Personal Pleasers

By definition of this interesting article I was reading earlier, a “People Pleaser” is:

“…a person who commits themselves to boosting the well-being of other people, even when doing comes at an emotional, physical, or economic expense.”

Somehow that struck a chord with me. As I continued reading, I read that people pleasers will comply with requests because they want to make people happy, gain approval, etc. Basically it’s because they can’t…no, can’t is the wrong word. It’s because the don’t want to say no.

“They find it virtually impossible to deny any request, even when doing so causes chaos in their own lives or best-laid plans.”

WOW. Doesn’t this sound familiar. I will not bore anyone with the details of the article, though I found it to be fascinating, but I do encourage you all to go and read it. Then come back and tell me if you fit the profile. I feel like society demands us to please. We’re conditioned from an early age to do so. Do something right: get a treat. Do something wrong: get punished. Why does it always have to be so black & white.

I have 2 questions: Why is it such a bad thing to say no? Why are the people that do what they want called selfish?

Lately I’ve been having problems with black & white worlds. There is a world of color around us, so then why is it so difficult for people to compromise and find some kind of middle ground. Ideally, it’s the most logical thing to do. I think there is more than meets the eye to the “gray area” we all so lovingly use as our scapegoat when we don’t want to be heartless enough to say no, yet not giving enough to say yes. This gray area enables us to not have to choose. The gray area allows us to be personal pleasers. By using the concept of the gray area, we can get out of pleasing others without the shame and guilt that can accompany someone whilst saying no. We  can also we feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that accompanies not saying yes.

Where does it leave the rest of us? Those that are decisive in their actions and words. Those that do not waste time with the frivolity of fancy language and games.

I feel that people pleasing and the lack of is a way we avoid living our lives; by completely focusing all of our time and energy on something or someone else, we can effectively avoid making any wrong decisions in our lives. We can relieve others of the responsibility of pleasing us.

But to what end?

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1743556/the_people_pleasing_personality_please_pg3.html?cat=72

Does the Shape of the Peg Really Matter?

A few days ago, my editor at BrownGirl Magazine emailed us a blog post that was absolutely appalling.  When she asked if anyone wanted to do a rebuttal, I instantly grabbed the opportunity.  Have a look at the original post: http://dilbert.com/blog/entry/pegs_and_holes/ . Below is my response. Enjoy dearest stalkers! =)

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Dear Scott Adams,

I have been sitting at my computer screen staring at the blank page in front of me for several days. No matter how many times I read your post titled “Pegs and Holes” I cannot seem to shake it. That was not a compliment. I have more than several issues with your musings so let’s get right down to it.


Blame and shame are not society’s tools for keeping peace and order. Blame is when responsibility for a fault or error is being placed on someone; one does not blame simply to keep people, specifically men, in line. Shame is a human emotion; an emotion that comes from within a person when they realize they’ve done somethin wrong. Shame is not a societal weapon used to ‘castrate’ men and keep them on leashes.  Societal rules are not the root of the problem.


I’m slightly confused as to which version of reality you reside in as throughout history it is a known fact that actions such as cheating, sleeping around, etc. are not only acceptable for men, they are encouraged. Lets go back in history for a minute. In 17th century England, it was customary for married men to get their carnal pleasures outside of the marital chamber. Even kings were known to engage in adultery casually and frequently. It was understood because ‘men have needs’. Every woman was fair game, and every woman conquered resulted in a hearty pat on the back and a mug full of ale to celebrate one’s manhood. Those same women who partook in the debauchery were instantly considered ‘dirty’. They were no longer ‘pure’ or ‘virtuous’ and any hopes of a good marriage could be considered as good as gone. Even better, if a queen acquired a lover, she and her lover could be subject to punishment; he by death, and she by a nunnery. Why? Let’s fast forward to the present day. In today’s culture a man who get’s a lot of women is known as a ‘player’. Most guys aspire to reach that ‘player status’ so they too can be part of the elite group. If a woman does the EXACT same thing, there are words to describe her that are too vulgar for me to type. Christina Aguilera’s song “Can’t Hold us Down” comes to mind:

“If you look back in history it’s a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory, the more he can score
While the girl can do the same and yet you call her a whore
I don’t understand why its OK,
The guy can get away with it while any girl gets named”

History has shown us that it has been a ‘man’s world’; women were treated as property with no voice and no rights. The mentality was for women to be seen and not heard. Now, we see a shift in societial views where mens’ previously acceptable behavior is finally creating a stir and causing scruitny among not just women, but also some men. The cat is finally out of the bag, and clearly you, Mister Adams, are not okay with it. Yes, there is an alarming trend in the news about powerful men behaving badly. No, it is not something new. What is new, is the fact that it is being publicized; these men are being made examples of and rightly so in my opinion. Why is it okay for these men to abuse their stations of power and their wealth to engage in heinous acts and then get off scot free? That has nothing to do with round pegs in square holes Mister Adams, it has to do with justice. One cannot commit a crime such as sexual assult or rape, blame it on the fact that you are a man born with ‘urges’, and not accept responsibility for your actions. Everyone has a moral compass, and it is that moral compass that tells us the difference between right and wrong.


Since when was it every man’s, married or otherwise, desire to ‘tweet his meat to strangers’? There is no such thing as black and white in relationships. There is a way for both men and women to be satisfied in their commitment and be happy as well…it’s called compromising. I’m not sure about your version of the future world, but I don’t think it involves pills that take away manhood. Personally, I feel that society and the world are moving towards a more balanced state based on equality between men and women. Does that bother you?


I do understand that there are women out there that do engage in cheating, etc. and do so because they feel like they’re ‘sticking it to the man’ and are doing what they do to be super feminist, BUT that is not the point of feminism. Those actions are no more right than men doing those things simply because they can. What you need to understand is that society is NOT to blame for this. We are. Each person has the ability to make decisions; we are our actions. One cannot blame society for one’s faults or actions. Men are not round pegs in square holes; we’re whatever shape peg we want to be and there’s always a matching hole for us.

Sincerely,

BrownGirl from London

P.S. MY peg is totally a star. Yes, there is a matching star hole for it. =)


			

Homosexuality: The Holy Grail of Indian Taboo

Here is my most recent article for BrownGirl Magazine! Tell me what you think!

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“Indian people are not gay,” a relative retorted in the heat of a continuous and fruitless debate at my house. I stood baffled with my jaw hanging wide open allowing rogue bugs to explore my molars whilst trying to force my brain to understand the sentence that was spoken to me. Belatedly catching on to the actual meaning of the sentence, I tried in vain to wrap my head around that statement.  The most stunning part however, was not the sentence itself, but the utter conviction with which it was said. Pure contempt and disgust dripped from every single letter in that sentence, boggling my mind and deeply saddening my heart.


We are a people that, through sheer willpower and determination, rid our country of the British and have since then excelled in the world; we have completely dominated in the field of technology, we are continuously discovering new breakthroughs in science, the clothing, music, cuisine, and mystifying beauty of all that is India has the world gaping at our treasures. We have advanced to the point of envy in all aspects except the most important: social.  The crux of the Indian community lies in the societal rules and norms.  Ours is a tight-lipped culture, refusing to acknowledge anything that takes away from the perfect order of garam masala chais, stellar academic standards, and arranged marriages.  In a society that has trouble accepting love marriages over arranged ones, and would banish a family member without a second glance if they ever dared to get involved in an interracial relationship, homosexuality is the holy grail of taboo in the Indian culture.


I have been blessed to know a woman that is the very embodiment of everything that we promote at BrownGirl Magazine. Ashka Parikh is smart, hip, and one of the most beautiful people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  I was fortunate enough to learn her story, and the results were eye-opening and inspiring.  She is Indian, and she is gay, and never have I met someone who was more proud of being both.  Without further ado, I give you my very own Brown Girl, Ashka Parikh.

When did you first realize you were gay? What thoughts crossed your mind?


“I was in elementary school, in 5th grade, and I felt attracted to my neighbor who lived across the street when we were riding the bus home.  I was scared because I felt that it was unnatural because I would see all my friends having crushes on boys and I didn’t.”


Did this knowledge change your behavior at school?


“Yeah, it did change because people can be judgmental.  I pretended to like boys even though I felt it was wrong, but at the same time I wanted to protect my friendships.  I was very uptight because I didn’t my friends to get any ideas that I liked girls. I did however do the stereotypical ‘lesbian things’ like play soccer with the guys and play basketball without ever coming out.”


When did you come out to your friends? How did they react?
“I was already having a fling with a teammate, who was coincidentally my first kiss, but I met a girl that I really started to like. I began to pursue her, and she became my first girlfriend my junior year of high school.  I told one friend one time, and I lost that friend; it hurt because I thought she was my closest friend at the time.  I started to think that would be how all of my friends would react, so I kept it to myself for a while. Eventually I grew stronger, and I told a few more friends. They didn’t believe me. I powered through, and told the rest, and was met with ‘I already knews’.  After a while, I stopped caring what people thought because our community has a tendency to gossip.  I know a lot of Indian lesbians that seek advice on how to come out to their families because of the difficult nature of the topic. Bottom line is that you don’t need people that react negatively when hearing the word ‘gay/lesbian’.”


How long did you wait before coming out to your parents? How did they react?
“I was 20 years old, and it was my sophomore year at university. I was dating a girl, and one morning my mom came into my room to wake me up for a wedding we had to go to, and she walked in on me and my girlfriend cuddling.  She waited two weeks before approaching me about it, but I was so scared that I broke up with my girlfriend and started dating guys to put them at ease.  I was absolutely miserable.  I finally decided to stop dating guys, and began to date a girl I really liked because I had finally realized that this was my life. Why should I risk being miserable for the rest of my life, when I could have the love and respect of my parents by just talking to them about it? I made a lot of gay friends at university, and I finally felt comfortable in my own skin because I was surrounded by people who understood.  That’s when my parents knew, even though they were in major denial.  1 ½  years ago, I started to date my current girlfriend, that’s when my mom sat down with me and apologized for not being supportive and said that they were okay with my being gay.  They just wanted me to be happy. So the actual conversation about me coming out to my parents happened at the age of 24.  I had told my brother when I was 19 years old, he just laughed at me and said, ‘Instead of a jijaji, I’ll have a bhabi.’”


What was the worst moment for you in this process? What was the best?
“I’ve always had a big group of friends, and the worst moments were when I would go out and some of my friends would look at me funny.  They stopped talking to me without saying why; they didn’t even have the courage to tell me why, even though we both knew it was because I’m gay. Dr. Seuss says, ‘Be who you are and say what you want because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.’  It is something that I live by now because it has proven to be true.  The best moment was when I talked to my mom.  Just knowing that she approached me showed a lot of courage and strength on her part.  It showed me why I was raised to be who I am.”


Do you feel your relationship with your family and friends has changed? If so, how?


“As you grow older, you realize that you have to be a little selfish; I stopped caring about the friends that judged me and hated my choices.  I kept the friends who were unconditional in their love for me.  My family changed in the sense that we became stronger; we have an honest and open relationship.  If someone tries to say something about me to my parents, they always interject with, ‘We’re proud of our daughter.’ My brother has always been there for me also, and has been a constant stream of support.”


Do you feel your sexual orientation affects your ability to be active in both your religion and your culture? Why?


“India is the 1st country in the entire world that not only legalized same sex marriage, but embraced it.  The Bhagvad Gita says that two people that love each other can be married; It is non-gender specific.  Because women have  been oppressed in Indian society for so long, they are afraid to step up and voice their opinions.  Hating on homosexuality is not a cultural or religious battle, it is a social one.  Indian society is ruled by a social disease of ‘what will they say’,  and this spills over despite age and location.  1st generation Indians are more likely to be against homosexuality, not because of what they were taught, but because they were taught never to question beliefs.  2nd generation Indians on the other hand, tend to be more tolerant and accepting because they have been exposed to different lifestyles and question their surroundings.  I am Indian and I am gay.  Being one does not mean I cannot be the other as well.”


What advice would you give other Indians that are struggling with similar challenges of coming out and accepting themselves?
“First of all, sit and talk to a sibling and gauge their reaction.  Then sit back and think about how strong you are. Can you face the criticism?  Can you walk by without flinching when people gawk and call you names under their breath?  Then talk to your family.  Finally, become a brick wall because it is your life.  It’s about you.  Why would you worry about what other people think?  If they don’t support you now, they never will. You have to be strong. Trust yourself and be strong.  Believe in yourself and continue on your path,  because you’re not a dummy.  It is better to sacrifice your social calendar than it is to sacrifice your life.”


Living in a time and age where acceptance is supposed to be embedded into our very DNA, we still struggle with society’s demands of what is normal and what is not; what is acceptable and what is not.  No one is normal, and it is okay to be different.  Most of us feel we need to follow the ‘master plan’ created for us even before conception, but there is no such thing.  Ashka’s struggle proves that it is okay to live outside the miniscule box that is normalcy; you shouldn’t feel remorse or guilt for who you love.  Kavita from Born Confused says it best, “In the East you love who you marry, and in the West you marry who you love, but maybe you just love who you love.”

Silly Girls

Girls are so obsessed with looking good all the time. The thing is, we’re not even trying to look good for guys…girls work so hard to look good for other girls. From what my guy friends tell me, they prefer women that are natural.  All the plucking, prodding, covering, and smoothing is done to impress other girls. Girls are like peacocks; the fluff their feathers to show how good they are. Why are we like that?

Girls. Girls. Girls.

Girls girls girls. Everyone knows that girls are very conscious of what they look like and what other people think of them. One thing, more than clothing that girls “critique”, is make-up. Girls spend money on make-up like monkeys eat bananas, you can never have TOO much of it.
Boys are always told to never go through a girl’ purse, the question here is, why? I’ll tell you why, if a boy knew HOW much make-up was in a girl’s purse then he would surely never look at her in the same way. A girl’s purse contains an entire shop full of “beautifying” equipment. This is heavy duty stuff, mascara that stays on for 8 hrs, lipstick that won’t smudge or even come off ALL day; makes a guy wonder exactly what a girl might really look like behind the mask.
Now I know there is not a single guy out there that looks at a girl for the first time and thinks, “I wonder what she looks like WITHOUT all that make-up?? Girls do an exquisite job of covering themselves up, because every passing girl seems to be even more beautiful than the last. What to do, make-up for some girls is like a miracle makeover in a bag. Now don’t get me wrong, there are girls out there that are beautiful without any make-up, but they don’t realize that because they try and make themselves look fake. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like looking at people that look like walking Barbie dolls.
The concept of make-up is not anything new however, make-up has been used by some of the most famous women throughout time. Cleopatra used make-up as her weapon; her tantalizing eyes aided her to trap both Julius Caesar and Anthony. Even Queen Elizabeth used lead based make-up to awe her subjects and make them adore their queen even more. The point is, that women can use make-up to get anything that they want; they become unbelievably gorgeous and out of nowhere, everything they ever dreamed of comes to them. Girls take this example and think, “Maybe if I put on a little MORE make-up, I can get everything.” There were slight “setbacks” to their unmatchable beauty however, Queen Elizabeth was driven insane by the lead in her make-up, and Cleopatra’s make-up made “beauty” led to the destruction of two major leaders in Roman history.
When it comes to matters of looking nice, girls get very serious. They like to look nice, but more importantly, they love to look nicer than all the other girls around them. I know all you girls reading this have thought at least ONCE, “Psh, I look WAY better than her.” We all have, even the most modest of us, have thought that we look better than someone, or that our make-up looks better than theirs. Its in the way we girls think; upon meeting another girl, we automatically look at them like competition and our objective is to beat them. At what though, looking good? Putting on better make-up? Come on now, seriously. Girls around potentially prettier girls is like UT and A&M at a football game… it could get very ugly very quickly, and I don’t mean by ugly girls, I mean the situation could get very tense.
If only girls realized that they weren’t that ugly without make-up, we wouldn’t use so much of it. Sadly, it’s a fact of life that we all have to accept, girls wear make-up and therefore hide their real faces behind expensive facades, and with that, hide their true selves and conform to what is today’s Paris Hilton and Pamela Anderson.

Oh Brown People How I Love Thee

Indian people make me laugh. Not in a racist way…that would just be weird because I am Indian, but in the way calls for observation and comment.We’re a funny group of people, and I think it’s interesting to see how Indian people have adjusted themselves into American society. I wrote this for my English class in uni. Enjoy!

Indians: More Complicated than Thought

Three types of Indian people grace the world with their presence: The Fob, The Coconut, and The Bigga. The fob is an amazing species of Indian that takes the term “fresh off the boat” to a literal sense. The coconut tries very clumsily to assimilate into American culture by acting white, but makes a fool of himself in the process. The bigga is an Indian masquerading in “bling” as a black person, but only deceiving himself and appearing idiotic to others. Three diverse types of Indians all hailing from the same origin give the impression that looks truly are misleading.

The Fob is the most native type of Indian one can encounter. The fob has no sense of language, style, or body odors. The fob tries speaking with Native Americans and very foolishly thinks that the American will understand him. He replaces his “W” with “V”, making a “waterslide” into a “vaterslide”, or better yet, a “van” into a “wan”. Their sentence structure would make any English teacher want to retire immediately; a simple sentence becomes the most complicated issue. “I am going grocery shopping” can turn into “shopping for the wegetables is where I am deciding to going today.” The fob also has no sense of sense of style; he does not know what to wear and when to wear it. He may try pairing a too-tight-too-small shirt with a pair of high waters and black shiny boots to a formal dance, but then may turn around and wear nice slacks and a dress shirt to school. Sadly though, his fashion faux pas is invisible to him, he walks around the streets smirking to himself thinking his clothing is “hip”, but does not understand why everyone is falling to the ground laughing as he passes by. One more thing the fob refuses to acknowledge is his offensive body odor. It is true that people like to smell nice, but the fob’s version of nice is an intoxicating aroma of curry and sweat. This odor is further enhanced by the fob’s unawareness of an amazing modern miracle; deodorant. The fob does not believe in deodorant, he assumes that just because he has showered for the week, he won’t smell; oh is he wrong. There is nothing worse than a smelly fob. The fob is a mind-boggling and bold species that will walk around talking, dressing, and smelling as he pleases, no matter how many people he might and surely will insult and disgust.

The coconut is the next genus to look out for; he is a tricky one to find. His color may be that of an Indian, but his language, style, and overall appearance hopelessly try to deceive one into thinking he is white. The coconut takes on the language of a white person. He tries to impress others with his awkward use of typical “white words” such as “bro” and “gnarly”, however, he uses them in completely the wrong tense exposing himself as an Indian. Also, the coconut successfully attempts to forget his language and culture by mispronouncing his own language to make himself appear more American. Another thing the coconut is terrific at is his style. The coconut does not mix-and-match his own clothing like the fob, but instead mindlessly buys clothes from Abercrombie, American Eagle, and Hollister to further suppress his true identity; the coconut trades in his culture for a few pairs of expensive jeans and colorful polo shirts. The coconut’s overall appearance is clean cut and very metro sexual. The coconut finds appearance to be a very serious matter; he spends more time in the bathroom than a girl. Gel, hair mouse, and aftershave, all things that the fob would never even dream of, contribute to the nice, and even pretty overall appearance of the coconut. The coconut strives to be like the white people in this sense, smelling nice and looking good, but fails because some things are still out of his reach. The coconut tries to assimilate into American culture by changing everything, from his appearance to his style, but never quite reaches the level of the white people.

The bigga is the last type of Indian left to explore; his language, style, and attitude are what isolate and humiliate him. The bigga tries to use language only found in rap videos in his daily life; “whas up homie” and “youz my dawg” are common phrases heard among the bigga and his “playas”. These phrases, when used in the wrong situation, can and will amount to massive problems; the bigga has no sense of what he is saying, he merely tries to act like a black person so he may become more popular. What the bigga does not realize, is that he comes across as a brainless git because everyone around him knows he is Indian and he knows he is Indian, but his charade of trying to act black continues through his language. Another way the bigga belittles and exposes himself as an Indian is through his clothing style. The bigga struggles to walk in his three sizes too big shorts and “white tees”. He believes that the larger his clothing, the more black and “gangsta” he looks. To be black, the bigga assumes some “bling” is necessary; normally Indians sport gold chains and bracelets, but the bigga rejects these items and favors silver and platinum chains and bracelets. These things give the impression that “bling” is a crucial element The bigga fails to see the reality of the situation, white people mock him for his “penguin strut”, Indian people refuse to acknowledge his existence, and black people want to hurt him for disrespecting their culture of big clothing and large “bling”. All in all, the bigga fails completely in all ways possible in his endeavor to become black; if he tries too hard though, the bigga may just find himself hanging upside down from a ten-story building while the real “gangstas” laugh nearby while trying to pull up their own shorts and hide their own “penguin strut”.

The fob, coconut, and bigga all try in their own ways to fit into society, but all fail miserably when trying to be something they are not. The fob, boldest of all, keeps his own identity but also tries to absorb into American society, but is rejected because the body odor he exhumes is enough to absorb all the technological jobs around him. The coconut shamelessly gives up his own culture in hopes of retaining a bit of American culture, but is cast off because his jeans are not the right shade of blue, and his word choice “so twenty minutes ago”. Lastly, the bigga is abandoned by his “black brothas” because his “bling” and language aren’t ghetto enough, and he makes the other “playas” look like they have “no game”. In short, Indians have no one category they belong to, because no matter who they try to act like, look like, and smell like, they can always live with the faith that they will be rejected.