One passion?

January 13, 2013 – Late Night Thoughts

I tried to set up a motivational songs playlist – you can see it on Spotify if you know how to stalk me through those things. I signed up with my name (Pryanka Arora) and main email address (blishful@gmail.com) if that makes things easier. I added the songs Motivation (Kelly Rowland, Lil Wayne), I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly), Stronger (Kanye West), We Will Rock You (Queen), and Total Eclipse of the Heart (Queen). Then I played a random song and set to work typing up this post.

But whatever thoughts had been pouring out of me dying to be written suddenly got stage fright and disappeared. So I guess this is just one of those nights that I don’t need music on. It was distracting me! That’s a first.

I wanted to talk about firsts today too. Today is the first time I don’t feel like wearing nail polish on my fingers. In fact, I have this strong urge to go downstairs right now and wipe off Sinful Colors, Blue By You, off my nails before I continue writing. I don’t know where this is coming from or why I feel such vehement distaste towards polish on my nails suddenly, but there is no denying that it is there. I have not gone a single day without painted nails once I stumbled across my fascination/addiction/obsession with nail polish in late 2011. It is now January 2013 and this week, I left my nails bare on Wednesday. And after typing this post, I am probably going to remove my polish once more.

I know that people change and it’s nothing to freak out about, but in my typical fashion of overthinking things and drawing out connections, I feel like this week, my passion for nail art is dimming. I am sure it will revitalize or change gradually into a gentler calling.

Passion. I never want to be criticized for not having enough passion. With my career, with my family, with my hobbies – I want to be passionate. I never want to do something I am not passionate about. And it is not until recently that I began to experience so much depression, anxiety, and doubt when it came to law.

Guys, I WANT TO BE A LAWYER. I have wanted to be a lawyer since I can remember. Dreams can change, and it’s okay. But this isn’t even a dream. It is my one goal, ambition, purpose, and passion. My ONE career choice that I felt undying passion and draw to.

Then it came down to it and I underperformed on the LSAT. Maybe not the end of the world, but crushing to my self-esteem and confidence. To my passion.

I feel as though when I lost that passion, I tried to fill in the gaps with things like nail art, beauty blogging, makeup and skincare products, nail polish, and dating. My writing suffered, my academics suffered, and certainly, the law school application process has suffered.

I don’t have a single letter of rec yet, though I brought up the subject with my Professors and Bosses back in November. I just dropped it all. What happened to my passion? WHERE IS IT?

I need it back. I want to be a lawyer. I need to write the BEST essay ever and convince them, in two double-spaced pages, that if they look beyond the numbers, they will see a woman who wants it desperately. Who envisions herself as a lawyer, and who knows she will be a success.

But can I only handle one passion at a time? When I am trying to revitalize my passion for law, why do I find my love of nail polish faltering? Why am I no longer writing creatively? Why have I not done anything in Photoshop in MONTHS???

I still want to be passionate 😦 Help me find my passions. I can’t pick just one.

After I typed up this post, I did actually go down to get my polish remover and open up Youtube to catch up on my subscribed channels. iisuperwomanii posted a new video, and it furthered my melancholy mood 😦 RIP to her grandfather, please watch this extremely moving and emotional and uplifting video though…it has an important message. It felt like she was speaking right to me. Right to my fears and emotions.

I know I am ending this on a serious note, and my heart is just breaking for what she is going through, but I think it’s an important message that I really needed to hear.

What I want to say to you is that in 2013, you will fall. You will get upset, you will get heartbroken, things will go wrong. And what I want to tell you is that you don’t need to wait until the end of the year to decide it’s a new beginning. Every single day, any day you choose can be a new beginning. So in 2013, if something doesn’t go your way, don’t think “Oh, that’s it, the year is done, I can’t do anything.” No! Wake up the next morning, and make it happen. 2013 is your year, I believe in you, follow your dreams. And when I say follow your dreams, that doesn’t mean dream about them. That means wake up and make it happen. Stop wishing, start doing. I believe in you.

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NaNoWriMo Day 1

I don’t know where else to turn, so I will rely on the anonymity of the internet and the chance of gaining an online support group of readers who will help me soldier through this really weird period of my life. You don’t really need to know me – only that I’m 23 and about to make the craziest decision of my life.

No, I’m not about to quit my job and backpack through Europe or streak around the block…twice.

What I’m doing is probably much crazier. I’m about to accept an arranged marriage. I’m about to marry Jay, the man my parents picked out for me, and I’m about to convince myself that somehow, we will find love at the end of all of this.

Arranged marriage is a weird concept and very scary as a girl who was born and raised in the United States. As somebody who went to a very liberal university in New York City, I still cannot believe that I am going to allow my parents to make the biggest decision in my life thus far rather than try to blunder about until I find my man by myself.

Part of me is excited by the challenge of an arranged marriage, and part of me is revolted that I am feeling this excitement at all.

Mostly, I am just trying to reason through why I am saying yes, and explain myself to my friends and family. I don’t want to become bitter and resentful before I even give marriage a chance, although I admit that I feel as though I am giving up on love by saying yes to Jay.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him – that’s not the problem. The problem is just that we don’t love each other, and I don’t know if marrying a man I don’t love will ever work out.
I wish that I could live out our possible futures in a dream and then pick the best possible path to happiness. I think Sabrina was lucky enough to have that chance in one episode of Sabrina The Teenage Witch. I think I am rambling.

The first time I met Jay was sufficiently awkward enough to convince me that I was right in despising arranged marriage. I think I was skeptical because I have kept so much of my life hidden from my parents that I don’t expect them to know what kind of man I can see myself with. They’re sheltered, you see, and what they don’t know won’t really hurt them. I don’t kiss and tell. (Except on this blog, and I’m going to enjoy the anonymity and blog away)

—-

I’m going to try to remember as much of our first conversation as I can.

“Hey, it’s nice to meet you,” I said to the guy as he slid into the seat across from me. We were at a Starbucks in the city located geographically in between my office and his.

“I’m Jay.”

“Yeah, I know. Hi, what’s up?”

I could already tell it would be awkward. We’d spoken on the phone once before when setting up this meeting and then texted earlier today already to make sure we were going to the right Starbucks. Clearly, he was Jay.

“Trust me, this is weird for me too,” I said to him.

“Oh. Yeah, I don’t often meet prospective wives either. Talk about pressure”

“So you mean you’ve met other prospectives before? Should I be flattered I’m getting a chance?”

He smiled a little and then the silence stretched on uncomfortably.

“So what do you want to drink?”

“I’ll take an iced coffee. Love the smell, can’t stand the taste. Of hot coffee, I mean”

“I’m basically addicted to coffee so as long as you don’t mind the smell, we’re cool.”

Then we settled into another silence as we contemplated what it could possibly mean that our first conversation was about whether we liked the smell of coffee or not.

A minute later, he got up to go order our coffees and I sat there mentally running through my checklist. The fact that he didn’t have an Indian accent was the most relieving part of my day.
“I’m sorry, this is really weird for me,” he says to me when he returns with our coffees. I made a face and shrugged. It was a weird situation, period. We just had to make the most of it.

“So pretend that this is our first date then. We met at a party last week and exchanged numbers. And now here we are.”

That’s what broke the ice – it was something we could both relate to because we’d both grown up here and it was a more comfortable introduction than a contrived meeting to discuss if we were compatible for marriage.

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but I think the beginning of that conversation was worth blogging about. Something to look back on and laugh at? Maybe despair over. Not sure yet.
So yeah, coffee. He loves drinking it, and I love smelling it. So far, so good.

I have this list of questions I wrote in High School when my parents threatened to marry me off to a guy from India if I didn’t get into a good college. It had been a joke, but I wanted to be prepared.

1. How many kids do you want?
2. Do you smoke?
3. What’s your opinion on women who drink?
4. Are you a virgin? (Probably NOT a good idea to ask this one at our first meeting unless I really want to scare him away)
5. Do you like to dance?
6. Are you a morning person!?
7. Favorite food? Cuisine?
8. What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
9. Do you like to travel? (He had better answer yes to this one)
10. Pets?
11. Have you ever had a girlfriend?
12. Ass or titties? (Okay this one was mostly just for fun. Maybe a good test of his sense of humor?)
13. How religious are you
14. Do you like long drives?
15. How athletic or into sports are you?

When I was younger, I thought that list was a good rundown of the basics. The simple questions that I didn’t want to come later as a surprise, and the small things that I know I wanted in the perfect life partner that I fantasized about.

It’s strange because I made this list right after I went with my cousin to meet a girl our parents had picked out for him. “She comes from a good family, beta,” they told us both over and over. I was skeptical and I’m sure it showed on my face when I first met her. They had exchanged pictures before and were meeting in person for the first time today. With the whole family in tow.

I am so thankful that my first time meeting Jay wasn’t my first time meeting his whole family as well. I’d have blown it for sure.

See, I write things like that and wonder why I am trying to please them all. My parents, his parents, and him. Why should I care? Why didn’t part of me choose to rebel and dress in really repellant clothing and eat a lot of garlic before meeting him?

“I’m American,” I tell myself over and over. Growing up, that is how I have justified all of my unique thoughts. So now, when I could have easily worked myself out of an arranged marriage, why am I even contemplating marrying this man?

—-

I have thought some more about what I wrote earlier and tried to figure out why I am okay with arranged marriage.

I think it is time to introduce my readers to Dan. Dan is the ex-boyfriend. The first serious relationship I had with a man.

We broke up when I realized I loved him.

In a word, Dan was perfect. How can I go from loving perfection to loving anything else? He is my first everything, and no matter what happens, I cannot imagine a plane of existence where I will not be powerfully attracted to him.

But we broke up because he’s not Indian, and I realized that as fun and amazing and spectacular as our relationship was, I could never let it deepen into anything more because my parents didn’t even know he existed.

If you are wondering how one can possibly hide a five year relationship, just ask a brown girl.

There is no Hindi word for “boyfriend” or “girlfriend.” For too long, Indian society has gone on pretending that it’s still alright for the community to play matchmaker, and honestly, I am sick of it.

I used to wonder what reasons there could possibly exist that would allow an educated Indian girl in today’s society to accept that age-old destiny and enter an arranged marriage.

Whenever Dan and I spoke about it, I would tell him I would never be one of those dumb girls without any ambition or desires of their own.

I still don’t think I am one of those girls, but I have found a reason nonetheless. That’s why I’m here in this predicament, blogging about how I might possibly be marrying a guy I don’t know. Clearly.

The reason is family. It’s an extremely unfair reason, but if I had to show you how compelling it was, I’d say envision all of the emotional blackmail, peer pressure, guilt, persuasive arguments, and bribes you have ever seen, and add them all up. Then throw in a really cute puppy for good measure.

My family is something that I have grown into and am inseparable from. I have a large family with many cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, and elders. They have been there to give me life, love, advice, friendship, gifts, and wisdom.

If marrying an Indian man is the only way to sustain that family, then that is a small sacrifice to pay. Who am I to be so picky and declare that I won’t marry an Indian man.

I think that when I began dating Dan, it was to rebel against them and try to declare my independence in some contrived way. My own personal secret. But our relationship didn’t just end in a few months, and now trying to imagine a life without him is really, really hard too.

The problem is that I can’t just forget him. He didn’t cheat on me, and we didn’t have a really big argument that brought out any irreconcilable differences.

I am the problem. My ethnicity and the family that raised me is the problem. I love them, and that’s a problem.

Because the way I see it, I can never tell them about him. I can’t keep my love at the expense of breaking all of their hearts. So I broke off my relationship with him before we would get hurt anymore and now I will weep and grieve and mend in time.

Character Building

It’s that weird mid-semester slump where we’ve all finished our round 1 stories and are beginning to brainstorm ideas for our second (and hopefully a little longer, around 20 pages or so) round of stories.

To that effect, this week (for class on Wednesday) our Creative Writing teacher has asked us to pinpoint a weakness that we found in our workshops from our first stories and write a piece focusing on improving that one aspect of our writing.

To be more specific, one of my weaknesses was that I don’t follow the “Show, don’t tell” rule of writing and try to tell my readers what is happening rather than show them. So I’m going to try to write something that avoids that creative writing blunder.

How, I’m not sure, but let’s see how it goes. Nabila, you wanted me to keep you updated, so there you go. Find a specific aspect of your writing you want to improve on, and then write a piece where you try to improve on it. It’d be cool to later blog about how that whole process went for you if you’d like.

Summer Writing Plans

This post is going to give a brief update to my readers about upcoming changes/additions to the writing section of my blog. I’ll summarize quickly below, and you can continue reading if you want to see more details!

  • All entries regarding National Novel Writing Month will be categorized “Writing”, tagged “NNWM”
  • All entries with character journal related posts will be categorized “Writing”, tagged “character journals”
  • I’m collaborating with English major, friend, and recent graduate Scott Kelleyover the summer. These entries will consist first of character journals, but will include anything else we can collaborate and work on together. This could be art, one-shots, scenarios, short stories, vignettes, etc. These will be categorized “Writing”, tagged “character journal” and also whatever we end up naming our project. I’ll post separately about the project when we have named it. We will:
    • Create character journals for two unique characters. Fae is my character, Benjamin is his.
    • Try to sketch out what we see our characters like
    • Practice various character writing exercises. So dropping them into scenarios, etc.
    • Hopefully, by the end of the summer, we’ll have substantial character writing material, be really good at writing characters, and also have a substantial 50-100 page novella. Idk what page length for a novella is though. But something like that.
  • I’m picking 100 Tales back up, so you’ll see more of that this summer.

Earlier this year, my friend Melissa was blogging a lot about her character journals. I think she is (was?) taking a fiction writing class, and they spent a few weeks discussing how helpful character journals can be!

Well I read her posts about this a while ago [HERE and HERE] and wanted to try this out by myself. As I mentioned, I shall be participating in National Novel Writing Month this November (I grew up calling this Novel November) with my roommate Misha (We’re writing our own independent novels though) and also my administrative aide at work, Miss Mary. I shall refrain from posting her full name!) In order to prepare for that kind of dedication (1000 words per day for an entire month, wow) , I need to start getting in shape and begin writing more profusely! I also want to explore creating characters and get a head start on the kind of story I want to write. Hopefully, by the time I start writing my novel in November, I will already know my characters. Once I am intimate with them, weaving their life into a story will be easy. I am of the opinion that a good book is one where the reader can become the character. In order to do that, I need to be so comfortable that somebody could create a true-to-character human version of my written characters. You know what I mean? I want them to be so REAL to me that I can envision them interacting with the world the same way I can vividly and accurately imagine my best friend Nabila going to Starbucks to order a frappachino.

Tangent aside, I was busy with finals and LSAT and then the Blogging Challenge and couldn’t devote much more time to thinking about character journals. Well now things have slowed down and I have some time!

I’m looking forward to collaborating with Scott! That’ll be my summer writing project. Less intense than Poetry Paradise or Project Theme, but hopefully, just as fulfilling! I just need to come up with a catchy tag for this summer’s collaboration with Scott. Something with assonance, I think.

Woo, I’m excited! I get to work on my character writing!! I really need to experiment, because I think all of my characters end up…just being me. I need to learn how to draw from other sources of inspiration when creating characters, and how to give them their own unique voices instead of inserting my own dialogue into everybody’s mouth. Yeah seriously, they may have different characteristics and roles, but they’re mostly different me’s. I need them to be different them’s. That’s totally a distinction, don’t question it.

Melissa, if you read this, please suggest character writing books to me! I want to plan out some sort of schedule or format Scott and I can follow this summer. A set of exercises even.

I’m taking an Advanced Creative Writing Fiction Workshop next semester at school to complete my Creative Writing minor, so this summer project will whip me into shape and help me get back into the process of writing larger pieces. I’ve gotten totally lazy and just been writing Poetry because it’s quick and easy to pen emotions down into a poem. Obviously, a great poem needs much refinement, but for now, poetry has been easier. Well now, it’s time to switch back into fiction writing mode.

Thought you knew Pryanka? I know I’ve had an influx of new followers since the Blogging Honesty challenge. Well you guys are in for a treat, you get to see what I’m capable of writing!! I bet you didn’t know Pryanka liked writing so much, hm? Unless you stalked my blog back through time and saw that I love to write. My English major and Creative Writing minors are giveaways though, right? I love reading and writing. Someday, I hope to be published. I don’t want to make money off of it or anything. I just want to be published so I can say I was! It isn’t a career choice. But it sure as hell is one fun hobby.