The other day I had a long conversation with someone extremely close to me about reputations. Growing up in the South Asian community, how you carried yourself and represented your family was everything. You’re expected to fulfill certain criteria that fit the Desi standard. As a result, a lot of kids lived double lives. I definitely pulled the classic ‘changing in the school bus’ trick or lied about hanging out with friends when I was going on a corny high school date to the movies. But once I reached a certain age, there was an unspoken understanding with my parents that I was now an adult. My life was in my own hands. I would always be their little girl, but I was also living on my own and going to house parties and bars. There were plenty of times that I made a fool out of myself, and it was always slightly more terrifying when other Indians were around to judge me. But my parents understood that I was learning, and if you ask them, they’ll admit to having their moments of less than perfection. They allowed me to embrace my reputation rather than fear it, which is a lot easier said than done. They would prefer I present my truest self to the world than put on a facade to be societally acceptable, and if I’m being honest, I’ll always compare myself to the checkboxes Indian women are expected to satisfy. It’s hard not to. 9 times out of 10, I’ll probably miss the mark. But at least I know I’m being me. In that same conversation with my friend, he expressed the importance of our name and the weight it carries, especially in our culture. The women, who are usually expected to go on and change their names to match their husbands are to be delicate and submissive. That’s not the case anymore, though. My name can be whatever I make it because it is significant. To an extent, reputations are important. Sometimes, they can make or break you. However, they’re also subjective rather than factual. So take it with a grain of salt, and live your fucking life how you see fit.