Re-Arranging Dreams

I haven’t posted in almost three weeks because work has been a bit intense lately and I’ve been doing some overtime and coming home exhausted.  But in the midst of all the crazy, I had a realization over the weekend.  Even though I’m completely wiped right now, I am extremely happy- maybe happier than I have been in a long time.

Last weekend I traveled home to the Portland area for a few family functions.  While catching up with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins it occurred to me that I actually had new and exciting things to share with them rather than the standard, “Oh- work is going well.  Everything else is pretty much the same.  Hanging out with friends”.  This is because I’ve actually been trying to do new things and check a few items off of my bucket list.  For the last few months I’ve been actively creating the life I want to live rather than complaining about the one I’ve got.

You see- my life is not exactly where I thought it would be at this point. I remember when I was in the second grade and my teacher made us write about what we wanted in twenty years.  While I no longer have the book she complied of all of our papers, I remember how it started- “Twenty years from now in the year 2012, I will be 28 years old and I want to be…”.  While I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, I know I thought that I would be married with a kid or two, and have a red car and a house.  Now, a year later in 2013 and at 29 years old, I have exactly none of those things (well, I have a car- just not red, and I rent a very nice apartment that feels like a home).

For a long time the fact that the dreams of my 8 year old self had not come to fruition did not bother me because I kept telling myself that they would come someday.  Up until recently I was either in school or trying to get my career started.  This was where my focus was- I did not have time to pursue a lot of other interests I held or to pursue romantic relationships.  But recently, I’ve wondered if delaying those aspects of my life has been worth it as I still don’t feel as if I completely know what to do with my life.  My career isn’t really where I want it to be, and I have neglected other aspects of myself.

Yes, I am still young and I know I have a lot of time to accomplish everything I want to, but I hit a point over the New Year where I was just tired of living for someday and waiting for life to happen.  I needed to make it happen.  So now I am working on new creative adventures, one of which is writing this blog, another is the dance classes I have recently started to take (more on that to come in a future post).  And I am having so much FUN.  I feel like I am living instead of waiting for things to happen- and that just feels good.

There is a great song the band Keane sings titled The Lovers Are Loosing.  It’s actually kind of a depressing song if you really listen to all of the lyrics, but I love the picture they paint with the beginning of the chorus.  It goes Like this:

You take the pieces of the dreams that you have

‘Cause you don’t like the way they seem to be going

You cut them up and spread them out on the floor

You’re full of hope as you begin re-arranging

Put it all back together

So here I am re-arranging my dreams.  The dreams that I had at 8 years old are still good dreams, I just need to look at them through a different lens, and put them together in a different order.  But just like the song- I’m hopeful as I do this, and I’m having a great time doing it!

I also want to take a minute to say a big THANK YOU to Monique from A Reel Chick who nominated my blog for a Liebster award. This is an award that bloggers give to other bloggers who are still small and have less than 200 followers.  I am extremely flattered and honored by this!  Thank you to everyone who is reading- I really appreciate it!

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6 Reasons I Love Mindy Kaling

A few posts ago when I wrote about my love for Romantic Comedies, I mentioned how much I enjoy Mindy Kaling.  There are so many incredible women comedians today, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are two that I admire greatly, but Mindy is my current favorite.  There is something about Mindy and her style of humor that resonates with me.  Maybe it’s because we are close to the same age and are both single women; maybe it’s the ways she is an unabashed romantic.

I’ll admit that I got on the Mindy bandwagon only recently.  I haven’t watched The Office in quite a few years, but I found her character on the show to be highly irritating.  It was not until many years after I stopped watching that I heard she was one of the writers on the show and began to wonder about who she was (side note/rant: how come I knew that B.J. Novak wrote for the show as well as starred in it- people talked about that, why not talk about the woman doing the same thing?  Women in comedy get no respect.).  This fall, I was intrigued by the premise for her new show The Mindy Project, and I am now an avid fan.  Then a few months ago, I discovered her hilarious and honest book; Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  

Mindy Book

I am now convinced that this woman is a comedic genius, but more than that, I completely respect her as a woman.  Here are six reasons why I have fallen in love with Mindy.

1.  She is a strong woman who is not afraid to share her flaws, and she writes the same type of woman in a realistic and relatable way.

A few days ago, because I really am this big of a geek, I watched a Hulu video of the panel for The Mindy Project at the Paley Festival.  If I did not already love Mindy, I did after watching this.  She talked abut how she wrote Mindy Lahiri to be a doctor, one because her mother had been an OB/GYN, and two because she wanted her to be a strong character.  However, Mindy L.  is also terribly flawed; a real hot mess in every sense.  Even strong women do not always have it all together, and Mindy is showing that that’s OK.

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2.  She is living her dream, and worked hard to get here.

In her book, Mindy talks about how after college, she and her friend were not getting the work they wanted, so they made it happen for themselves.  Mindy and her best friend wrote a short play called Matt and Ben about what they thought Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were like, and what they might do and talk about.  It was small, but it got noticed, and it led to her landing a writing gig for The Office.  Now, she is writing, starring in, and creatively directing her own show.  She gets to share her own creative vision with the world.  She wears a lot of hats, and in the Paley Fest panel she talked about how it can be hard to do every aspect well, but she has pulled together a team that can pick up the slack and she is adjusting to being the boss.  She said she never sleeps, but when you are living your dream, you don’t want to sleep.  An audience member asked her for advice on how to get where Mindy is now, and she half jokingly said that in college she never partied and she didn’t date.  She was focused, and now at 33, she has everything she ever wanted.

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3.  She takes the fact that she is a role model and breaking new ground as an Indian American woman comedic lead seriously, but she does not let it overwhelm her.

During Paley Fest, one of the audience questions was about how she uses her background as an East Asian woman in her work.  She talked about how it is an influence because it is a part of her and she cannot ignore that it is, but she is not going to let it define the show.  She is just going to be real and let it happen organically.  She related a quote about ethnicity saying that she is neither going to rely on it or deny it; I think she is doing a great job finding a balance.  But she did address how hard it can be to always think about how what she does reflects on her community, and that it’s frustrating to be a pioneer sometimes.  She made a great point when she said that no one ever asks what Steve Carrel is trying to say about white men in his portrayal of Michael Scott, but people do ask that about her.  Mindy is refreshingly honest in the way that she discusses being a role model, and has what I think to be a very healthy attitude about it.

4.  She has some curves, but refuses to feel bad about them and dresses to flaunt them.

At Paley Fest, Mindy joked about how she is living her dream by being the star of her own show and chubby.  Her shape is something she has tackled in her show, but she doesn’t really make it an issue.  Mindy is a real woman, and I think she is beautiful.  I love how Mindy Lahiri dresses in the show, she is always tasteful, but she wears clothes that show her curves.  She’s not scared of a form fitting pencil skirt or dress, and she looks amazing.

Mindy

5.  She is refreshingly real in the way she discusses relationships.

Relationships can be awkward, and Mindy portrays that in her show.  She uses her personal experiences to make Mindy L. seem relatable.  Mindy is very candid about the fact that she has not dated a lot in her own life because she has been so focused on her work, so her lack of experience can lead to lots of questions about how relationships work.  One of my favorite parts of her book was when she discussed how she has never had a one night stand and thinks the idea is terrifying, as one, it requires vulnerability with a stranger, and two, you might be murdered because you went home with a stranger.  I loved that she turned this idea into an episode of her show.  It was a hilarious episode titled Hooking Up is Hard.  In the episode, Mindy decides she wants to try to have a casual “hooking up” relationship, but she has no idea how to go about it; hilarity ensues.  I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have someone on TV or in a movie not know how to have a one night stand.  After all the years of Sex In The City, you would think everyone is constantly hooking up and that it is no big deal.  Well, in the world I live in, for my friends and I, this is something rather foreign to us, and I love that Mindy showed that not everyone lives like this, and it can be awkward.

6.  She is an unabashedly huge romantic and loves romantic comedies.

Mindy created a show about a young woman who loves romantic comedies and wants her life to be like one- what is not to like about that?  In her show she has referenced many of my personal favorite movies, and it makes the show that much more relatable and funny.  I’ve talked before about how it can be rather embarrassing to admit how much one loves romantic comedies these days- but Mindy makes me feel better about it.  She writes about romantic comedies, “I simply regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human world. Then I just lap it up.”  This is how I feel about her show- I’ll never live in her world, but I can relate, and I love every minute of it.

Bonus Reason- She handpicked Chris Messina to be her love interest in The Mindy Project.

A woman who is able to choose her own male lead and goes for Chris Messina?  This is a woman I could clearly be great friends with.  I’m not going to lie, half the reason I decided to try her show was because I saw he was going to be in it (this was before I discovered her genius).  Mindy has talked about how she begged him to take the lead, and I love her for it every week when I see this beautiful face on my TV:

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In all seriousness, it makes me happy to know that we have strong, funny, real women like Mindy Kaling who are currently in the spotlight and are able to be positive role models for our young women.  Keep doing what you are doing Mindy- we need more women like you!

3/25/13 Update- I just discovered this Interview/Article about Mindy from the September 17 Issue of New York Magazine.  It touches on many of the points that I have brought up in this post, but expresses them much more eloquently!  Check it out if you are as intrigued by Ms. Kaling as I am:  The New New Girl: Mindy Kaling Promotes Herself Out of The Office and into The Mindy Project

Leading Lady or Best Friend?

I recently re-watched the movie The Holiday.  You know the one- with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, and Jack Black does the whole trying to make a more serious comedy thing like Steve Carell in Dan in Real Life?  I always find myself relating to Kate Winslet’s character, Iris, in this film.  Like Iris, unrequited love seems to be the only kind I am truly familiar with.  When all you want is to feel desired and loved by another, it can be a bit of a confidence killer when those objects are not easily obtained.

 The Holiday

Iris, however, is quite lucky when she meets her neighbor Arthur, a writer from the glorious Old Hollywood days.  He begins to subtly mentor her towards becoming a more confident woman through old films and gentle movie metaphors, and slowly throughout the movie she gets her gumption back.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie is early in Iris and Arthur’s relationship when they are out to dinner together.  In a moment of wisdom, Arthur tells Iris that in the movies there are two kinds of women- the Leading Lady and the Best Friend.

Iris and Eli

“You, I can tell, are Leading Lady material” Arthur tells her.  “What I can’t understand is why you are acting like the Best Friend.”

Iris responds by telling him that he is right, she should be the Leading Lady in her own life.  She hilariously relates that his observation was more clear and helpful than three years of therapy.  “That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.”

I don’t know if I always do the best job at being the Leading Lady in my own life.  A Leading Lady has confidence and mojo; is ready to make her place in the world.  In not having a clear plan of my next move career wise, I can let that erode my confidence in other areas of my life, seeping into how I carry myself and interact with others.  Sometimes I think this may be why I don’t often put myself out there into unfamiliar situations, thus hindering prospects to meet new people and severely limiting my dating life.

This is not a mindset that can magically be changed overnight, but I am conscious of it and working on it bit by bit.  I’m ready to be my own Leading Lady- I better work on making her story as memorable as Iris’s.