Apr 15, 2014

Fearlessness - Listen to your mother

My picture was in a newspaper recently. I'm going to be part of a public performance on April 26th called 'Talk To Your Mother' celebrating the many facets of motherhood. (Buy your tickets from here!)

The paper in question is the Boston Herald. A tabloid, though one with the impressive provenance of having earned 8 Pulitzers in its broadsheet days of yore.
Yes, I'm skipping blithely over the 'tabloid' part and dwelling on its blue-blooded lineage. Because I can. And because my pic could appear in worse places. 'Wanted' posters come to mind.

The Boston Herald,Monday, April 14, 2014

I shared the link to the article on FB as part of the 'fearlessness' bid I'm on thanks to a friend (see what Cameron's doing, here). We are to find things that give us pause and 'fearlessly' overcome them. This is the closest I come to self-help, by the way. Personal  challenges appeal to me: no gurus or dictats or new-age philosophy, just accountability to yourself. And an audience of one if you fail, so you can pick yourself up and try again.

One of my 'fears' is discomfort with public attention, especially in the form of praise. I want to overcome this so I can invite more joy and grace into my life. Sharing my momentary fame/infamy on FB seemed a fitting strike for the cause so i jumped at it. But the mental squirming kicked in as soon as kudos started trickling in from friends. I found myself doing another round of 'Keepin' it real!' to balance out any ego inflation that this experience might be insidiously wreaking on me.

So here's the reality check that my pesky conscience is generating: my ethnicity deserves some of the credit for my selection. Being chosen for a city wide event is an undoubted honor given the company of talented writers I'm in but It was hard to overlook that the picture in the Boston Herald (of part of the cast) included the only 2 non-Caucasians and the sole man.

And rightly so. The Boston area is diverse and cosmopolitan so to even attempt to represent its population of mothers, means sampling more than one demographic. Different ethnicities (and genders) craft different voices and for this show, they wanted a harmonic orchestra rather than a few soaring solos. In the current climate of ethnic equality, we should be able to acknowledge openly that deliberately sampling race is a good thing for fair representation. 

To add to that challenging mandate, the organizers had the unenviable task of picking only 15 from the many who auditioned. Considering that publicity for the open audition was largely within the Boston blogging community, most responders were seasoned writers so the baseline was set fairly high. The selection decisions couldn't have been easy for the dedicated producers/director of the show who sat on the selection panel. 

So I'm trying to rest easy that my writing credentials really did pass muster. Yet, the reality check that won't quit riding on my conscience and dampening my delight is that I might have said my piece well, but being Indian and in a minority did not hurt. (It's also entirely possible also that I'm imagining much of this from that lack of grace that makes me rationalize away compliments.) 

Either way, my act of 'Fearlessness' has taken on an unexpected shade now. I intended to challenge myself to accept compliments with more grace: I find myself also trying to quell self-doubts. It doesn't escape me that the two might be the same.

I just know that when I get to share my piece on motherhood (and miscarriage) this Saturday with an audience, I'm going to stand tall, be Fearless. I will be there because I had a story to tell and I was able to tell it well enough to have earned my spot. I will tell it standing in the brown Indian skin that makes me who I am and accept with grace that I might have been chosen for it, not in-spite of it.

I will be me.

Around bedtime, after being busted for using his electric toothbrush on just ONE tooth for his entire brushing time...
Me (yelling): You must have been daydreaming again....this is ridiculous!
Oyon (yelling back tearfully): That's so mean! I was NOT day dreaming! I just forgot!
Me (incredulously): You forgot what?
Oyon: How to brush!
Me: How is that possible?!
Oyon: Well, there are so many things in my head that some of them have to go out. Sometimes you HAVE to forget, Mamma! Don't you KNOW that?!
Me (sobered by his frustration AND logic): I know you have lots to hold in your head these days. Sorry I yelled. What do you think I should I do next time you're ruining your teeth by not brushing right?
Oyon: Teach me again,
Me: Deal.

A few minutes later as he's reading a funny story to me, comments in mid-guffaw...
Oyon: You know, it's hard to laugh right after you've been crying very badly
Me: Why? Are you still sad?
Oyon: Not really. It's just that all that panting makes my throat go funny and the laugh kind of gets stuck. I want to laugh harder but it just won't come out.
Me: Are you sure there are no tears stuck in there?
Oyon: I'm sure. They all came out already. Like lava.
Me: Like lava?
Oyon: Eruption.

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