Him & I

My boyfriend and I went through a rough patch recently. Living 200 miles apart, working so hard on our individual goals and ambitions, working on completely different shift patterns, on top of trying to schedule in some social time for ourselves and each other. IT IS SO DAMN HARD.

I’m grateful that we never let our difficulties get the best of us. We always try to work as a team on our problems. It’s never me against him. It is us against the problem.

Recently I taught him about Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. We discussed what we wanted. The conversation was such a spiritually enlightening and eye-opening experience . It is crazy that what we both want is ‘Quality Time’ with each other, more than anything else. The irony is that we are so busy building our individual dreams we do not have the time to spend quality time together. We talked about this and I’m glad we are always able to have such conversations and come up with solutions. The world truly does work in mysterious ways and I’m grateful that I have chosen him to experience life with.

I feel motivated to be a better version of myself every moment I spend with him. Yes it is going to be tough, but when we both know we are working so hard for our future, it makes it all the more worth it.

The Challenges of Instagram

Those of you who know me well will know that I do love sharing key moments of my life, and particularly on Instagram – I have done so for several years now.

I have had a private instagram account for just over 4 years now – @praveena_pranavarooban. I call this account my private account because:

1) I follow and am followed by people I know very well and on a personal level – friends, cousins, etc.

2) I post more personal aspects of my life on that profile – my parents, my extended family, my relationship, my social life, etc.

So now I wanted to discuss the purpose of my public account and how the aims of it changed overtime:

Initial aims of my public profile and PraveenaUK:

• Strictly for dance – to show that I am a dancer and wanted a platform to share my love for dance – whether it be through photos or videos
• Should post nothing aside from my solo stuff and achievements
• Dance covers
• No family
• No friends
• No relationships
• Nothing about any other people around me

Aims of my public profile and PraveenaUK:

• Motivate
• Inspire
• Business profile – a medium through which people can enquire and book for wedding choreography
• Showcase shades of my personal day to day life by sharing stuff about me – what I am up to; my love for reading, books, sarees; the positive people around me – my dance teams, friends I made through dance, some of my closest friends, my work/business teams, my sister
• A dance and personal portfolio
• Still will protect my parents because they are not used to the impact of being in the public eye and they are not a massive fan of it, which I completely respect – so no parents and extended family members (unless they are dancers)
• No relationships

I met up with a friend of mine recently, and she asked me what the reasoning behind this gradual change in the nature my posts on my public account was. She had noticed that it was becoming more personal now and asked me what the reason behind this was.

[I am very glad to be surrounded by people who question my every action. Such friends make me think, push me, keep me grounded and help me stay focused].

So back to her question. The reason my public account has started to become a little more personal is because I believe that people are now aware that I am a dancer. There is no need for me to keep showcasing that I am. Now it is time people get to see the person behind ‘Praveena UK’.

I like posting about my team members now (whether it be dance or business), because they are individuals who have taught me so much about dance, and how to conduct myself as a dancer and choreographer. They are a family whom I feel blessed to have gained.

I am in the process now of creating a correct balance between showcasing my professional and personal life. I am certainly more focused on giving more importance to my professional life than personal, but I do not want people to neglect the fact that I am human. I do have a personal life and in the correct doses, it will add a lot of value to my professional brand.

Every person who I share on my public profile are people who have contributed to shaping me as a dancer, choreographer, blogger and the human being that I am today.

What does it mean to be ‘Strong’ and ‘Independent’?

I recently read an inspiring blog written by none other than one of my closest friends Gowri, which addresses something which I never thought to pay that much attention to – the notion of a ‘strong, independent woman.’

I am not here to summarise what she wrote because honestly I want each and every one of you to take your time to read her blog yourself, so below is the link (please do read her blog before you carry on to read mine):

https://gowrispage.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/on-the-strong-independent-woman/

This piece I write is one in which I would like to demonstrate my own opinions regarding this topic.

Firstly, I completely agree with what Gowri discusses in her blog. I would also like to put my hands up and say that I have fallen victim of seeking mythical validation through this notion as well.

Men do not validate themselves by calling themselves ‘strong’ or ‘independent’. If we are living in a gender-equal society, then women should not need to seek such validation either; yet the issue here is that there are still several women who are doing so.

The number of girls and women I have seen who keep posting on social media that they are ‘strong’ and ‘independent’. Why? This is my burning question. Why are you seeking for constant validation or needing to prove your worth to people you hardly know? By doing so, you are merely making several people question whether you are actually ‘strong’ or ‘independent’.

Secondly, towards the end of Gowri’s blog she opens it to the floor to define what ‘strong’ and ‘independent’ means for them. Therefore, that is what I am going to do.

I have come to realise that I am truly strong when I come to terms with myself that I do have weaknesses and flaws. I never try to paint a picture that I am perfect, because I definitely am not. My strength, however, comes from addressing my imperfections. It gives me total control over myself and this is why I really value ‘me-time’. I spend a good few hours a week just on my own, in my own little bubble. I am not ashamed of it at all. This is my time to look at my life and grow; work on myself and find ways of becoming a better person whom I can respect and love day by day.

In my opinion, independence is nothing more than a myth. Whilst many think that to be independent and successful is a one-man/woman job, I think the complete opposite. I am truly independent when I have identified that to grow I need to identify when I need help, and hence seek for it. I very much rely on a good team who support and advise me, yet give me space to work on it on my own as well. My team is why I am able to grow day by day, understand my own potentials and push myself further and further.

I am truly strong and independent when I am not defensive when people turn around to me and say that I am wrong. I am truly strong and independent when I sit down with these people and work through their mind-set. I am truly strong and independent when I explain my standpoint and we, as a team, find solutions where the final outcome is nothing less than something positive.

I believe that regardless of whether you are a man or woman, you do not need to constantly seek for validation from people you hardly know, especially through social media, in addition to other mediums as well.

One’s actions should speak a lot louder that their words. Do not keep saying out loud that you are strong and independent, instead prove it through your actions to an extent that you do not need to constantly validate yourself.