Hello! I am Shivani.
I am the bird who has been swimming and swimming OK.
Not happy swimming, just Ok.
Then one day after years and years of staring at my wings, I thought but what if I fly.
And I leaped - with this blog. With the support of family and friends.
By heart, I am passionate about sharing my experiences to empower and/or educate others. I love grooming, styling and all things that are a work in progress - which is what I consider myself, a work in progress.
I strongly believe that when we rise together we rise stronger and we lay a foundation that withstands phases of life. Collaboration works!
The Indian Movie Industry will soon release a new movie titled Thappad (A Slap) This is not a review & I have zero affiliation with the film or the industry.
I have watched the trailer & if the trailer was a movie, then this is what I infer:
This seemingly happy couple is shown to head down the path of divorce because the husband slapped the wife, that one time in a lifetime, at a party. The wife files for divorce, and many are perplexed. It’s just one slap, and he was frustrated – this should not be a ground for divorce. To this, she replies, and I paraphrase: That in that one slap and one moment, all that has been un-equal and un-fair in their marriage becomes clear.
Today I don’t want to talk about the fact that abuse is not just physical, and often abuse begins with verbal abuse.
Today I don’t want to talk about the fact that at the core of the abuser’s mindset is an idea that they own the victim and that there is a hierarchy, and they are above the victim.
Today I don’t want to talk about gas-lighting, which is a concept an abuser often uses as an excuse to abuse. They blame the victim’s behavior and action for their abusive behavior.
Today I want to talk about to us, the society: you, me and all of us. The society that justifies the abuser and victim shames because we are pre-programmed to view our family & friends with rose-colored biased glasses. Surely, our family member cannot be an abuser. That only happens in other ‘bad’ families.
This non-sense must stop – Call out the abuser!!! Hold them accountable, and through that accountability, the next generation will have a chance to stop this abusive cycle.
Your deafening silence towards the abuser and that active voice asking the victim to understand, tolerate, or accept is giving power to the abuser.
If you do not know how to help, here are three things you can do to start:
Acknowledge to yourself that you have a bias and have overlooked the abuse coming from your family/friend.
Support the victim by engaging in activities outside of their home life. You need not even discuss the abuse, be supportive, and engage and help build their confidence and trust.
Educate yourself on how to support abuse/violence victims. Leverage the gift of technology to find local organizations that will guide you in being the right support. The kind of support that doesn’t threaten the victim further but empowers them without being shamed.
An abuser can be a husband, father, brother, uncle, cousin, friend, wife, mother, sister ….your relationship with them doesn’t absolve them of their abuse.
NO CONFLICT in this world requires someone to physically and verbally assault anyone.
Conversation & Coping skills are a must for all genders!
Gut: The place where your intuition lives.
Also, Gut: The stomach or belly.
Mental diet for the intuition gut: Surround your self with uplifting people, thoughts and things. Shout out to @createthelove for simple and sane words. Follow him!
A balanced diet for the stomach gut: Eat well, Move, hydrate and well, clean your gut. I am not an expert on gut health but will share one product that contributes positively to gut health – Shout out to @squattypotty — yes, we should talk about this! Not sponsored and we own this since years!
What are your favorite things for your gut, both kinds? I could use food suggestions that helped with gut health. Tag an account you think has added value. I would love to know! 🙏🏼
No one knows what to do until they actually do it.
To know about something and to know something are two different things.
I thought hat was for people who could tell you where lip balm is at any given point of time — you know, organized enough to have just enough enthusiasm to put a hat on.
For pictures ..
But 2019 summer happened ..
Fact: I started wearing a hat this summer because my skincare costs too much time/effort for me to not wear a hat. And, #AtlantaHeat ☀️ #sunprotection is wise while enjoying the sunshine.
So, I bought a hat at Francescas and my plan was to wear it as I walked the outdoor mall. As the cashier at Francesca was charging my card I asked her “so, what do people do? .. if I am wearing my hat and walk into stores, do I just leave it on or hold it awkwardly in my hand? — it’s not even sunny inside the store, you know”
I bet she thought that this one is going to return the hat! So, she smiled and said “You look cute in it. Wear it!”
Thank you Francesca girl, I do think I look cute in too and I wear it. AND I bought another hat too.
Life is much like this .. we don’t know what we don’t try. If you want to try something, let this post be your Francescas girl – just try. If not the whole experience try a tiny version of it.
Fact: 5yrs ago, when I was pregnant, someone asked me what part of the experience I am most petrified about .. I recall answering “the fact that THEY think it’s cool to send me home with this new baby without THEM being around” They/Them = The medical staff obviously!
Spoiler alert: It’s working out with the baby – a bit early to tell though!
This hat is from Target and sorry Francescas, I don’t have a picture in my gateway hat from your store. One day ..
Also, turns out .. I just may have been a hat person.
“I am not going to be your friend because you are not nice to me” my 4-year-old promptly announced to his friend as they both continued to pout and play. Everyone there very well knew that indeed, they were going to be each other’s friends.
They will be friends as long as they are in the same class or until one of the parent, most likely non-verbally, communicates to the parent that “I am not going to be your friend because you are not nice to me” I mostly joke about the parental tiff, but you get the point.
We have ALL been there and sometimes we have handled conflicts with grace and courtesy, and sometimes we have learned what to do next time!
Friendships are Friendships – Childhood or Adulthood. Fundamentally, we choose and careful curate a set of people that we proudly call friends.
Then, enter Hierarchy:
My (work, activity, group, parent – insert anything you wish) Friends.
My BEST Friend.
Sometime in early childhood the idea of a single friend who is above all forms. It is beside the point that this best friend is a moving target because … well, it is accepted, assumed and expected that we evolve through childhood.
We want companionship.
We want to belong.
We want to converse about our interests.
We want to do activities together.
We want to plan vacations together ( Side Note: Do these plans every materialize? Asking for a friend)
We want to be wanted and we want to be with others.
We want reciprocation and respect.
We want knowledge.
We want laughs.
We want help and to help.
We want to get along.
We want to agree to disagree, gracefully.
We want joy from our friends and we want to give them joy.
Often, we want all of this from one friend or we want all of our friends to have all of this.
Read that again … doesn’t it sound like a lot for one person?
I love friendships and it is what I crave the most after my family. I am insanely grateful to have such friendships, so many of them. The power of surrounding yourself with uplifting, fun and a supportive crowd is phenomenal.
As a South Asian transplant who has spent 16yrs in India and 23yrs and counting in the USA …. I have not only experienced friendships but also ‘immigrant friendship’ which I can best describe as a friendship which is initiated, created, crowded and eventually either fiercely loved, ruthless judged but maintained, strongly disliked or casually enjoyed. As an immigrant, you leave home to make another place home. It makes one want to hold on dearly to anything that has a familiarity or reminder of home, including people. It becomes a friendship solely based on familiarity and not focused on a personality match, sometimes. Sometimes it is magic and sometimes a gimmick!
Until then here are my five learnings from this adult playground. These learnings come from my mistakes/my observations and not in any particular order:
Friendships are built on an open heart & open mind
The possibilities for friendship are endless but our ingrained bias limits us. While preferences are normal the ingrained bias could be worked on. Those invisible checkboxes that we need to check, limit us.
Let go of the checklist and the world opens up. Only you know your checkbox(es) but the most common ones, in my observation, are around race & age. Get over them and see how beautifully you get rewarded with varying perspectives that add to your life.
Friendships need respect, reciprocation, and room.
A large part of friendship is planning: To Meet up, To Converse and To do things together. It’s the small things: If you agree to attend, then participate. If you are invited or asked, respond in a timely manner. If you want to be respected, respect back. Friendship is not a free pass to be disrespectful and the moment you treat your friend as an option until ‘a better plan/person comes along’ – you are disrespecting the friendship.
Be there, if you can. If you cannot, make it clear.
Also, someone’s lack of participation is not about you. Not everything is about you! Friendship needs room to accept and decline participation in a friend’s life without judgment. In the end, it is for each individual to decide which friendships to nurture and which one to let live organically.
Friendships need more than gossip
I could have worded this to read – Friendships need substance but it will dilute what I want to articulate.
I am not beyond a respectful chuckle or two about someone with someone else. The gossip I refer to here is the kind that is used as a basis to form a relationship. That kind that defines your friendship and that is the only type of conversation material that friendship thrives on.
Also, if someone is talking to you about someone in their absence. They are talking about you in your absence to someone.
Friendship needs substance – it could be funny memes, politics, pop culture and anything …… just not negative judgment, all the time.
Friendships are not created equal
It is natural to connect with people based on our current phase of life. It is also OK to connect with people for a specific reason. Rather than lament what the friendship doesn’t give, just accept it for what joyous purpose it serve and nurture it just for that.
Not everyone has to be your everything – with some I enjoy conversations over wine and with some, I want to take a cooking class! Enjoy what your friend brings to your life and make peace with that much, it’s enough and it’s lovely.
Friendships have phases
Allow your friends the time to be in their phase and expect the same from them.
Sure, I would love an uninterrupted adult conversion but my 4 year old has a differing view. So, unless I get him a a playmate the chances for my conversation are slim!
We tend to gravitate towards friends in a similar phase of life and we miss the other ones. One day both of us will find a way back. Just give it time. If we don’t find a way back then let’s just cherish what we had!
A whole lot of fun & love sprinkled with some practicality builds some solid friendships — these are ones I have and I am so very proud of my friends! Thank you for being my friend!
“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” – Winnie the Pooh.
🤷🏽♀️ It is safe to say that I have yet to style myself the same way I style myself IN MY HEAD.
Especially if you are someone who is aware, negatively, of your body then I know you are nodding a resounding YAS!
💯 I love an oversized sweater (& hugs) I also love a skirt.I love a styled look! But I keep that styling limited to my bathroom mirror selfies.
I have been body positivity for a long time – for others, not myself! 💯
So, I decided to change that because I don’t like it. And I like me. So, I included myself. AND I posted a pic of me without shoes, I know!
🙌🏽 TIP: When styling with oversize top with a structured bottom a little front tuck goes a long way – If you want to try. And, the bit of tuck is not just for women. Men, try it.
Regardless of your gender what is that one thing that you are positive about but not inclusive? What are you doing to change it?
🎤 Positivity is great but inclusivity is impactful!
Share your story in comments to inspire! I would love to read them 🙏🏼 📸 Post your styling pic with hashtag #bodypositivestyleinclusive & don’t forget to tag @thebirdwhoswam
🏃🏾♂️🏃🏼♀️Imagine running, side by side, with someone. For a bit both of you are aware of each other. Then, both of you get in a zone where you are self-aware. Still, aware that you are running with someone but not aware enough to check on their position. 🎇 It is required that both of you, collaboratively reach a destination, to win. Imagine your feelings if you find out that it was mostly you who moved forward. Whatever your partners reasons maybe, your feelings are real. That running is our growth. That destination is an empowered & equal world. The partners in it are all of us, of all genders. 🗣 Be aware of where you lack and work on it! 🗣 Vocalize & Normalize gender equality. 🎤 Gender equality is not just a woman thing. It’s every gender’s responsibility to step it up and demand balance. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐰𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐜𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮. We are moving forward, join in!
This has been a year for me & this decade is not even over!
♥️ Through self-reflection and writing, I discovered that I love words & design.
💵 My job has no connection to the creatives of the world. My job fuels my passion, and for that I am grateful. Which also mean I am learning everyday!
🗣 I realized that my passion lies in practical positivity, self-reflection, women empowerment, men’s mental health and fuss-free fashion that is inclusive & impactful. I also feel very strongly about educating teens about the virtual world they will live in.
🙏🏼 My words needed a home, publicly, and so I launched @thebirdwhoswam – I have not focused on brand identity or how to and how often to present content.
💯 What I have figured out is my content. I write what I think and I practice what I write.
🧵 The design bit is coming, maybe next year!
🙋🏽♀️ I overcame the fear to fail in public & to wonder if my writing will be mis-understood and strain my relationships, if we differed.
🧐 I am still figuring out the design part, the social media part and so many other parts. My goodness – have you seen my pictures!
🎤 I took an awesome voice over class and discovered that my voice is a candidate for conversational commercial gigs!
🍾 I don’t know where I am heading but I have started and forward is the only way.
🚀 If you are reading this then you have read all
of it. Is there anything you wanted to do? Did you do it? Tell me… if you didn’t, there is still time.
🙏🏼 Thank you supporting me and cheering on!! I promise to pay it forward..