Storytelling, Week 2: Kaikeyi the Good Queen

Kaikeyi was the youngest wife of King Dasharatha; she was not the fairest, but she was the most favored. As her and her two sister wives struggled to conceive an heir for the kingdom, however, the king’s favor for Kaikeyi declined. Kaikeyi was the daughter of Ashwapati, king of the Land of the Finest Horses, and Kaikeyi was awarded, on her wedding day, a fine steed of gold. Now Kaikeyi’s father had been given the gift of telepathy with the feathered creature, and thus had heard a great many pieces of guidance and wisdom from the fowl that soared high above the earth and witnessed great happenings. The conditions of his blessings, however, prohibited him from speaking to others of the nature of his gift.

Kaikeyi and King Dasharatha had a beautiful marriage ceremony, attended even by

Kaikeyi and Dasharatha

the prominent nobles of the neighboring kingdoms. There was dancing and song, and Queen Kaikeyi was overcome with joy at the beginning of her new life with Dasharatha and his first wife, Kashaulya. Despite the splendors of the evening, Kaikeyi found herself wrought with anxieties on her wedding night. As a child, she had sought comfort in the royal stables, and thus ventured into the night to see her new steed. As she stood in the coarse hay, she stroked her horse’s fur and whispered her fears to him. The steed nuzzled against her, and Kaikeyi found herself overcome with emotion, bittersweet tears falling down her face. She heard a voice in her head, speaking to her of the wonderful life that awaited her. Kaikeyi felt brave, and after thanking her enchanted horse, departed back to the King’s bedchambers.

In the years following, Queen Kaikeyi struggled to conceive a son, as did Dasharatha’s other wives. Again, Kaikeyi ventured out to the stables to visit her enraptured steed, and listen to its sage wisdom. Her horse advised her to perform a sacrifice in honor of the gods, and to use its enchanted form. He spoke to her of the great wisdom she would acquire from its spirit if she performed a sacrifice. She spoke of the idea to her King, careful not to divulge the content of the conversation held between her and her horse. It was proclaimed that a sacrificial ceremony be held three days from then in offering to win their favor.

The patrons of the kingdom gathered in the royal hunting grounds to witness the royal horse sacrifice, the Ashwamedha. Kaikeyi’s enchanted steed was released and hunted as per the traditional guidelines of the sacrifice. As the King slew the steed, its spirit was released and directed to the heart of Queen Kaiyeki. She was overcome with joy and emotion once more, feeling great wisdom enter her body. She told the King that she and her sister-cohorts would conceive a great many sons. This was pleasing to the King, and he rewarded Kaiyeki with two favors, which she held thenceforth close to her heart.


Author’s Note: I have altered a few minor details to the original story of Kaikeyi and Dasharatha, and added in Kaikeyi’s gift and relationship to her horse. I took the inspiration from some Greek mythology, and desired to see Kaikeyi portrayed as a strong heroine with a selfless nature.


Reading Notes: Narayan’s Ramayana, Section A

As always, a king is sad because he wants an heir. I found myself initially wondering how the three queens felt. “Their faces brightened.” In many stories in history and fiction, royal families are torn apart by the queen’s inability to produce an heir. This story reminded me much of Henry the VII and his relationships with his six wives. In a new narrative, the king would be driven mad with grief and pride, such as Henry the VIII was, however I would like to see the downfall of the patriarch and to have his wives band together for the benefit of the kingdom.

I would like to write a story about the queen Kaikeyi from her perspective. I would also like to change the details of her banishing Rama, and instead have her act selflessly to use her favors for the good of the kingdom, rather than personal gain. In my story, Kaiyeki scorns her nurse for insulting her husband, and remains a loyal and kind woman with her kingdom’s best interest at heart.

I find the ability to call upon celestial weapons very interesting. I would like to consider the idea of calling upon objects other than a weapon. For example, if Rama had instead needed to outsmart a riddle of sorts, like an enchanted door, and used his power to call upon a lockpick or key.

Rama and Sita’s wedding 

I also want to write a story about Ganga getting lost in Baghirathma’s hair and her experiences of weaving through the unknown for years. Perhaps she has to face antagonists within his hair. I see the landscape as a silken forest of gold, as if Baghirathma’s hair was golden.

I loved finally being able to learn about Rama and Sita and their origins. I will definitely
incorporate them into one of my stories, however, I desire to see a stronger and more powerful Sita. We shall see what the future reading brings.

It is difficult to sort through the traditional language of the Ramayana, but I find it inspiring and the language is beautiful.



Notes and comments from

  1. “King Dasharatha”
  2. “Rama Battles Demons”
  3. “Bhagiratha”
  4.  “Sita”
  5. “Kaikeyi”


Growth Mindset


The posts and videos on the topic of having a “growth mindset” were very informative and thought-provoking. Carol Dweck’s thoughts on changing our way of teaching youth were very powerful. In our society, we so often place so much emphasis on quantitative measures of intelligence and success that we cause harm to the mental and emotional development of younger generations. In the American public education system, students are judged by their grades, their test scores, and their ability to score within an acceptable percentile established by the district, state, or federal government.

While grades do have their place, it is simply ignorant to assume that because a student scored lower on a test than another student, they are stupid, or at the very least more stupid than the other student. This numbers-based system ignores the way children learn on an individual basis and tries to mass-produce students as we would during the industrial revolution (which, by the way, is the model for our current public education system). Additionally, those of today’s younger generations are often chastised for the need for constant validation, called “too soft” and “overly-sensitive.” Lest we forget, the participation ribbons and certificates and fifth-grade graduations and even the grading system itself that the younger generation has grown up to expect was, in fact, established by those older than us. I received participation trophies as a child…I never asked for them. We as a society cannot condition children to expect certain things and then berate them for expecting what we have given them.

In terms of our grading system, the letters awarded to students for certain achievements is actually more indicative of the need for constant validation that is criticized by others. A student working solely to get an A on a test or project, rather than working hard and challenging themselves to learn, contributes to the idea that you will get a tangible reward for everything you do. Sometimes, the reward that should be emphasized is the value of knowledge and learning. In Dweck’s video, she talks about students being rewarded when something is easy for them, and chastised when something is a challenge or “too hard.”

Image result for inspirational quotes stars
Inspirational Quote 

I absolutely love her point that challenge must become our new comfort zone because challenge begets growth and learning. Speaking from personal experience, when I was in elementary school, I was placed in the Gifted and Talented program because tests were too easy for me. The perception of this program alone is flawed, and my peers often assumed I was there because I was smarter than them. The level of work I was given in class also damaged my study habits later on in life. When I entered high school, my self-esteem plummeted; I was used to being the smart one, or at least feeling like the smart one because I turned my test in first or didn’t have to study, and suddenly having the option to take challenging courses made me feel like a failure when I did not receive all As or took the longest on a test or quiz. I also had to train myself to study and work hard for good grades because the quantitative success had previously come naturally to me. For the first time in my life, I felt stupid; I wasn’t.

I am excited to use the “Growth Mindset” philosophy in my school work and daily life. It will be a difficult task to train my brain to fight the now natural inclination to beat myself up for my failures and feel stupid when I do not know something. In stage management, I find myself feeling stupid all the time for not knowing how to do something; I aim to work to remind myself that I am here to learn, and that challenges, while uncomfortable, will make me a better stage manager, student, and individual. My two challenges for myself this semester are to:

  1. Ask myself what I can learn from each course and how it will benefit me, and
  2. Keep a journal full of inspirational quotes (like the H.E.A.R.T. posts suggested doing with memes) and document my progress in overcoming challenges.

Time Strategies

“The best way to get something done is to begin.”

-Author Unknown


I frequently fall subject to the clutches of procrastination, even when I am consciously

Image result for procrastination
Edward Young Quote 

aware of the fact that I am doing so. In my experience, procrastination easily slips into the guise of being “burnt-out,” because I have such an active lifestyle. I often find myself frustrated that I have been going and going for hours on end, and rather than pushing myself to do an assignment or write an email or look for internships, I make the decision to relax. Now, while I am a firm believer in the motto of “work hard, play hard,” I like the philosophies touched on in “The Important Habit of Just Starting” regarding delayed gratification versus instant gratification, and the idea that procrastination is causing harm to our future self.

I love the idea expressed in “10 Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets to Staying Focused” that emphasizes the importance of actively directing your thoughts. I am a big believer in meditation, as well as the psychological aspect of success, and I think that being present in a moment without letting other thoughts and distractions affect you is a huge component of actively enjoying and taking control of one’s life. That said, this is a feat that I have not exactly mastered yet; I constantly worry and overthink about the most insignificant, and often potentially toxic, topics. This frequently distracts me from what could have been a joyful or productive moment. I think mental health issues also play a huge part in success, not in the sense that they inhibit us, but in the idea that if we give our illness too much power over us, it can become a slippery slope that prevents us from feeling the way and accomplishing the things that we want to. For me personally, it is and must be an active fight with my anxiety and depression to be who I want to be and do what I want to do. I liked that Oliver Kharraz used his experience in a Jesuit monastery to demonstrate the idea of pushing your mind and directing your thoughts in a positive and beneficial way.

Ultimately, I think it is important to set goals and reminders for yourself (I LIVE for my planner!), however I also believe that the mental battle against one’s impulses and negative thoughts plays a huge role in success. This semester, I hope to better train myself to believe in the possibility of my success, and to consider the direct correlation between the amount of energy I put into something  and the benefits I will reap from it.

Reading Options

Illustration from Damayanti

Upon reviewing the reading options available for this class, I find my intrigue and my excitement growing. I am very excited about all the different possibilities for reading options. My goal is to read the public domain anthology version of the Ramayana; the possibility of viewing various styles and excerpts from different authors is very appealing to me, and the ability to access the anthology online is incredibly convenient. I have also decided that I want to view the Nine Ideal Indian Women book by Sunity Devee. I am a huge advocate for women’s rights and the representation of women in society, and I find it both inspiring and refreshing to read about strong-willed women in history. What an incredible opportunity to be able to read about women from another culture, especially one that I desire to experience someday.

I am already very pleased with the layout and scheduling flexibility of the class; as a drama major, I run on little sleep and a lot of hope, usually the hope that I will find free hours in my day to be able to do my homework (or sleep, often times I need to force myself to do that too). This class appeals to me for two reasons: one, I am fascinated by Indian culture, and India is, in fact, in my top three destinations I desire to visit in my lifetime; and two, I love to read and write, and this class gives me the artistic freedom to write what I like while learning about something that I find interesting.

I have always had an affinity for mythology. When I was younger, I knew some, but not much, about Greek mythology and Roman mythology because it was taught in my schooling. As I grew older, however, I found myself oddly fascinated by and immersed in Norse mythology. I cannot wait to now become immersed in Hindu traditions and Indian mythologies as well.

Rama and Sita 

Author’s Note:

I chose this image because I find great inspiration in the story of Rama and Sita. While I do not know much about it (yet), save the premise, I desire to know more about the female deities in Hinduism, and their stories.

Storybook Favorites

In this post, I will outline a few details from a select three “storybook” projects made in the past.

Tales From the Love Gods

I greatly enjoyed viewing this storybook, a presentation on the Gods

Orpheus and Eurydice

of Love: Cupid, from the Greek/Roman belief, and Kamadeva, from the Hindu tradition. The storybook introduction is quite clever, set up as a dialogue between the two.

In this presentation, Cupid and Kamadeva, affectionately nicknamed “Kam,” compare and contrast the stories they have of love both lost and found. One of the stories immediately caught my eye
because I have become familiar with it through my theatrical work. The tale of “Orpheus and Eurydice” is a classic Greek tragedy. I admire the way the author of this project altered a few minor details to modernize the piece, and established Cupid and Kamadeva as matchmakers.


The House to a Wife of Many

The introduction for this storybook was very interesting, claiming to expand upon a story told to the author as a child. The story itself is a bit of a cliche, however, one could also look at it as a classic mystery. The reclusive owner of a beautiful, castle-like home is left alone, merely to be inquired of by the townspeople, but everything changes when her husband is found dead, and her attitude is not indicative of a grieving Christian wife. When a suitor comes along, months later, and is also found mysteriously dead following the couple’s marriage, the mystery grows and the story takes on a murder, ghost story type of mood. At the end of the introduction, the author claims to be on her way to explore the abandoned house in investigation. I think the premise of the storybook, while perhaps cliched, is fun and eerie in the most interesting of ways.


Character Therapy: Healing in Stories

Group Therapy Session

This last storybook resonated with me immediately upon my opening of the page. The introduction takes a second person perspective, with the author acting as the head of a group therapy session and the reader as a participant. It then highlights a few members of the group and their respective stories. This really resonated with me because I am an active participant in therapy, and am very serious about mental health issues and advocating for them.

Introduction to an Aspiring Doyenne

Yes, I used the word “doyenne” in my title. You will find that I will most likely also use words like “belladonna” and “quaintrelle” and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” No, I am not ‘different’ (maybe…), no, I am not ‘not like other girls,’ no, I do not date vampires (also maybe…), and yes, I did just use a double negative, and will continue to use too many parentheses. I like words. I like language, when used appropriately, and sometimes even when used inappropriately. I also like to write, which is part of what inspired me to take this class. Any course that I am able to write freely in, and am fact EXPECTED to write freely, is a number one is my book.

I am not an English major. I simply have a passion for language and writing and reading and literature. I am also not a music major, however, I have a passion for music of all kinds. I play the cello, when I have time, and am taking steps towards reviving my dedication to it. I am not an actor, although I strongly desire to perform onstage one day. I am also not a vocalist, but can definitely dominate a bar with three or four people swimming in their beers on Thursday night karaoke; and by the way, I love to do so.

I am in fact, a stage manager, at least for the time being. My life revolves around facilitating the fun things that the actors and singers and dancers get to do. I send out emails and type up paperwork, and often times, I feel as though I have a permanent residence in the copy room. My major is work, a lot of work, and while I do find it extremely rewarding at times, it is mostly my responsibility to act as an unsung hero and the one with the contingency plan (or the one with the pencils. “May I use one of those?”) I am very sassy, but don’t get me wrong, my major, or rather my job, is extremely difficult and requires a lot of dedication. My team is the first to arrive in the theatre, and the last to leave. If you ever have the pleasure and privilege of performing onstage somewhere, as an actor, dancer, singer, magician, or otherwise, please thank your stage manager and your stage crew. They put up with a lot of BS to make others look good, but we do it because we love the art that is created as a result of it. If you don’t have the privilege of performing, but find yourself at a corporate gala or product launch, thank your event planner. They perform some of the same duties as a stage manager, and are equally as dedicated (and stressed; although, they work hard to ensure that you never see this side of them).

Now, down to the nitty gritty. Who am I? I am a redhead. I love my planner, enjoy the nerdier side of pop-culture (and the nerdier side of not-pop-culture), and I eat a lot of Mexican food: possibly an unhealthy amount of Mexican food.The quickest way to my heart is queso; or feminism.

Image Information: “Feed Your Soul” Personal Image; March 2016



I am an aspiring doyenne, as stated above, and to clarify, a doyenne is defined as “a woman who is the most respected or prominent person in a particular field,” (courtesy of Google). What that means to me, however, is not to be the best, although I have always struggled internally with my raging desire to be number one at everything. To be ‘the most respected or prominent person’ is to have worked my ass off to achieve success. It means that I overcame seemingly unovercomable challenges, and stayed dedicated enough to be on top. I like to act with conviction, and speak with conviction. I am excessively insecure, but I am also excessively over-confident; incidentally, I am working to find the nice and fuzzy happy-medium between the two.

To be a doyenne also means that you are respected, not that you are liked. The two are not the same, however, respect carries a greater weight. I do not want people to hate working with me; in fact, I work very hard and consciously in my daily life to be a good person: to be truthful and compassionate and selfless. If I were taking a Buzzfeed quiz that asked what I would like to be known as, I would choose “the good,” not “the great” or “the wise” or “the powerful.” To be good, however, does not mean that you must be passive. To be compassionate does not mean that you are a pushover.

Image Information: Strong women quotes; courtesy of Women Auto Know

I aspire to push others to the edge of their ability and help them realize their full potential, while keeping a loving and guiding eye out, whether they know it or not. I also aspire to fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves. I do not like bullies, and will always come to the defenses of others.

I will make enemies, that is for certain. There are those who will be threatened by my success, and those who will be irritated by my “bleeding-heart liberalism.”
There are those who will call me a bitch, and those who have done so. As Madonna has said, “I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.” At the end of the day, as long as I am not infringing on the rights of and intentionally causing pain to others, I am okay. At least, I am learning to be okay.

That’s me, in a nutshell, a very soapbox-y nutshell, I realize. I am a pretty intense person, but I have a love for others and a desire to do good. I like to think that I am both a lover and a fighter; but if you have taken nothing else away from this post, just know that if you need a fancy word, I’m your girl.


Story, Week 1: A Little Boy

There was a little boy and a little girl
Lived in an alley;
Says the little boy to the little girl,
“Shall I, oh, shall I?”
Says the little girl to the little boy,
“What shall we do?”
Says the little boy to the little girl,
“I will kiss you!”

Steven tiptoed down the stairs, gingerly placing each foot in the hollow crevice of each step, where he knew it would not squeak. He passed through the house in silence, sticking to the shadows with his ears perked towards Mrs. Norris’ room; he was careful not to wake the sleeping bear. He arrived at the steel door and placed his fingers on the deadbolts. The metal was cold against his skin. Steven turned the nob as slowly as he could manage, his heart pounding in his ears. Suddenly, there was a loud snore; Steven froze, waiting for the growling to subside. In the restored silence, he unlocked the final deadbolt: there were exactly six, a prime example of Mrs. Norris’ efforts to keep undesirables out, or so she always said.

At last, Steven cracked open the steel door and slid through, an easy task for a near-starving young man; there was never enough food on the table for all six boys. Steven was the oldest, a lad of eighteen, and was explicitly instructed to wait until the younger boys had made their plates. He had lived in Mrs. Norris’ “Heartfelt Home for Troubled Boys” for six years, and tonight was the night that he would escape, never daring to turn back. He stepped into the dark Chicago street, the cold winter wind stinging his eyes. He wore his tattered boots and his father’s sheepskin coat, the only possession he had left of his parents’.

The sun was beginning to rise. Steven walked for miles in the cold, determined to find The Grotto on the outskirts of Petrile. The Grotto was a slum, of sorts, but carried the promise of a new beginning and a life outside of Mrs. Norris’ prison. Finally, he began to leave the bistros and boutiques behind him, and the landscape became dotted with cardboard apartments and small shanties. After his long journey, he decided to take refuge in an alleyway between a make-shift shack of mud and brick and what appeared to be an apothecary’s shop. He sat down against the mud wall, his back cold against the earth, and gnawed on a molded piece of goat cheese, the only provisions he had managed to steal from Mrs. Norris’ tightly locked-up kitchen.

Quite suddenly, Steven heard a cough from down the alley in the shadows. He stopped chewing. The cough was followed by a meek sounding voice, with the likeness of a mouse’s squeak. He looked up to see a young girl with a dirty face. She could be no older than seventeen, but she weathered by circumstance, and her eyes glistened with pain and wisdom beyond her years.

“May I have a bite….please?” she squeaked. Her tear-stained cheeks were red from the cold. Steven slowly extended his hand towards her with uncertainty. The girl took the wedge of cheese and took a bite, chewing slowly and closing her eyes. Steven realized, as his stomach ached with hunger, that his last small meal had been only ten hours ago, but that this poor lass most likely could not remember hers. He was wrong, of course. She remembered; she always counted the painful hours that her gut wrenched in starvation between every meal. Her count had reached thirty.

“How may I thank you? You must let me give you something,” the girl spoke, her voice a tiny bit more powerful than it had been previously. “I have nothing,” she whispered, turning her eyes to the dirt. She looked up after a moment, a small grin beginning to twitch at the corners of her mouth.

“Well what shall you do?” Steven asked, curiously.

“I shall give you a kiss,” she said with conviction. Steven smiled at his newfound friend. The girl stepped across the dust and sat beside him. After a moment, she softly kissed him on the lips. The two sat in the cold in silence.


Author’s Note: The story above is based off of a nursery rhyme about a little boy and a little girl who live in an alley. In the nursery rhyme, the girl asks, “oh what shall we do?” and the boy gives her a kiss.

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My Favorite Place

Everyone has a favorite place: either somewhere they desire to be, somewhere they have never seen, or somewhere that they escape to, in reality or in their mind. One of the most cliched stress-relievers in the book is to “go to your happy place,” for goodness sake. For some, that vision of a proverbial beach destination, complete with a rum and coke in each hand, or the top of that hypothetical mountain is merely a figment of imagination; for others, it is a tangible location that they have been or wish to travel to at some point in their lifetime.

Like others, I have my hypothetical mountain. I often picture a cabin in the mountains where I will not be bothered by the materialistic and conflictual concerns of our society. I also have those destinations that I have never been, but have a strong inclination to visit someday: New Delhi, India, for one, is one of the most fascinating places on Earth in my mind, and I would love to experience the culture and see the beauty, and what is no longer beautiful, in this long-lasting metropolis. London, England is another location I have always longed to see, and I largely hope to move there for a short time following my graduation from OU. I could mentally escape to any of these places, and I could imagine all I like how the experience would be, however for those parts of the world in which I have never ventured, I simply do not feel it appropriate to label them my “favorite place.” I do not think that there is anything wrong with others having a hypothetical favorite place that they have never been to in reality, but for myself, it feels almost counterproductive. I want my favorite place to be somewhere that I enjoy being, that I can feel safe and find solace, and that brings me peace and joy to think about. How can I enjoy a place to which I have never been? I wouldn’t call haggis my favorite food because I have never tried it. Consider the possibility of me traveling to my “favorite place,” a place that I have never been, such as India, and having an absolutely miserable experience. I feel it much more appropriate to find a favorite place that I have physically been present in before.

Unfortunately, my travel experience is pretty limited, and I have never been out of the country. I have been to approximately six of the fifty states. I could always think of someplace from my past, somewhere with a lot of sentiment. Well if this were the case, my favorite place(s) would be the On the Borders I worked at in Texas; however I would not go there to seek solace now because some of the experiences I had there carry a lot of weight for me. I am an over-thinker and a worrier to boot, so if I can control my physical exposure to my past, I will try to limit it. I could look towards the future, but again, how can I truly, without a doubt, love a place I have never been? I suppose my goal here is to live in the present, which I am terrible at; however, 2017 is a new year and it is a new semester, so why not start here? Now, I am not going to love every place I am in at a present moment because some places will bring me pain, and some places flat out suck. In the relative present of my life, nevertheless, I do have a location that I can escape to, and conditions that I love it to be in.

My house here in Norman, Oklahoma, in which I have lived for a year and will only live in another, is a beautiful blip in what I will look back at as my life. I love going home to Texas to see my family, but I never enjoyed being in the house that my family lives in, given its condition and some of the memories it bears. My house here in Norman is my home. When I have escaped the stress of the theatre and the expectations of my department, when I have had a miserable day at work, or when there are people causing me pain, my house is there with spells for walls, keeping the secrets I whisper to myself and my roommates, trapping tears and providing joy for all who come through the threshold that is my front door. I can sit at my dining room table and work for hours, looking out the sliding glass door into my big back yard that provides shelter for the creatures that run along my back porch, and come up to the glass door when they don’t know I am watching from a feet away inside. I consider it a blessing to be able to unlock my door and walk into my home each evening. I take pride in keeping it clean and welcoming, and have had so many laughs and screams of joy within its confines. Others always find my home to be charming, and I like to think that it has a good spirit.

Yes, there will probably come a time when I will fly to England or India, or rent a cabin in the mountains, or find a coffee shop where I will meet my husband, or a job where I cry when I finally leave it and my coworkers cry with me. For now, though, I am a struggling college student barely making ends meet, having an existential crisis daily and trying to function with illusion of grace and maturity, when in reality there are times that I have sat on my living room floor screaming at my roommates about what I should text a stupid boy, “just let me be an adult!” (Thankfully, my house kept that in too.) So for now, I am content with calling my small three-bedroom, one bath house my favorite place. It is my escape from hardship, and my fortress when I must battle through the pains and struggles of being at the cusp of beginning my adult life. It is my home, and my home is my heart. I am not the fondest, in all reality, of Norman, Oklahoma; but my little house is my bubble, and when I am there, I am not in Oklahoma: I am in my own mind and my own universe, and I can control who and what is allowed to be there with me.

A future reflection will reveal Norman as a place of solace, I’m certain.


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