2018; A Map

2018 rang in for me last year on a large stage in front of 100,000+ patrons, surrounded by performers from around the world. I was working, I was sober, I was happier and felt more settled in who I was becoming than I had in a long time.

I was in a relationship with a sweet boy in NYC, I was fully confident I would return to this stage for the next year, I saw much of my anxiety, self-doubt, and depression melting away, I was growing in the person I had planned to be, I saw the linear path in front of me and I was confident in where it would lead.

Less than a week from 2019 and not one of these things are true anymore.

A month later I would find myself fighting with the sweet boy in NYC, avoiding the truth that I no longer loved him, that our lives did not fit, maybe never fit the way we thought they did. I have not returned to the stage, I’m managing a new circus team for the same company but nothing to do with that giant stage this year. I unexpectedly fell in love with a Bollywood dancer. He was like no one and nothing I had ever experienced. We still referred to each other as soul mates in our recent goodbyes, despite his impending marriage to an Indian Muslim girl of his parents’ choosing this spring.

My path is no longer so linear. The destination has veered left. The confidence with it.

My city, my home the last five years no longer feels like a comforting base, but a safety net, a golden cage or security blanket I need to pry out of my fingers. The reasons I have to stay are mostly people, but people who I won’t lose even if I leave, my travels have already proven this. So maybe it’s fear.

But if not there, where?

And my anxiety is back. And depression. Not as strong as they have been, but they come to rear their ugly heads off and on since June. There’s nothing so paralytic as that combination. You’re too anxious to start any project or work or job or productive thing you know you need to and then crippled with the doubt that it will be any good, that anyone will care, that it will make a difference, that you won’t completely screw up your attempts, that anyone will want to work with you a second time, that you won’t live up to that interview/first job, and the list goes on…

So among other bits and pieces, I have a half begun training course for the fully planned and prepped business I have designs, URLs, Social handles, and business cards for at the ready. I even have people ready to write testimonials when I get my act together. But staring at the blank pages in front of me has proven to be too much and I find myself unable to push through the wall telling me ‘why bother’. I’ll fall behind or fail in the work once I launch anyway. Haven’t I already shown that I can’t be trusted to follow through? I’m too full of self-doubt to keep up a regular creative blog, do I really think I can keep up my own business when I’m the only one depending on me?

I hate letting down anyone else, I will lose sleep, stay in bad relationships, ignore my boundaries, and work too hard to avoid letting anyone down, and beat myself up when there’s even an inkling of a hint that I failed in being there to support someone.

But when it’s just me? Suddenly it doesn’t matter so much.

And that’s what is going to change in 2019.

I recently entertained a boy after a few bad dates because he needed someone to be there. I finally snapped after the 5th blatant act of disrespect (I’m a terrible feminist when it’s me in the relationship) and now he still tries to message me to ruin what small happy choices I make for myself.

Today I blocked him. Because the only reason I hadn’t was my consideration of his feelings.

I changed my profile picture on WhatsApp as well today. To not include my ex. Which I hadn’t done for 2 months because I was worried about what he would feel in Mumbai when he saw I had changed it. I didn’t want him to be hurting more. When it was him who told me we needed to forget each other. That we had no future. I still hesitate to do what would be better for me, because of what he needs.

Hands up if we see the destructive pattern here.

And what about what I need?

I realized recently I don’t actually know anymore.

I am not the same person I was last year, nevermind the person I was before I started dating anyone.

So I’ve started to make lists.

I need alone time, I need tea, I need yoga, and I need my books.

I need shared meals, someone to hold once in a while, someone who can let me be both the boss and a woman, and let me, help me, keep those identities separate. Someone who keeps me learning, and wanting to learn new things.

I need to grow. I need to keep reaching towards whatever destination I’m heading towards, I need to figure out what that looks like, and someone willing to call me on my own bullshit and give me the kick in the ass I need to stare down my paralyzing fear and say “Yes. Yes I can do this”

I don’t want someone to tell me I can do this, I just need them to remind me that I already know.

But I need to find most of this outside of someone else.

I need the discipline to find it in myself and cultivate it. And not lose it when I find someone I do decide is worthy to share my life again.

And I need to decide that I am worthy of this life that I want. For all my mistakes, fears, missed deadlines, lost opportunities, cheat weeks, procrastination, and half-started dreams, I am still worthy of the life that I want. Even if I don’t fully know or understand what that is yet.

Because I am. I just need to remember to believe it.

And guess what? You are too.


Inter-; Between, Amongst, Together

Between continents and countries,

Amongst friends, artists, skeptics, obstacles, and politics,

Together only in moments, whispers, texts, and video calls,

International, Intercultural, Interracial

A barrier of water, history, language, and color between us.

Daily we stop to question our sanity.

Of the choices we have, we chose the most difficult.

So many questions, so many obstacles.

But never each other.


A memory crossed my mind earlier today.

Over a year ago, I was at Syracuse University for my final immersion seminar towards my master’s degree in digital communication. We were broken into teams for a debate that would take place in front of the entire seminar based on our learning on AI and legal applications. The opposing sides were allowed to meet to discuss information before the debate would occur in front of several hundred students and faculty.

In my cohort, I am affectionately called the Luddite of the class. I had the least amount of background in anything digital or technical and was often asking for assistance or recommendations of YouTube tutorials. This is a common joke and point, if I can handle/understand a new tech trick, anyone can.

So we met with our opposing teams and began hashing out the pros and cons of a new theoretical AI software. The advantages of it for disaster relief are immense, however, the potential abuses could be catastrophic. We are arguing the abuse potential. Merely spoofing the IP address of a post would be enough to confuse the system, get bots to spoof IP addresses by the thousands and suddenly the system can be causing massive amounts of damage or putting troops in danger. I point out that even I know how to spoof an IP address, it’s not terribly hard. My classmates all look at me and ask, where on earth did you learn how to do that??

I explained I had briefly dated a (legitimate) computer hacker who had shown me. My close friend in class looked at me strangely. “That’s an odd place to learn something.”

I remember very little about the rest of the debate, but that moment stuck with me. We spoke later over beers at happy hour about his comment. He looked at me like I was a bit crazy when I asked him about it. He’s been with his wife over a decade and he knows “jack shit” about her industry and knows for a fact she knows very little about his. Why would they? Their jobs are not what they have in common, it’s not what they talk about, it’s not something they share.

And while in theory, I respect the idea of work and romantic relationships being kept separate, I know in this current day and age, it’s not so easy. Our careers, our jobs are not 9-5 cubicles we can leave behind anymore. We are freelancing, side hustling, holding multiple jobs, keeping ourselves afloat in the gig industry, and also trying to keep passions alive. Some of us are lucky enough to find that in our work. Work is then not only our income but part of us, part of what is important. And we want to share important things with the people we love. We want to understand their passions and have them understand ours, even if they will never share them.

Every single significant ex-something of mine has taught me something. I learned about craft beer, I understand the physics of sound design, I’ve learned about architecture, psychology, art history, music industry, and hockey, and so much more. There are habits I still catch myself doing as learned behavior from exes (such as eating fries first because “you can excuse taking home a leftover burger, but no one wants to be the asshole taking home the cold fries”.)

And more recently, I’ve learned about other cultures and religions. Dating a man who was raised halfway around the world in a different faith has taught me so much about the world, faith, love, and myself. I do not feel as able to settle back into my ordinary life after being exposed to him and the rest of his world. Our story will end due to some of these differences and family disagreements, but I still would not change it. I have learned so much, continue to learn so much.

This I think is the ultimate respect. To value someone so much in your life, that you want to understand their life, their passions, to allow yourself to be taught by someone.

It’s a strange thing as an adult, outside of an educational environment, to allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to say, I don’t know this, can you teach me? And then allowing yourself to be taught, to learn, trusting your partner not to judge you or your failed attempts, but to help you learn and push you to grow and broaden your experiences.

Which is really, the ultimate goal of a life partner, someone to love and grow with as you both support each other to broaden your minds and life.

Instead of Tinder, of meeting people in bars, maybe a new strategy to try, walking up to a stranger and saying, that’s really cool what you are doing, can you teach me?