So much has changed in the last year and this blog and all you readers have helped create that change.
I started writing here because I felt rejected and kept out of the religion that my heart was at home with. I felt that I would never fit in.
Since then I have found a lot of acceptance and my relationship with my religion and its culture has changed. I've felt welcomed by many of the Indians in my life this year. I've felt at home and like I fit in at temples and holidays and events.
As a result, I've felt less need to fight against the culture around me. I haven't felt that I need the bindi, which I used to use to set myself apart and help me stand out from the default American culture.
The most noticeable effect has been Christmas. Last year I had a very hard time with Christmas. The whole month of December I felt out of place, out of sorts, out of sync. I was sensitive and easily offended. This year Christmas has not bothered me. It's just one more thing going on around me. It's fun, lots of people like it, it's not hurting me.
Without the acceptance into the culture I feel I belong in, I would not be able to have steady emotions in December.
I've embraced and acknowledged my inner feelings about culture and belonging and I've come to a place where I am secure and confident in my life. I don't feel as much like I have something to prove. This is a nice place to be!