Lifestyle

My life, my definitions

10:23 PM

I spent the past couple of years redefining myself, and pondering the question of how I wanted to introduce myself.
I think we all go through such a phase in life, but then, once we get sucked into the corporate world that choice is taken care of, or rather made for us.

What do you do in life? 


If you are a salaried employee, it's easy, you just tell people you are working as a "whatever role you have" at "whatever company is currently hiring you.

When you are freelancing, this become a bit sketchier, but it was still easy for me before having a child. I was a freelance translator. It's super boring, but totally socially accepted.
Because in our society we are just proud, oh so proud of our people who go through the daily grind to earn a paycheque, preferably at something boring that will never ignite our flame.

Then...BAM! I decided to have a baby, and took a break from those redundant technical translations. And I am not going to lie here, even back then, I knew it was more than a break, it was a "I don't want to ever go back there" break.
But, I didn't have to worry about being defined just then. When you have a newborn child, Society once again agreed on defining me as a"Mother".

Heck for a while that was pretty much the only thing that seemed to matter to the world. My ability to raise a tiny human being and how good I am at it. On the grill for my parenting choices, technique, what I feed my daughter, which school I send her to.
It keeps us SAHM busy, at least for a while, and during those initial 3-4 years, nobody really question our role and position.

Until they, and by they I mean Society at large decide it is time for us to snap out of it. It usually come under the form of a seemingly innocent question from family, friends and strangers : "So, when will you go back to work"?
Because there are certain roles in life that cannot be serious enough, being a stay at home parent being one of them (but it's not the only one).
That tiny question is loaded, seriously loaded people! It insinuate that whatever crazy role and title you assigned to your person, is either a joke, or a mistake, possibly and preferably both.
And anything that is not sucking the life out of you against a steady paycheque seems to fall in that category.

Seriously, what is it that you actually do? 

I have been asked that many a time in my life, and funny thing, is each time I replied by a non standard, Society approved way, I met snarky remarks, or at the most saw the person in front of me fidget and wonder what to make of it. 
A couple of years ago, I wrote this blog post about getting myself business cards and introducing myself as a blogger. 
Go ahead and read it, or refresh your memory. Scroll down to the comments, and you'll have one classic example of the faceless Society trying to rein me in and point out that even if I get paid from calling myself a blogger, it will still be a hobby. 

Yep! That is how conditioned we are from early childhood. To think of work as something tedious, and that if we don't hate every minute of it and don't bring a paycheque proportional to our unhappiness we are clearly in the wrong. We can't be serious if we choose to label ourselves without the Society's approval. 

Well, I don't give much of a hoot about what Society think I should do.

When I first made those business cards I still found myself struggling to utter the words "I am a blogger". I usually had to add "I am a SAHM" to justify the blogger bit. 
It took me a year and a new set of business cards reflecting an URL change to stop that crap and no longer really give much of a damn about what people thought about my own personal choices. 

Right now, I am at my 3rd set of business cards, a new designs for them, a whole lot more information on them, and a dynamic QR code to reflect who I am right now, and what me and my brand will become in the coming months and years. 

So, you still want to know what I do? 

These days, I define myself as an artist, and I do so without lowering my glance to check my toe nails. 
Why? because this is who I am, who I want to be, and the rebel deep down inside is taking a devious pleasure in not being part of the norm. Beside what else could I be with a chest of drawer full of of art supplies, half a shelf of notebooks, journals, sketchbooks and a desk cat

The irony, is I am pretty sure right now, there is at least one "Anonymous" that is feeling the itch to comment with "Being an artist is not a real job", or something as equally stupid. 

And, I don't care what those people think. The point is that I "Cyn" decide who I want to be. Nobody but me has to like it.

These days, my artist life is pretty much a full time thing by the way. My daughter is on her school Summer break, so I get myself a cup of tea and make a beeline for the office at around 7am, still in my PJ's and start by checking my mail, then my social medias, and my sales platforms. 
I then scan new artwork and edit it in Photoshop. 
My life revolve around cleaning pixels before I do the dishes or mop the floor these days, it's all about priorities, and I happen to love cleaning pixels over scrapping leftover dal from plates. 

Then I either move to the dinning table to work on some canvas paintings for another big project I have in the pipeline, or doodle on my sketchpad at the desk while the natural light is good. 

By night time I am either uploading digital version of my artwork to my sales platform or editing pictures for a blog post. And more often than not, I am also writing a blog post that I will either publish straight away, or schedule to go live in the near future. 

In between I am balancing family life, household duties because working from home means you can't escape that threatening pile of laundry taking over the bathroom, getting a workout to stay on top of my slow metabolism issue and finding new ideas. 

It sounds tedious, but it's not, well most of the time...Mainly because I love what I do. 



18 comments

  1. Well done Cyn!! I love the way you have documented your confidence blossoming!! I am just so proud of you, you are a true artist!!

    I am getting that loaded question already again!

    Can't wait to see more of your artwork and the places it will take you ❤

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    Replies
    1. Thank you :-)

      Yeah that loaded question usually start coming the instant your child is old enough to walk because yes we all must be making plan to re-enter the work force as soon as possible...sigh!

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  2. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Dear Cyn,
    I discovered your blog while searching for blogs about life in Mumbai.I am an Indian but belong to Kerala and was brought up abroad.I shifted to Mumbai early this year. Your blog has been sooo useful.Since discovering it I have been hooked to it and actually started reading right at the beginning and finally reached here! I love your blog and absolutely admire your creativity, your parenting style (from what I gathered from here), and as you say..Your awesomeness and bold and colourful approach!! ..God bless:-) I am not a very crafty person but your blog has inspired me to start adding a personal touch to the rented flat. Your posts about baking are also wonderful and ...oh well I could go on and on.. basically Kudos to how you deal with difficult situations and how you make every small happiness a joyful experience!the positivity is infectious!:-) your blog has helped me a lot regarding buying stuff and info about rental flats,etc. in Mumbai. Is it possible to contact you via email? (if you don't mind that is) need some advice regarding schools..
    Wishing you the very best in all your endeavours
    Fam:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fam,

      I am really happy you found my blog and are getting the inspiration to add a personal touch to your home.
      I lived in rental all my life, but I never let that stop me from making my space my own and I am glad what I share on the blog is helping others to do the same.

      You can contact me by email here is the address : cynthia.haller@gmail.com

      Delete
    2. Anonymous2:48 PM

      Thank you Cyn. Shall mail you soon:-)
      Fam

      Delete
  3. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Oh and I am kinda in the stone age when it comes to technology..but have to inform you that yours is the first blog I am actually subscribing to!yay!
    Fam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am honoured to be your first blog subscription :-)

      Delete
  4. Bravo!
    I always wonder about society's need to hang a label on everyone & defining people's worth by what they do or earn.

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    Replies
    1. That need for labels is something That have bugged me for a very long time. In Switzerland people love those labels, and they are only acceptable if you are backed up by a degree or working at a reputed company. This is plain old crazy.

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  5. Anonymous2:18 PM

    I have nothing but respect for SAHMs, that's a damn difficult job. It just goes on an on. I know because my wife is one. After five years of working she quit her job to give more attention to our son, who is suffering from speech delay. She has worked diligently with him and worked wonders. I sometimes feel that woman have something special which keeps them going, they are just wonderful. Yes, they have ten arms.

    Apple

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    Replies
    1. And there are days 10 arms aren't even enough :-)

      People who've never been there or seen the work stay at home parents simply have no idea! I can't remember the number of times I heard the "Oh so you do nothing" bit. Sigh I wish dealing with schools, homework and when they are younger the tantrums, food fights, poopy diapers, projectile vomit, and being on monster busting duty at night was "nothing".
      The truth every parents know is that it a whole lot of work and there is no sick leave, day off, or holidays. Even when I was bed ridden with Dengue fever I was still on Mommy duty, even if my husband pulled a humongous share of the work.

      Delete
  6. Love, love love the beauty, simplicity and self pride !
    Thats why I love your blog posts. Apart from being my main inspiration for DIY , they are true, all solid and so full of real life instead of all glossiness.

    Keep the good life on my friend ! Proud of who you are becoming by the day.

    Smita

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    Replies
    1. Awww thanks for the warm fuzzies Smita

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  7. Good on you Cyn! Glad you have built the courage to stand by what you do. I have always been an Artist and actually have another site http://tanyavmoore.wixsite.com/bigbrownhandbag however have put that to the sideline since all my crafts are packed in boxes at my parents, much to my dismay. Though will be expanding www.thewhitepunjabibride.com to include DIY & Crafts for an Indian inspired life. I think its very important to do what makes you happy in life and what you define as success. Given having a 9 to 5 career isn't everyone's definition of success.

    Tanya - The White Punjabi Bride
    www.thewhitepunjabibride.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love your other site!

      I always say that it is impossible to have any success in life doing something that you aren't passionate about. You can make an income from something you hate, but you can't be successful as a human being.

      Sadly people think success = money, the more money you have, the more successful. Yet every person that is successful will tell you that happiness and love of their craft came first, long long before money came and that money only comes from hard work. You need to love what you do to do hard work.

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  8. Yes absolutely agree with you! Glad you like my other site, although I don't work on it anymore. But I'll be sure to start something DIY on my current blog.

    Tanya - The White Punjabi Bride
    www.thewhitepunjabibride.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had no idea that stigma is so strong even in India! I always thought how lucky and at times even unfair it is, that women in India enjoy the privilege of not being forced to join jobs and can concentrate on their families without being judged. I envied them.

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    1. I wouldn't say they are forced in the "Western" way, at least not in smaller cities and traditional families. For a lot of them, the opposite is true : they are often pressurised to stay home and do their wifey duties, who cares if they have a college degree they will never put to use.

      But in big metros where the cost of life is getting higher, dual income families is becoming more and more the norm, and yes women staying home is now getting questioned, especially if there are no in-laws to push the lady to go back to the kitchen.

      In either traditional families, and more modern settings, women like in the rest of the world often see their choices and dreams poo-pooed in India

      Delete

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