Monday, November 25, 2013

The After Effects of Indian Life for One American

It's been almost 2 years now since I came home from India. I'm still realizing how I've changed and a few of my friends are quick to point it out when they notice things LOL. I'm accepting and sometimes enjoying both the good and the bad.

I still don't have my muscle tone back. I don't completely blame India for that. I could have had it back if it wasn't for my current job. I vegetate in my car way too much to be as muscular as I was before. Still, I miss it considerably. I know it sounds dramatic and vain but before India I had parts of my body I was happy with, regardless of my being overweight. My back, my thighs, and my
 legs. My shape, consistency and firmness level have changed and while I'm not really complaining, it's not something I'm completely happy about. I may have been heavy before but I was solid and defined in some key areas.

My attitude has changed. Not just toward life but toward daily issues. I no longer have the same sense of urgency and stress over things I cannot change and things that don't deserve my tension. I know that some things will work themselves out over time, others need to be thought about and reflected on before a decision can be made. Good old IST is actually good for something.

I have a harder time saying 'no' to those who matter most to me and it's easier for me to say 'no' to those who are not. I have the impression that momentary happiness can help create long term success. Actually, I think this particular change in me is hard to express. I'm not out splurging on everything people ask me for so they can walk all over me. It's just that I'm much more likely to say yes, you can use my laptop for now and I'll do my report later whereas before I would have been focused on finishing the report so I could be done with my day. I also don't do as much for friends and strangers who seek to suck the life and time out of me for their own personal gain. I guess I'm much clearer on boundaries and how far I'm willing to go and what I'm going for.

Since returning from India I've also been able to see a much bigger picture of many things. One is race issues. I grew up in a very diverse life, much more so than most of the people I've encountered. I have a very different view of racial diversity and equality than the majority of the people I've met in life. Before India I viewed all other people as valuable in the same way. I could learn from an African American, Mexican, Indian, etc. just the same as I could learn from anyone else. And I did. I had many non-white friends whom I love dearly and cherish. After India, I think I actually understand many of them better.

Not just because I've been the minority and experienced racism and hatred from a different angle but because I've seen a much different lifestyle and I can now look at them as various cultures instead of just a African American, Indian American, Mexican American, etc. (Because previously I considered them all just American, they had the same general upbringing as me, they lived in the same country, read the same textbooks, etc. whereas now I know their lives at home encompass so much more than the textbook version of what an American is.) I think this might be another aspect that is hard for me to accurately explain how I feel. I guess the best way to sum this up is that people are no longer just equals to me, they're so much more than just a mundane 'equal.' I see each person as a spark of life that is different than my own. I now value the diversity in my life much more than before and I recognize it as a gift whereas before it was just life.

I'm still sorting and discovering all the changes in my life. I continue to change from aging, life experiences, etc. and I'm viewing myself, my life and my world much differently now. I'm a changing woman and yet at the same time, the girl that I used to be has also resurfaced. This makes me happy. I'm the person I was always meant to be...the person that was once taken from me.

I'm thankful for each and every one of you who have joined me on this journey. That includes those who have come and gone, those who have disagreed with me and those who have put me in my place from time to time. I value each one of you as someone I can learn from, as a spark of life different from my own. I hope you continue on this journey of life with me, I do miss people when they're gone.

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