Eye-catching with its glossy white cover with a splash of hot-pink, Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging out Without Me?, caught my eye. I recognized my favorite Office character amongst the shelf of “actors turned memoir authors” at the local Barnes and Noble. Usually, I just sift through the books, which grace the faces I know so well from movies and television, but I found myself actually purchasing Kaling’s. The title, a question I ask myself all the time, was what struck me most.
Meeting new friends is hard to do. One may ask themselves: what if they don’t understand me? What if they don’t think my clothes are cool? What if they flat out just don’t like me? So to all of the freshman (and maybe even some upperclassmen) these feelings and concerns are normal. In an effort not to spoil this hilariously embarrassing, witty, yet relatable recounting of Kaling’s world I would like to share what I took away from this literary experience, and what I will strive to apply in my everyday college life.
Being smart is cool. A self-proclaimed dork, Kaling learned to embrace her God-given wit. As we can see, her extreme success and popularity are direct affects of this personal decision to embrace the brain. It is a common misconception that being carefree and lighthearted must be a result of lack of focus or concern for the constraining and mostly tedious world of study. However, I now feel that the opposite is true. If one truly embraces his or her ability to learn, one can soon create. This is exactly what Kaling has done. With a vibrant albeit sometimes ditzy demeanor, the Dartmouth graduate put her knowledge to good use in order to pursue her dreams and ultimately push her to become the Mindy Kaling we know and love today. From watching just one episode, it would be clear to anyone that Kaling has some serious acting chops, but the hilarious one liners delivered by all characters throughout the show are the result of Mindy’s writing skills. As an aspiring writer myself, I vow to never dumb myself down to fit a mold because as the saying goes: knowledge is power!
Yup, sometimes people are hanging out without you. I’m just going to say this now so it doesn’t come as surprise to the readers when it seems like their social worlds are falling apart; not everyone in this world is going to want to hang out with you. Yeah sure, you are totally funny, really nice, and a great friend to those who know you well, but unfortunately we can’t run around everyday of our lives with a “friendship qualification” list plastered to our foreheads. People judge, people are scared to open up, but these facts don’t make you dull as a stick or a backstabbing frenemy. We can all take a lesson from Mindy: if someone isn’t treating you right and your personality clearly does not mesh, try not to take it as a personal stab at you as a person. In college we are bound to meet hundreds of new people. Instead of dwelling on those who you thought would like you (“why haven’t they texted me?” “What did I do wrong??” “Should I text them again?”) force yourself to be around those who do respond to your uniqueness. When you find those special people who think that your Rebel Wilson impressions (yeah that’s my specialty) are funny or share a similar taste for cheesy show tunes (Legally Blonde the Musical: pure genius), that friendship will not only come naturally, but will be inevitable.
Find yourself, accept the full package, and OWN it. Throughout the book, Kaling touches upon subjects that all girls face for better or for worse: body image, clothes, boys, and the list can go on and on. She recognizes that some girls seem to cruise through life by having the body of Greek Goddess or that long blonde how-did-you-get-your-curls-to-do-that-whole-beachy-natural-look-but-totally-not-frizzy hair or even that cute as a button (but seriously did you rehearse that) laugh. However, this “ideal” isn’t actually the norm, and the only way to get past what society says we should be like is to actually realize that for the most part, this standard is unattainable. But that is okay. Let me say it again, IT IS OKAY! Not everyone will fall for our nerdy randomness (guilty), I will never be the “average” height of 5’5’’ (unless I shave the bones of my legs down but I feel like researching and beginning this procedure would be quite the involved process…), and unfortunately my full package isn’t offering what some people are looking to buy. Take this in, digest it, and remember that you are the most awesome version of yourself when you are yourself. If you snort when you laugh, snort away, girlfriend!
So, these are the three things I have figured out upon reading all about Mindy Kaling. But guess what, just because I can deal out this advice like I’m some sort of self-help guru, doesn’t mean it is easy for even myself to follow through with everything said above. There will be moments of hardship, insecurity, and failure. Lifestyle changes are gradual, but loving yourself is the first step. With this will come confidence and taking action to better oneself on a personal level will follow. Mindy found herself and never let go; and she managed to achieve in her time so far what seems to be a fairytale. It’s not though, its just life, so get out there and make something happen!