“Shitty First Drafts”

At an English teacher training a few years ago, they gave us an essay called “Shitty First Drafts” as homework. I’m not sure if I read it. I probably didn’t. But it was about writing: writing anyway, even if you know your writing sucks, because it’s progress and it will help your writer’s heart. Or, at least, I think that’s what it’s about. I’m just basing that off the title.

I think there are two lessons to be learned here:

  1. Write. Write anyway. Write because. Write. Write. Write.
  2. If you have a good enough title, people might not even have to read whatever shit you wrote.

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Why, Hello There!

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Handlettering is my most recent creative outlet. Here’s more about me in lettering form!

I’m a teacher, so I used to hide everything I could about my identity. But, in seven years, I’ve learned that my students aren’t that obsessed with me.

So, Hi! I’m Swapna. No one can pronounce my name, and I’ve run into the occasional old person who’s amazed at my American accent. But no need for amazement—I was born and raised in Texas. I teach 9th grade English, which can be hard when you’re an introvert. I read, write, and create outside of school to recharge.

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This used to be the only way to make her stop crying. Now we just do it for fun.

I’m married to a Darcy-esque attorney, and we two introverts have a wild and crazy baby girl. To respect their privacy, I will call them B and J here and use filters and cryptic hipster angles for any pictures.

I have a tendency to rant and ramble, so this blog is dedicated to amusing brevity. Now that introductions are over, let’s get to blogging!

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My Name

My name would have been easier without the “w.”

In most of India, it’s spelled Sapna—pronounced like a casual, slightly nonsensical, encounter. ‘Sup? Nah.

In Kerala, it’s Swapna. Pronounced like Sapna, but lightly seasoned with a W.

My parents tried explaining my Good Name to my kindergarten teacher, but the best she could say was “Soap-nah.” My 5-year-old peers turned it into “Soap.” I didn’t know any better; I was Sonia at home.

I have always been a bastardized form of Swapna. In 9th grade orchestra, I was “Swope-nah.” My 2nd employer called me “Soup-nah.” Most strangers say “Swaap-nah” or read “Swamp-nah,” both of which disgust me. In college, I found a tiny group of Indian friends—the first to call me Sapna, the only ones who could pronounce Swapna.

But Soap has stuck.

I introduce myself as “Soap-nah.”

I spell out “S-O-A-P” at Starbucks.

Like it or not, I’m Soap.

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Where I’ve Been

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Pretty much every new mom everywhere. And definitely me for the last two years.

I considered titling this post “While You Were Sleeping,” but then it would turn into an angry rant about how you’ve been sleeping while I’ve been losing sleep for two years, first to relieve my pregnancy bladder, then to care for J whenever she wakes up. Let’s not.

I’ve been trying to figure myself out for the past two years. We planned for a baby, but I never considered myself a “mother-woman,” as Kate Chopin would say. Figuring out who I am, while this little thing became a person to a Very Important Person to The Most Important Person, has been challenging. Now that I’m getting more sleep and she’s becoming more independent, I feel like I’m getting myself back.

Due to my long absence, the next few posts will be a reintroduction—for both of us. I’ll update you, revisit my favorite posts, and set goals. Thanks for joining me!

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Finally: I’m Back

Motherhood is no joke.

And neither is branding.

The past two years have been–unsettling, for lack of a better word. I found out I was pregnant in January 2016. Since then, I’ve been grappling with my new identity as a mom. I didn’t know what to write about. I could only think of parenting, but I didn’t want to become a mommy blogger. It took a rebranding mistake, a blogging break, and an artistic outlet to rediscover myself.

I’m back. I’m back to writing in 150 words or fewer, because that’s all I have time for these days. And I’m back as a mom–it’s not all of my identity or my voice, but it is now part of it.

Unless WordPress is able to fix my branding mistake, I’m going to treat this like a new blog. Thanks for joining me and supporting me, readers! It’s good to be back.

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Finally

The Little Brat on My Screen

I never understood why parents had so many pictures of their little ones on them: framed on their desks, stuffed in their wallets, saved as the wallpapers for their phones and computers. I didn’t get why they would need constant reminders of their little brats.

And then I went back to work after maternity leave, and I packed up the little brat who had been attached to me for her entire life and sent her to stay with her grandparents for the entire day. 

And my phone lock screen changed. 

And in between lectures and classes, I take a peek to look at the thing that was a part of me my entire life, until this moment when I learned my first lesson in letting go of my child. Yeah, this little brat’s pictures are going to be everywhere, too.