What My Interracial Relationship Revealed to Me

Day 63.

In the Fall of 2013, unbeknownst to me, I sat next to my future husband. Our professor started off with pleasantries and broke down the syllabus. It was orientation as usual until, out of nowhere, she had a prophetic warning, “Oh! And it isn’t uncommon for my students to end up marrying each other. I’ve already had two couples get married and I even officiated one of their weddings. You never know who you are sitting next to.” I scanned the room and uncomfortably made eye contact with a few of my classmates. I inspected the kid sitting next to me and thought to myself, “Ya, right.”

But as fate would have it, that kid struck up a conversation with me and our relationship grew. We peer reviewed each others work and bonded over the day-to-day grind of being New Yorkers. We learned that we both believed and valued the same things and were pleasantly surprised when we ran into each other at our school’s Christian fellowship. One day he shot it to me straight. He said, “I like you.” and I surprised myself when I replied, “I like you too.”

Fast forward to 2019 and we’ve been married for almost one year. Life is sweet and it has been since the day I met him. However, something you may not realize from reading the introduction to this blog post is that we are an interracial couple and I want to talk about this.  

It’s not even a stereotype, rather a fact that millennials are more likely than any other generation to be accepting of interracial relationships — something I think we all should be extremely proud of. I’ve linked Pew Research data if you want to read more.

I will not lie and say race was never an issue in our relationship. Actually, some of my first thoughts were of worry and concern regarding whether his family would accept me or not. I was serious about him but I couldn’t imagine a future that included a strained relationship with my in-laws. I knew that Indian-Americans were highly unlikely to marry Non-Indian-Americans and I told him that if our relationship were to progress, he would have to tell his family about me. 

And of course he did, and they loved me. My family loved him too! In hindsight I see that our families value things like character over the color of one’s skin. Unfortunately, I know that this isn’t always the case for others. 

Over the years, being in an interracial relationship has revealed many things to me but what stands out the most is that it shows me who can’t seem to look past our differences. These are some of the questions and comments that often catch me off guard: 

“Your kids are going to be so pretty.” I want to respond, “Thank you, but do you say that to same-race couples too? Having a baby isn’t a science experiment for us. It’s having a baby just like it is for any other couple.”

“Did you have an American wedding?” I wish to reply, “Yes? I think so? By American do you mean a Christian wedding in a chapel? Because my family and my husband’s family are all Americans.”

“Would you mentor me on interracial dating?” I ought to say, “Flattering but confusing. Mentor? Um. Sure. I don’t exactly know what you mean, but I’ll try.”

“Amy (not her real name) and I were talking the other night about how you are a ‘unique’ couple and were wondering what drew you to each other. Like how did you become a thing?” I was stunned. I wondered what exactly they meant by “unique.” I should have asked them. 

These commentators aren’t malicious by any means. Actually they are often kind-hearted friends of ours that are spewing out a stream of consciousness. I’m glad they feel comfortable enough around us to share their thoughts. It’s just revealing. I can see how for many, it’s still hard to look past the exterior of our relationship.

I can’t speak for everyone but I know our relationship is not a fetish or an experiment. We are two people that love each other for the human beings that we are. We’ll patiently and graciously wait until all of our friends and community see us that way too. 

Thanks for reading.

I’ll talk to you again soon!

Your Friend, 

K.C.

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Let’s be Honest: Are Millennials Really Materialistic?

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Day 58. 

Over the weekend my girlfriends from college and I decided to take a road-trip to Upstate New York and pay a visit to a friend who had recently started her new life as a medical resident. She resides in a charming Pre-Revolutionary War town nestled alongside the Hudson River (visualize the set of Gilmore Girls or think small town Americana). It is quaint and intimate yet awfully affluent. The streets are crumbled but lined with overflowing and perfectly groomed flower beds. Pedestrians wear a look that touts: “I rolled out of bed like this but still look chic and can afford to buy organic purple cauliflower at the farmers market.” You get the idea. 

While there we perused the shelves of a local bookstore and sipped our coffees. Our conversations ranged from dating to politics to literally the weather because a large storm was forecasted for the evening and we could begin to hear thunder crackling in the distance. So we set out from the bookstore in hopes of making it to our next destination before the rain let out. Along the way we stumbled upon, what can best be described as, a cherub of a child – a toddler crowned with blonde curls waddling past us while gripping onto his mothers two fingers. My friend sighed, “I want a babyyy.” and we all let out an audible “aw” as we moved past the scene.  

We reached our next stop, an antique store which was mostly full of junk and obscure salt and pepper shakers but there were some treasures hidden within the shelves. The skies began to pour and raindrops pinged against the windows. A stained glass panel caught my attention. I’ve always loved stained glass… perhaps for the way the sun pierces it and marries a man made creation with nature. It’s always been one of my favorite mediums. I imagined a future where I had a house, a large window and hanging from it, a collection of stained glass panels beaming in a vista of colorful lights. I lived in that dream for a few moments and then realized it was unrealistic, at least for now. I told myself it was pointless to purchase the piece only to have it sit in storage until I could one day afford to properly display it. 

Through my conversations with my friends, I realized I was not alone in my longing. Like myself, my girlfriends are millennials. Some of us desire to be married, have children, own a home or at least make a decent wage. Whatever the yearning, we are not just craving a life of materialism (contrary to the negative millennial stereotype). For me it is more than a stained glass windowpane… it is the ability to comfortably own a home and have a family. And, unfortunately most of us feel too financially crippled to start families. According to The New York Times, “Young people have record student debt, many graduated in a recession and many can’t afford homes — all as parenthood has become more expensive. Women in particular pay an earnings penalty for having children.” Essentially, millennials surveyed cited economic instability and financial issues as a reason for delaying child rearing. 

Millennials really get a bad rep and I’m here to set the record straight. Most of my peers and myself included are delaying these monumental milestones because they are simply too expensive. Since I’m the author of the Quitting Millennial blog, it would be expected of me to say that I quit prolonging childbearing and am going to have a baby ASAP, but that would be irresponsible. Sorry! What I will do though, is quit worrying about whether or not I will one day attain it all. The reason is, I have so much to be grateful for – notably my amazing husband. He is my best friend and life partner. I can’t live life without him and if I’ll be honest, I was thinking of him the whole trip… wishing he was by my side. 

American actress and singer Doris Day once said, “Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” And while reflecting on her words, I chose gratitude to combat my feelings of longing. It is easy to be envious of people strolling around carefree on a picturesque main-street, only seeing them superficially. I can’t peer into their personal lives, I don’t know what hardships they might face. Now, gratefulness gets me by and I’m not saying there isn’t room for real reform and systematic changes to the economy. That’s for another blog. I’m saying for now and always I should count my blessings. I’m reminded of a Christian song by Bethany Dillon called “You Are on Our Side” Her lyrics say, “The rich man is broken when he stands before a sky full of stars.” Even the man that has it all may feel penniless when it comes to the things that truly matter. There is greater awe and joy that we might miss if we are narrow focused. Materialistic? Eh. I can’t speak for everyone but I know that I’m not after the newest Kayne West sneaker concoction. I think the majority of us want a life of deep meaning and purpose.

Fortunately I know that when I count my blessings, I’m immensely rich.

Until next time. 

Your Friend, 

K.C.

 

An Obese Generation: Just How Unhealthy Are We?

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Day 56.

Today I went for a run and for the first time in my life it was pleasurable. It only lasted 20 minutes but as I hobbled to my front door I felt euphoria wash over me. Mostly, I was proud of myself. Its been almost 5 months since I’ve vigorously exercised. Being unable to find time in my busy schedule is the most common excuse I make for myself. I tell myself that my job is already labor intensive, that I’m on my feet constantly. I know I’m trying to make myself feel better and that I’m not adequately caring for my body. The truth is that I’m overweight and have high blood pressure. I know that changes need to be made if I want to live a life that’s healthy.

Yoga, juicing, and essential oils come to mind when I think of wellness. And according to stereotypes, most millennials can’t get enough of these remedies. Yet, so many of us struggle to achieve vitality even in our best efforts. This Healthline article talks about how millennials are on track to being the most obese generation due to some contributing factors such as stress, diet (processed foods) and prolonged screen time. Amongst others, it cites exercise as a method to combat declining health.

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-labels-and-instagram-fuel-obesity

After internalizing this article and honestly, after a year of struggling to make better choices, I have come to a decision.

Omph! This is hard. Am I really going to admit this out loud for the whole internet to read and hold me accountable?

Yes. I am.

I’M GOING TO TAKE UP RUNNING AS A REGULAR FORM OF EXERCISE!

There… I said it. 

Now to the hardest part – doing it.

My plan is to exercise on my days off which is about 3-4 days a week because of my non-traditional work schedule.

In my first blog post I vowed to quit “general laziness” and this is precisely what I was referring to. I know that I cannot rid myself of all laziness but I can consciously make goals and strive towards wellness.

I’m glad to report that I’m already feeling much better emotionally compared to where I was when I started this blog. Could it be that I see a light at the end of the tunnel?

Absolutely.

My reduction of screen time through quitting Instagram has helped me tremendously. Taking up blogging has allowed me to cathartically flesh out my ideas. Furthermore, my husband and I are planning our first anniversary trip to London in September. We found inexpensive tickets (it’s actually cheaper to fly internationally than it is for me to fly to my home town in the United States). We’ll be gone for about a week and we are anxiously awaiting our vacation. There is a lot for me to look forward towards and I thought you ought to know. 

I plan to pack some running gear and run through Hyde Park or along the Thames River in a victory lap – anything to use as motivation to keep myself running in the meantime. Recently for us it’s been all things United Kingdom which essentially means we’ve been devouring literary works by English authors. 

So with that said I want to leave you with a J.K. Rowling Quote, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”  Now, I totally took this out of context, but I think Rowling’s words may have multiple meanings. Perhaps she is saying, “Whatever you are going through, it is valid.” I’d like to think that is what she means. I want you to know that whatever you’re wrestling with you’re not alone. When I started this blog, I was very down and confused, and what I was going through was real. We’re complex creatures. It is clear that our environment, culture, lifestyle, diet, circumstances and habits can often put us under immense pressure.

Be sure to find someone you trust and don’t be afraid to share your heart. Take it from me, things are going to turn around. 

Okay Millennials, keep me accountable. I’ll talk to you very soon. 

Your Friend,

K.C.

 

 

7 Surprising Revelations After Quitting Instagram

Day 37.

Its been approximately a month since logging out of my beloved Instragram account. It’s hard to grapple with the idea that I wont be logging in for another year, but I know quitting cold turkey is a necessary step in my #QuittingMillennial journey. Here’s a list of some surprising revelations I’ve had since quitting.

  1. I thought I’d miss out on milestones. It hit me hours after logging out that a friend of mine would be delivering her baby soon and I’d miss all of her adorbale posts. However, to my surprise, when the special day came, I received a text message from the new mom. I felt honored that she would share that special moment with me. I realized that intimate events don’t need to be blasted on social media for all to see. If you’re close to someone, those moments will naturally be shared with you.
  2. No more creeping. I can’t look up acquatances anymore. I never realized how often I did this on a daily basis. Let’s be honest, creeping is essentially keeping tabs on the people you like the least. Logging out revealed to me how often I actually did this but also how unnecessary and unhealthy creeping is (not to mention a complete waste of time).
  3. I have no more control over my “image”. When my birthday rolled around, I had a pit in my stomach. I couldn’t help but think of all the unflattering pictures my friends might tag me in via their obligatory “Happy Birthday” posts. I wasn’t able to login and untag myself. It pained me, but it was also empowering to shrug it off and let it go.
  4. I thought I’d miss it as an artistic platform. For some reason I felt the urge to share my latest reads, sunset pics, and thoughts on Instagram. I think it’s just in my nature to be #artsy but I realized instagram wasn’t the best medium for me. Thankfully I found blogging which allows me to flesh out my ideas in a way that sparks more creativity and critical thinking.
  5. My husband stopped asking me to turn off my phone. “Can you please turn that off!”, my husband would plead with me at least three times each night. Now he whispers sweet nothings into my ear. Ha! Sweet nothings along with the occasional dutch oven (If you don’t know what a dutch oven is, you’ve never been married).
  6. Everything else I don’t miss. To all the filters, unwanted follow requests, messages, posts related to what she ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – I’d like to humbly say, “No. Thank You. I’m good.” I’m over all of that. It’s been nice to mute the noise and make room to focus on areas of my life that are muy importante.
  7. I really was addicted to it. The temptation is real. If you try this, you will see just how hard it is. There will be moments of weakness but you must persevere. I really don’t know what it will be like to be Instagram free for a whole year but only time will tell.

I promise to connect with you soon.

Your Friend,

K.C.

Student Loans & The Call From My Sister

Day 8.

My sister and I spoke for nearly an hour as she drove back from a wedding she had attended out-of-state. Our voices dropped in and out of bad cell-phone reception but we were determined to connect. It had been a while since we last spoke with each other and there was a whole lot of girl talk we needed to catch up on.

She recounted her weekend – bumping into old high school acquaintances, a rowdy non- traditional wedding reception and the bride’s questionable choice of powder blue bridesmaid dresses (some things are better in theory … learned this from my own wedding). We laughed like only sisters can laugh but after a while the giggling stopped and our conversation became still, flat and brutally honest.

She went on to explain how she had been at her job for nearly two years and was still making peanuts, about $35,000 a year. And, to make things worse, she still had about $30,000 left in debt from her student loans. She confessed her frustration and discontent.

I did what any sister would do. I one-upped and minimized her problems. “Well I have $85,000 in debt!” I’m joking. I didn’t say that but I was totally thinking it, instead I empathetically shared in her angst.

The reality is, as of 2017, national student loan debt totaled to 1.3 trillion dollars spreading across 44 million borrowers (potentially even more sense two years have elapsed since the article was published) https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/18/student-loan-interest-rates-edge-higher-and-higher.html. That’s 44 million people just like my sister and I, burdened by debt and unable to go through life without stress creeping to the surface.

My husband describes this stressful phenomena as “It’s like you’re having fun and then you realize ‘f*ck’.” That feeling and moment is one which is probably familiar to many of us: You’re hanging out with friends at a brunch or even just having a lighthearted conversation with your sister, when some trivial word or sight triggers something in your mind. Something that reminds you that you’re in debt to a monolithic industry. That you owe more money than you make in two years. That the chances of you owning a home or having enough savings to retire at 65 are quickly dwindling as your debt looms over you and the interest grows with each passing day – outrunning your ability to pay it off. That feeling weighs heavily on your mind and soul.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely a millennial with debt. The point of my post is not to solve the student loan crisis, rather its to say that you’re not alone. I’ll be transparent and share that there have been nights that I’ve cried myself to sleep … nights that I’ve sat on the floor in my closet and closed the door just to shut out my anxiety. Maybe I’m being dramatic or maybe I’m just shedding light on an ugly yet real problem.

5/6 of my closest friends have or are reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. A personal finance bible which preaches a life of financial freedom through staying out of debt. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed an overall spike in the amount of personal finance literature my friends and I have been consuming especially books that share in this debt-free mantra. It often consumes our conversations as we share our latest reads. It seems that there is growing popularity in this ideology and I have to say I’m thinking of climbing on board. Perhaps we’re so marred from our past decisions that we’re just unwilling to take anymore risks.

In the spirit of The Quitting Millennial blog, I’d like to officially say I’ve quit worrying about finances but that’d be a blatant lie. If only it were that easy…

Here’s one thing I can quit though, I can quit beating myself up for making the choices that got me into this mess. I can’t go back and change the past but I can control my actions today.

Let’s all let out a big sigh … maybe an ugly cry or two and forge forward. Millennials, we’re in this together and we need to encourage one another whether thats through reading personal finance books with friends or by some other means. I hope you have a group of friends as supportive and open-minded as mine. Sometimes just having a space to vent and be heard is all you need to get through. With that said, I open the comment section for lamentation and words of encouragement.

I’ll talk to you very soon.

Your Friend,

K.C.

P.S. I quit social media. Stay tuned, it’s been tougher but better than expected.

The Quitting Millennial

Day 1. 

I lie here listening to the soothing sound of my husband’s gentle snores. I’m troubled yet they comfort me. Full of hope, overly optimistic, goal-oriented and driven, I never imagined I would feel the way I feel tonight and for the past 40 days… the past year. I feel sad, defeated, burned out, depressed? I can’t easily put it into words. Its unfamiliar to me.

I’m a 27 year old woman, married, working a full-time job in New York City. I’m a millennial and compared to the national average for people my age, I’m doing well. So why the long face?

Short Answer: I don’t know but the world seems to have some theories.

Could it be the constant comparison of my life to others on social media? Perhaps I’m not managing my finances well and I’m overspending causing added financial stress. Maybe I’m too narcissistic and self-centered… maybe I shouldn’t even be writing this at all.

Those are just some of the negative stereotypes millennials frequently get from older generations. And what’s one more? We’re quitters. We give up easily and expect instant gratification and success.

Quitters, huh? That got me thinking. What if I quit being a millennial all together? What if I, in true millennial fashion, quit? After all, it must be those millennial shortfalls that are causing my frustration.

So here is my proposal and plan – I will quit social media, eating out, over spending, general laziness, aka (any and all negative stereotypes I can think of). I will work harder, involve myself in civic engagement and lastly I will remain anonymous in order to avoid any self-promoting gain.

My Hope: To explore millennial stereotypes and enjoy a year of happiness and fulfillment.

Follow me as I document my quest. Here’s to the next 365 days!

Your Friend,

K.C.