Category Archives: Aspirations

Selena, Demi, Lilly + Q? Who inspires YOU?!

inspiration 2What inspires you? Actually, who inspires you? Think about that for a moment. Does something, or someone, come to mind?

From what I gather, we all have role models and people we look up to. Most teens look up to celebrities and imitate their clothing and hairstyles. Some, even their personalities!

But many are more drawn to their life choices. Whether it’s battling an addiction, helping the needy or inspiring others to be a better person, we all have someone we look up to as we strive to find our purpose in life.

Whether you are inspired by a celebrity, a family member or a close friend, inspiration is a big part of life and impacts the person you are.

When I was younger, I was inspired by celebrities like Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato simply because they were famous. It took a while before I understood the true meaning of inspiration. I didn’t realize how a celebrity could possibly inspire me until I was asked to write an essay on inspiration last year.

I saved my essay and today I would like to share it with you.

Qurrat Ann Kadwani, May 2013
Qurrat Ann Kadwani, May 2013

I was a very shy and self-conscious person during the summer before I entered 7th grade. I wasn’t sure of myself and I felt that I would never change. One of my friends who had just graduated middle school, informed me that this school year I would have to make a big decision. A decision that would impact me very soon.

I was going to have to choose my career.

It was something I had thought about, but they were only dreams that I felt could never be fulfilled.

I think my mother saw one of them. She listened outside my door almost every day as I read aloud the script to The Little Mermaid, changing my voice to fit each of the characters.

Shortly after I started this daily ordeal, she decided to take me to see a play.they call me q It was the first play I had ever been to, and I was convinced that it was going to be a snooze fest because I didn’t know what to expect.

It was a one woman show. That’s right, one woman.  One woman acting 13 different roles.

Most of the one woman shows I had seen on YouTube consisted of a lady attempting to have a conversation with herself (and I sure didn’t want to sit through something like that).

We took our seats in the front row of the dimly lit auditorium and waited for the actress to take the stage.

As we waited, I decided to read up on the play. The name of the play was “They Call Me Q” and underneath the title was her name, Qurrat Ann Kadwani.

qurratMoments later a girl with long, brown and definitely Indian hair took the stage. Her hair framed her caramel colored face perfectly and her beautiful brown eyes brightened as she smiled, lighting up the room.

She soon began her play starting with a piece about her name. She told of how people called her Q-RAT, but didn’t share the correct pronunciation of her name (yet).

different charactersI watched in awe how Qurrat connected with the audience as she slipped through the various roles in her story. The bullies that created her horrid nickname, her brothers who helped her get through many hard times in life, and her mom who always pushed her to do her best.

At the end of the play, she finally revealed her name saying “You may call me Q-RAT, but I will always be Qurrat.” At this point, many people in the audience were crying and laughing, but I remained just as I had before. Simply in awe!

After the show, we met up with Qurrat for dinner and she shared with me how long it had taken her to compose this play and how ecstatic she was to finally perform it. It had taken her 5 years to compose it!

inspiraion 1My mom mentioned to her how I loved to act, and Qurrat smiled that gorgeous smile saying that was great. That’s when I realized it. My career choice. I wanted to be able to do the same thing Qurrat did.

I wanted to be able to put a smile on other people’s faces, to have them leave the room with something to hold on to, something that inspires them or a message that would change their life.

Qurrat made me realize that my dream could indeed become a reality. She gave me the inspiration I needed to choose a career path that I was interested in, and that inspiration has never faded.

In fact, if it weren’t for Qurrat, I would still be wondering, still be unsure of myself.

Qurrat’s show has sold out in many places (she performed at universities and film festivals in addition to Off-Broadway in NYC) and she’s been so busy on the road to fame that we haven’t seen her since the show.

But even so, I see her in myself every time I perform and get one step closer to my dream.

selena gomezAfter writing an essay about inspiration, I realized that celebrities aren’t there just because they’re famous. I believe they exist to inspire us.

I’m not completely obsessed with Selena Gomez just because she killed it in Monte Carlo (though that is part of the reason). I’m a Selenator because she is passionate about acting and she inspires me to continue learning.demi lovato

I don’t have an infatuation with Demi Lovato simply because I’ve watched Camp Rock a gazillion times. I’m a Lovatic because she was strong enough to get back on her feet after depression and keep making beautiful music, and she inspires me to continue writing songs even when I feel discouraged.

lilly singhI definitely don’t stalk Lilly Singh on a daily basis due to the fact that her YouTube channel currently has 6,925,757 subscribers, I’m part of #TeamSuper because Lilly’s goal is to make people smile and laugh and feel good about themselves. Despite experiencing severe depression, she was able to overcome this and inspire others to love themselves. In this case, she inspires me to be comfortable in my own skin.

Now it’s your turn. What inspires you? Who inspires you? And most importantly, what drives that inspiration?

Share in the comments below and let’s discuss.

Until next time!

~ Rina Raj

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My Sister Mayhem… UGH!

Hey everyone! Sorry it’s taken me a while to write you all. Thanks for those great comments on my last post! 😘

Well last week, I finished my fourth week of summer camp. I’ve got one more week to go!

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My first week of camp was an all high school intensive acting group. I can truthfully say it was the most intense camp I’ve ever taken.

The second week was a Pitch Perfect themed camp. The choreography was the most advanced I’ve ever done at any of these camps, and the vocals were as challenging as being back in advanced chorus!

The other thing about the Pitch Perfect camp is that it’s the first camp I haven’t been alone in. What that means is, my sister was also enrolled in the same camp. It was very different to have to share my week with her and also perform with her. Especially because she wouldn’t leave me alone the entire week!images (2)

I’ll admit, I didn’t want her there. Little sisters can be embarrassing and annoying, and personally I perceive everything my sister does as one of those two.

It took a lot to adapt to the fact that she was going to be in the same camp as I. And once I accepted that fact, I was even more upset about it.

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She followed me around everywhere, sat next to me at lunch, had more friends than I did, and the instructors kept confusing us with each other.

She did everything better then I did too. She sang all the high notes, got the choreography down really fast, and came up with way more interesting improvisation skits then I did.

I was so sick of it.

But after spending so much time with her at lunch and with her friends, I came to the astounding realization that hanging out with my sister isn’t so bad.

Yes, she was the most embarrassing thing ever who wanted to tell every story about our family.

And yes, she wanted to stand next to me every opportunity she had throughout the play.image1 (2)

But I have to admit, having her there was sort of fun. Yup, I said it.

Being in the same performance for once was also kind of fun.

I guess the lesson I learned here is that being your little sister’s friend isn’t so bad after all. It’s just a very “interesting” experience.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed her company and at least we created some great memories together sharing and bonding (by the way, we’re in camp together this week as well 😉 ).

Do you have any siblings? Have you ever been in a class with them, or shared a summer camp experience with them? Have you ever felt annoyed about it? Or maybe discovered after some time that you do enjoy their company? Do share! 😁

Until next time!

-Rina Raj

Amy’s Summer Dilemma – What Would YOU Do?

Hi everyone! Thank you for all the wonderful comments on my last post! 🙂

Recently I encountered a situation that my friend is going through and I just had to write about it. For privacy reasons, I won’t use her name. So lets call her…. Amy.

Amy has big dreams for her future. One of the reasons Amy and I are such good friends is because we are both striving towards the same career goals.

Amy wants to become an actress and a musician. This summer she decided to become a bit more passionate about it by taking several theater camps and joining a band.IMG_1872

Amy’s parents are divorced and so her dad usually takes her most of the summer. A couple of days before school ended, Amy’s dad gave her a very difficult decision to make, and it was a huge surprise to her.

Her dad told her that he wasn’t going to take her to and from the camps, or band practice, and that she had to choose between her family (him) or herself.

Amy’s dad has never been very stable with his schedule and has been cancelling weekends as long as she can remember. So Amy decided to do what her dad always does to her.

She chose herself.

Amy feels like her dad doesn’t support her dreams and her goals for the future. After constantly telling her that she needs to show more passion towards acting and music, her dad makes it seem as though she is selfish for choosing to take summer camps and have band practices while on his time.

This is a big deal to Amy. She feels as though she was making the wrong decision and being selfish for choosing herself over her family.

But in truth, she’s not being selfish at all.

She’s following her heart, and when following your heart, it can nIMG_1875ever steer you wrong (or can it?).

Amy was under the impression that she would still see her dad on the weekends and during the weeks when she didn’t have any camps.

But boy was she wrong.

Amy’s mom received an email from her dad saying that due to the camps and his schedule, he wasn’t going to be taking Amy at all over the summer.

Amy was torn.

That night, she had a mental breakdown and couldn’t stop crying.

She was an emotional wreck for two or three days after, then she decided that she didn’t want to spend her summer in tears. She was going to make the most of it.

She scheduled longer band practices, wrote more songs and did IMG_0775whatever she could to take her mind off of it. Everything except calling her dad.

Amy is at a point where she doesn’t care anymore. She’s made it pretty clear that she’s done with the drama. She’s decided to not call her dad throughout the summer and to just take a break. The thing that shocks both Amy and myself is her contemplation of not visiting her dad for the rest of the year.IMG_1874

After being let down time and time again by her father, on his weekends, Amy’s decided that it’s her turn to choose herself.

She’s going after her dreams, with or without her dad’s support. And I have to give it to her, she’s a strong and talented girl.

Now I have a question for all of you my readers…

IMG_1873If you were in Amy’s position and had to make a choice, what would you do?

Please share your comments in the area below. Amy and I are really interested in reading what you have to share. She could really use some advice and support.

Thank you for reading my blog post everyone. I hope you all are enjoying your summer so far! Until next time!  😀

– Rina Raj