When I was in Grade 2, I had to learn the lyrics to Lean on Me by Bill Withers, to perform at an assembly. Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend; I’ll help you carry on. For, it won’t be long, ’til I’m gonna need, somebody to lean on.
Looking back, the song didn’t mean much at all. Seven year olds haven’t quite seen the struggles of the world. I remember taking “leaning” in the literal sense. But it was an important message, nonetheless. I am now twenty years old, and I’m still struggling to learn that lesson.
I was on vacation in Ottawa when I heard about Christina Grimmie. An artist I admired greatly had been shot, senselessly, after a concert, while she had been signing autographs for fans. It was the first thing I read that morning, shaping how I approached the rest of that day. I remember being glad I lived in Canada; although we are nowhere near perfect, gun violence does not occur anywhere near the rates at which occurs in the neighbourhoods of our southern neighbours.
I did not post anything on social media.
A few days later, I heard about the Orlando Pulse shooting. Again, first thing I read in the morning. The worst mass shooting in Modern American History, headlines read. I mourned. I mourned for days, for weeks; I could not wrap my head around the number of deaths that occurred that night, in what was supposed to be a safe space. I mourned the death of Gay Nightclubs as a safe space for the LGBT community.
This is a post that has been festering in a corner of my brain for a while. Every time I sat down to write it, the time didn’t feel right; I didn’t feel ready. Today, a friend came to me, and we talked a little bit about stuff that pertains to this post, and..all of a sudden, I wanted to write this post, I needed to write this post, and get it out for people to read, as soon as possible. I’m going to cover a few topics, all of which are very important to me personally. Bear with me.Continue reading “If you’re reading this, it’s never too late.”
It’s summer, and for my family, that means beaches, hiking, and picnics pretty much every weekend. I’ll admit, every year, I too succumb to the “summer body” ideal and start exercising, working out, to achieve it (knowing full well that it will all go to waste once midterms hit, but I digress).
My mother has wanted to go to Yoga classes for a few years now, and this summer we decided to finally do that. After all, it’s supposedly great for building body strength and toning muscle. So we signed up, and started going.
At our very first class, the (very white instructor) told us that we were going to start our practice with an “Ohm.” That made me feel a little bit weird, but..Ohm isn’t a strictly Hindu word, many different religions and cultures use and view it differently, I told myself. It wasn’t until the end of the practice, when our instructor said “Namaste,” that I genuinely felt something was wrong. Continue reading “Oh So Exotic: Hinduism, Yoga, and a Note on Cultural Appropriation”
I want to start off with a disclaimer. I know that this is a touchy subject, and I will try my best to not overstep any bounds. I’m specifically calling out the South Asian community; to anyone with a right to the word and a right to reclaim the slur (ie, the Black community), it is obviously not my place to tell you otherwise. That said, please do call me out if I cross lines.
Technically, I didn’t need to say that. I mean, we live in a free country; we all have freedom of speech, right? We can say whatever we want with no consequences, right? Not entirely. For some reason, people seem to equate the two, and it’s simply not true. Believe it or not, just because the government can’t put you in jail for expressing your “opinion,” doesn’t mean you’re not capable of being wrong.
I’m hesitant to write an opinion piece. I consider myself an activist on many fronts, which I believe can entirely be summed up by the term “intersectional feminist.” I believe that different women face different intensities of oppression, (depending on race, class, sexuality, to name a few) and I believe in social, political, and economic equity for all individuals. It also means that I’m passionate about social inequality on many fronts. So here goes, my first real opinion piece:
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term:
voluntourism: (n.) a form of tourism in which travellers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity.
Confession: I don’t want children. Present Continuous Tense. (Actually, I think the proper form of the sentence would be, “I am not wanting children,” but come on, who talks like that?)
This is always a really touchy subject for a lot of people. I’m always told that “I’ll change my mind when I’m older,” or that “I’m too young to make a decision like that.” I have yet to meet a single person over the age of 25 who doesn’t immediately feel the need to argue with me and convince me otherwise.
But it’s true. I might actually change my mind, down the road. When I was 10 years old, I was obsessed with the idea of being a Doctor. I used to say, though, that being a Doctor would not allow me to have children until I was 30-something, and I was sure that wanted my first child at 25, and my second at 28. Minds do change.Continue reading “Babies? Not on board with that, at all.”