Curated by Komal: On Meghan Markle and Identity

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I want to note that this week's essay came to life after reading Meghan Markles' reflection on being biracial for Elle (More Than An Other).

A few years after Mitch and I started dating, my mom asked me a question that stuck with me.

My mom was skeptical about us being a mixed race couple (like many Punjabi-Canadian parents are when dating outside of our community). Ma had just met Mitch and his family for the first time at our university graduation, and we ended up having another one of those heart-wrenching conversations that still brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. She asked, 

'What about your kids?’ 

‘What about them?’ I replied.

‘Don’t you think about how hard it will be for them to grow up never fully understanding who they are?’

Now, I have to admit, hearing that felt like a gut-punch. She struck a nerve. It’s not that I had never thought about it before (Mitch and I talked about it often), but hearing it from Ma in that moment felt so different. My sense of self as a child, and now as a woman, is deeply rooted in my Punjabi culture. In that moment, I could hear in her voice her fear for our kids and their lack of rooting in one culture -- a worthy fear to hold.

I grew up in the Gurdwara singing shabads every Sunday while my mom played our traditional drum, the tolkey, beside me. I lived for Diwali, Vaisakhi, and any other chance to perform (aka lip-sync and dance to Bollywood music) in front of all the aunties, uncles, and kids in our community. I love wearing my saris on stage, I love speaking my broken Punjabi, and diving into what Sikhism means to me more deeply every year of my life. 

What will my kids’ understanding of faith, culture, my language, and so much more look like? Will their struggle to understand their identity as bi-racial children with no real blueprint to cultural understanding leave them wanting? Will they resent Mitch and me for it?

The moment that Ma asked me that question will stay with me for the rest of my life, and that question will likely be reflected back to us in many of Mitch and my parenting decisions. What I do know is that they will be so immensely loved and communicated with that we will work through the ups and downs of their (likely many) identity crises together. Day by day, year by year, with our extended mixed-race couple community that happens to be both strong in numbers, and strong in love, we will be uplifted as a family.

This morning, waking up to the official engagement of Prince Harry and our future Princess Meghan made my heart smile so big. My children are going to grow up with a biracial member of the Royal Family. Yes, the influence, impact, and role of the monarchy is diminishing, but this is an institution that colonized much of the world and destroyed many cultures along the way. This is somewhat of a full-circle moment to have a mixed-race woman join the royal lineage.

For my future family, it means my kids might grow up not feeling so othered. It brings tears to my eyes as I write this. 

Thank you Meghan Markle and Prince Harry for falling in love, and letting that love be a revolutionary act for so many. 

I should also mention that my Mom and Mitch are now thick as thieves (and we are so happy for the love and support of our families everyday!). We’re actually heading to Mexico on Wednesday for a family vacation with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephews. In the meantime, I’m writing this mid-flight to Toronto to head to see Michelle Obama make her first Canadian appearance with PLAN Canada and the Economic Club of Canada (all of the world-changing women!!). Thanks to the President of the EC, Rhiannon Traill, for generously inviting me. Can’t wait to fill you guys in next week with my feet in the sand in Mexico.

Until then,

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That time I met Meghan at the UN — this was after the viral Emma Watson speech for HeforShe, it was an amazing adventure getting in to the event. I’ll save that for another time!

the vlog

Join me each week to see the behind-the-scenes action at KoMedia. Here's a look at my trip to LA for Summit! 

THIS WEEK:

we're writing...

Welcome to part twelve of a 20-part series we're publishing called, Your Moment of Ambition.

This week, we make the case for crying at work. Seriously though, studies show that emotional intelligence and vulnerability are not hinderances to business success -- in fact, they can help you lead in more authentic, inclusive and ultimately high-growth ways.

"The important thing, before you invent something, is to practice empathy."

Click here to check out this week’s post on LinkedIn to find out more!
 

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we're watching...

I had the incredible privilege of introducing Rupi Kaur to Sophie Grégoire Trudeau following our event on November 11. Rupi and Sophie sat down ahead of the #16DaysofActivism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign to talk about healing from violence against the body. It's a profound conversation -- you can watch part of it here. 

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we're reading...

  • Maria Contrera's bid to take over the Weinstein company is comprehensive and empowering.
  • Is it still emotional labour if you're being paid? Emilie Friedlander says yes, that women do a ton of emotional labour at work. 
  • We're a little late to the party on this Shondaland roundup of the 52 amazing things that have happened in the world since Trump took office (just over) 52 weeks ago. 
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we recommend...

Donating to the Code-Switched Indiegogo campaign. It's a coming-soon sitcom about group of South-Asian Americans in Chicago, and we so want to see this project come to life!

WE'RE PLANNING...

After a few months of travelling and event planning, Kylie and I are hunkering down to do the everyday work, and to plan for the impact we want to make in 2018. Stay tuned!