Day 48 – Who am I?

This was supposed to be posted 2 days ago, but somehow it wasn’t.

Apparently an idle mind is the devils workshop. However, for me an idle mind is the perfect set up for an identity crisis! While the last couple of weeks have brought their fair share of disappointments and goals achieved, something that wouldn’t go away is a feeling of anxiety, anxiety over my path in life and an anxiety over what the future held for me. While, I’m mature enough to realize any path that I chose for myself today will not be the same path I would be interested in treading in a year, or perhaps even a few month, what worried me was that I didn’t even have a general idea of what I was working towards.

I understand that this sort of crisis is something that a lot of, if not most people face on a semi-regular basis. And perhaps most people start ignoring this feeling at some point, but the last thing I wanted to do was settle down for mediocrity, and unproductive-ness. I proceeded to draw up some chart paper and write out my goals, my goals of the kind of person I wanted to be. Apparently “spawn” is the kind of person I want to be. Turns out the someday in the future I would like my own solo army of a child and raise them to be strong, independent, creative, inspiring, clever and kind. So, basically all the goals I mapped out for myself.

This was followed by a thorough plan for the week in my trusty passion planner. I even colour coded it! I managed to get all the tasks on my to-do list done and even though a bit late, seems like I managed to get back into blogging as well. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Even after doing all of this, the sinking feeling that I was wasting my life stuck, somehow I felt that I was wasting my life trying to achieve goals that didn’t mean much to me, rather than fulfilling my passions. After a nice long walk and a drink with a friend I felt much better. I spent the next day painting, something that I haven’t done in over 2 years. I don’t consider myself good, but I think I’m okay enough to get my vision on paper. This exercise filled me with peace, and also happiness, as the painting turned out better than I expected it to! I realized that I could probably do anything if I set my mind to it, even though it might take someone else a shorter time to get there, I could eventually get there on my own. And that is all that mattered, so lets stop comparing ourselves to others, and set our OWN goals, our OWN dreams and achieve them at our OWN pace. Let’s OWN our life, rather than letting the world decide our path.




Day 33: Day 47 – I suck, but not really

The last two weeks have been tumultuous to say the least, my schedule has been all over the place, with the likelihood of me having to potentially move out of my apartment in the matter of a couple of days. With an indecisive landlord, and an extremely volatile renting market, getting an apartment has been an adventure, but I can happily say that I have manage to get an apartment exactly 4 floors above mine! Now with some shelter security, I have had some time to finally get my life back on track.

My attempt at getting up at 6AM has not been going so well, and neither has my attempt to sleep on time, could there be a correlation? However, on the other hand work has picked up and I am finally enjoying myself. Work feels productive, and creative rather than a drag I have found out that I have an unheard of abhorrence to following instructions, and being told what to do, even by a man who is at least 10 years my senior, and has devoted the last 5 years of his life to this project. While, the last couple of weeks have involved me merely following instructions, and doing what he felt best, yesterday I finally got to start doing my own project (at least for the meanwhile) and the freedom was liberating. Here’s to hoping that I am skilled enough in the future to be handling my own projects.

I have joined the Skule newspaper as the Marketing Manager for the year, and I look forward to a year making the Cannon more popular than its ever been. This wouldn’t be difficult if the newspaper wasn’t popular, however currently it is rather unpopular and revering opinions requires slightly longer time and better tactics. I have been struggling to find an outlet for my goals of increasing awareness for women in STEM, and also alleviating some of the stigma around mental health illnesses on campus. Something that has been holding me back from getting too involved is the documentary. The documentary has been progressing fairly well, but post production will be in full swing over the course of the next year and it will be my main priority, and as such joining more clubs seems to be a sure fire way to take myself back where I started.

The plan was to start an online course this weekend, to come closer to my goal of doing some learning but I will have to go to my aunts house this weekend, so that might not be a possibility. Reading hasn’t been going very well either, after the magnanimity of Atlas Shrugged, it seems that no book will be able to match up. Perhaps, the visit to my aunts house will lead me to starting a book.

I’ve definitely been eating well, and taking care of myself. I’m planning to get some studying done this summer for next semester, and also to go on a camping trip. This means that I need to get in shape, this camping trip might be solo, along with a book, some music, and podcasts. And speaking of podcasts, I started listening to a few stations, and I was blown over by the sheer amount of things that I don’t know about, and never though of wondering why. And the best part is that I get to learn these random facts, during the time I would generally waste, but now instead I get to fill my head with knowledge!

The plan is to start writing regularly again, while I can put off tomorrow morning by saying  , “Oh I wrote less than 12hrs ago” I will still try to write a blog post, however small it is. While this served as an update of sorts on my goals, tomorrows post will hopefully be a bit more on my thoughts and plans for the summer. So, heres to getting back on track and getting my life in order. Also I need to start writing shorter posts, but this didn’t take too long!

Day 16 : Day 33- Just an Update

An extremely long overdue post, that I have most definitely been procrastinating because of how long I expect this to take. The last 17 days have been very interesting and fairly productive. After coming back to Toronto I’ve hardly had any time to myself. We’ve had 8 interviews for the Documentary and a script writing meeting as well. I’ve started work but unfortunately I’m a little behind on my other goals and tasks. I’m still just settling into Toronto life and hopefully next week will be better. I have also started sleeping at 10-11Pm and waking up around 6-7AM. This has been a positive change so far, and has lead to me being late to fewer engagements. However, the current challenge I am facing is optimizing my morning time and using it for tasks and activities that I wish to complete rather than lazily doing some work. I’ve also noticed that its been much harder to keep myself on track and motivated without writing these posts so I will be trying to write them daily rather than slacking off. Usually I address some of the thoughts I’ve been having in these posts, but the main idea of todays post was to get back on track with writing so I’m going to stop here. However, I will definitely be going back to usual trend once I’m more organized and assimilated into my work place and also life on my own again.

Day 14 : 15 – Sick, Busy, Family

Posts this week will most likely be short and less insightful than usual since it’s my last week at home. This means that I have a lot preparation for not only my departure from Jakarta but also for my arrival in Toronto. 

For the Skule documentary work is finally getting started, interviews will most likely be happening next week along with script writing. It seems like the rough times of looking for funding and trying to figure out logistical details are behind us and the fun part of actually doing the work and making a film are here! 

Today an YouTube channel TVF posted a satirical video on the issue of marital rape. The Indian constitution doesn’t acknowledge marital rape the video titled, “how I raped your mother” took a cynical and satirical take at this. Of course the title is very preposterous and sure enough it made most people very uncomfortable and lead to them exclaiming that this video was too much. Unfortunately even after watching the video most comments from the lovely “meninists” of India focused on how misandry was taking over the country and how the rights of precious men raping women all over the country were being squandered. Their angst comes in part from being uneducated about what feminism is. They’ve been told that feminism means women taking over the world and they argue that men being raped is as much of an issue as women getting raped is. However they forget that the idea of feminism is based on equality, and also taking away the negative connotations associated with feminity whether in a man or a woman. They complain that men face the issues of always having to be manly and body image and don’t realize that, that is EXACTLY what feminism is trying to handle. But that is giving them the benefit of doubt, most probably their precious male egos are trodden with guilt of having taken part in that very oppression every day of their lives, and are intimidated by the idea of women being equal to men. 

Anyways what these comment sections never fail to do is inspire me. Inspire the angry feminist in me and wonder how much of an activist I would be if I lived in India. It also inspired me raise more awareness on the subconscious biases that we face on a regular basis; from calling girls who don’t meet our pre concieved motions of what a typical girl in engineering looks like a slut to saying people who have ADD/ADHD are pretending just to get the aderall. I hope to work to reduce these biases in atleast UofT and I’m working with EWB to figure something out. Let’s see how this goes. 

Last week at home is always a bit rough, with the sorrow of leaving colliding with the excitement of the opportunities that lie on the other end. The melancholia takes over during this week and perhaps even contributed a bit to me being sick yesterday. This week will be bittersweet but such times are what keep living so interesting. 

Day 13 – Saturday the 13th? 

Apparently 13 is an unlucky number for me since today is the first day since the beginning of this blog that I didn’t feel like being productive. I started the day feeling a bit sick and even though I started feeling better in the evening the feeling of lethargy had already set in. I managed to get some work in before dinner, but it was barely anything. I looked back to my goals and was inspired to apply to WISE which is something I wasn’t considering doing before. I’ve also been recently inspired to finance myself for the upcoming year. I will mull over that for a few more weeks and make a decision. I got to try out a new style today, the loose 3/4th pants with a cute crop top. To my joy, I completely slayed in that outfit and with some red lipstick that outfit will be quite fantastic. Pictures soon! After a nice dinner I spent the night watching bad tv which didn’t inspire me in the slightest. The day ended off with me calling black panther, catman. I’m not sure what that says about me, actually I do. It’s say I’m a noob. Anyways hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. 

Day 12 – Family first

Today was largely unproductive in the conventional sense, however I spent most of my day in the most lucrative way I could imagine.  I started off the day by watching “Sex and the City”, which was a truly terrible movie, even for someone like me who loves awful rom- coms. The whole premise of the movie irked me to start off with, the main goals of the women running around NYC was to find love, and their careers were just something that happened. Cheating husbands were easily forgiven, and so were assholes who left you at the altar. Even though the movie is all about the adventures of four 40 something with love, the movie is really all about the men, since that is what their lives revolve around. After all I would love to know how Samantha got so rich, and what DOES Carrie write about, what keeps Miranda so busy, and does Charlotte have a job or not? And I think an even bigger question would be, how do they afford all those fantastic outfits, and accessories?! Aside from that Mr. Big is just an extremely poorly written character, who doesn’t have anything but ALOT of money and class (That closet was gorgeous) to his name. I’m assuming the movie picks up from the TV show which may be why I have all these questions, but inspite of only having 120 minutes, and Carrie being the supposed centre of attention, the story still revolves around Mr. Big  and all he comes across as is just a BIG douchebag.

At the end Carrie’s dreams of having a dreamy wedding are crushed because of course SHE was wrong to pressure him into having a huge celebration, even though HE was too busy to pay any attention to the wedding details or show his apparent distaste for her ideas and compromise on a middle ground. Maybe Mr. Big is perfect in every way, he might tick all the big boxes; smart, handsome, and wealthy but he fails to tick all the important ones; kind, honest, and respectful. The movie also falls into the classic trap of, “oh but I can change him!” Darling you can’t change anybody, you can barely change who you are. Big might’ve seemed to be becoming the “ideal lover” towards the end of the movie, with all his love notes and his final email. But the fact remains that he never tried to write one for her, himself. Hell, he didn’t even try and personalize those love notes. His love seems so passive, almost as if he knows he should be trying to win her back after he acted so poorly. I could probably rant on about him for another 500 words, but I’d like to move on to the better parts of my day where the women didn’t fall head over heels in love with a classic stuck -up snob.

After getting over my irritation for Mr. Big, I got to spend the whole day with my family, without any arguments or debates! After 6 weeks of regular tirades, we all decided to take a step back and enjoy our remaining time together. The day was spent shopping with mom, and the evening was spent playing chess with dad (I lost because of my reluctance to kill). I also had the fun opportunity to teach my mum how to use youtube to further progress her new hobby of crocheting. Seeing the “aha” moment for her was truly wonderful, and helped me have a glimpse in to understanding the joy she took in educating me while I was growing up. I then proceeded to make silly jokes on her whatsapp for all of her family and friends to see, which literally had my father and I rolling on the ground in tears.

The day ended off with Pizza, and goodnight kisses and me retreating to my room. After having a great day, I decided to end it off in a more conventional way and got the templates for the planner down. It was a lot of trial and error but a lot of fun. Design teaches you the importance of working layer by layer simply by the way the software is set up, but I think this crosses over into life as well. I started the project slightly anxious at the momentous task before me, but once I broke it down it all came together beautifully.

Day 5 : Day 11 – Who is John Galt?

“I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

Sorry for the absence, for the last 6 days I have been caught up with reading a book that has not only inspired me, but also forced me to completely reevaluate how I live my life. Usually a book doesn’t stay with me long after it’s finished, however Atlas Shrugged is a book that I’m sure will stay with me for a long time. Just a quick round up of things, I’ve been preparing to go back to Toronto, and figuring out some details for the documentary. Thankfully our broken camera is fixed, and we can hopefully start work as soon as I get there. I’m a bit behind on planner work, since I’ve been so caught up at home and with the book but hopefully I should be able to make up for lost time. I’ve also found a study buddy to start working on my courses for next year with, and I’m hoping to start drawing a positive association with studying by procrastinating on my other responsibilities in the summer by studying (yay psychology!). Anyways, lets get to the meaty stuff.

Strong, resilient, stereotype breaking female characters are often what make a book stand out for me and Atlas Shrugged did that better than any other book that I’ve ever read. My other female icons include Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation) and Lyra Belacqua (His Dark Materials Trilogy), Dagny Taggart just joined the list. She not only inspires me to be passionate about what I do, and be absolutely amazing at it, but she also inspires me to embrace my feminity. She is often referred to as a man in the business world which so effortless dominates, but she embodies every single ideal that I have ever hoped to reach: competent, intelligent, beautiful, sensual and completely in command of her body and mind. A theme running throughout the book is the union of the body and mind, and not to treat them as separate entities. It identifies sex as the most selfish of needs and one of the greatest representations of the mind, and scorns at anyone who says that love is unselfish, and “is just is”.  This ideology sounded like something that I’d been waiting to listen my whole life, love along with everything else is earned. Earned by the value of the other person, and payed by you in your own value. It is not a sacrifice, it is a trade, and i realize those words don’t sound pleasant, but think of how simple that makes everything! People say they don’t understand love, Atlas Shrugged says “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.” And that is how I feel the world treats love. This falls in with the books other more prominent theme of earning everything you have and the importance of the mind.

While the book constantly condemns socialism very explicitly, the ideology behind this struck me. I recently read something by Mindy Lahiri which went along the lines of, “I earned my confidence”, and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more true. Similarly, we earn most things in life, and we pay for them in some way or the other. This book made me feel ashamed for openly asking people to do favours for me and not giving them any value in return and relying solely on their altruism (and my charm of course). However, while this gave me a sense of peace and a more logical way to look at life (which is always wonderful), it also troubled me when I started thinking of the need for random acts of altruism in our daily life, for example the recent fort Mc Murray incident. How were all those people supposed to be saved had it not been for the generosity of Canadians. I think the answer is that, as long as it is not a sacrifice then an act of altruism is justified. Or perhaps I just need to check my premise.

Beyond Ayn Rands philosophy of objectivism, which I will most certainly be reading about more in detail, what stands out are the books characters. All the protagonists are brilliant and beautiful people. People who have worked unbelievably hard to achieve what they believe in, people who used their minds for the most brilliant of purposes rather than to let them rot. The kind of people I aspire to be. The book has given me a lot to think about, from my own personal morals, since I don’t have any and run on the whim, and also about my dedication to myself and existence itself. Have I been cheating myself by half-assing my work for all these years, and does that mean I didn’t value my life as much as I should’ve? Perhaps. After learning in schools where any sign of intelligence beyond the syllabus was mocked and disdained, and all that mattered was memorizing the revision sheet before the exam, it is no surprise that at one point I held the ideology that the secret to happiness is not thinking. But I think I might’ve stumbled upon a bigger truth in this book, the secret to happiness lies in pure unadulterated hard work and pride of achievement. I’m afraid that we live in a world that is far too okay with being average, and at certain times even celebrates it. I’m not sure of my claim and could not argue it at this point, but I will definitely be observing and trying to reach a conclusion about that statement.

So, who is John Galt? John Galt is the man who made the Atlas’s of the world shrug. John Galt, is a man and a metaphor. And as someone who loves metaphors he is quite the ideal character and a most worthy protagonist. John Galt is also in some way the man who motivated a young girl to further take control of her own life, and use her mind to her own advantage and to never let anyone else claim their stake in her life.