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  • Jas

Looking Ahead

It's that time of year again!

But first! Looking back at 2019:

There was a lot of new in 2019. New home, new job, new relationships, and even new dynamics in the relationships I held so close for so long.

Also new, was this blog! I am still in shock some times that I kept it up, and though it wasn't originally one of my goals I'm happy that it's come about and that I've been so supported by my family and friends in this new creative endeavor.

For so long I was feeling suffocated by the work/life balance in my life. Finding a job where I can have time for a life and being able to fill it with this blog has been a blessing, truly. And though it's small, I appreciate every one of you who swings by to glance at what I'm thinking, doing, or creating!

There was also my New Years Resolution for 2019!

In 2019 I wanted to be a better cheerleader. For family, friends, strangers, and myself. I wanted to be the person who encourages and supports.

I'm so glad I picked this resolution because with everything going on in the world it's so easy to feel hopeless and to turn into a Negative Nancy.

I think most importantly, I adore people who support other people. People who support others with open hearts are, I think, some of the most loving people.

So how did it go?

When I shared my goal I asked others to share their resolutions with me so that I could cheer them on! A handful responded, and throughout the year, I would check in and remind them that they can do it. First I sent each a valentine with some encouragement. Later in the year it was a message to check in, or cheering them on through Fitbit.

As the year went on I started to engage more with others in the writing and blogging communities. I found a few people I connected with and began to cheer them on as well!

In the spring I became a book fairy and started to encourage others to get lost in stories!

Around the same time, I found my people! I joined an amazing group of women in my local Altrusa International Chapter and started encouraging children to read and supporting education initiatives for children from less fortunate families.

That summer, I packed up fun and healthy snacks for kids attending a daycare, something their families would not have been able to afford alone. The program helps them prepare for kindergarten, and get accustomed to a school setting, so as not to start out lost, scared, or overwhelmed.

I would prepare these snacks for children I would never get to meet. But they deserved a Pinterest Aunt just as much as my own nieces and nephews. It felt good to remember how much love I had to give and to feel fearless in the way I shared that love with the world.

What's next?

Everyone is thinking about New Year's Resolutions and for many of us, maybe even already giving up on some.

I think it's important to set the goals that are right for you, when it's right for you. There's no reason why you should wait until next year to set a goal just because the first one you came up with didn't go as planned.

But also, I like the camaraderie of setting a goal together. That motivation can be contagious! Though there are things I am much more comfortable doing on my own, and left to my own devices, I think it's nice that everyone bands together to start fresh and work towards a better them or a better world!

Looking back at my 2019 resolution, I realized that the person I wasn't a better cheerleader for was myself.

It's not going to be easy to quiet the self deprecating thoughts. And it's not going to be easy to ignore the physical imperfections I've fixated on for so long. But I really want to rid myself of the self loathing and the self doubt, and not just pounds from my tummy and thighs.

First step: I chopped off my hair!

I know this seems silly and the kind of cliche thing girls are supposed to do after a break up or something, but my relationship with my hair is complicated.

In Sikhi, Kes is important. You are not meant to cut away your hair, as it's viewed as a gift from God. You aren't meant to expend energy in trying to fit into the main stream or what society tells you is beautiful. That energy is better utilized in serving others and your community.

I always found this beautiful and I always found it empowering. The idea that men and women shouldn't cut their hair or shave because we are God's creations and perfect as is. This is especially empowering if you consider how much pressure there is on women to shave and wax and thread and put all this time and effort into looking like perfectly groomed creatures.

Maybe it's because I grew up surrounded by Sikhs who practiced their faith differently, but I always focused more on the meaning rather than the actual act of keeping Kes. I would grow my hair out pretty long and then, chop it off and donate it. I figured I wasn't just cutting away my gift from God, I was sharing it with someone who may not have been as lucky.

But as I got older I started to wonder, what about individuality? For some their hair and style is a creative outlet. For some, wearing their hair in a particular way that brings them joy is a way of telling society that they won't be bound by this standard idea of beauty.

I would think about these things a lot. But I would always hesitate to cut my hair; even when donating it. It wasn't an easy pill to swallow, but I realized that I wasn't keeping my hair long because I wanted to keep Kes. I wasn't just growing it out so I could donate it.

I held on to my long, thick hair, because I wanted to feel beautiful. Because it was one of the few things I would get compliments on from others. Because when people saw beauty in me, it was all concentrated in this dark waterfall starting at my scalp and cascading down to my bum.

I didn't want to let go of that security blanket. I didn't want to lose the thing that brings me comfort when I feel ugliest.

The previous time I donated my hair I cried. I thought it was so short I looked like a boy. I was certain that my chubby face looked even fatter without the pretty hair to distract people from my second chin.

I had so many of these destructive feelings attached to my hair that were completely counterproductive to the purpose of keeping Kes. I should have felt good about donating it, but instead I felt sad and, quite honestly, self absorbed. All I could think about, was how people would see me.

So when I made this resolution to love myself, to love the person I've become and not obsess over fixing various physical features, I knew the first thing I had to do was to let go of my hair.

I donated nine inches of hair, and I didn't cry this time.

There's no looking back now!

So here's to looking ahead, to a brand new year full of love, and hopefully a year where we find the courage to embrace those most difficult to love.

Even when that person is ourselves.

Good luck to everyone setting new years resolutions of their own!

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