February is almost gone. How did that happen?
This weekend is nice and chill (literally?). Annika and Savita have friends over, and Savita is doing her first “hang out” with some friends at the local Boba tea place. I’m excited for her. Other than that, I’m taking the opportunity to do some stuff around the house (always stuff!) and enjoying some down time. Last weekend we have family in town (and an imported case of the flu and strep that sidelined a few of us, including me on the tail end.) The week before we did a day trip to Charlottesville to see my cousin and his wife (delightful) and to pick up 3 cases of wine we had waiting at a winery.
This past week – mood wise – I felt a break in the clouds that have been lingering for some time. J called me out on being irritable these past few months, and I can’t deny it. A mild to middlin’ case of anhedonia. But something this week broke – was it the weather? Was it eating lower-carb? Was it some private journaling? Working out? A combination of the above? I don’t know how or why, but it happened. Not that the clouds are gone, but I was able to feel the warmth of the figurative sun for a little while. Wish I could capture that in a bottle.
Although Annika is doing well enough managing her time with her phone (helped by the curfew and the restrictions we have on her computer) – I am somewhat terrified of the next few years as it relates to maturity and social media. The pull of her friends is undeniable, although her friends so far are fairly nerdy and innocent. I’m somewhat in shock in happening upon some of my friends’ kid’s social media accounts – posting things that are probably going to follow them later in life. Suddenly I feel old fashioned and conservative. I’m looking at the coming of adolescence as a gauntlet that we need to get through. I feel our job as parents is to be a rock for them as they navigate the rapids. It’s a fine needle to thread – treating them with enough autonomy so that they grow, but not giving them so much that they are left to flounder. I have to remind myself to ask questions and to have conversations instead of being dictating. Picking and choosing where to draw a firm line is hard, and certainly different with each child.
Although if I have to err, I’d err on the side of being more protective than not. Adolescence should be a time to try on different identities and see what sticks. Unfortunately, social media is forever.
Speaking of social media, something triggered me this week. Someone I know/knew/had known is posting daily on their interest and involvement in Auryaveda. They are doing a “cleanse” and posted a food dish that was part of my childhood, something that I ate probably hundreds of times in my life. They bought some sort of cleanse kit (I’m sure part of some MLM strategy) which included that dish and was touting its health benefits. For me? It was simply food – working class food at that, the cultural equivalent of Kraft Mac & Cheese and as comforting.
I do not claim to have any particular ownership or propriety on things that originated on the Indian subcontinent, but I am sensitive to this idea of cultural appropriation. Especially taking ideas and concepts out of its cultural context, wrapping them up in a shiny box, and selling them to consumers. Ignoring the hundreds of years of colonial history that was exploitative and destructive . It feels like white privilege manifested.
Taking the original names of things and renaming them to be more palatable to the western taste, divorcing the cultural context is white-washing it all. And don’t get me started on the idea that there is a western billion-dollar brand of clothing based on yoga pants. Yoga as fashion vs a spiritual practice? A friend of the family wrote a great article about this idea of appropriation, you can read it here.
On the other hand, the concepts and ideas are universal and should be open and applicable to all. For the seeker and practioner, where you come from shouldn’t matter. So when I see people who whole-heartedly approach Yoga or Auryaveda or Hinduism, I am glad and heartened. It’s the dabblers, the people who get a tattoo of an Om (next to something in Chinese characters) just because it’s “cool”, the ones who don’t understand the real history and tradition – that’s what causes a rise out of me.
My feelings about this are layered and complex. Like many other things, I suppose – there are very few things in this world that are black and white.