As I tuned into this topic, I became aware of the internal environment that is created because of the people in our lives and how we perceive ourselves in relation to them. Often keeping others comfortable becomes our comfort zone. Stepping out of it rocks the boat. As we step into this New Year, I invite you to step into the New You.
It is too long that you stayed in a shell to keep others comfortable.
There are some around you who have always loved you, with whom you are amazing and it is easy. You feel safe being yourself.
Then why walk on eggshells with everyone else? Why numb the goodness and brightness in you?
Nobody realizes that you are simply trying to fit in. You value them too much, even more than yourself. You are getting comfortable with that. In your mind, you are being nice to them. And yet often feel miserable. They are also getting used to that. Stop…just stop!
Look at those who really ‘see’ you. You seem to do everything right by them. Break the shell and crack it open. Do what it takes! It’s worth it!
They will find others who feed their comfort. Yes, give them a shock.
They will have to step up to understand you and cheer you in your growth. They will have to know your pain.
You in your truthfulness will mourn your perceived loss of some of them because you truly cared about them. That’s why you kept them comfortable while you suffered.
Yes, I know you also wronged some people. Those too will reach out to you or you to them, in your growth. Just know that you are not accountable to all of them this very minute, so don’t judge yourself too hard.
Go ahead take that step, a small change, break open, fly. The ones ready for growth will grow with you. Some will fall away, as you both cannot see eye to eye now.
Forgive yourself, forgive them, love yourself, love them, allow yourself to Be, allow them to Be. Trust me, it’s worth it. When you feel stuck and choose to wiggle out, it hurts, it’s worth it.
The ones who care for you and the ones you care for will have to accept you as you are today. Let them know you are one of them but be stronger on your own path.
Pragalbha Doshi lives with her husband and 2 teenage boys in San Jose, CA. As a yoga teacher, she facilitates therapy & change for people who struggle with chronic symptoms of stress, physical & emotional, and who want a productive & fulfilling life.
The contents of this article first appeared on my personal blog Infinite Living on Jan 5, 2017. Find more inspiration in poetry and prose at the link.
Poetry as Sanctuary – A column where we explore poetry as a means of expression for voices of the South Asian Diaspora.
Poetry was never something I imagined to become this significant to me, it was not even a sliver of a dream of an unimagined future.
I spent the first 3 decades of my life trying to fit into the mold of a perfect, normal life. I moved to the US from India at a young age, always striving to keep a smile, raise 2 sons, and remain optimistic. Something still felt missing. I was drawn to the teachings of yoga & philosophy. That seemed to satisfy my need for continual answers to the meaning of life.
All of that came crashing down when I got afflicted with a brutal skin disease that attacked me in every single way – physical, familial, emotional – I was isolated from society for the next few years. Modern medicine did not have any remedy for me, so I chose holistic methodologies from ancient times to find my way back to life. My new normalcy turned out to be as brilliant, as painful it was to go through dismantling my existing reality.
With very few humans around to know and really understand the drastic choices I made about my healing, I was unaware there would be a subsequent spiritual awakening. The world did not make sense to me anymore. There was this ocean revealed within and I needed to learn to swim.
It took a while to befriend poetry as a gift. It brought alive my relationship with the Universe. I remember the exact moment and setting when the first surge of inspiration began and I started rhyming in my mind. I had to drop everything and type. It was a very strange yet powerful feeling. Even stranger was to look at my writing and think it was poetry.
I thought each one that came was the last. I couldn’t own it or name the place it came from. I started sharing them on my blog and Facebook. I had people message me that these poems were helping them get through the day, giving them hope, peace, courage, guidance. As I stepped into the fourth decade of my life, poetry had become a living, breathing part of me.
People asked me how did you start writing. My reply to them came through this following poem:
Just how did the writer in me get born?
When drippings from a touched soul find their way in writing A poet is born When the beauty is undying and the joy so fulfilling A poem is born When feelings are heart wrenching and clarity is killing A poem is born When a surge comes as discomfort and words pour out A writer is born When the harmony felt is such that there is no choice but rhyme A poem is born When made-up words bring meaning and no-rhyme verse feels musical A poetry is born When living alive to feelings, words come to life A writer is born When clarity becomes more intense than the pain that afforded it A writer is born When no human around can suffice to contain the expression A poetry is born When a release is looking to flow out at an unearthly hour A writer is born When words choose the person as if a channel A writer is born When none can be planned to rhyme or reason A poet is born When human spirit gets broken to million-times-ten pieces, yet finds beauty A poet is born When Life decides to peel back layers of truth down to the core A writer is born When each level of façade is stripped down to bare soul A writer is born When all the suffering was a gift, lived through or let through A writer is born When there is no knowing if there is more from where it came from A writer is reborn When it comes from a place that is hard to own A writer is born When the essence of being is wrung out in best expression A poetry is born When it feels like a soft glove over the brutal thing A poetry is born When the loneliness in truthfulness is more than can enjoy yet A writer is born When inspirations come out of nowhere as if universal cues A poet is born
So if you can just rest In the drippings of the writer’s soul Momentarily let go of the sufferings you insist on A poet would feel content for being born.
– Pragalbha Doshi
After 4 years of this amazing adventure, I had felt a lot of grief when I thought poetry was leaving me.I did write some more after that, and the flow trickled to a stop. It was time for me to visit life in a different way. I trusted Poetry to know that – in time, it will come back to me.
My poetry found a voice and new life within a year when, at the beginning of the pandemic, I joined a local group called Poetry of Diaspora in Silicon Valley. Poetry is that gift and sanctuary that leaves out all supposed normalcy and brings us closer to who we truly are.
Pragalbha Doshi lives with her husband and 2 teenage boys in San Jose, CA. As a yoga teacher, she facilitates therapy & change for people who struggle with chronic symptoms of stress, physical & emotional, and who want a productive & fulfilling life www.yogasaar.com
Punishing Low-Income Immigrants With The Recent Changes To Public Charge
Our federal immigration laws have long been controversial. However, within the past few years, there have been numerous contentious changes to immigration law as part of the federal administration’s clampdown on immigration. One insidious change, in particular, has been to the public charge rule.
Public charge is an immigration rule that federal authorities use to decide whether certain immigrants will be a financial burden on the government. Because of public charge, some immigrants worry that their immigration status can be negatively impacted by getting certain public benefits from the government.
Along with the recent rule change, there has also been an unfortunate amount of misinformation and fear in the community about public charge. There has been a chilling effect with immigrant families, including those not actually subject to the public charge rule, with many choosing to disenroll or to not enroll for public benefits to avoid jeopardizing their immigration status.
Our communities need to fight misinformation with knowledge, and fear with power. To do that, we must all remember that public charge does not apply to all immigrants and it does not apply to all public benefits.
What Exactly Is Public Charge?
The public charge rule applies when a non-citizen seeks to enter the U.S. or to adjust to lawful permanent resident status (ie. apply for a green card). It does not apply to U.S. citizens and it does not apply to many types of immigrants. Legal permanent residents with green cards already should not be impacted by public charge unless they travel outside of the United States for six months or longer and then return.
In addition, public charge does not apply to asylees, refugees, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) applicants, people who have or are applying for U-visas as victims of crime, T-visas for human trafficking survivors, special immigrant juveniles (SIJS) and other immigrants with certain types of humanitarian immigration statuses.
The public charge test looks at a totality of the circumstances and weighs many factors to decide if an immigrant will be a public charge. This includes looking at someone’s age, health, family size, education, skills, and whether the immigrant has an affidavit of support. The receipt of certain types of public benefits by the applicant directly is only one factor in this test.
Traditionally, public benefits that count towards public charge include those that provide cash assistance, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), CalWORKs, General Assistance, and long-term institutional care at government expense.
However, under recent changes to public charge, the federal government has expanded the list of public benefits impacted for green card applications filed on or after February 24, 2020. The new rule looks at whether or not an immigrant receives one or more certain public benefits “for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months).” The rule is not retroactive, so applications filed before February 24, 2020 will be considered under the old rule that claimed only cash assistance and long-term institutional care at government expense.
In addition to cash aid and long-term institutional care at government expense, the new post-February 24, 2020 public charge rule now will also include federally funded Medi-Cal (with exceptions for state-funded Medi-Cal, emergency services, children under 21, pregnant women, new mothers and COVID-19 related care), federally-funded CalFresh, federal public housing, Section 8 vouchers and project-based Section 8. Although these public benefits programs have been added to the new public charge rule, most immigrants who face a public charge test don’t get the benefits that could be potentially problematic for public charge. Public charge also only considers whether or not the immigrant applying for a green card directly receives one of the impacted public benefits, not other family or household members.
Conversely, this also means that other public benefits and assistance programs will not have a public charge impact. This includes exceptions to Medi-Cal like emergency Medi-Cal, pregnancy Medi-Cal, state-funded Medi-Cal (like for undocumented youth 21-26), Medi-Cal for children up to age 21. This also includes other programs like California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Social Security retirement, Medicare, unemployment insurance benefits (UIB), school meal programs, earned income and child tax credits, crime victim compensation, energy assistance programs, disaster relief programs and non-cash assistance state/local programs. For COVID-19 specifically, testing, treatment, and preventative care (including a potential future vaccine) will not count towards public charge.
It’s Okay To Ask Questions and Seek Help
Public charge does not apply to all immigrants or to all public benefits. Immigrants should continue to seek the public benefits and care they need to keep themselves and their families safe during this difficult time. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic still causing havoc, receiving proper health care, including through Medi-Cal, is more important now than ever. However, everyone’s situation is different and you should speak to an attorney qualified in both immigration and public benefits law if you are concerned about a potential public charge impact for you or your family.
Together, we can fight the fear and misinformation around public charge, empower our communities, and counter the chilling effect impacting so many low-income and immigrant families.
Nghi Huynh is a staff attorney with the Asian Law Alliance, a nonprofit community law office that has served the low-income and AAPI community of Santa Clara County for over 42 years.