Myself

Directionless

Bridge Over Norwalk Blvd.
Bridge Over Norwalk Blvd. (Photo credit: savemejebus)

“Hey Mister” the latin accented voice loudly called out to me. I removed my headphones and glanced to my right to see 2 older gentleman in a dusty car looking at me expectantly. I leaned in towards the passenger window. “Do you know where La Mirada is?” the driver asked. I opened my mouth and drew a blank. Nothing came to mind. I wanted to say that I used to drive there daily to go see my sister and brother-in-law, but standing on Norwalk Blvd around 10am on a Saturday, it simply did not exist in my mind.  I have always been bad at directions, but after my surgery, I have become TERRIBLE. I seem to now lack the mental image we create to see one’s location, and have become so heavily reliant on the navigation that even getting off an earlier exit due to traffic causes me undue stress.

The men tried so speak to me in Spanish, thinking I didn’t understand English, and after I still faltered, they gave up and moved ahead. I walked the rest of the time devastated and angry at myself for failing at this simple task. Over and over, I kept repeating to myself what I could or should have said.  After 5 minutes. I realized they were headed in the wrong direction, and it seemed apt for a moment. I seem to point people in the wrong direction. At least for once, I was not at fault.   Yet I oddly felt unsettled as if all my work to make my mental abilities stronger, there were some black holes that I just cannot seem to get out of. I don’t know what other challenges I will continue to face, but one thing is for sure. I am not giving up.

Family, Myself, Random

Disconnected

English: on skullcandy
English: on skullcandy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a beautiful morning yesterday.   Wisps of wind traveled around me, and the sun pierced jaggedly through scattered clouds. It was chilly by Southern California standards (69 degrees or so), but one filled with small bursts of heat. Bella was busy sniffing at each clump of grass as it was something wondrously new, and at that moment I could honestly say I was grateful for what I had in life. I saw this girl on a swing, going back and forth but something was different. She couldn’t have been more than 10, but she was glued to a phone. I wondered what had to happened to just experiencing things for what they are. What is this need to amplify every experience we have by posting it on social media or just mindlessly do it while we miss out on true beauty on us?  As I looked down upon her, my headphones squawked to let me know a call was coming. Shit! I had my headphones on, and while I defensively thought that I was listening to Shabads, the truth was that I was no different from that little girl.

It struck me that I have been walking for weeks, and because of my headphones, I barely managed a hello to strangers or to the old Indian cross guard who always smiles and seems like he wants to say something more to me. In a sense, I have been using the headphones to disconnect myself from the outside world.  I want that time to catch up on Umano or listen to Simran so as much as I would like to be friendlier, it struck me that I want these early morning walks just for me and Bella. As someone who has taken a break from social media, I find myself that I am no longer aimlessly scrolling through countless updates about what people had eaten for the day (something that I am notoriously guilty of doing myself), and that I have found other ways to fill in that empty time by catching up on the New Yorker, Men’s Fitness and Poet and Writers. It’s funny how more and more of us are becoming disconnected by posting things up on Social media in the hopes of finding validation. We are no longer engaging in conversations or connections. We are just pounding on the chest that we are HERE! LOOK AT ME!  At some point, that just doesn’t do it for me anymore.  Don’t get me wrong, I do miss knowing about friends and family, but I have found that I can always text or whatsapp them, and in the end that has made all the difference.

Myself

Irritation

aura 2007 08 23
aura 2007 08 23 (Photo credit: kairin)

Recently, I have  changed my schedule to include 30 minutes of a show called “The Healer Within” by BK Shivani and Suresh Oberoi. Each morning, I write for 45 minutes and then watch the show which ends with a mini meditation. I found out that much of what the show says resonates with me. I am the creator of all my thoughts, feelings and actions.  With each thought and feeling, I have a decision to make which creates my action. Too often, I let anger and irritation override my natural inclination to be thoughtful, loving and caring. It wasn’t always this way, but I have allowed anger to change who I used to be.

Yesterday, I saw two very different sides of myself. My religious cousin who I mercilessly tease told me that I am one of the few people he sees as someone who can merge with God which is what all souls desire yet entry only comes with the right ticket. I had the makings but not the right markings.  That idea stuck with me the rest of the day.  Later on, my wife sweetly asked if I minded going to see Man of Steel with someone else. I had a choice not to react, but I did.  I even felt it. I heard her say it to me gently, yet I reacted badly.  I apologized yet the damage of hurting her over something silly had been done.  I now see that I will have many more moments like this but what is different is that I see myself as the creator of those thoughts.  I see now that Anger is just an emotion, that I don’t need to give into it.  I also see and know that I will fail but healer within teaches me that I have a chance at each moment to take a different decision.

I have a long road ahead of me, yet I am excited to know that I no longer feel helpless. I am daunted with how much work I have to do but after a long time I also feel a sense of purpose that had been lacking in my life for a long time.

Myself, Writing

Fraud

I have this need to be read It’s why I have been writing since I was 16, and I often wonder what makes me want to share with others.  What makes me desire to hear the sentence “I read what you wrote” followed by “I liked/loved/laughed/cried/thought about what you wrote.”  I am open to criticism but I am scared of it as well. My biggest fear is not being liked but being ignored. As if I don’t exist. I write because it makes me feel as I exist. It is the only time that I am the uninterrupted. unadulterated me.

All my life. I have fought this nagging feeling of being a fraud, of feeling that I was meant for something different. The reality is that we are all a bunch of choices.  We are where we are either because of our own choices or others in our lives.  The others count only if your under 18 or just not willing or able to make your own choices. As a Punjabi, its easy to point the finger at my parents, but they didn’t force me to write, or go to UCLA or law school. Those were all my decisions so in a way I need to write to think out loud on paper. I have this need to inflict my opinion others. It’s perhaps the only time I feel as if intellectually I matter.

Yet even my writing is haphazard just like my feelings and thoughts. I have been unable to write something original in a long time. It’s as if I am afraid to really put myself out there or maybe just maybe I don’t have it in me. It is that last thought that drives me crazy. If I am not a writer, then what am I?  It’s the only label I have ever really wanted, and its the only that has eluded me now for over 2 decades.  I often the wonder if the feeling I am a fraud is actually who I am.  That perhaps in some way. my desire to be something other than what others think of me is what drives me?

I don’t know, and so I write even though I feel like a fraud.  IMG_1964

 

Myself

The Wondering Lawyer…

English: Icon of Law Firm--owned by user.
English: Icon of Law Firm–owned by user. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday, I attended the LACBA’s annual wage and hour symposium, and the first thing that struck me was the amount of lawyers who showed up the millennium Biltmore, but more than that, how almost all of them dressed alike. Men in suits, and he women in business outfits with some calves showing and business appropriate beige or black low heels. A majority of them with the obligatory iPhone/blackberry, and/or laptop, the low light of the devices making it feel as I was on Krypton.   Of course, there were some outliers. One wore a Hawaiian  shirt, and another came with a hat, suspenders on blue jeans.  I was in the middle, no jacket, business shirt with no collars and almost too tight pants (that’s what I get for eating all the chocolate I can at night).  The glow of the devices filled the darkened conference room, and I only felt one feeling: Glad.

I am glad, I don’t work as a lawyer. I am glad that I am not in uniform. I am glad that I don’t have to report for duty. Yet, there was a nagging feel that perhaps, just perhaps, I was missing something. And then it hit me that I missed law school.  The camaraderie, the kosher food with my friend Elias, and the nick name “The Three Wise Men” that was given to us by our class mates.  Well, I was Indian, my best friend was black, and the third was an orthodox Jew.  We made quite an impression when we walked the aisles.  Yet it was more than that. I missed knowing the law as an intellectual exercise, but more so I regret never getting actual practice at a law firm.  So I know why I was looking down at the attorneys now, I was preempting my insecurity before it got the best of me.  In some ways, I couldn’t help thinking that they were REAL attorneys while I played one at my business.

Yet as my best friend pointed out, I am selling myself short. I know the basics, and been around issues at my workplace to have a good grasp of employment law as it relates to my industry.  The nagging feeling left after I finished the conference, but I can’t help feeling that I missed out on some parts of being an attorney.  My only consolation now is that I can learn as needed, and I don’t have to punch a clock. Some days, that has to be  enough.

Diet, Myself

Locks: A Blog Post

by Jemal Yarbrough

It amazes me how freeing it can be when you acknowledge the locks you have in your life.  From hesitating on working out in the mornings to blindly charging over $100 in Starbucks coffee, I am slowly seeing the things that are holding me captive to a financial flat line.  I see the locks now, and now each action of mine is becoming deliberative and it hurts my heart to see how much I have wasted on value-less items.  It was is I was filling up my world with things to give myself value when deep down I knew that my worth was more than the blue tooth headphones I use at the gym.

Marriage can do that to you.  Sharing finances with someone who I love so much was scary at first but her kindness and gentle humor at the silly things I used to spend as loosened the lock of fear I had.  Now I just have to stick to a budget so we can truly accomplish the things we want most in this world: security, charity and maturity.