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Welcome to the Nikita Initiative

Me, Nikita Srivastava, wearing the Central Park Exonerated5 Shirt.

Hello Internet,

My name is Nikita Srivastava. I am an Indian woman who carries herself with the confidence of a heterosexual white male. Now, I don’t intentionally act like a white man. It kinda just happened. Apparently, if a woman demonstrates confidence in her abilities, intellect and strives for success, then she is acting like a white man. (Sorry, not sorry)

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Surviving Self-Isolation During Corona

Y’all, I am trying.

Image from Vox.com

As part of our civic duty, our leaders have asked us to stay at home. If we practice social distancing, we can prevent the spread of coronavirus. Yes, this a great way to save lives. But, our mental health will be taking a huge toll.

I am a huge advocate for mental health and self-care. I do a pretty good job of assessing my mental health needs. However, like many others, I am struggling to keep up with my mental health during this time. I hope this blog post will help those struggling with social distance.

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The Everyday Superhero

Sangeeta woke up early on Sunday. Her bed felt empty, which meant her husband and dogs were already up. Her husband greeted her with a cup of hot tea and a morning kiss. Sangeeta went outside to soak up the sun and breathe some fresh air. It was hard for her to believe that yesterday she was putting out many fires. From her co-workers’ concerns to her boss’s demands, Sangeeta had to come up with a plan to fight coronavirus.

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Addressing My Privilege During Corona

Matching my words with my actions.  

Storytime!

It was maybe the fourth day of my quarantine, and Governor Mike DeWine has not yet declared the Stay At Home order in Ohio. Restaurants and businesses now provided delivery and curbside service. Although you cannot dine-in or shop around inside, you can still go out and support the economy. Also, during this time, President Donald Trump continued to call COVID19 a “Chinese Virus.” Annoyed and frustrated with our nation’s leader, I sat at the dinner table with my parents discussing my quarantine routine.

“And,” I continued, “I think we need to order food from our favorite local places and leave a generous tip. We have enough money to do so.”

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Wait, why is that funny?

I believe I have a personality that belongs on network television.

Me

As you all should know by now, I am my favorite person. I simply adore myself. Not in like a narcissistic, can’t-see-my-faults way. But, more like a damn-I-am-proud-of-myself way. As Demi Lovato sings, “what’s wrong with being confident,” I too find myself asking this same question. My confidence is often humorous to those who don’t understand why I am confident. I think I should be confident. I donate to charity, I am a social justice warrior, and I am occasionally honest about my whereabouts when parents ask. In a nutshell, I know I have nice looks, cool personality, and some emotional intelligence. So, why shouldn’t I be confident? Rather, why is my confidence funny to some? I find myself on the other end of people’s laughter when they notice my confidence, as though someone who looks like me shouldn’t be.

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Leon: Why He Helps Others

Leon Hampton and I are not best friends. However, we are people who greatly admire one another. Leon does not judge people by their successes or failures. Instead, he respects a person’s character and their inner mission. Leon is one of my dearest friends for one reason: we genuinely like the other’s character and believe each other.

Leon Hampton

Leon grew up in Harlem, New York. Raised by a strong, hard-working woman, Leon learned that “when there is a will, there is a way.” Leon saw his mother work several jobs at a time to make sure he had every opportunity to grow. And, he took advantage of all those opportunities. Leon learned the importance of hard-work at a very young age. He developed determination and perseverance quickly by embracing his Caribbean and Black American culture.

“So, why do you think we help others?” I asked him one day.

“Because it’s the human thing to do. It’s innate in us.” He replied. “It takes a lot of learned behavior to not help someone while they’re in pain, Nikki.” I found this to be true when I interviewed Leon. 

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Self-Care: More Than a Catchy Instagram Hashtag

As Lizzo sings in Good as Hell:

Lizzo (Image from billboard.com)

Woo child, tired of the bullshit
Go on dust your shoulders off, keep it moving
Yes Lord, tryna get some new shit
In there, swimwear, going to the pool shit
Come now, come dry your eyes
You know you a star, you can touch the sky
I know that it’s hard but you have to try
If you need advice, let me simplify

If he don’t love you anymore
Just walk your fine ass out the door

For me, this song represents accurate self-care. It’s more than just “treating yourself” by taking a spa day. Self-care means dusting yourself off and taking the first steps to find inner happiness. Self-care also requires a period of self-reflection: you must decide what’s best for you, and what you want in life. Self-care requires taking a step back from your crazy hectic life.

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Krishna: Why He Helps Others

Krishna Janakiram Mahadevan

Krishna Mahadevan instantly became one of my best friends in law school. Since we were two out of the four Indian students in our law school, we stuck together. However, our similar races only play a small part in our friendship. Both of us came to law school to become the best versions of ourselves to help others. 

“It takes a lifetime to be a good person, but only a second to be a bad person,” Krishna’s father told him one day. Krishna’s childhood centered around the idea of being a good person.

“Helping others is something I have been doing for much of my life, trying to embody [my father’s] motto,” Krishna told me one day. Having known Krishna for more than three years now, I can confidently say that he does embody the motto.

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Jamie: Why He Helps Others

As a junior in college, I thought I had life figured out. However, Dr. Jamie Longazel’s Law & Society class proved I didn’t.

Dr. Jamie Longazel (Image from udayton.edu)

I have had the honor and privilege to be taught by a man who passionately cares about what his students learn. As a self-declared “un-teacher,” Jamie has dedicated his life to challenging institutional norms and inspiring others to care about each other. His class taught me to look beyond what is presented to me and get my hands on all the research.

“Humans are wired to be social, Nikki,” Jamie explained, “we strongly need each other. All living things are co-dependent. That is why we help each other.”

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Ambitious, Driven, Vulnerable and Successful: All the Problem Heterosexual Women of Color Face While Dating

Waiting for someone to be the Nick Jonas to my Priyanka Chopra.

Image from memedriod.com

I am going to be frank: dating is the fucking worst. Relationships, however, are phenomenal (assuming that they’re healthy ones). I recognize that dating and/or arrange marriage (for my brown people) may be my only ways to get a healthy relationship. Now, your girl has been on a fair share of dates. I’ve tried casual dating, friends with benefits, and the serious committed relationships. Yet, I still find myself writing this blog to vent about the struggles of dating. 

After analyzing all of my relationships (including the casual ones), I noticed that my biggest problem is “being too ambitious, driven and successful.” These alone make me desirable for like a solid three weeks until the man I am with decides “I’m too good for him,” or “[my] life stresses [him] out.” The purpose of this blog post is to analyze why it’s difficult for heterosexual women of color to date and the difficulties of being vulnerable. 

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Rangoli, Diyas, and Dancing: My Diwali Traditions

Not gonna lie, my heart was in a dark place this Diwali. Actually, the entire month of October sucked.

Me

For North Indian Hindus, Diwali symbolizes when Lord Ram defeated the Ravana, and when Lord Ram returned to his home kingdom. Simply put, Diwali symbolizes one’s journey through darkness to find the light which is my current situation. (Yes, I am comparing myself to a Hindu god. No, I am not being overly dramatic!) I’ll be studying for the February Bar Exam while my friends move on with their careers. They will be sworn-in as attorneys, while I hit the books. Although I know I am not the only one who failed, I still feel left behind. All of sudden, the light of the end of the road was pushed further away. Instead of walking toward the light, I am stuck in the same place watching the light move further away. However, my Diwali traditions motivated me to catch up to the light.

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