Choose your battles, choose your words

I feel like there are a lot of things I’m learning traveling that you wouldn’t expect like… diplomacy skills! How to approach, communicate, and respect people past the barriers of my own language or culture. I’m learning about wildlife, history, and just life in general.
You know if I was Bernie Sanders, and I had already been the core of a movement so opposite of the man now in power, then I would feel a responsibility to continue to be that icon. It’s important to choose your battles wisely because once you invest energy, you have intertwined yourself with the conflict. For example, a lot of people post dushey things on facebook and I just ignore them or unfriend them. It’s non-confrontational and I just forget I ever met them. But sometimes I also like to be a troll. This one guy, named Alex, from Humboldt but I had no recollection of knowing, posted on facebook how this bum laid on his front porch and basically how disgusting it was. I commented, “people are people” and he went into a paragraph long rant attacking me using language like fucking- this fucking- that. Now I’m involved. Because its my responsibility to defend myself (luckily it was such a stupid argument it was just funny and not difficult to do). But then another girl wrote a really well articulated paragraph about the homeless problem in the area and started getting baraded by low-frequency asshats in the comments. That made me mad. 
I am faced with a dilemma now. Because that genuinely upsets me that they would talk to her in such a demeaning way, and she did not defend herself. I would rather defend her at this point than myself… but maybe I’m crossing a line with energy investment. Now that I made one comment, I feel tied to the people in the thread. As if I have a responsibility to respond, to defend her. This is why choosing battles is so important! It’s not the first battle… but how the battle manifests in your mind and consciousness.
I find myself looking out the window, in beautiful India, driving by landscapes I will only get the chance to see once, and I’m thinking about this? What a waste of my energy. 
One time when I was in elementary school, a kid was getting bullied and I went right up between him and the bullies and was ready to fight them to stop. But guess who got mad at me? The boy who was being beat up! Geez dude, I’m trying to stand up for you! But maybe he felt that I was inflaming the situation more, and making it worse for him in the long run. 
When I was in high school, there was a guy in my class that was making inappropriately aggressive comments through our club facebook page, and I publicly told him to stop. He proceeded to post threats to me on facebook, saying “You’ll get what’s coming to you white rat.” But even somehow everyone at my school supported him and ostracized me during that time. I think I responded poorly because I didn’t respond at all. Things that weren’t true were being said and spread and I just stayed silent. I felt deeply confused at how humans could be so stupid and such sheep to blindly follow what was clearly wrong just because it was what everyone else was doing. 
That wasn’t the right approach either though. My thought process was, I’m almost done with high school, thank god I’ll never have to see these people again. I’m moving on to bigger things in my life. But in retrospect, silence is not the answer. I allowed him to dictate the logic of the situation, and never stood up for myself.
I inevitably intertwined myself in the energy of the conflict, the second I picked it as a battle. You can’t drop only one fleet of troops into a battle without backup. You have to stand on your own two feet and if you’re going to fight- fight!
In India, today I visited a castle with huge walls surrounding it in a 36 km perimeter! These beautiful structure were made for living a beautiful life, but they also have a clear history of war. They defended themselves through engineering and bravery. But the defense was necessary. Wars were fought, walls were breached, and kingdoms were won. 
Even Ghandi knew that silence wasn’t synonymous with peace. He was a warrior, a non-violent one, but a warrior none the less. The silent person is not going to be the one to shake or move things.
Maybe in a small way, I need to overcome the associations with the warrior woman. She is the feminist. She is the agitator. She is bossy. She is a bitch. Society tells us that good girls and quiet and submissive. Two things that don’t lead to making a difference.
I’m still in the process of allowing my voice. That means finding when and when not to give my energy to something. To be strategic in which battles I fight. To be logical and of course, vocal. To be aware and have foresight. To stay calm and to let others decide when they need me to fight on their behalf… To trust people to be okay and to manage. To make my words meaningful.

What will I choose to put my energy towards in my future? 

Hairy Regrets

I am curious as to why I am so attached. Here I am, with one small backpack, lost and wandering and I have the vanity to regret chopping off my hair.

When I was 13 and in a fit of depression I cut all my long brown hair off to an ugly bob. But I didn’t stop there. Bleach and heavy make up hid my phenotype. It took me years and years to realize that my natural beauty is far better than trying to be someone who I am not. I was filled with regret and felt not beautiful.

Years passed and eventually my hair grew back, and I cut off the fraying orange that was left from the bleach. I was humbled by the beauty my hair seemed to carry, and how I felt without it. Sometimes when people tell me I’m beautiful, I find myself thinking, “you only think that because of my hair.”

This isn’t a happy or empowering post. This attachment isn’t something I’m proud of. But sometimes writing can be therepuetic, and I’m interested in understanding in myself this panic I am feeling from cutting my hair. What the hell, Raleigh! It’s just hair.

Beauty is not who you are. If you allow yourself to be nothing more than a body, then you will fade with your age. It is inevitable for wrinkles to line the years of laughter on your skin. It is inevitable that your hair will fall out. It is inevitable that beauty will fade.

Please do not be so silly as to create dispair from wanting something that is gone. You already cut your hair, and this emotion of mourning is just proof that you need to let go.

I wish I didn’t feel this way. I wish it felt like I was a warrior preparing for battle. That beauty was a sacrifice for traveling, for color, for life. That I am a woman not bound by the heavy burden of narcisism. But unfortunately, I find myself looking in the mirror and being angry at myself.

Why did you do that!

But I don’t think it’s just cutting my hair that’s the feeling. I think it has to do with it representing self destruction. How easy sissors are to find… how much can be destroyed with them.

But this thought of panic is destructive too. I am a soul, not a body! Sissors cannot diminish my value! Hair does not define me!

I allow myself to be free.

Home, I Guess.

They tie my in bubble wrap
Except an opening for my pockets
I try to speak but only squeaks come out
Silently abiding
Tied to a home
“I am elder to you” she says
I’m not accustomed to obeying.
Don’t worry.
They say when I have a thought.
Just come, just come.
Premium costs for the foreigner friend.
You owe me this much,
Demanding.
And I obey,
Silent and dumb.
Wrapping me in bubble wrap.
You must be careful,
They council.
It’s dangerous out there
Never allowing me to be alone.
A foreigner girl…
Half mute half dumb-
What would she do without us?
That’ll be 2000 rupees please
And we got you a 1000 discount
So you owe us that too.
The mosquitos suck my blood at night
I can hear their hissing.
I don’t mind.
I have enough to share.

Mantras for the Soul

I love my mind
I have such a beautiful mind
Mantras to recite
Encouraging less resistance
To peace
To understanding
Maybe those two words are synnonymous
Ha is this a poem?
Why do I always have to trick myself into writing poems
My hair feels so free!
I am here
I am alive
I am in my mind
How many things I need to think about
How could I do anything else
Thinking is the first part of surviving
I am not making sense
But I’m over making sense!
The words know me better than I know the words.
Speak and understand later.
Allow
I allow love.
I allow growth.
I allow peace.
I allow myself to step on my landmines.
I allow myself to work on my barriers
I allow myself to grow!!
Mantras for the mind,
Mantras for the soul.
What is the purpose of life?
My life?
All our lives?
What is valuable to care about?
And why care at all?
Normally, I never have time for questions like this.

Ramble

I’m sitting on a train right now.
Seated for a 5 hour journey from Ajmer to Udaipur
Squeezed into a seat facing 6 across from me, 2 to my left, and three to my right.
Not counting kids.
One of the earliest signs of communication babies learn is shared attention.
I feel like the best way to learn a new language is to erase all the attachment to words we gave our lives to.
I have spent so long trying to articulate,
But how long have I spent understanding what is beneath the words?
Unlearning to learn.
We speak limited Hindi, but point together to my book.
A man next to me smiles as he flips through his phone of pictures of his life.
I speak like a child, only able to offer my attention.
Hello.
There are so many wonderful people in this world.
Where do I stand among them?