I’m Special – By Adi Yacobi

I’m Special – By Adi Yacobi

In a world where we get so many messages from social media, TV, and radio on how we need to look, what we need to wear, and how we need to be, we need to remember that each of us is special and unique in each person’s own way. 

You have so many special gifts that make you – YOU. I wrote “I’m Special” to remind and empower every woman around the globe that you are special just the way you are. You don’t need to change your looks and the size of your body just to “fit.” You were born into this world to create a better reality, to lead, to follow your dreams, and to make a change. That change can start only from you accepting yourself, accepting the things you think are not good enough in you, and embracing and strengthening the traits that make you unique. 

In my B.A. in Psychology and Sociology, I’ve studied and researched the power of words. I highly believe in the power of words and how it affects your reality. For example, when you listen and sing to the chorus of “I’m Special”, “I know what I can do and how far I’ll go – cos I’m myself – I’m Special.” I want you to feel empowered, unique, strong, and that you have infinite possibilities to achieve your dreams by being yourself. My mission in this world is to help women go through a journey of self-love and acceptance through lyrics and music.

What is beautiful and “normal” is a matter of where you grew up and what culture tells you is “right” and what is not. The secret is to understand what makes you special, different, and embrace your special traits as your strength to make a difference and make this world a better place. If someone tells you that you are not good enough, that you can’t make it, that you are not beautiful enough – it’s just a reflection of what they think about themselves or what they have been told by others. No matter where you are located in this world right now, and if you had a bad day, remember that – You are Special.

I believe that every person’s soul lives inside their body and your body is your home. You should “feel comfortable in your own home” – in your own body. Reconnect with your body, your instincts, trust what your body tells you. Nowadays, society still tells us we should be thinner and we should lose weight just to look thin. It’s important to be healthy, to eat well, and exercise for a healthy body and soul while always understanding our natural body shape and our physiognomy. 

I believe in you. I see you. I know you have the strength to overcome all the bad things people told you when you were a child and even now. I know how it feels to be treated as not good enough, people seeing only the size of your body and your looks and I can tell you that you have that innate light inside yourself that makes you unique and special. Please don’t keep that light only to yourself – share it with us – You are Special.

Final thoughts:

When I was a child, I was told to eat less and lose weight. My body was “not good enough”, “not thin enough” and I didn’t feel good about the way I looked. Later in life, I traveled to many places such as India, China, United States, Europe, and Africa. In these journeys, I had the honor to talk to many people from these countries, and I’ve heard things that I could not understand that shocked me. 

I remember my enchanting trip to India, where I’ve seen the discrimination of people based on their color of skin, the obstacles people with darker skin (which I think is beautiful) face every day. I’ve seen women and men trying to bleach their skin to look whiter, basically, trying to look like others – not seeing that they are beautiful naturally. This really broke my heart. 

In China, another fascinating country, I have heard the same thing about the beauty standards of having whiter skin but there I have heard about another phenomenon, surgical procedures to widen their eyes to look more western (a phenomenon that also happens in South Korea). In western countries, black women straighten their (amazing curly) hair to look like other women with straight hair. This is a phenomenon that is slowly changing, but black women who don’t straighten their hair may be seen as unprofessional and might not be hired to certain jobs just because of their hair. These are just some examples of things women experience every day. We have the power to create a better environment for women of all cultures around the world. There are many inspiring women all over the world who share their body positivity and body neutrality as a way of life which is very important in the reality we create. Each of these women started from a small step. The next step starts with you – by accepting yourself and remembering that you are special. 

Women should not lose weight just to fit into another type of body dictated by other beauty standards. Sometimes our bodies change because of mental health issues and the pressure of our daily lives. There are women who may lose weight because of depression or disease. These women often get positive feedback from people saying “Wow, you’ve lost weight – you look great” or the opposite “Oh, you’ve gained weight” but usually they don’t see that inner soul which is damaged and just wants a hug or support. What really matters is how you nourish your body and soul. Your body is precious because it gives you the opportunity to express your special soul. So be kind to your body, remember to make your body a warm and happy place to live in.

No matter what is the shape of your body and what size the fashion industry labeled you, you are a model. People always told me that I’m not thin, that I’m not fat – that I’m “In between”. I know many women who are under the “In between” category. I think that this categorization of women and models as “models” or “Plus Size Models” or “In between” is completely wrong and has a horrible effect on the body image of women. The fashion industry should stop categorizing women just because of the shape of their bodies and start calling all models – “models”, no matter which size. Trust me, women don’t need the help of a label such as “Plus Size” to know what is the size of their bodies.

Diversity and inclusion are part of my core values in the art I create and share with you. I see so many talented, charismatic, intelligent, and gorgeous women who have so much to give to this world and they have so many dreams, but since they are physically disabled or with a certain syndrome, many doors are closed to them. I don’t see their disabilities – I see opportunities. I see what special gifts and wisdom they can share with us if only we give them the chance. Sometimes, because of our egos, we think we know better than others, better than those who we think are “inferior” to us, and we miss the opportunity to learn and grow together. There is room for everyone in this world, and we need to create this difference when we meet someone by seeing their special soul and not judging them by their appearance. We sometimes forget that we are all “disabled” in some way, some of us are disabled physically, but most of us are disabled, injured in some way from the inside (heartbroken, sad, depressed, anxious) – the fact that we can’t see the disability, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I would like to see more people with disabilities in companies, in the music and fashion industry, and in other sectors.

About The Author

Adi Yacobi is a singer and songwriter. She has created the Women Empowerment Music Project, which is about body positivity, inclusion, self-acceptance, disability, diversity and women empowerment.

The Long Wait

The Long Wait

I stumbled upon art in my quest for a more meaningful life. I wanted to give an outlet to my creative energy which would have been stifled had I joined the business for which I was trained. As a product of the prestigious NIFT, I saw numerous opportunities to join the industry and pursue a career in design.

Somehow I was not very convinced about this idea, during my college years I never saw myself in a fixed hour job. I would rather be a free spirit and choose to create when I wanted to. My path to becoming a full-time artist has been indirect to say the least. However, I wouldn’t trade my time of being an “artist interrupted” for anything.

The longer road with all of it’s detours has really paid off in terms of rounding out my life experiences, making me more focused, determined, and extremely grateful for the opportunity I have in the studio right now. Waiting is a great motivator.

I’ve always had a love for creativity, right from a very young age and although I might not have fully understood it on a conscious level, bringing something new and unique (and hopefully of value) into the world always brought me a great deal of satisfaction.

After my studies at NIFT, New Delhi, and a short stint of work, I got married. Thereafter, it was motherhood which was my first priority. Soon I realised that I needed to do something on my own for my creative persona.

I started visiting various art galleries in Delhi and participating in their painting workshops. This is where the seed of being an abstract artist was launched & permanently lodged into my soul. Honestly, I didn’t know what to think of it myself until I started working on my first canvas. It was like a bullet hit me. I FELT something connect – the freedom that comes with working for yourself.

So there you have it – my story.

I always prefer happy and hopeful endings when I hear a story, so I’ll leave you with this:

Following your heart, inner vision, and passion can lead you to do the very thing you love & cherish, even if it takes a L-O-N-G time.

Since the journey is long, it is important to have courage and belief in your work. Don’t get dejected by criticism. Some times, the response may come very slowly, but if you have faith in what you are doing, you will get there.

It’s not always smooth sailing, so you have to take the ups and downs of your journey as they come. Keep the faith strong and keep surging ahead.

 

Shruti Vij is a designer turned visual artist based in Gurgaon.
More Than Bruises And Broken Bones

More Than Bruises And Broken Bones

The author of this article has chosen to remain anonymous.

“Even confessing feels good under the right circumstances.”

It was during the time of mid-September when the winter has just started and with Chennai suddenly becoming whimsical with it’s dreamy sunsets and the dew drops in the trees, everybody feels fortunate and happy.

As a 13 year old girl who came home from school happily to go out with her mother, I was disappointed with the rain. I waited anxiously for the rain to stop and once it did I rushed and told my mother to get ready.

quote image about safety for childrenThe markets were the same, the people were the same but the stories I told my mother became even more interesting each week. The stories were from algebra to catfights to almost everything that filled my mind. Now returning from the noisy market, entering into a quaint street I understood my voice became louder and turned down my voice a little. And going down the street i heard a speeding vehicle nearing us and at the spur of the minute the man in the vehicle gropes my chest and the girl who toned her voice down a minute ago now screams at the top of her voice. I felt assaulted and was assaulted by a person who was my father’s age. My mother searched for words to console me. But I knew my mother needed a lot of consoling than me. We couldn’t do anything more than scream or console. I felt weak. I remembered my parents teaching me different types of touch, and I knew this was a bad touch but my mother was just next to me, does this mean both of us are weak?

No, the only person weak was the one who sped away in the vehicle. The only person ashamed was the one who couldn’t face us and sped away. But before I realized this I felt uneasy to talk about this to people. So, It took literally six long years for me to talk about a groping incident, How long or how resistant will a child take or be? Will it be before he/she realizes it’s not their mistake or after they punish themselves for something they are not responsible for?

Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. I, luckily knew my rights and with the support of my parents knew how to deal with it. But does everyone have privilege for that? We have the responsibility to ensure a safe place for everybody to live in.

Who is to blame: Victim or Perpetrator?

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Just imagine that you had walked into an ATM to draw some cash or, say, you were on your way to a wedding dressed in a reasonable amount of gold jewellery. As you were approaching your car what if someone slit your throat and stole your cash or jewellery? Whose fault do you think it is? The person who slit your throat or your own fault? Would you accept that it is your fault to have done something that is totally legitimate for people to do? Of course, you can always choose to never draw cash from an ATM or to never get out of your car or maybe not to go out alone to draw cash from an ATM. Those are possibly fear measures or safety measures you would take to protect yourself.

It infuriates me to think that every time a rape or murder of a young girl is reported, people say: “she must have done something to deserve it”, “wonder what she was wearing?’, or “why did she go there?” or ” She asked for it because she was hanging out with her friends” and so on…

Have you ever considered everything that a girl has to think of before she steps out of her house for her own safety? Well, here are a few thoughts that possibly run through her mind:

“What should I wear to not attract rape?”

“What time is it? Is it safe to go out now?”

“Wait! Is this a safe place to go to?”

Why should we always live in fear of being violated? What about girls who are very young and probably are not even aware that there are sexual predators around? I remember reading a comment once on social media: “this is why girls should be kept in the house locked up!”. Is this how we stay safe? Well, what about abuse that happens at home?

I am not saying here that we shouldn’t stay safe. But why do we stray from recognizing who the real offender is? Why are we not able to rally enough support to raise the bar on women’s safety at the workplace, in public spaces, in schools and at home?

Let’s remember that what we really need to battle is society’s mindset towards women. And yes, we surely need to work on measures that ensure a woman’s safety in all spheres by taking all practical steps necessary – be it through fixing CCTV cameras in public spaces and campuses or lighting up dark alleys or by reporting stalkers and eve-teasers. We do need to increase safety awareness among people.  We need to educate children, both girls and boys on safety. But more importantly, let’s teach them to respect the other. Teaching young boys to respect girls at home and at school will go a long way in ensuring a safe world. Teach them to challenge injustice towards women. Teach them to challenge age-old mindsets that dictate that a woman stays safe when she is locked up somewhere!

Kavitha Emmanuel

Founder & Director
Women of Worth

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Respect Life,Respect Lives

Do you wonder, what’s gone missing in the world when you hear of brutal incidents of rape, murder, domestic violence and other forms of physical abuse? What makes people resort to such inhuman behaviour? Yes, there lies the clue. It is inhuman. When someone loses their soul within which is the seat of love, honour and respect they do become inhuman. In a culture that very often does not associate respect with women or for women, we have this important task to do. We need to tell the world that what women need the most is not diamonds, flowers and chocolates but respect.

Respect is that sublime choice we make to value another person irrespective of their status, creed, gender or colour. Respect is not what we usually associate it with. It is more than a ritualistic practice. It is an attitude. It is a way of life. I choose to respect another person simply because they are human.

Respect is a principle by which you operate. It defines the way you treat people and let others treat you. To cultivate respect, I need to start with respecting myself first. I have met women who feel they deserve the abuse they are facing. When you respect yourself you will not tolerate anyone treating you without respect. Abuse is not to be tolerated at any cost. So, let’s start with knowing and believing that our value and worth are innate and therefore no matter who we are, we deserve to be treated with respect. When we value and respect ourselves we find it easy to extend it to others. People who resort to violent behaviour often suffer issues of low self-worth and self-acceptance. This is often released without as violence or manipulative and abusive control.

Respect does not force opinions on you. Respect respects your choice. Respect is an attitude. Respect does not pass lewd comments. Respect does not backbite or character assassinate. Respect is not dependent on how you feel at a particular moment. When you make it your priority it is reflected in your behaviour at all times.

Women and men deserve respect. Children and the elderly need respect. Poor and rich need respect. Respect is the next best thing to love. Respect is what will make the world a better place!

From the Directors Desk,

Kavitha Emmanuel

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