Sunday, May 29, 2011

15 years and counting... Wow!

15 years ago when I walked in to the hospital to be operated upon for the removal of breast cancer tumor, I never imagined I will be blogging about it after 15 years. I did not know computers, I did not know blog and had not much hope of surviving this terrible disease back then.
Today I am grateful to God and all the people around me who have in some way or other contributed for my survival today. Yesterday, while celebrating a party for Farheena, I all of a sudden remembered it is my BC anniversary. Lately I have been living in a way that I have almost forgotten that I had once been through cancer.
I am busy getting my son into a final career oriented course, getting my daughter ready for her adult life, being focused on what I need to do for my own self actualization etc. Mere survival is not important anymore. As for me I want to finish my M.A (Psychology) and then go for PhD. The goal itself is so motivating for survival. After giving up my studies when I got married according to the wishes of my parents, I never imagined to take it up after 23 years and that too ààsuccessfully. So far my results have been very good. When I think back on the day I went for my surgery I now realize that God had better plans for me than my prayers to him.

For all those who are going through tough times, my advice is to hold and hang on to anything (even the last straw if possible) until the good tide comes over. God has much better plans for you at times than the best of your prayers.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What Does Real Beauty Mean? A Reflection.

What does real beauty mean to me?
I am glad I came across this question. It really made me think over few precious beautiful things I have in my life and be grateful to God for having given me a chance to experience beauty in different ways.
I have seen the ugliness and beauty of life with different eyes. Those of a girl who had club foot and thought everything perfect was beauty, a young woman who went through breast cancer at the age of 29 and believed she had lost her beauty fighting for her life, and a mother who tried to find a perfect word to describe her daughter who was born with special needs. All these experiences have taught me the lesson to look at life positively and watch out for the beauty which floats by in different forms.
Acceptance is the main part of being beautiful. When you accept the crow as a bird which is created to be black you can see the shine in its feathers and actually see they are pretty. It is when we try to look for a pigeon or peacock in a crow then it turns into an ugly black creature. As a child it was tough for me to accept the fact that I was different from other children, not in a better way but with a crooked foot and a prominent limp. I felt beauty was not having a club foot. It was having perfect symmetry in the body parts. As life went on I learned to accept my club foot and grew more and more comfortable dealing with it. I slowly ceased to be an ugly handicapped girl and my club foot was no more an ugly extension of my body.
When a woman goes through breast cancer and fights it, the result is usually devastating. 15 years ago, fighting cancer I felt the loss of my feminine beauty. It left me emotionally and physically scarred with the loss of one breast and effects of chemotherapy which had left me with spotted skin, weight gain and a bald head. As a child learning to speak, I always called women as people with long hair. It hurt to lose something which initially I associated with femininity.
More pain was about losing a breast while feeding my baby girl who was just eleven months old. It is not new to attach importance to cleavage and show it off. I may not have shown my cleavage off but I loved the breast as a part of my feminine personality. It was a part of my body with which I was pleased and comfortable. Surviving cancer I started feeling so incomplete, as though some parts of the puzzle were missing. Even my experience of dealing with club foot did not stop me from going into depression. Time is a great healer. With help from few good Samaritans time healed my pain. Cancer worked as a mirror showing me my true potential and my real beauty. Beauty is not being perfect but looking at imperfections perfectly in a right way and accommodating them to our lives. There is so much more in me which gives me the feminine touch. It is the compassion, emotionality, love, motherhood, care, and other inner qualities which are engraved inside of me that make me the woman I am, not just the two breasts.
Today surviving breast cancer for 15 years I can see beauty in my grey hairs, in the wrinkles which are forming slowly, which tell me that I am lucky to have them… My sister who succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 32 years saw just one or two grey hairs and did not have any wrinkles.
Being fat doesn’t matter as life has its own value. Beauty of life has been watching my kids grow up into wonderful human beings. Being alive matters!
I don’t say I go out of way to look ugly. After cancer I actually started caring a bit for my physical beauty too. I wear a prosthesis, put on a dash of makeup, carefully shampoo my hair with good mild shampoo, try to lose weight etc. They are my efforts to look pretty rather than trying to beautify myself.
Finally I arrive to the biggest challenge of my life. My daughter was born with special needs. It was tough to accept. The obsession with beauty set in again as she was growing up. What is she going to be as a woman? Will she be able to walk, talk and look beautiful? It was very tough to accept that my baby girl will never be able to walk, talk, run and live like everyone. I started to question, “What is the aim of her survival?” Slowly I have found answers for my questions. She has brought a change in me, which makes me a more beautiful and loving person. She has made me reach out to people and look deep into every individual. She gave me courage, strength and fighting spirit. She is one of the reasons why I fought cancer desperately to win my life back. She gave me motivation for living.
The beauty of her life is in her innocence. I see her getting up in the morning not worrying about anything. She makes me realize that most of my worries are created by me. They are my creations because I think of tomorrow, day after it, even years after it at times. She can be happy because it is raining, it is warm, it is cold and just because it is some weather out there. I have watched her struggle to draw a square and the elation on succeeding at drawing it imperfectly. That makes me wonder why some people worry about that one % less which would have made all the difference.
Different Forms of BeautyAccording to me there is something called beauty which is skin deep. There is no discarding that beauty. We see the pictures of beautiful women like Marilyn Monroe, Madhubala, or somebody with good features and exclaim, “Wow! What a beauty?” We respond in a different way to real people. Though at first the appearance may strike us, it takes more than just physical features to win appreciation. Again the physical beauty can vary from place to place and culture to culture. Beauty is in the eye of beholder. So if we are not talking about photographs, then beauty which is skin deep does not matter much. True beauty would beam out from the light in the eyes, a natural smile on the lips, good health, glowing skin and attitude with which a person carries him/herself regardless of age, body proportions, colour or race.
Love is a part of beauty. When you are in love with someone you find that person very beautiful (Like Mrs Cockroach finding Mr Cockroach extremely beautiful) or you can say that you fall in love with someone who is beautiful. Does everyone who has been passionately loved live up to the standards of beauty advertised by our models and stars? No way. Are the lovers living in an illusion? Does love make people beautiful? It is a mystery not to be solved by me but we can sure say there is more to beauty than that meets the eye.
Mothers find all their children beautiful. This is special beauty which is opposite of the sexual love at first sight beauty. We find all babies very beautiful which is the opposite of the sensual beauty of youth.

I would also like to add to my blog views of some special people in my life.
Duffy –To me, it's someone who is kind, who has a great sense of humour, who gives more than they take, and who makes me feel good, just by being around them. That's real beauty in a person. True beauty is simply an inner thing. It's how much you care about others and whether you can put their happiness and well-being before your own. True beauty is in the way we live our lives. I feel Mother Theresa is a perfect example of true beauty. . (I also guarantee I could never attain that level of beauty, not by a long-shot.)
Christina Tretter - Real beauty means smiling at a stranger, or showing kindness even when it is the toughest thing to do. It is looking beyond the physical and recognizing the beauty of another soul, no matter what their physique may be. It is patience and love. It is appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. It is not just losing 10 pounds - it is losing a memory that might hold anger. It is not just gaining attractiveness, rather bringing out the best of everyone around you. Beauty is shown through example. It is ignoring the tabloids and gossip. It is perpetuating the positive. When you look in the mirror, beauty is not what you see in that mirror, rather how you see yourself relating to others.
Sandy Stephens - I think real beauty comes from the inside of a person and not necessarily how they look on the outside. What's inside a person's heart and how they treat their family, friends and their fellowman is the true test of character and beauty. Beauty radiates from within. If you are happy with yourself and with the world and your heart smiles then you glow all over!!!!
Linda Gambino - Beauty is whatever YOU decide it is. It’s a personal thing.
Kathi Kolb - As an artist, I know that visually, humans are very much attracted to symmetry. But especially since becoming an 'accidental amazon,' I think asymmetry & imperfection are often what makes something or someone beautiful to behold.
Deb Rizor White - When I am surrounded with beauty I know it. It is a feeling, a warming of the heart. It can happen visually, like a perfect sunset, or a smile received.
It can happen through music, or laughter, or tears.
It can happen in a thought, a memory....
But most of all, to me beauty is in the living of everyday life when something connects you, moves you, and makes you glad to be alive. When it happens, you know it- and it's beautiful.
love is beauty- hope is beauty- peace is beauty... and all that is opposite of those is ugliness...
and now my 11 yrs. old niece Sarah says "Beauty is just the way you are. Why? Because everyone is beautiful in their own way".
Kathleen Bouthillier - Beauty is the sounding of your soul when it recognizes divinity, & senses its inherent connection to it.
This post has been written for the Yahoo Dove Real Beauty Contest on Indiblogger. It is a salute to the triumphant spirit of the Indian woman by Dove. To know more about Real Beauty you can visit the wonderful page hosted by Yahoo . If you like my post you can vote for me on indiblogger by clicking the link HERE

Dove Real Beauty on Yahoo! India

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why my blog has been neglected?

I haven't been much on my blog nor on any others from past few months. First I went through very bad phase of fractures on my feet. There were three of them and I was pissed off to sit down and do some good thinking to share with my blog friends.
Followed by it my husband came down from Sharjah and was here for 3 1/2 months which again was not good for making of the blogs.
Finally it was for a good cause of preparing the students for the exams, correcting papers and finally preparing for my own exams and executing them. Going back to my studies which is my true passion has meant a lot to me. Thanks to my son who encouraged me take up studies, I feel so glad and happy about myself at the moment.

I will soon be back to writing and reading blogs because I have nothing much to do now. ;)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Being different……………

What is it that we want? To be one of the crowd or unique? I have never been sure of this. At times people want to be special and look different but sometimes it becomes very irritating to be different. I have been different in many ways and though initially I have been very unhappy about it later I have accepted it. I consider God had some special lessons for me to learn. I am not sure why he chose me. The lessons I learn have been tough and worth learning though it is not an easy task.

I was born with a club foot. That made me different from other kids. I was conscious about this and was not very comfortable. Later on I learnt that a human being is not made up of just two feet. One feet being deformed is not so devastating. I was happy I could walk and did not mind the limp. Later on with some effort from my part and some help from God; training from our PT sir, the limp went away. I started being happy that I am able to walk without a limp even with my club foot. Hurrrahhhh!!!
Days passed by and God sent me another assignment. It was to lose my freedom. Not just a small part of my freedom but all of it. No one invaded and captured me but it was a cultural thing to get married. Tough lesson for a young woman who considered her freedom and privacy some thing very precious. He decided I should have no more privacy and no more freedom. I was tricked into that assignment with a lot of emotional blackmailing and threats. I went along with that. I had to stop being what I was. Act silly though I was not silly. Bend in prostrations for a prayer because some one calling himself my better half thought his life depended on me being like any other woman from his house and village. Wear clothes in a way which made me uncomfortable. Not to read, eat, walk in the way I liked but to follow some pattern. I have just been through it but I think I lost the moral which I was supposed to learn from it. (Sorry God. I had to let you down there.) I still do not understand the motive behind that class I had to attend because I am yet to finish that course. Looking out and searching for freedom and yearning for a life of my own. I am of the opinion that My life is supposed to be lived by me wholly and not partially. I can’t give away a part of it to someone just like that.

Later in my life I learnt another lesson. I had to lose one of my breasts to cancer and that made me feel conscious again of my physicality. With some whole hearted contribution from my husband (who lost his touch in acting the better half part) I started to feel like an incomplete woman. I regretted surrendering one of my breasts to BC. It took me quite sometime to realize that I was not a woman just because of the two breasts. I agree I looked pretty with two of them but then just looking pretty is not a big deal. There is so much more in me which gives me the feminine touch. It was the compassion, emotionality, love, motherhood etc which was engraved inside me that made me the woman I am. God made me learn the lesson and respect myself and feel like a complete woman all over again.

After these lessons of life............
……………they lack the special vision to see the important qualities of a human being.

The biggest challenge in my life has been my daughter who was born with special needs. I never asked the usual “Why me?” for long because soon I had the answer. God had trust in me that I am good enough to love and bring up a special kid like my daughter. This has been one tough struggle for me. I cannot comprehend God’s reason behind teaching me this lesson but I know he is teaching and everyday I am learning what he wants me to learn. I must confess that I do not know my grades. The new lessons when they arrive make me feel I may have completed my previous assignment successfully.
Initially it was tough to accept that my baby will never be able to see, walk, talk, run and live like everyone else. The question that stood before me was “what is the aim of her survival? What is she going to do as a woman? Slowly and steadily God answered my questions. I am so much more accepting and loving person now just because of my daughter. She is successful in changing me into a better person with every passing day. She has made me reach out to people and look deep into every individual. She gave me courage, strength and fighting spirit. She was one of the reasons why I fought cancer desperately to win my life back. She gave me motivation for living.
I learnt acceptance of life…. In many ways.
One of the most important lesson was when I found out that with all the knowledge stacked in my brain and with all my abilities, when I die, I will be corpse. I have to die. There is no escape from death. We all have to be there. When life is sniffed out we are not even addressed by our names. We become bodies. No matter who we are and what we have. So I end up a corpse someday. From the day I was born and until I die I have some time to spend living in this world where I will achieve, learn few skills, take a bath, cook food, do some good, some bad and eventually death will catch up with me. I look at my daughter and then see that eventually she will end up a corpse. Like anyone else. She has days to live between her birth and death. In those days there are things she cannot do which many can. That includes the good and bad ones too. When I hear about murders, terrorist attacks, rapes, drug peddling and other evils I know my kid is not capable of something like that along with the disability of not being able to run, talk, cook, wash etc. Is that very bad equation? I am not sure. I see her getting up in the morning not worrying about anything which is to be done even in the evening that day. She is living the now most of the time. Never thinks about putting up appearances for the sake of others. No peer pressure. No money problems. She makes me realize that most of my worries are created by me. They are my creations because I think of tomorrow, day after it, even years after it at times. She can be happy because it is raining, it is warm, it is cold and just because it is some weather out there. I have watched her struggle to draw a square and the elation on succeeding at drawing it imperfectly. That makes me wonder why some people worry about that one percent less which would have been much better.

Lessons are pouring in everyday in hoards. It is changing me and I know I am learning. God has not completed the lesson now because I cannot see anything new on my desk at the moment. No new assignment It means I am still learning my lesson and I somehow feel this class is going to be very long one for me…...


Rayyan Lost in Laptop

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