Wednesday, February 27, 2013

India Made a Man Out of Me

I've said that before. Before I went to India I was very quiet in my real life. Very reserved, meek and timid to say the least. I had rather go my own way, avoid trouble, etc. I was strong in many ways, but very weak in others.

One thing I noticed while I was there was how the anger I experienced affected me. It took away some of my care and concern about life, society and my own fears in general. When I first came home I realized that I wasn't that timid, quiet girl any longer. I faced quite a few fears head on, no longer concerned with the backlash or danger involved. I simply didn't fear these things enough to avoid them any longer.

I still continue to see that. Every now and then I have a moment of weakness and worry about something. Then after a moment's thought I'm able to calmly and rationally stand tall and not back down. While I don't go around picking arguments, I'm no longer backing down when someone picks a fight.I'm very clear in what the truth and reality around me is. I know what is real in my life and I'm not going to sit idly by and listen to the BS without standing up for that truth.

I think some people would call this the "ugly American" syndrome. Maybe so but I never experienced it until after going to India. As an American, I was raised to stand up for what is right, to always stand behind the truth. Sometimes that means doing things most people would avoid. One example I can give you is eye-witness testimony.

I'm going to be testifying as a witness in a trial very soon. It's not mine, I don't even know the people. But I was a witness. I stayed on the scene to make a statement to the police because I believe it is my civic duty. I could have driven away like others did. I could have ignored the incident and kept out of it since it was not my business but I did not. When I get onto the stand, I will tell the truth about the incident though I know the defendant won't be happy about it.

I took a lot more away from India than just this new attitude. I have a new sense of family. Not like the stereotypical woman would though. I've taken on a new sense of financial management of the household. This is typically a male role in both the US and India (though in the US it's been shifting to women for a while). I'm not sure how to explain this one as I've been in charge of financial management for at least a decade so this isn't new. But my approach to it is.

Instead of having the driven, definitively female view of finances like I had before, I now have a more head of household view. This applies to savings, what should and shouldn't be purchased and more. I've developed a new mixture of both frugal and frivolous, conservative and liberal. It's very strange to me. I'm starting to remind myself of my father, lol.

While some of these changes are good, I'm hoping to soften myself back to the pre-India me. At least somewhat. I don't mind facing the fears and standing tall against them I just don't want to feel this hardened toward the world forever. I'm seeking out new ways to accept and let go of the things that bind me.

Any suggestions?

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  2. I identify myself with what you say about the attitude.I've also changed mine since I'm here.People say that India teaches you patience but if you are living in a big city I have to disagree.This post is somehow related to one you wrote last year, how in order to survive in India you have to change your behaviour or things will never get done.

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  3. You're right! I had forgotten that post. You do have to change your attitude to survive there. Now I realize I've brought some of that home with me.

    Bigger cities definitely don't teach you patience. I know Amritsar is not big by Indian standards but it is super busy by my standards. It's like you're moving at a snails pace while the rest of the city is rushing around you. It can be hard to digest.

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