Its All Made Up

imagination_by_akiraalion-dawk529.jpgWe always hear about the ideal man or woman, and why shouldn’t we? The ideal individual has everything to produce a long healthy relationship with very minor flaws that could cause issues. Now, this ideal man or woman has a degree, is family oriented and has a high paying job. In simpler terms, they have the right tools that can help two people grow in many aspects.

What do I look for? Well, exactly what an ideal woman should have. A degree, a career, family oriented and someone who can be my best friend; and I found just that last year. Yet, I realized I wasn’t happy with those qualities alone because they didn’t excite who I really am from the inside. Do I really care about what research lab you are working in? Honestly, I don’t. Do I really care that you are on the road to a six-figure job? I actually don’t. What I actually long and care for is someone with depth — the ability to make me laugh, someone who knows when to be serious and someone who I can vibe with on every level, not just the levels I have made up in my mind.

What I realized through my personal situation is that we as humans have made up someone in our mind that we see ourselves with. So naturally our list of people on our radar is very small. What about the people who don’t quit meet your “qualifications”? Now, I’m not saying lower your standards, but maybe try someone who you wouldn’t usually give a chance to. There’s no equation in this world that can help you find the right partner, but don’t shorten your own list with made up things that are highly unlikely or impossible (such as one of my friends who wants a 6 foot 4 inch man, works in IT, loves animals and is a gym rat). I’m not saying that doesn’t exist, but shit, that’s very particular. You aren’t baking cake guys, you’re trying to find someone you can connect with.

What’s your ideal man or woman? What qualities do you hold important and what can you sacrifice? Next time you bump into someone, ask yourself one thing: does this person meet the qualities I have made up in my mind or do they truly excite all of my senses from the inside out? Nobody is perfect and nothing in the world will be 100% to your liking, but you have to learn to love it.

Concrete Roads

Broken Concrete Wall

“Jab dard mein yaar na ho”

Life has its mysterious ways of showing you the top of the mountain and then suddenly dropping you to the bottom. That drop from the mountain is usually painful, lonely and causes a major shift in your character.

For a few weeks now i’ve been noticing this sudden drop in my emotions. I don’t laugh and I don’t feel pain as much. For me to let any emotions “out” I have to watch something super sad or listen to some sappy Bollywood songs. This feeling within is like a concrete layering over every single emotion in the world. What I do know is that this is not healthy and as much as I want to blame life, some of the blame goes on me.

My biggest flaw is not reacting the right way when I have the time. For example, if a death happens in the family, I probably wouldn’t cry. Instead I would hold it in for 3-4 weeks and then drown in my own emotions. For some odd reason I feel like i have to be strong for everyone, but in the end I am the one suffering without a shoulder to lean on. The best way to explain this emotion of suffering is like putting a 50 pound bag of concrete on your chest. It’s constantly there but I have no where to drop this bag of concrete, so I end up feeling mentally and physically exhausted. I just want to get up and toss this damn bag of concrete somewhere, but the question remains, where? I need a break and just want to go somewhere where It’s quiet around me and in my mind.

I’m on a road that is making me go in circles through very noisy and cluttered places. Sadly, I have to travel on this road alone because nobody else will take out the time to understand my journey or ask me how I am doing. The reality is jab dard mein yaar na ho then why would anyone else help? Its my pain and whether I have to cry it out or laugh it out, I will. Being a man has nothing to do with how much you cry but rather understanding your own emotions. It’s about climbing back up to that mountain that you fell from, but this time around you will have a few battle scars that made you stronger in the process.

 

The Blossom Effect

 

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“I blossomed before you and you stopped growing as a whole”

Mistakes of all forms happen and heartaches happen at different magnitudes, but Imagine hearing that from the person you were supposed to marry. I always remember telling her she is my sidekick, my day 1 and wife. We weren’t married and just had the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, but I wanted to do everything with her. Not that I was unable to do it alone, but simply because her being with me, made everything better. There was not a snapchat she didn’t send my way that I didn’t take a screenshot of. There was not a dinner where I didn’t sneak a picture of her. There wasn’t much I didn’t take a picture of because I wanted to hold those memories. Unfortunately, through the process I lost touch with me and my world became her happiness. So naturally, I stopped growing from the inside out. Yes, I figured out my style of clothing and starting smiling more, but that was really about it. Whereas now when I look back at the pictures I can tell the exact moment in time where she lost touch with me. I can tell the exact moment in time where she blossomed and I was the same guy she met. Maybe it’s good thing or maybe it’s a bad thing, i have no idea how to feel about it. I have just come to accept the fact that she blossomed before me.

The unfortunate thing about toxic relationships is it leaves its scars on you permanently. You can move on, you can grow and be different but something about that toxicity, stays with you. The easy way is to blame her, but as a man I have to admit both of us together just didn’t work. I had to swallow my pride and accept the fact that I didn’t do enough to keep her around. I simply became boring and stagnant.

The first year was difficult in all forms because I had to adjust myself to doing things alone. I had to be okay with her doing her own thing or with friends, instead of me. I had to face the truth of me being the same guy as the first day she met. I had not grown in any way, so I really had two options? one , I could drown in my own pain and sorrow(which I was already doing). Two, I could start a new chapter in my life and never hear this ever again.

It’s been two-three years now and those words ring in my ear whenever I relax. Those words help wake me up at 5 am to start the day with pedal to the metal. I have taken out the word tired from my dictionary. I have stopped with relying on others to join me on adventures, if anything I love my alone time. I probably have grown the most this year than ever before because 90% of things I have done all alone.

I was sitting with my father one day and he told me a story about an eagle that wouldn’t fly. The eagle would just sit on a tree branch all day even though it had the ability to fly. The owner then decided to cut off the entire branch and the eagle immediately started to fly. Just as this eagle I was meant to soar but she was my branch and my comfort zone. I held on to her for dear life  because I was too scared to fly and now that I am soaring, I only want to go higher. I only want to try new things and be the best version of myself. If you are in this predicament, i’m telling you, cut off that branch. You can love someone without limits but the day you become stagnant and stay in your comfort zone is the day you will hear what I did. I promise you. The day you start doing things alone, is the day new doors will open for you.

Who pays on the first date?

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Have you ever been in a situation where you are broke? Don’t have money to pay bills or even fill up your gas tank? Yet you somehow stumble upon someone, who you really like? Then suddenly you are faced with the struggle to fund the first date just because you are a guy?

Here is how I face such a predicament, If my character, morals, values and personality are not enough to keep someone then good bye. The fancy dates and gifts are nice but that does not make the relationship good by any standard-cough cough future wife I want a new football jersey. All jokes aside most of us are not made of money, we shop from sale racks and try to manage our money. Then why should we expect fancy dates from a completely stranger, who we are interested in.

With that said the most common first date is usually dinner at a nice place. First dates are your tryouts, if you do good the possibility of a second date or getting a call back goes up. One thing to keep in mind is just be yourself and do not try too hard to win them over with being flashy. Now if you cant pronounce over half the entrees on the menu, chances are this place is not for you. If you look at the price of the food and pray to god she doesn’t order the most expensive plate(she usually does), chances are this place is not for you. What I am trying to say is don’t go crazy, keep it simple. Coffee shops, museums, walk at the park or even a hole in the wall restaurant is okay. The key is for her to like YOU not the place you take her. There is nothing wrong with doing the best for your date but its also important to maintain a proper budget.

After your meal, what happens next really shows who you are as a person. Society says the man should pay on the first date-agreed! On the other hand the woman should at least offer to split the check. Now before you guys get on my case, I have never let the lady pay on the first date. My only issue is if she doesn’t even offer, It leaves a bad taste in my mouth because that means she already expected me to pay.

Here’s why men including me get annoyed if you don’t even offer. In our minds we know that I asked you to the date.  We also know that I approached you first but we have to cut these bullshit double standards that are used when it benefits us. look, If me being a real man comes from pulling out my wallet then you as a woman should at least offer. I promise you, a real man will never let you pay. We as men just want to see effort and feel appreciated but the moment you sit there, expecting the man to pay is when we feel used.

For anyone reading this and thinking I am being a “Menist” or not being a “gentleman”, i’m sorry you are incorrect. Lets reflect to when we go out with our friends, we split the check and maybe once in awhile pick up their tab. Then why do we have unreasonable expectations from a complete stranger? Why do we put so much financial burden on someone who may have loans, bills, and other financial issues? 

“If you as a man do not pay on the first date, you were raised wrong and if you as a woman do not offer, you were raised wrong”-Treat your date and partner like your best friend not someone who needs to buy your time.

The Conversation

 

It was 11:51pm while we were sitting on my deck when my friend Ayesha asked me why she doesn’t know much about me.

All I could say was “I’m not a open book and I don’t share much with many people besides the positives. My internal struggles are always within me and my history is a thing of the past that I don’t bring up. It takes a lot of time for someone to know the real me, ummm I would say only two people really know who I am.”

She was a little surprised but then explained to me very nicely that solid friendships are made through talking and sharing stories. I just nodded in agreement so I wouldn’t have to say much.

I’m sure Ayesha noticed I was not going to tell her about me so she looked at me with excitement and said, “Here look, I will go first” and started talking. I had no choice but to listen because Ayesha loves to talk and by talk I mean she has no brakes. The good thing is that her excitement with every story keeps you interested. Through the excitement and her love to talk I was able to learn so much about her personality, past, relationship history and views on love.

Ayesha hit the brakes on her conversation, looked over at me and said “Now you!”. I knew I wouldn’t get out of this so I took a deep breath and starting glazing over a few minor details. Then she interrupted and said “No, that’s lame! Try again!” so I restarted my story and told her every fine detail. When it came time for the topic of my past I got quiet, looked down and then away from her. I remember whispering, “I fucking hate talking about my past”. She heard me and said, “hey its okay we all have a past just let it out of your system”. I took a deep and said, “I no longer believe in the idea of dating or wasting my time on a relationship because nothing really works. Whenever things go good somehow and somewhere along the line the relationship fails”. Before she could say anything I told her I think I have a problem and she pulled her chair closer and waited for me to talk. “No matter how good someone is to me now I always find the smallest of all flaws and pull away from the person”. I saw the pain in her eyes and a sense of understanding after I said this.

She pulled her chair even closer, took a deep breath and said “I think you’re afraid of getting hurt and letting yourself be broken so you wreck the relationship before it could wreck you”

My heart rate slowed down, my pupils got bigger and just looked at her with complete shock. I felt as if the ground under me fell through because it was the most intimidating thing I have ever heard about myself.

Ayesha didn’t talk this time and she didn’t push me to say anything. I just looked out in the distance and avoided eye contact.

With all the talking we lost track of time. Her iPhone buzzed 4-5 times because of texts and instagram notifications. She looked over at me and said “kay…its 4:27am” so in a panic she grabbed her keys and I walked her to her car.

Once I made it back into my room I thought about my conversation with Ayesha and it made me think all night long. The reality is that Ayesha was right about me and that’s what scared me. Another reality I faced was I couldn’t be a coward and run away from a human necessity such as love because of a few broken pasts. Lastly, our pasts may be rough, broken and intimidating but that’s part of our journey to know what we want and do not want.

The clock read 6:57am and I finally fell asleep with so many thoughts still racing in my mind

Before you decide to shut out people as I did and pull yourself away from everything besides work, gym and a few friends. Give someone a chance; even as a friend because you never know what a friendship can blossom into.

Are you mad I lied?

            “Are you mad that I lied or because you realized who I actually am deep down inside?”

I told them this because I was tired of hiding behind the mask of something I was not. I was tired of pretending to be happy about shit that didn’t mean anything to me. The crazy thing is how I knew from a very young age I’m different like really different from my family and relatives. Yet I still pretended everyday and tried to fit in and see the world as my family did but I couldn’t. I come from a family where education is huge. Naturally I felt I had to become a doctor or businessman to make them happy. I even went to college but struggled to sit through lectures and getting good grades but in the end with hard work I got my psychology degree. I even got into a masters program for the fall 2017 semester but I was dry and empty from the inside. I had so much accomplished but so much was missing.

Fast forward to present time and I have a year left before my masters program starts. Currently I am taking care of the family business because after all “I will have to take care of it in the future”. I sucked at every task when I started but at this point “I’m running it better than most professionals”

            “I bet you love the business huh? You are a natural and pretty soon you will be running everything!”

My stomach sank to this but I couldn’t speak up, I just smiled back and nodded with agreement. I think years of just being quiet and agreeing was slowing boiling within me because I just wanted them to see my perspective sometimes.

            “Kay we are so proud of you for learning everything so fast and maintaining a high standard for our family business”

Once again another smile or smirk was given and once again I stayed quiet because If this was the way to make them proud then why not? That was until I said, “NO please stop”. The entire room froze in standstill and they asked me 50 questions as to what happened.

“I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life, I don’t want to live out your dreams”. “If anything I will run one part or one area but I can’t and I won’t run a business forever because it’s not me man”. At this point I couldn’t turn back and fix what I said so I kept talking. “I want to be a writer and I want to write for a magazine or work for a creative outlet”.

This time it was silence but it was able to say the most

The next day during breakfast they tried to reason with me and explain to me why business is the best option. I agreed with so much they said but I wanted to try and see where writing would take me. I could see some disappointment on their faces but I realized I had to reach my dreams and my goals because I have no doubt in my mind I can reach them.

“Mom…..Dad, “Are you mad that I lied about liking the same things as you or because you realized who I actually am deep down inside?”

            I sat quietly when I heard my dad clear his throat and I saw a smile on his face. Then he said, “You better start studying for your GRE because you need to go apply for a journalism program”

I quickly called the speech pathology masters program and told them “Thanks but no thanks”. I didn’t cry or anything I just had a lot of allergies that day because I was finally running after something that made me who I am.