant things that I read/watched today:

  1. I read this post by Shail today morning and loved it and could not agree more.
  2. When I was working out at the elliptical, I watched this TED talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and it is absolutely brilliant. A few months ago, I read a collection of short stories by Chimamanda Adichie and really liked them. I started reading one of her novels after that but had to leave it within the first few chapters because it triggered some traumatic emotions for me and I didn’t have the resources to deal with them at the time. Anyway, I knew about this TED talk and had been meaning to watch it for a long time. I finally watched the video yesterday and Oh My God, it’s brilliant and I love it. She’s not saying anything that I haven’t heard before, but what makes this talk awesome is the fact that she articulates so many important points about gender inequality and feminism in a 30 minute talk. I could not stop nodding my head in agreement at every point she made. While she mostly talks about her experiences in Nigeria and Africa, I found most of them to be true in the Indian context and some in the US as well. Please please watch the video and tell me what you think!

Watching and reading these two things was helpful for me today because they reminded me of things I was passionate about and believed in. For many years, I have believed in the power of one and how it is important to engage with people and have rational conversations even if they may be difficult. I have believed in doing my bit and hoping that through these conversations, I would learn something new and question my mindset or have the same effect on other people. In my opinion, this is the best way to shake things up and bring about a change because we are the people who make this society and culture. When I started volunteering for AID in 2011, I learnt to think objectively and question cultural norms and political ideologies. While I was always a feminist even when I didn’t realize it, volunteering with AID opened my eyes to many other injustices in society. I actively engaged in discussions even when they were difficult and learnt a lot from other people.

Over the last couple of years, I have lost that zeal to engage in discussions. It started when I had to my write my dissertation within a couple of months and was working all the time. I started avoiding reading some political posts at the time due to a lack of time and energy to deal with anger and frustration arising from these issues. Things kept getting busier and while I did start reading articles on gender and some other issues, I only shared them with like-minded friends, people that I considered my safe spaces. Over time, I have grown indifferent or numb to many things.There are so many atrocities happening in the world everyday, the refugee crisis in Middle East, the right wing propaganda in Europe, the political situation in USA, the constant barrage of patriarchal bullshit and its ramifications everywhere in the world, just to name a few. In an attempt to initially protect myself in times of stress and pick my battles, I have gradually grown indifferent to many things. Instead of feeling angry and upset when I read these things, I feel a sense of hopelessness and despair. I feel that there’s nothing that I can do to change things. And this only depresses me further – it adds to my personal struggles and makes everything worse. I feel like I need to find my passion and voice my feelings and opinions to reconnect with my core and feel energetic again. While my personal and professional life has kept me busy and has been getting better, there is a void that I need to fill. I feel like I need to be working towards a cause that’s larger than my individual struggles. It helps me stay grounded and remember the bigger picture. It also reminds me of all the things I have and my privilege.

So this is what I need to change. I need to vocalize my thoughts and feelings and start engaging with people and discussing important issues, online and offline. I need to stay in touch with my beliefs and contribute my part in fighting against injustice. Gender inequality has been close to my heart for most of my adult life and that’s where I am going to start. On this note, I will see you tomorrow! Have a good weekend!

I have decided to make September my ‘Days of Gratitude‘ (DofG) month. I will be posting everyday about something that I am thankful for in that day. I want to do this as a reminder to myself to be thankful for what I have, and also to develop a habit of mindfulness and self-reflection.

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