Wednesday, December 14, 2011

True Beauty

The longer I live in India the more I notice about life in general. I have to admit that living in the US I was blind to much of life. I didn't care to notice and I wasn't looking unless I had an investigation to do. I kept up with my friends and family and the rest of the world I just ignored. In my defense I was insanely busy working 3 jobs at one point while I was also enrolled full time in an accelerated college degree program. I like to be busy...I just don't get to be that busy in India and so now I'm forced to find new things to do and one of those is noticing everything around me.

This morning as I waited for my freshly mopped floor to dry so I could get up without messing it up I noticed the woman across the street out on her terrace. She was wearing a shiny blue fabric salwar kameez and brushing her hair. I've seen this same woman many times but always in her house clothes and most of the time sitting down. Before she always looked like just about every other aunty on the street but not today. Her hair was down and she was standing in the sun and I'm not sure what she was doing to her hair because she didn't have a hair brush or a towel (I'll explain that later).

She had her head leaned slightly to the left and she was doing something with her fingers underneath her hair. Her back was turned to me. This whole scene just got me thinking who wrong so much of the world is about beauty. Mainstream media, magazines, and of course product companies would love for you to believe that beauty is all about how much make up you wear and what kind of clothes you have on your body. They create this illusion so you will purchase more products so you can be beautiful too. THEY ARE WRONG!

I should tell you that I almost never wear make-up because I have really sensitive skin and I'm allergic to much of it while the rest gets on my nerves and irritates me. However, I used to wear make up daily. I remember that it never made me feel better about myself inside though. I may have felt like the world looked at me as being prettier but I didn't feel the same about myself. I guess you could say that when I wore makeup I felt like I was putting on a fake face because I didn't like the real one. As I got older I learned that I could never cover up enough of what I didn't like and that I should save my money and just learn to like myself. I learned that I needed to carry myself respectfully and turn myself into the person I wanted to be in order to be happy with myself. Make-up and products can't do that for you.

I was reminded of that this morning (a reminder I needed because I don't like myself much since coming to India). Here stood this woman in a fancy suit with no make-up, her hair was not done and yet she was beautiful. I am not homosexual but I found myself wanting to watch her. She was graceful, her posture was good and she was taking care of herself in a natural way. I wanted to see this real life interaction, to learn from it. This is life. Life is about living and being and taking the time to love yourself. Being yourself, without the designer brands and without all the make up is beautiful. It's breath taking and inspiring in so many ways.

As much as it pains me to admit it I am not the same person in India that I was in the US. Not by far. In the US I was raised by a southern belle and was trained to be a southern belle. I don't say the things that don't need to be said, I don't use typical fighting words. I say things like "bless your heart" and know how to use it as an insult or compliment whatever the situation may be. You would never here an obscene word come from my mouth and if one happened to slip I would immediately be embarrassed and apologetic. If I get hiccups, need to belch or worse I excuse myself so that no one else has to be exposed to such rude behavior. I took care of the natural body that God gave me and I respected the way it moved and I knew how to use those movements too. I won't even get started on what can be done with the eyes. We know how to play just about every game in existence and how to make it work out in our favor. This is why southern belles are talked about in Hollywood movies and such - we are a different breed altogether.

In India this is not the case at all. I cuss like an American sailor (or worse a US Marine!) and I can fight dirtier than a biker at a bar. There is nowhere to excuse yourself to engage in rude behavior and thanks to the food and the infections I get the hiccups almost every single time I eat and they are horrible. Some days go by I don't get out of my pajamas or brush my hair because I lack the motivation (this is from depression, something I'm aware of but can't get rid of for long). I don't care how I move my body while in public or what kind of interactions I have with others. I throw my leg over the motorcycle like a boy would, I cover my face like a burglar or I stand in very unflattering positions and I don't even care.

I know I'm doing a lot of this because the changes in moving here have been so drastic. I often feel like I don't know how to survive here. They still surprise me. All this adds to my own misery and I need to find a way to work on it harder than I have been. The few times I've tried my ideas have gotten squashed quickly so we shall see how it goes....I just know this is one thing for sure that will be added to my New Years Resolution list. If it is to be - it is up to me!


  1. This kind of depression sounds like dopamine deficiency - dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of motivation, energy and alertness. In most cases dopamine deficiency can be remedied fairly easily by taking  the amino acids the body uses to produce dopamine. 

  2. You shouldn't be this bored. Can I ask why you don't just walk out the door and amuse yourself, or go shopping etc? You say you're not allowed out but you're an adult, what are they going to do? And if they do stop speaking to you or try to punish you somehow, don't you think it's very strange and out of order to treat you like a child? You seem like you are extremely intelligent, used to really keep busy, have a lot of independence and now you have less than a 10 year old. I'm not being rude it just concerns me as a reader :P If they feel it's going to be dangerous, they can tell you so and explain why then let you make the decision. I don't know how you can be controlled as an adult so much.

  3. I just read your reply to a similar comment I made a couple of days ago, sorry I didn't see it. What age are you? (not asking you to tell me, just asking you to keep it in mind) Are all the other women in Amritsar your age not allowed to go out? It doesn't sound like just a case of another culture, although of course I'm not familiar with Indian culture. Having lived in a mixed family in the middle east (me making the mix, being the only non-arab) and having friends in various mid east countries who can all go out, it's interesting that from all the places India is the one that disallows women the freedom to leave the home. Or, is it just you they won't allow? 

  4. p.s. respecting family rules doesn't mean that you have to completely change your life and do everything they say. You're part of it, you should be this is your life, and you're still an individual whose wishes are valid, especially since this is something that only affects you and is hardly a big deal. I bet you see children playing outside, right? I'm sorry for commenting 3 times about this, but having been in a similar situation myself before I know I would have gone nuts if I hadn't realised my own independence. It's obviously having an affect on you and it frustrates me when I hear about it :P Please don't block me haha, no more comments about this!! 

  5. They do think it's dangerous. It's just that their idea of dangerous and mine are EXTREMELY different. They think it's dangerous if some man in the street tries to talk to me. I think it's only dangerous if there are gun wielding gangsters trying to do their business on the corner and I happen to look their direction. I doubt that would happen here.

    It's not the punishment that worries me. I've already told Rohit that a resolution needs to be worked out soon otherwise I'm leaving and I have more than enough for my plane ticket. We've gone back and forth over this a few times. I haven't just walked out because nothing in the street is really that important to me and I don't think it's the smart choice to just leave like their opinions don't matter. I want an agreement on the issue first. Otherwise I could wind up divorced for a bottle of coke and I'm not sure I want to have to try and explain that for the rest of my life lol.

  6. I do keep a check on the streets and it is not common to see women my age out and about. MIL and chachi go out together once in a while to run errands but it is really rare for them to go alone. You mostly only see young girls and older women in the streets here where I'm at. That's why I've kept my patience so long. I have only seen one women my age alone even at the mall and she was a foreigner as well. Most of them have a driver, call a friend or other kind of escort as well. I know women older than me who don't go out alone here and they have full independence. (One of them even drives in this craziness and if she has to go out alone she does it during the day and only to meet someone she knows at her families businesses - so she is only alone while actually in the car.) It is crazy and I never really contemplated this before coming here because it just seems so unreal.

  7. You're right. This is driving me nuts and more than once I've had major blowouts. Once I even got my suitcase out and was about to pack. I do go out all the time, just not alone or on my own so to speak. I go with Rohit 3-4 days a week at least and that help keep my mind from exploding. If he didn't take me out, I would have been long gone by now.

    This does have a huge effect on me many days though. Mostly when I'm wanting to cook something and I'm missing ingredients. I can't communicate well enough to tell his mother what I need yet and so I usually just get irritated and start fussing about it not being here. I know this has caused most of the fights in my marriage so far and Rohit keeps bending, little by little.

    Right now my blog posts are running a little behind my life because I have so much to say (from all this free time with work being slow lol) but I did work out a resolution on this and that's coming up in the next 3 blog posts. Don't get frustrated - it is all worked out. ;)

  8. It is common for men to bend and break... wherever they are from. You will succeed in attaining a resolution where you will be the boss and rest of them your.... I think those who said you can't survive in India were right. You are living here but not making it... it is obvious by your frustrations and depressions that you are clearly unable to fit in...

  9. I'm glad you've worked something out, perhaps if you went with your husband the first.. say 10 times and everyone got used to you and you got used to the route you could pop out. It's really difficult to rely on someone else for everything, Even if you don't want to go out, that should be your choice. Hope you begin to feel better soon :) 

  10. There is no true substitute for natural beauty!!!! Nice post.....


  11. the last 2 pragraphs feel bad while the rest is oh so true , I understand your depression and live too far to help you --------- and now I reply to the last commenter just see

  12. what she describes is the absolute reality here and 100 % what I have lived through -- for many years --- you really have to live as a Foreigner in Indian conservative family to understand ---------- and in my time there was no internet , no phone ... nothing to connect with the outside world after giving up my job with UNESCO --------------------------- I just SO understand her !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. dialog into submission is a GREAT talent here --- good luck girl 

  14. Thank you! It is really difficult and if it wasn't for the internet, the phone and all the modern conveniences I may just have run through the streets screaming to get out of here long before now lol. Adjusting to India would make a good campaign for baldness because you either stress so much you pull your hair out or it just falls out so it can get away from you! I know mine has turned gray A LOT since I came here and I'm not nearly old enough to have gray hair yet.

  15. Thank you! I'm confident I will get to a resolution on all the issues. I just don't want it to be a war getting there.

  16. I am replying on this page actually to your later one ----  agreeing , It is a hard thing here sometimes yes to make a husband
    LISTEN ------


    One thing I think your family- in- lw is Christian , tha t
    should make it at least a bit easier ? I don’ t really know – being now Hindu
    is no “ problem factor “ hard to say  

    Christmas once notices nor practices anywhere around my
    place anyway

    It seems your mother – in – lw doesn’ t


    forbid to you Christmas decorations ???

  17. My family is actually Hindu but they seem excited to learn about my culture as well and I love Christmas, even though it's mostly thought of as a Christian holiday - though I must say it's not so much Christian anymore in the US. It's a little hard for me to get used to but I'm not forbidden to make any changes around the house. I've requested renovations, new paint, reorganization and such and they haven't once said no or disagreed with me.