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How My Baby Niece Gave Me the Strength To Carry On

It’s amazing — but also clearly a lesson I need to keep learning again — how different I feel after I rest.

I was lucky enough to have my mum, sister, and baby niece visiting me from Singapore, this May. Taking time off work to enjoy their company nourished my mind, heart, and soul.

I’ll be honest, it was hard to say I was taking a month off. Just 8 weeks after my book launch. When the number of inquiries I’m getting are at an all-time high. When the number of community members writing to me to share feedback about my book has reached levels I couldn’t even imagine!

But I’m so glad I did. And thank you for your patience with my slow responses!

I quickly had to draw on those nourished reserves. Rest is important for everyone, but this month it’s particularly critical, especially for people of color.

Racist murders in Dallas and Buffalo are recent examples of the kind of mass violence that has always targeted people of color. When racist violence occurs, I have to draw deeply on my reserves to keep showing up and doing the emotionally taxing work of creating inclusive workplaces. Then, there was the senseless, unspeakable murder of children in Uvalde, Texas.

I have no words.

Doing this work can be quite daunting. Facing the continued mass violence we see in society, heartbreaking, to say the least.

That’s another reason why I’m glad I rested this month in the company of my young niece, A.

A photo of my son, V, and my niece, A, walking together holding hands.

What gives me inspiration and hope is the recognition that generations after me will not have to struggle as much with inequality as I did and certainly not as much as people in generations past.

Spending time with A has given me a renewed sense of purpose. At just sixteen months, A is strong-minded, strong-willed, and not afraid to ask for exactly what she wants. Growing up in a traditional Indian community, those were the exact attributes I was told to abandon.

It’s taken decades for me to unlearn these messages. I still catch myself slipping back sometimes.

But being around A reminded me that my purpose is to create a world that cheers and celebrates when the voices of girls and women of color are expressed boldly, unabashedly, loudly.

It was also meaningful to watch my own son learn that the way his young cousin acts is the norm. I want to ensure he’s seeing something different from what I heard loud and clear, that boys could act however they wanted, but girls couldn’t (and that gender was only a binary concept.) I am beyond delighted that my son and my niece will see people of all genders advocating for themselves and being themselves, no matter what.

Tell me (if you want to, I know it’s been a hard month) how you’re taking time to rest, and who inspires you to keep doing your work, especially when it’s hard. Your responses always make my day, and I look forward to hearing from you on this deeply important topic.


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