The Less of You, the Better.

you love your body enough to criticize it
the piece of chocolate settled at the bottom of your stomach will not dissolve without running a few miles
or twenty
and is your stomach flat enough for your liking? did your arm look too large in that photograph?

the amount of times during which you have cried while looking at yourself in the mirror is only equated by the amount of dinners you have skipped to compensate for the tears

but you should ask yourself
will you ever be “skinny” enough? your standards rise as your body disappears
a million people will say that you are beautiful
that your body is a gift
but the validation is still not enough
because these compliments are not valid if you do not believe them yourself

so you run until you struggle to breathe and you track your calories and you scold yourself for eating a slice of pizza
and you tell your best friends that their bodies are perfect while you tell yourself to work harder

and one day, you step on a scale and you have lost more weight than you could ever imagine
you should feel happy, but you feel afraid
you feel weak
and you question whether you can ever win
but you will not because you are the only person competing in this race
and you can only succeed if you withdraw from it


Your fists are clenched, tears are streaming down your cheeks, and you are yelling. You can hear yourself yelling, but you cannot help doing so. You have a pain in your chest that resembles heartbreak, and you feel helpless. Your slumber should be peaceful, but your mind torments you.

I would say that I have nightmares fairly often. I had some painful ones last night, so here I am writing about them. I close my eyes every night hoping to recharge, but I feel as though so much is taken from me emotionally when the next morning arrives. As many know, I struggle with fairly severe insomnia, so I do not even know if I can classify these encounters as nightmares because they feel so real. I am balancing within my consciousness. Due to this, I think the reality of it is the scariest part. My nightmares are mostly realistic and shed light on traumas that I have been fortunate enough to avoid thus far. This confuses me. I rarely have dreams that I enjoy, and if I do enjoy them, I find myself disappointed to an excessive degree the next day.

I guess this is pretty vulnerable of me to mention, but when I experience a troubling nightmare, and awake to tears pouring out of my eyes, I want nothing more in that moment than to have someone holding me. I want to hear that everything is okay, and I want to squeeze a hand. This being said, my nightmares are my own, and even if I find the strength to relive them and explain them to others, they do not fully understand the fear that caused my body to become rigid in the midst of them.

In some senses, I would be interested in exploring how to control my dreams fully, but given my insomnia, I feel as though I would focus so much on controlling them that I would not be able to fall asleep.

Nightmares make me uncomfortable during a time in which I desire nothing but comfort. They cause me distress and I spend hours, days, or even weeks thinking about them. I try to exhale the triggers that arise within them with each breath I take, and I will say that some of the tension escapes through the tears I shed as well, but I need a bit of time for my emotions to completely settle.

I want to tell myself that I should not be afraid of something as trivial as a nightmare, but I cannot help how I feel in these moments during which harsh and disturbing thoughts enter my mind. Sometimes, fear is okay. I wish I had more answers and more words of encouragement for myself, but I know that I can handle this. For me, sleep is a work in progress. I will continue to exhale the negativity that arises with it as much as I can.

He Should Be.

he may be so many things
that sound lovely on paper or when you tell your friends about him for the first time

but is he bear hugs and hand holds
is he a doer
does he push you rather than break you
does he empower you rather than belittle you

does he resolve rather than run

do not give into it
do not let him into you
until he is
until he does

The best advice I gave and received in 2019.

in no particular order

Choose people who choose you.

Surround yourself with those who respect and value your time.

Doing a stupid action does not make you a stupid person. You spend so much time giving others the benefit of the doubt. You deserve to give yourself the same.

One should not have to know how you have been treated in the past to treat you well.

You will never be free from judgment, so you might as well do what you enjoy.

Listen to music that feeds your soul. Do not listen to what others expect you to like if you do not actually like it.

Age does not equate to maturity.

Not everyone can be helped in the same way. Do not settle for (and compensate) the wrong therapist, app, class, routine, friends, or environment.

Be intentional in whom and what you follow on social media. You do not owe anyone a follow, like, or retweet.

Do not work for an organization, company, or person who does not share your values.

Privilege exists in being positive.

You are more than capable of not listening to problematic musicians.

Do not put anyone on a pedestal regardless of how personally you know them.

Pushing away those who desire to support you is only doing a disservice to yourself. Take your space, but be cognizant of whether you are hurting your loved ones in the process.

Do good work where you are and people will notice. Your output speaks louder than your talk.

Putting yourself out there is empowering.

Not feeling well? Cannot sleep? Cannot stay awake? Drink water. Water helps everything.

Do not search for your healing within those who broke you.

Not everyone has the best intentions, but do not change your own intentions because of this.

Pay attention to those around you. Who adds to your life? Who takes from it?

Some situations do not have explanations. Some situations just are what they are, and they only look for acceptance.

Your trauma is not any more or any less valid than someone else’s trauma. Your struggles and healing processes can coexist.

Listening to songs that provide you with painful memories will not help.

Take every opportunity to bask in sunlight.

Ignoring how greatly marginalized communities are impacted in your advocacy regarding climate change (or any issue for that matter) is dangerous.

Not everyone, including your closest friends and family members, will be able to share in your excitement or sadness. This does not make your feelings less valid.

People will take credit for your work. This does not mean that the work was not worth it, or that you do not add value to an initiative. Focus on the reasons for why you did the work instead.

You are only as successful as how well you are (physically and mentally).

Weaponizing your identity only highlights your privileges and makes others feel small.

If you need a hug, ask for a hug.

If you are reading this, you probably have the ability to recognize how much space you occupy. Be cognizant of this.

Pay attention to where leaders, celebrities, and organizations that you admire place their dollars.

You are not expected to solve every problem. You are expected to educate yourself, unlearn and learn, and practice your values to the best of your ability.

A difference exists between educating folks on issues that should not be your responsibility to explain and empowering their growth.

Dating someone should not be a project. You should not have to fix or drain yourself for your partner.

If you live in and are governed by a system that was built on oppression, ignoring this point will only harm you and those around you.

How others treat you is a reflection of how they view themselves.

When you are in leadership roles, you and your work might not feel appreciated or be recognized. You have to accomplish your tasks and goals anyway, so do your best to affirm yourself.

Your successes are rooted in your mindset.

Pay attention to how government and news sources communicate happenings. Dig deeper and question what you are told. Ask questions if you do not understand and do not blindly follow.

An upward dog can always provide some relief.

Just because folks can list random facts about past events, laws, court cases or garner tens to thousands of likes on a tweet containing political jargon does not make them any more qualified or capable than you are.

The meaning of life is to discover what life means to you.

You are allowed to feel pain months, years, and decades after something occurs or ends. You probably will.

You will always have your experiences. You will always have your story.

Putting yourself first is not selfish. Liberation arises with loving yourself.

Your life on this earth is so minuscule within the span of time. Ask yourself, often, if you are fulfilled.

Dear White People.

I wrote this for one of my classes and I thought I’d share. We were required to write a letter to someone or a group based on the readings we had in class regarding race. Edit: I would like to note that one’s learning and research should not stop with reading the piece that I have cited in this post. We were assigned White Fragility for class, which is why I used it. One should be reading works written by people of color. DiAngelo’s work, in itself, is an example of white privilege and can be condescending. She makes the occasional valid point, but again, people of color have been writing about many of these issues for decades.

Dear White People,

When I was only five years old, unexposed to the realities of the existence of race, you told me that I could not sit at your table because I am brown. 

When I was ten, insecure about my body and wishing that my skin tone was just a few shades lighter, you made fun of the hair on my arms. 

You tell me that I will never be a Senator (apparently this is okay, though, because you prefaced this statement with “no offense”). You exoticize me because you are fascinated by the way that my brown skin glows or the way that my hair flows as though this is supposed to capture my heart and have me tumble into your love.

You ask me from where I am and I say that I am from Rochester, MN in response. You then say “no, I mean, what is your nationality?” and even though I am American, I know that you are actually asking about my ethnicity, so I reply and say that I am Indian just for you to say that you know an Indian who looks how I look. Your intentions are always correct in your mind, but your impacts have me wondering whether you will ever learn. 

The system in which we currently exist is built to benefit you, so your judgement is clouded as you think that it is, in turn, benefiting everyone. As DiAngelo states in White Fragility, “…racism…occurs when a racial group’s prejudice is backed by legal authority and institutional control” (DiAngelo 21). We can all choose to live comfortably and avoid thinking deeply about this, but that in itself is a privilege. In many ways, I have been able to do the same due to my immigrant parents’ hard work in building a well-off family and lifestyle in this country. My mother and father have Doctorates in Physics and Microbiology respectively, but they have entered interview rooms in which their names and skin tones have taken precedence over their accomplishments. This being said, I want to stress the importance of disaggregating race and ethnicity as in a lot of ways, I have lived a very fortunate life. Not all people of color live on the same playing field (within a game that we did not choose to play), and disadvantaged groups exist even within this. 

While blatant racism does exist, and some folks, unfortunately, are proud to call themselves racists, anyone can make racist remarks. The comments stated previously were made to me, and to some degree, embedded so deeply into my identity that I have believed them myself at times, by those who claim to be allies and generally act justly upon their allyship. I often struggle to discuss race with my white friends, and other white progressives, because everything can be taken with defense rather than objectively. Bitterness exists within their reactions even if they do not outrightly express it, and this results in me feeling a sense of guilt for even discussing the topic in the first place. DiAngelo draws on this concept by shedding light on the claims that white folks often make to validate their comments or awareness. The parents of the girl who made the comment to me when I was five, and continued to bully me throughout my kindergarten year, claimed that they did not teach their daughter those values, or to be racist, and their apologies were validated. DiAngelo states that “a racism-free upbringing is not possible, because racism is a social system embedded in the culture and its institutions” (DiAngelo 83). Again, the ability to not acknowledge this, and view everything at face value or as an individual situation, is a privilege. Coming to terms with this is difficult, and it all certainly messes with my own mind, but ignorance is not bliss. My identity as a woman of color has been politicized and socialized, but many lives wade in consistent politicization. I choose to be brutally aware of this reality not only for myself, but also for those who face much worse. 

I am proud to be a brown woman. A lot of effort has been taken to push past the perceptions that I had of myself while growing. Since white skin is so frequently associated with power, lighter skin tones have always been pushed as “more attractive.” I wished so badly to be just a shade or two lighter. To this degree, I have so often pictured myself marrying a white man as though men of color were less attractive, or less qualified, and have often been submissive to the white men whom I have dated due to this. This is the influence of socialization at work, and my parents along with others in the Indian community took too large of risks, and worked too hard, to challenge it. Advocating for myself is still every day work, and I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunities I have had as this work could have definitely been heavier. 

If you truly are an ally, if you truly are progressive, then question the system in which we live. Do not take defense. Ask yourself why you have the perceptions you have, and then push yourself to be uncomfortable enough to unlearn. Empower people of color instead of basking in the power that is always at your fingertips. I do not expect you to be perfect in your acts and comments as I am not even close to being so myself, but people of color deserve to occupy just as much space as you do without being questioned. You did not choose to have or work hard for your whiteness. People of color did not choose their identities either, but they have to fight against the system that disadvantages them every day. DiAngelo mentions the “social taboos against talking openly about race,” (DiAngelo 100) and your participation in dismantling this is key.

In Solidarity,

Natasha Sohni 

Work Cited:

DiAngelo, Robin J. White Fragility: Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. Beacon Press, 2018.

Some authors of color I recommend reading: Angela Davis, Warsan Shire, Ta-Nehisi Coates

A Movie.

you are running along a city street
rushing to your next obligation

millions of people are surrounding you
but you somehow know all of them

yellow taxis are whizzing past you
your hair is blowing in your face
and your phone illuminates with texts and emails

the hands of these people latch onto your heart and pull at its strings
you cannot help but share your soul with every single one of them
you cannot help but make them your best friends and you soon have so many that

you are not sure who cares or who adds or who keeps you warm
because everyone seems to be turning you cold
you have used your vulnerability as a blanket to shelter others

your socializing has left you feeling lonely and numb
and the coffee in your cup meant to energize you while you rush down the street is now on the sidewalk seeping into cracks that seem too familiar

and even though this is all so vivid
you do not feel present
and this moment that captures your isolated body, rushing, within a sea of people who all claim to know you and love you
becomes a movie set to loop

you try to grab at someone
anyone who seems as though they will understand and lie with you in your loneliness until it disappears

the smiles may be welcoming
the secrets may run deeply
the hugs may be frequent
but this is a movie
and you will always struggle to decipher the reality that lies within it

19th Birthday Reflection.

(Birthday reflections will be a series on my blog.)

Where should I begin?

When one thinks of turning nineteen, she probably doesn’t think of much. The age isn’t necessarily considered a milestone and at most sounds a tad bit more mature than eighteen. For some reason, though, I was a little more excited about my birthday this year than I usually am (I’m usually not very excited). I spent the day going to brunch with my friends and roommates, and later attended the State Fair with some of my best friends. I was also able to watch some Harry Potter.

I would say I remember birthdays quite well. I’m sure many others have a knack for this too, but I also remember to somehow personally wish each person. I think, due to this, I am always curious and excited to see who will actually take the time to wish me. In this process, I also am surprised by those who don’t wish me (and these are folks who definitely know when my birthday is). Ultimately, I feel quite guilty if I do not wish someone a Happy Birthday, but I guess I may be alone in this feeling.

I think I’ve definitely learned quite a bit about myself this past year.  I truly feel as though I have discovered what makes me “happy” and what I want from myself, my relationships, my friendships, my family, my schooling, my passions, and my career. I am more comfortable sharing my opinions as I have definitely learned lots within and outside of my schooling.

I have met so many people and have made so many wonderful friends. I know I will have the friendships I’ve made for the rest of my life. While I consider practically everyone I know a friend, I know those whom I consider my closest or best friends now will always have my best interests in mind (I will do the same).

I am now an Event Officer on my college’s Student Board and am an At-Large Representative in my University’s student government. I had an interesting internship this summer with County government and I truly felt as though my opinion was valued.

While I’m grateful for all of these positive factors, I must, of course, discuss the negatives. I would say, even during my Senior year of High School, my anxiety heightened quite a bit more than it already had. I believe I am now mainly a “Type A” personality and can be annoyingly specific about how I (and those around me) complete tasks. While this has, obviously, affected my mental health even more than it already was, I try to remind myself to remain calm within my storm of worries. I am often quite hard on myself and this is frequently reflected physically on my body (I suffer from dermatitis and cysts on my scalp due to emotional stress). All good things take time, so I will continue to do what I can to better and maintain my health.

Ultimately, I am incredibly indebted to the positive influences I have for making my life what it is currently. Many do not have the opportunity to see the age of nineteen and I can only hope that I do it justice. My youth and / or age should not have any significance in how much of a difference I make during my time here.


Complaining is okay.

While you complain, remind yourself of your blessings.

I am incredibly blessed to be writing this post while many will never see or touch any type of technology.

I am incredibly blessed to study (as unpleasant as it sounds) for midterms and finals while many will never receive an education.

I am incredibly blessed to have fresh food to eat while many must walk miles every day for one sip of water.

Yes, the issues we face helplessly vary depending on the advancements of the worlds in which we live. No, this reasoning should never excuse the disparities between these worlds.

Complaining is okay if one recognizes her privilege.



He shares so much with me. His words flood my heart and my mind all at once. My entire being absorbs his charm. 

He stops sharing. We do not talk. The next time I see him, I look into his eyes, searching. Searching for what? I do not know.