Daddy’s Girls

To be totally honest, I’ve been thinking about writing this post for quite some time now, but I’ve been putting it off. Why would I ever want to put off something that’s for our dad? The reasons are two-fold:

1. Even though A and I are normally pretty good at finding the right words – when it comes to our good ol’ Papa, there are literally no words that can do the man justice.

2. Because any time I even think about my dad for more than five seconds – I start to cry. It’s a strange reaction really. Normally that would indicate that we don’t have a good relationship or something. But it’s actually quite the contrary.

Our mom has always been our best friend. A and I both talk to her at least once a day. We call her when we’re happy. Sad. Bored. Hungry. Confused (typically paired with the hunger as we go to her for cooking help). And when we just need to complain. Our dad has always been a little envious of this relationship. There’s been a number of times where I’ll be whispering something to our mom in the kitchen and our dad will scream from the living room, “Huh? What are we talking about?!”

When you’re a girl, your mom will always be your best friend, your locked box of secrets and your role model.  But your dad will always be equally as special and necessary. I can’t speak for A (I know she feels the same but would probably articulate it differently) but for me, our dad is both my biggest weakness and my biggest strength.

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Like most good oxymorons, it’s hard to understand. How can my greatest strength also be my greatest weakness? I’ll try my best to explain…

We have a strong connection, my father and I. He’s the one who pushes me – without even meaning to. He’s the reason I strive to be bigger, better, and more mature in matters of the mind and the heart. In my moments of weakness I think of him and know that he would never want me to shed tears or feel hopeless – and so I try my best to brush it off and stand up tall, because I’m Samir Gautam’s daughter. But so often, it is this very thought that kicks me even more. To know how my father would feel knowing that I’m a part of the big, real world now and thus, how hurt and cut up I’ve been at times.

I guess it all comes back to dad’s wanting to protect their baby girl’s from the harsh realities of the world. I know as teenagers we all went through that phase where we thought our parents were overprotective and wouldn’t give us enough space to grow.

(A quick rush of ghost arguments came back to me just now. “I want a later curfew”. “But all my friends are going to this concert”. “I can drive six hours by myself”. “These shorts ARE NOT too short”. And as an adult I’d like to say – the concerts were always sketchy. The six hour drives got lonely. And now that I see teenage girls prance around as an outsider…the shorts were most probably too short.)

So now that we’ve grown we can tell you this, dad – we will always want and need your protection. No matter how old we get. The world can be scary and no one’s armor is stronger than yours.

Lots of love,

A + K

Being From Believeland

Tonight, we’re going to bed feeling broken in a way that we’ve felt before. In a way that, honestly, we have felt since we can remember. A dull ache in the pit of our stomach. Like watching someone you love suffer. A sinking heart mixed with hands trembling with exhaustion and exasperation.

The feeling of a broken heart from Cleveland sports.

We can handle the loss. We really can. Coming from Cleveland, one is raised tough. One is raised to be proud of effort, hard-work, determination, and fighting until there’s simply no energy left. We know Championships don’t come easy. We know that sometimes, great things that are important to a city, to a community, to a team, are snatched away. That’s just life. Life isn’t fair but it teaches incredible lessons on how to be the best one can be.

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What we can’t handle, is the people on the other side.

The jeering, the jabbing, the unfounded hatred. Hatred is a strong word, but that’s the only word we can use here.

What is the meaning of sports if not to bring people together? If not to unite us in the pleasure of Americas favorite pasttimes? Weren’t you all hoping for a game seven if only just to watch two incredible teams duke it out? Why has an internal appreciation for the sport turned into an external desire for putting each other down?

We can’t say we’ve never jokingly ignored our friends when they’ve rooted for the other teams. We can’t say we haven’t brushed them off, or made faces at them. But we’ve never gone as far as to hate.

Being from both Cleveland and Chicago, we’ve gotten the worst of this. Big sports towns with a lot of heart. Passionate fans with a lot of fire. And haters with an incredible amount of distaste.

But what saddens us most is that when Chicago has a win, Clevelanders let it be. We even applaud our midwestern brothers and sisters. We’re proud of where we come from, and since they’re our neighbors, we’re proud of them, too. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, we appreciate a valiant effort. We appreciate exceptional teamwork. But tonight, wearing a heartbreaking Cavs loss on our sleeves, seeing so much negativity and hate from people we spent so much time with in Chicago, at college, etc. was staggering.

They chalk it up to a long-standing rivalry. Which interestingly, very few Clevelanders even acknowledge. We reason with them. For Cleveland a championship is more than a win for a team. It’s a win for a city. We tell them they have no idea what it’s like to tell someone where you’re from, and have them snicker and say “Oh…I’m sorry.” (It is here we often want to say, “Oh really? Well I’m sorry that you have that big city skyscraper of yours stuffed up your a**.” But we don’t because that would be mean). We describe the power of believing, the attitude of persistence, and the zeal of faith. We open our hearts and share what a championship could mean for Cleveland. A skip that’s been missing from our step for years. An updated identity. A chance to prove everyone wrong. Isn’t that something we all want?

It’s moments like these that prompt us to wonder. What’s the point of sport? If it brings out the monster in people? The Cavs losing is tough enough. But the lack of respect from people we’ve broken bread with, and the respect that we’ve in turn lost for them, is tougher.

To Cleveland – thank you for a wonderful upbringing. You’ve taught us to hope in the darkest times and to persevere no matter what. You’ve given us a family that crosses zip-codes. You’ve taught us that East and West mean nothing. That when it comes to passion, we’re all one. Thank you for always lifting us up, and not even thinking of kicking us down.

And to the Warriors and all their fans out there. That was a killer series. Congrats, excellently played, and we’ll get you next time ;).

#AllinCLE #Believeland #Cleveland #Cavaliers

Love,

The Gautam Girls

(I wish) I Woke Up Like This

We all know those people. The ones that practically skip out of bed in the morning. At 6AM when their internal alarm clock rings from the depths of their subconscious. They have run five miles, done 75 squats and 50 lunges, and had a nutritious high protein, low carb breakfast all before 7:30AM, when most of us trudge from our beds to our bathrooms as if there were hundred pound shackles bound to our feet.

Photo credit to the cool things Colleen Leddy has at her amazing bachelorette party.

After breakfast, this person sits down to spend an hour on their personal project. They are the writers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, makers, creators. The enlightened ones, if you will. They are the masters of their own lives. They had a dream at one point (and yes, MLK would also be considered one of these SSs), and are either on the very well paved path to achieving it, or in the midst of the surreal splendor of it.

For the luckiest, this one morning hour turns into many hours. They spend their day building the landscapes and skylines of their future.

All my life, I’ve tried to be a Self-Starter. I set goals for myself, and I achieve them momentarily. Writing every day for two weeks straight. Opting into initiatives like the 100-day program. Taking classes and feeling the rush of anticipation in the moments before, and the flood of satisfaction in the moments after. Enlivening characters I fall in love with, rooms I want to occupy, and storylines I want to share with everyone I possibly can.

I do it! And I love it! And then comes a moment when I stop. When the path to achieving my dreams becomes so convoluted, like a maze in the dark, in the middle of a large expanse of land, surrounded by nothingness. So even if I were to ever emerge, I’d only find another harrowing obstacle.

The self-starter has this same moment. When they stop and evaluate. But, these f**kers (excuse my French) just happen to be Eagle Scouts who know how to use the crap on the ground and friction to create a bright and fiery torch to light their way. They have to push through and persevere, too. Even though we might feel that by sheer will-power they can light-up the world.

So all you Self-Starters out there. Can you please take some time from being incredible, jealousy-inciting humans to give us all some advice on how in the world you do it?! Also, sorry I called you all f**kers (excuse my French, again). It comes from a place of love and admiration. Promise.

XX,

A