Dear K, Happy (Belated) Siblings Day

Hey Sis,

Happy Siblings Day! Of course, while others are posting cute comic candids, I’m sitting here tearing up over the fact that it’s siblings day… Surprise surprise.

I feel so many things. Sad and blessed. Lonely and loved. Nostalgic and excited for the future. Right now, we are living in special circumstance. In the same city, the same industry. While we don’t share walls like we used to, we share our lives in a way most don’t. If we miss even the smallest details in each others’ life, we throw our hands up at the world, blame our jobs and force the other into essay-length text conversations, or full Saturday nights spent on the couch eating Mom’s frozen Indian food and talking for six hours straight.

There are days when I can’t help but miss when we were younger. Seeing the light under your door and knowing that no matter what you were doing, you were there for me. I miss waking up on Saturdays and singing songs together, making breakfast together, talking about our dreams together. And then I realize that even though on days it feels like you’re far away, if I called you or you called me, in a state of need, we’d be there in the time it took an Uber to show up and cross the Mid-town tunnel. We’re f*cking fortunate.

You know I’m a planner, and I always like to know what’s next. I can spend an entire day in a daydream… but lately I’ve been catching myself. Because who knows where life will take us? You’re in your mid-twenties, exploring the world, getting to know yourself, finding your footing. I never want your discovery to stop. I want you to go far and wide and crazy.

And while I’m not old or anything (despite that fact that just two weeks ago you discovered my first gray hair. Thanks a lot for that), at some point, my world may become more insular, while yours becomes more expansive. I may focus on home, while you may focus on more. While we have to be okay with that — the fact that life ebbs and flows — and we’ve both learned how to find the beauty in whatever life brings… very little in life is as beautiful as the time we spend together. So here’s hoping that we get boring at the same time. Start diets at the same time. And reach peak hangovers at the same time. That you continue to be precocious and act like you’re 35 when you’re only 25.  That whatever life throws our way, we’re always drawn back together – through the pull of a stiff cocktail, a decadent dessert or an unbelievably juicy piece of gossip. Or more likely, just through the simple power of our sisterly bond.

May we always act like the crazy kids we’ve always been.

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Love you,

A

Dear A, Happy Siblings Day

Dearest Sissy,

Happy Sibling’s Day! I thought this year, instead of the usual Instagram shout out, I’d give you something more.
It’s been quite a while since I sat down to write about you or our relationship. The last time I did, I wrote about living in your shadow. About how people would talk about me only within your context. And how, I guess that should have upset me. But it never really did. Growing up I could think of no better place to live than in your shadow. In the strong, graceful and kind cover and protection you provided for me. And in a way, we’re past that. I’ve grown into my own individual, yes – but still rely on that blanket of safety you continue to provide me.
The past few years have been a whirlwind for both of us. Each year going faster and changing our lives more than the previous one. From you tying your life to someone else’s to me cutting ties with an old home and starting afresh. We have been tested – in our careers, in relationships, in health. But never have we let this pattern of tests be applied to our relationship. In fact, I can only remember one time where we got close to testing the strength of our bond, only to drop it and order pizza.
Rarely do I say this, at the risk of hurting others who are important to me, but you truly are the most influential and important person in my life. You’ve taught me everything I know. You’ve shown me more than anyone else, how to love my family, how to love myself and how to live a life I’m proud of. You’ve shared your passions, an industry, a city, a blog (and most importantly, Kingston) with me, and I can’t imagine sharing so much with anyone else.
I am so grateful to have you to turn to, to learn from and to laugh with.
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May we always show up to places in the exact same (unplanned) outfits

Love you long time,
K

 

The Same, But New

K

When A first showed me her post on Newness and asked if I had anything to contribute, I hesitated before passing. Nothing new has really happened since I last wrote – nothing’s changed, I thought.

In a way, this is the truth. I’m still at the same job, working with the same team. Still living in the same city, spending time with the same friends and family. I continue to spend my free time doing the same things as before. An outsider would notice no difference in my day-to-day life. To them, it would be like those scenes in the movies where they show time pass, but the character living through the same routine over and over again.

What’s interesting though, is that my life feels newer than it has in years. In the past five years I’ve experienced being in college, being unemployed, being new to the work force, being in love, being heartbroken and moving to a new city – just to name a few. In the last year, nothing major has happened. And yet, more has changed inside me than ever before.

Newness isn’t always physical. It isn’t always a milestone, either. Sometimes it’s just a mindset. Sometimes it’s just falling asleep to new thoughts and waking up with a different energy and then applying that to whatever comes at you during the day.

 It’s taken me a lot to get here. I’m talking years and years of feeling stuck in the same rut despite making so many efforts to shake things up. No matter what happened – I felt the same. The same things caused my heart to flutter, the same things broke me down. But at some point, after the repeated flutters and breaks – after the same sources of joy and sadness – my mind said no more. I can’t pinpoint for you when or how the shift happened. All I know is that I was dealt the same cards, once again, but this time what I did with them was different.

 I’ve read hundreds of quotes about how a new mindset is all you need to change any situation at hand. I’ve always believed it, too. But I thought myself too weak to force such a monumental change. What’s funny about this fear is that I’ve never been afraid of physical changes – a new hairstyle, a different career path, not even a different city. But to admit that the way I was viewing situations close to my heart and imagining my future was the root of my problem, was the scariest and most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. The most difficult, but the most rewarding.

 So here’s to new beginnings. For both Jointly and I – exactly the same as the old, but also so entirely different.

NEWNESS

A

If you asked me in my last post – in November 2015 – where I would be now, there’s no way in hell I would’ve been able to tell you.

I had a Tarot reading done at the beginning of 2016, in the backroom of a crystal shop in New Orleans. The Hermit was front and center. A card of introspection, looking for answers within, and allowing oneself the luxury of solitary retreat.  At the time, I didn’t realize that this card would be indicative of my entire year. That 2016 would be all about shedding my own preconceived notions about lifestage, success, and companionship, in favor of allowing my experience to inform my life.

After my one month break in November 2016 (which went by in a flash, as you can imagine), I started a new job at a company that I thought could give me the one things I was really looking for – longevity. I could see myself growing there, taking on more responsibility, moving to an office closer to our families one day.

And longevity is something I (along with many other “Millennials,” so I hear…) struggle with. I like change, I’m invigorated by newness, and I can’t see the point of staying in a situation that makes me unhappy. Especially now, when Mr. P and I are just living for ourselves. We give ourselves the flexibility to make mistakes, change up our careers, take pay cuts. We’re lucky in this way.

My plan felt solid.

But as we all know, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. And awry they went. So by September, on the eve of my 29th birthday, I had a new job. One that I don’t think would have come my way without The Hermit and a proper dose of being real with myself – despite what it looked like from the outside.

Since I started at Wolf & Wilhelmine, life has been a whirlwind. Or rather, the world has become a vortex?

The election was a debilitating punch in the stomach. I was in a fog for days. I couldn’t come to terms with what the new presidency would mean, and I was grappling with what I could do.

So, I signed on to teach at The New School at Parsons. I walked in the Women’s March on NYC with some of my closest friends. I attended the Unaugural Ball, thrown by two of my powerhouse friends. And, we decided to bring Jointly back. Because this is a better time than any to be joint. To voice opinions and hear perspectives. To facilitate new ways of thinking. To experiment for the sake of positive momentum.

Here’s our new take. This platform should be all about togetherness. About building bridges and creating bonds. About support and productive conversation. And therefore, if you ever feel strongly about something and want to share, we welcome you to use Jointly as your platform. Let us know how we can help you. Let us know if we can lend our space. Let us know if we can catalyze our network.

Also, we’ll still be talking about the magical mundane as always, to stay true to Jointly’s roots :). In the midst of all of the chaos in our worlds, sometimes it’s fun to linger on the small things.

Thanks for having us back, and allowing us to be a part of your days.

Jointly Yours,

A & K

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Long-Awaited Break

Since before I can remember, I’ve wanted a break. When I was in college and took summer classes, and packed my time with jobs, 21-credit semesters, and internships, I’ve wanted a break. When I jumped straight from college into a job, I wanted a break. When I moved to New York, and from company to company, I wanted a break.

By break, I don’t just mean a few weeks off to get married (for those of you who’ve gotten married, you know this isn’t a break), but a real, true, sit on my ass and do nothing but get my mind straight, break.

So in October, I decided to do it. Take off the month of November to just be. I tied my loose ends, checked my bank account, and quit my job. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how I’d feel, or what those around me would think. Would I seem lazy? Careless? Privileged? Or God forbid… Millennial!?

I hate to say that I care what people think, but I do. Especially the people I love, appreciate, and admire. But if I’m really honest with myself, what I care about above all is transparency. I can understand the need for a social highlight reel, for sharing the good, and portraying oneself in the best light. But I don’t understand why that’s it. Why we never reveal any other aspect of ourselves. To me, sharing in each others humanity is far more powerful. Embracing each other during the ups, and cradling each other during the downs.

So I decided to share my news. Admitting that I felt disconnected from myself, my city, my relationships. Confessing that I wasn’t doing the best, or being the best I could. Revealing that even a few days in, I could still feel half of my body in knots, and the other half slowly unraveling. It was terrifying.

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Deep down, I knew, and know others feel the same way. So why don’t we talk about our vulnerabilities? Why don’t we talk about fading friendships, faltering love, and failure when these conversations can liberate us?

When I pressed “post” on Facebook, I braced myself. I knew some people might read my post and see the frailty and naiveté of my character. But I also knew that some people might empathize. I didn’t, however, expect the outpouring of support – from my friends, my parents friends, my family all over the world. The “best decision in world!”s, and the “THIS IS NUTS (in an awesome way!)”s, and the “you deserve it!”s.

It wasn’t just sympathy or empathy. It was people throwing convention to the wayside and standing by me when I was most vulnerable.

In retrospect, I don’t know why I was that surprised. Especially now, when solidarity is pulsing through all of us. When we’re all tapping into the same positive, loving, helpful, encouraging consciousness, whether we live next door to one another, or across the globe.

The world is a scary place, but our community is beautiful.

Thank you for your kindness, understanding, and support. May we all continue to inject one another’s lives with this same sense of friendship, camaraderie, and unity.

Love,

A

A New New Yorker | What Living in New York Has Taught Me | Tale 4

Today marks my sixth month in New York. Whatt?! Half a year?! How did this happen? Well, to be totally honest, not without tears, tantrums, lots of complaining and pent up anger (I’m afraid if I ever show aggression out on the streets someone will follow me home and kill me).

I’ve decided that, as a 6 month anniversary gift to the city that I…uh…(sometimes) tolerate, I will compile a list of things I’ve learned from living here.

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  1. Not letting gross things bother you (for that long): In the past 6 months in New York, I have been exposed to more disgusting things than I have in my entire life. I’ve had old air conditioners leak their cooling juices on my head as I walk below them, I’ve learned how to avoid getting bed bugs in a place infested by them, I’ve taught myself how to avoid breathing by port-a-potties, and I’ve even learned how to get over a cockroach the size of my palm scurrying across my desk.
  2. How to get from point A to point B: In New York, you just have to know where you’re going. Because if you try to ask someone, they will most likely give you incorrect directions. Really, this happened to me on my second day of work. You can truly only count on yourself. And Google Maps…but only if you check it before going underground because then you’re screwed.
  3. That I don’t like crowded, loud places: When I was living in Chicago, I attributed a lot of my nights spent at home to my lack of friends living in the actual city. Now, after some time in NY I’ve realized that even when I have the option to go to these jam-packed, rowdy places, I happily opt out without any FOMO at all.
  4. How to pretend like some rude person didn’t just cut you off or aggressively push past you: Okay. I’m not even a slow walker. Like, I walk really really fast. So when someone pushes me out of their way (instead of just saying “excuse me” like a normal, non-savage, human being) I simply don’t understand it. But I also don’t understand why most homeless people here have iPhones or iPads, so what do I know?
  5. Just get your groceries delivered: For the love of God, don’t make the mistakes I have made. Walking a mile with three filled Trader Joe’s bag or paying $25 for your cab…not worth it. Fresh Direct is the way to go.
  6. Wear layers: Subway stations are 100 degrees and the office is 60. Need I say more?
  7. How to deal with claustrophobia: My two-bedroom apartment is the same size as my studio in Chicago was. To deal with this I – pretend I live in the fantasy worlds I watch on Netflix, go to A’s apartment, or force myself to fall asleep to avoid life.
  8. How to do pretty much anything in bed: My bed is so much more than a place to sleep. It’s also a place to eat, work, paint my nails, do crunches, and pretty much any other thing you can imagine me doing during the day. This is what happens when you don’t have a real living room.
  9. How to ignore gross men or crazy people on the street: Whether it’s a catcall or a guy walking around in a leotard screaming Selena Gomez song lyrics, for your own sanity, learn to tune it all out. I actually always day-dream of responding with some witty, bitchy comment. But refrain because, again, someone from the street can always follow you home and kill you.
  10. How to look past all this shit because you’re in New York: As much as I dislike the city, I realize that it truly is a city of dreams. The number of opportunities you have just outside your door is astonishing. So learning to look past all the negatives and focus on all the positives, is the number one thing New York has taught me. Granted, I still complain at least 5 times a day. But most days I can step back, look at my life, and realize that I’m so lucky to be where I am.

Moment of truth: I actually don’t deal with most of these situations well at all. And my #1 way of coping is actually just calling my mom and complaining. Then she tells me she’s sick of hearing it. So then I call my dad. So thanks dad, for putting up with me!

Love,

K

My (Biggest) Struggle of being an Indian Girl

If you’ve kept up with Jointly at all in the past almost two years (ahh!), you probably know by now that one of my favorite things to write, discuss, and vent about is being Indian. In most cases I like to joke (but never exaggerate) about what it’s like to be an Indian girl, but today I want to be totally honest and share with all of you, my biggest struggle as an Indian girl.

I’ve always known my biggest pain point with my ethnicity, but the full extent of it didn’t really hit me until I finished Mindy Kaling’s latest book, Why Not Me. The number one reason I struggle with being Indian is because Indian culture prohibits me from being 100% real with all of you. I always think about my goals as a writer and how I can further refine my voice and skill only to realize that I can’t really, because I’m Indian.

Now, before going any further, I would like to caveat that this post is based solely on my personal experience and feelings. Additionally, I would like to make it undeniably clear that I love being Indian and could not imagine my life in any other way. Okay? Okay, moving on…

I feel that, as an Indian woman, I have a certain image to maintain. I should conduct my life with the perfect amount of grace, respect and reservation. I should share little and keep my personal life, especially the portion of it grandparents may frown upon, personal. And to a certain extent, I totally agree with this. I am all for grace and you probably can’t find a girl who loves and respects people (who deserve it), more than I do. But not sharing…I’m sure you can see how that would hold me back as a writer.

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                          Indian girls should be all shy and shit

As I got deeper and deeper into Mindy’s stories, I couldn’t help but go a little bug-eyed as I read about her love life, how she enjoys filming sex scenes and her excessive drinking (and McDonald’s eating). I was shocked but inspired and could feel my already present admiration for her grow as I flipped each page. She is real, I thought. I want to be real too.

And I try to be. I really do. I’m sure you can tell from some of my writing. But there are certain personal topics I avoid completely, as I know my audience. But I’m getting to the point where I’m old enough to not care what other people think. I’ve been raised well and I know right from wrong and appropriate from inappropriate. I mean…it’s not like I want to be a lingerie model. Just a good writer. If you want to be a lingerie model (which I would also totally support, to each their own), and this post inspires you to do so, please do not tell your strict Indian parents that I gave you the idea. If you need someone to blame, blame Mindy.

Love,

K

P.S. For all Indians reading this and preparing to judge me for the unfiltered stories I am to tell in the future, just know – I heard young adults in India are way worse.